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What’s wrong with prostitution?

October 8, 2009 - 11:58 am

After 18 years at the paragraph factory, after 18 years’ worth of receiving letters that start with those ominous words, “I read with interest your story on [fill in the blank],” I think this is the first time I’m going to use those words myself.

So here goes: I read with interest the story on today about prostitution on El Cajon Boulevard.

The story took great pains to convey the idea that women soliciting and providing sex services from their street-corner offices is a big problem and should be met with an aggressive police response. I’m not so sure.

I was particularly interested in this part of the story:

Local and federal law enforcement officials are concerned that prostitution is becoming a larger problem with more gang involvement, greater use of the internet to arrange meetings and more juvenile sex trafficking. Gangs have realized that a significant amount of money can be made in prostitution with less risk than trading drugs or guns. Prostitution is a misdemeanor and some sentences are reduced after counseling.

“They’re not out of drugs, but they can make more money with prostitutes,” said Lt. Rudy Tai, who manages the enforcement side of SDPD’s vice unit.

Maybe I’m warped in some awful way, but leaving aside the juvenile-sex thing, I read that and thought to myself, Geez, Louise, that’s outstanding news! Depending on what kinds of drugs we’re talking about—say, heroin or meth vs. marijuana—I’m a hell of a lot more concerned about (some) drugs and guns than I am about sex. It’s possible that if people had more sex, the world would be a much safer place, but I digress. If involvement in guns and drugs were to have an inverse correlation to involvement in prostitution, isn’t that a net win for society? Of course, if turf wars broke out over prostitution they way they do over the drug trade, all bets are off. And again, I’m not talking about juvenile sex, so don’t hit me with your own “I read with interest…” about that.

So, how would one combat a violent turf war over sex? Well, one might consider legalizing it. Last I heard, there was no violent turf war between Peet’s, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Starbucks over who’s going to dominate the coffee-distribution market. (Sure, it’s a war, and we know who’s winning, but my point is there’ve been no gunfights.) What do you think would happen, though, if coffee were outlawed? Do you think organized crime might get involved?

Why not legalize, regulate and tax paid sex? And then allow the direct service providers to unionize and take control.

Prostitution is largely a victimless crime. For the most part, it’s a transaction between consenting adults. But the way it’s currently handled, of course, the providers are often victimized—if they get into the trade out of desperation and then can’t voluntarily get out of it. Yes, that’s victimization. And if there are attendant crimes committed against them, that’s certainly victimization. But what would happen if the trade were brought out of the shadows? I don’t know, but I think it should be explored.

Maybe I’m being naive or insensitive to serious societal effects that I’m not carefully considering, but as I read voice’s story, all I kept thinking is that I’d rather my tax dollars were being spent on fighting different crimes—such as street violence and white-collar crime. I want the police and the D.A’s office to leave Scarlett the 6-foot tranny on El Cajon Boulevard alone and pay attention to the suit-wearing guy cooking books in some glass-walled office, who’s finding ways to pay less money in taxes, which in turn reduces the budget for fighting street violence and running social programs that might otherwise have helped Scarlett the 6-foot tranny make better choices for his/her future.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. pete permalink
    October 9, 2009 - 1:48 pm 1:48 pm

    Drugs, sex, rock n roll…the evil triplets that politicians use to scare people into voting for them and against their ‘soft on crime’ opponents. I worked at both a county jail and a state prison for a year each. Our corrections system is just a collection point for the poor. All these arrests for petty crimes cost the taxpayers a fortune. How much would we save if we gave street hookers a real alternative? The point of all this law and order is to keep the peasants in their place. It has nothing to do with preventing a wave of crime or disease or any of the scarecrows that they build on the local tv stations, not to mention the local rag that impersonates a newspaper. Your six foot tranny is more of a woman than the UT is an honest agent of journalism.

    I agree with most of the sentiments you express here but you neglect the underlying weakness of the system. The people just don’t care enough to do anything. The pot smokers fight for their issues, the gays, theirs, the hookers, the Medi-Cal recipients, etc etc etc…but they don’t join forces.

    And..of course..they don’t have the money to throw Dumanis and her ilk out on her sorry butt. She gets her marching orders from the rich enclaves of LJ, RSF, and Coronado, places where leather skinned old farts continue to have an out of balance effect on the every day lives of all of us.

    That ought to stir up a response.

    I’m all for a French style revolution. Time to rebuild those gallows and place hemp ascots around the necks of the nobles.

  2. Luis de Cans permalink
    October 16, 2009 - 2:03 am 2:03 am

    Off with all their heads, bring back that Guillotine. Don’t bother sharpening it, the city can’t afford it. Don’t worry UT, we’re coming for you too!

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