IL Senate Votes to Eliminate Felony Prostitution
Great news! Today the Illinois Senate passed our End Demand Illinois bill, SB1872, to eliminate felony prostitution in Illinois. The bill passed with a vote of 53-1 and will now move with strong momentum into the Illinois House of Representatives.
End Demand Illinois sends many thanks to the bill’s sponsor, Senator John Mulroe (D-10th District) and Chief Co-sponsors: Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th District), Senator William Delgado (D-2nd District), Senator Bill Cunningham (D-18th District), and Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-5th District). Thank you all for your leadership.
Glenda Sykes, a survivor leader with Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, spoke before the Senate Criminal Law Committee in March, and her testimony had clearly galvanized the committee. When Senator Mulroe spoke on the senate floor, he called her testimony “selfless and very courageous” and asked all to vote yes on behalf of Glenda.
Many thanks to the following senators who also spoke in support of the bill this afternoon:
Senator Dale Righter (R-55th District) spoke on the floor and said, of Glenda, “In my 16 years in the senate, she was one of the most compelling witnesses I’ve ever heard.” He went on to describe how Glenda was seeking employment in the healthcare field and was facing trouble securing employment because of her felony record. “I’m an advocate for personal responsibility,” Righter said, and stated that eliminating felony prostitution was the “right thing to do.”
Chief Co-Sponsor Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-5th District) said she was in “staunch support” of the bill and said that she hopes that the law will “correct some of the wrong that we’ve done.”
Senator Iris Martinez (D-20th District) also spoke in support of the bill, saying that human trafficking and prostitution “Is something going on in our neighborhoods.” She said eliminating felony prostitution was the right step in helping people so their “past does not interfere with their future.”
Senator William Haine (D-56th District) emphasized that the bill “does not diminish efforts against prostitution.” He explained that many people in the sex trade are victimized, and said that “Evil-doers are those who exploit.” He called for law enforcement and the senate to focus efforts on holding traffickers accountable.
Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-40th District) spoke in support of the bill and said she was thinking about her own 14-year-old daughter and the fact that other girls her age had been ensnared by traffickers.
Many thanks to all who have supported these efforts, and we will be in contact with more action alerts soon as SB1872 moves into the Illinois House of Representatives. Learn more about the bill here. Sign up for action alerts here.