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Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Will Oahu get all the
no-prostitute zones?

Or will there be any left for other isles?

By Treena Shapiro


If the City Council passes a bill designating the Ala Moana area, Wahiawa and downtown Honolulu prostitution-free zones, the rest of the state could be refused the option of adopting similar measures.

While prostitution is illegal throughout the state, in designated zones enforcement would be stepped up with "street-walking" prostitutes facing stricter penalties of up to 30 days in jail and banishment from the area from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for six months.

A law passed this year by the Legislature allows counties to designate four such areas throughout the state, and the question arose at a City Council Planning and Public Safety Committee meeting yesterday as to whether the four areas would include Waikiki, which became prostitution-free last year.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lori Nishimura said her interpretation of the law would allow for four prostitution-free zones including Waikiki, but the committee reads it as allowing four zones in addition to Waikiki, thus freeing up one zone for another county.

According to Council member Steve Holmes, the only other area in the state that has a prostitution problem is Hilo in Hawaii County.

Because the zones can only be a maximum of three square miles, it is unlikely that redrawing the perimeters would allow the city to reduce the number of new zones.

The committee will clarify the number of zones before the bill moves to a Council meeting on Aug. 9 in Kapolei.

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