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House OKs Bill Toughening Pimping Penalities

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An effort to toughen penalties for pimping involving minors and to aid minors forced into prostitution won unanimous support in the Iowa House.

The House voted 98-0 Tuesday in favor of the measure. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

The bill would grant county attorneys the option of referring a minor involved with prostitution to Iowa's Department of Human Services as a child in need of assistance if an adult is believed to be involved. All instances of prostitution are punishable as aggravated misdemeanors under current law.

Pimping penalties for any case involving a minor would increase from a class "D'' felony to a class "C'' felony under the bill.

Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill, who sponsored the bill, says the legislation addresses a statewide issue that can't be ignored.