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Chicago City Council Targets Sex Workers With Anti Loitering Ordinance

The Chicago City Council plans to toughen anti loitering laws, a move that some say will curb crime but others say will encroach on civil liberties. On Friday the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety agreed to an ordinance put forth by West Side Alderman Jason Ervin (28th) which outlaws “prostitution-related loitering.” The measure gives the power to Chicago Police to designate areas of the city where suspected sex workers could be dispersed for a period of 8 hours. “It’s an issue of supply and demand. We’re trying to focus on the demand side of the equation. If no one is there to purchase the service, the supply side has to move elsewhere,” said Ervin. Civil liberties advocates however, worry that the measure is too broad and vague, and could encourage police to disperse, detain, or arrest people for what “may be innocent and constitutionally protected behavior.” (Sun-Times)

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