Ordinance proposes giving prostitutes community service

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A member of the Baton Rouge Metro Council wants to change the way prostitutes are punished by the law.

Councilwoman Tara Wicker, D-Dist. 10, is backing an ordinance that would raise the penalties on "street walkers," but in a positive way.

The proposal includes 240 hours of community service.

It's the latest push to make the Capital City a safer place to live.

Wicker sees the new initiative as a way to fight not only crime, but what has become a major health issue.

"We know many of these ladies who are out on the street, any of which are being forced to be out there, are infected and these men are having sex with these women and literally, taking it home to their families," Wicker said.

The proposed ordinance made it through committee Wednesday and will go before the Metro Council for a vote next Wednesday.

Prostitution has been a growing problem in Baton Rouge. Currently, violators are either fined $500 or face up to six months in prison. Those have been the penalties in Baton Rouge for the past 20 years.

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