House approves Corvese bill to seize pimps' profits

House approves Corvese bill to seize pimps' profits

PROVIDENCE – The House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Arthur Corvese, of House District 55 in North Providence, that allows law enforcement to target pimps and others who derive proceeds from pandering or permitting prostitution in the state by seizing those proceeds, according to a news release.

Corvese's legislation will now be sent to the Senate, which has already passed similar legislation sponsored by Sen. Frank Lombardi, of Cranston. Both legislators introduced the legislation on behalf of Attorney Gen. Peter Kilmartin.

Under current law, those convicted of prostitution have been subject to forfeiture of any assets received due to their unlawful acts. But those who induce or allow another to provide those services have not been required to forfeit proceeds that result from the acts.

The legislation passed Thursday will strike the forfeiture provision from law as it applies to prostitutes, and will add the forfeiture provision to the law dealing with “pimps,” or, as the law describes them, individuals who by any promise or threat, by abuse or by any other device or scheme cause, induce, persuade or encourage a person to become a prostitute.

“Currently, our laws punish prostitutes, but give a free pass to those who are the kingpins in this illegal trade," said Corvese in a statement. "Individuals who profit from forcing others into prostitution must not be allowed to keep the money they’ve made from it. This change allows the state to continue to punish prostitution appropriately, but also to follow the money to the people who perpetuate criminal enterprises and seize it."

The legislation also adds the offense of conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to those offenses subject to the forfeiture provisions.