COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- A Columbia lawmaker wants to crack down on the world's oldest profession.
Particularly for those seeking the services of a prostitute.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reported Friday that Columbia Rep. Leon Howard has proposed sharply increasing the penalties for soliciting prostitutes. Howard's bill would make a third offense a felony, with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Howard says the bill would reduce a problem that ties up police and contributes to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.Related Stories Police: Upstate Woman Traded Daughter For Drugs Ex-porn star, stripper to speak at Upstate church Sunday Prostitution round-up results in dozens of arrests
According to FBI statistics between 2001 and 2007 South Carolina averaged 650 prostitution/commercialized vice arrests each year.
Currently soliciting a prostitute is a misdemeanor with a penalty of 30 days in jail or a $200 fine. A third offense raises the fine to $3,000 and at least a year in prison.
You can read the whole bill on the State House website.
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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)