Critics: Oregon Bill a 'Sex Trafficking Magnet'

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Anti-trafficking advocates say a bill being considered by the Oregon Legislature could make the state a magnet for sex trafficking.
   
The measure would penalize people who buy sex with children by charging them with a misdemeanor rather than a felony.     

Supporters of Oregon's bill say a felony is too harsh a punishment for those who inadvertently pay for sex with a minor.

"Our laws don't differentiate between the person who knowingly purchases sex from a minor and the person who has every reason to believe they are purchasing sex from a consenting adult," Gail Meyer, a lobbyist for the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said.
    
But anti-trafficking advocates say a lesser penalty would make Oregon a trafficking destination.

"Our nation is fighting (sex-trafficking). And Oregon is standing as an open state (as if saying), 'Come here and shop. Oregon is open for business,'" Citizen Link quoted Linda Smith, president of Shared Hope International.

Currently, 43 states make such a crime a felony.

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