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Braidwood imposes new prostitution fine

BRAIDWOOD — An update to Braidwood's prostitution ordinance could mean additional village revenue.

The village will now impose a $750 fine on anyone involved in prostitution. It also allows the village to seize property associated with the crime, including drugs, vehicles and cash.

The ordinance was passed during the village's July board meeting.

Mayor Bill Rulien said the village does not have a problem with prostitution, but Braidwood officials have made an effort to combat drug use in the area.

He said the fine is just another method of attacking the local drug problem, particularly in instances when people exchange drugs for sex.

"It's just another tool we can use to fight drugs," Rulien said. "This is a town where we have really stepped up our drug enforcement. We're really big about breaking down doors here. Our police department has conducted about 19 or 20 raids in the last year or so."

According to state law, exchanging sex for anything of value is punishable with probation, prison time, rehabilitation programming and expensive fines. Second and third offenses carry dramatically harsher punishments.

Braidwood Administrator Rich Girot said he discovered the village's ordinance did not mirror state law and included no local-level fines.

As it was, the ordinance only fined the person who owned the business or residence where the act was committed. It had no provisions for the people actually engaged in the crime.

"We had an old ordinance. It was about 40 years old. We're just trying to update it so it mimics the state statutes." Girot said.

"We didn't really have any fines or a way to prosecute people," he continued.

Rulien said drug busts seizures have represented a substantial source of village revenue. Property seized during prostitution arrests will only add to the village's seizure fund.

"We bought a boat-load of new squad cars and computers with the forfeiture money from the drug seizures," Rulien said.

However, Girot said the update solely stemmed from the village's desire to be in accordance with state law.

"We like to make sure all of our ordinances are up to date," Girot said.

While village officials do not anticipate too many violations, Girot said it's important to be prepared.

"Now, we are ready in case we need to take action," Girot said.

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