Michigan (Sputnik) – Currently, police officers in Michigan have the right to have sex with prostitutes while undercover, but that may be about to change thanks to a new law that unanimously passed through a Senate committee this week.
The sponsor of the bill, State Senator Judy Emmons, explained that while she does not believe that officers are engaging in sex with prostitutes, and that “they’re certainly not trained in it,” she wants to prevent them from having the opportunity.
“This is as succinctly written as anyone could make it. It eliminates the opportunity for those in undercover law enforcement to engage in sexual intercourse with someone they’re investigating,” Emmons told the Free Press. “We have the dubious distinction of being the last state in the nation to have this law in our books.”
Hawaii, which was the only other state with the immunity loophole remaining on their books in recent times, passed a law banning it in 2014.
“As a former sheriff, no modern-day police department would ever allow this. This makes so much sense,” Republican State Senator Rick Jones, chairman of Michigan’s Senate Judiciary Committee, said of the loophole.
Emmons’ bill is part of a larger effort to fight human trafficking in the state.
“The reason the law is structured the way it is is because of the way the prostitution laws are written,” Bridgette Carr, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and director of the Human Trafficking Clinic who helped draft a previous bill addressing the issue wrote in a report last month. “So for law enforcement to have any power to investigate with immunity, they got all the power. And no one thought to go back and carve out a prohibition against sexual intercourse.”
Other lawmakers have previously attempted to remove the immunity loophole, but their efforts did not gain the momentum that this bill did. The current bill will now move to the state senate for a vote.
Carr has long argued that it is very difficult to track if and when this abuse of power is occurring.
“What I do know from my own clients is that people who either say they are cops, who are cops or who are impersonating cops, know about this exemption and threaten my clients with it sometimes,” she said. “It’s not rampant, but it happens.”
This report prepared by Sputnik