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February 6, 2006

DOD criminalizes the patronization of prostitutes by members of armed forces

Patronizing a prostitute is now a specific crime for servicemembers
By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, January 7, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. -- For the first time, the Department of Defense has specifically made it a crime for a servicemember to patronize a prostitute. The punishment: up to a year in prison, forfeiture of pay and dishonorable discharge.

The formal order came in a presidential executive order signed without fanfare Oct. 14, directing changes in the Manual for Courts-Martial. It is part of an assault the military has been waging against human trafficking.

A Defense Department spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, said in an e-mailed response to questions that "prostitution" and "pandering" will now be among the offenses covered by Article 134 of the courts-martial manual.

Paying for sex used to fall under the "Solicitation of Another to Commit an Offense" listed as part of Article 134, which executes the corresponding section in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Krenke said.

It prohibits "all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces" and "all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces."

But the October executive order makes prostitution and pandering specific offenses, she said.

Krenke said that the DOD made the change as part of its effort to combat human trafficking by taking on the sex exploitation industry, as set forth in a December 2002 National Security Presidential Directive that says in part:

"Our policy is based on an abolitionist approach to trafficking in persons, and our efforts must involve a comprehensive attack on such trafficking, which is a modern day of slavery. In this regard, the U.S. Government opposes prostitution and any related activities, including pimping, pandering, or maintaining brothels as contributing to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons."
Bravo. This is very good news. The key, as the article states, is to get this information out to those in the field that the rules have changed and this will no longer be tolerated under military regulations. It is one thing to ammend the rules Stateside, but unless those in the field are aware of the changes---it is unlikely to be effective.

It believe it goes without saying---such behavior is not becoming of a member of the United States armed forces.

[HT], [SS]

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