In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the Michigan Senate passed a bill that would strip immunity from undercover officers who penetrate prostitutes during investigations.
The bill would amend the Michigan Penal Code to remove police immunity for sexual penetration, defined as “sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight,” according to language outlined in an early version of Senate Bill 275.
Section 520A of the penal code goes on to clarify that “emission of semen is not required.”
“It’s still on your books, and it looks bad,” said Sen. Judy Emmons, the bill’s sponsor. “There could be a rogue somewhere that might take advantage of it so let’s just get rid of it.”
Such exemptions were meant to protect officers as they investigated and infiltrated prostitution rings, but police in Michigan say they aren’t even trying to have sex during undercover operations.
“It’s not rampant, but it happens,” said Bridgette Carr, the director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. Carr helped draft a version of the bill in the state’s House of Representatives. She wants to put an end to the exemption because it allows people to have sex with human trafficking victims without being punished.
“I think it says something about us as a community that we would allow this type of exemption for law enforcement, whether it’s used very often or not,” she said.
If the bill passes, officers who have sex with prostitutes would face prostitution related crimes.
The measure now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives.