A Senate-approved bill that would double, and in some cases, increase by tenfold the fines associated with soliciting prostitutes passed a House committee nine to six. The bill would not change the current penalty of up to six months in jail for soliciting. Sponsor Franklinton Senator Beth Mizel says it attacks human trafficking at its root.

"If we can lessen the demand for trafficking, we can partially solve our problem,” Mizel said.

The bill would also allow judges to order people convicted of soliciting to attend an educational course that instruct “Johns” on how human trafficking destroys lives. Mizel says that kind of public shaming is a powerful disincentive.

“Most of the times when you see trafficking victims found and the traffickers arrested, you never hear anything about the people buying the product,” Mizel said.

Denham Springs Representative Valerie Hodges, supported the legislation, arguing that heavier punishments are the only thing the stop people from trying to buy sex.

“Baton Rouge is one of the highest cities in the nation for human trafficking and we have dug past as many laws as we can to stop it. The only way we’re going to stop it, is to raise the penalty,”

The bill moves to the House for final passage.