Rhode Island would close a loophole allowing prostitutes to ply their trade indoors under new legislation approved by state lawmakers.
The bill approved Thursday would make prostitution a misdemeanor offense regardless of where it occurs. Prostitutes would face a maximum six-month prison sentence for a first offense, while their customers could face up to a year.
Gov. Don Carcieri supports closing the nearly 30-year-old loophole allowing indoor prostitution and was expected to sign the legislation.
Rhode Island is the only state, besides parts of Nevada, that now allows indoor prostitution. Trying to crack down on outdoor solicitations, the General Assembly passed a 1980 law that was silent on paid sex indoors.
As a result, more than two dozen suspected brothels operate across the state.