Just Playin'
Random Thoughts...
Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sex for Money

I found it hard to force myself to come to work today. No, not because I was engaged in sex for money. And not even because it's a holiday (I'm taking this coming weekend off, including Friday, and my family is out of town - so working today isn't a big deal). Rather, I ran across a COPS marathon on TV and had a difficult time dragging myself away from the set.

Something in the last 2 episodes bothered me, though. They were both set in Albuquerque and the officers there implemented various "stings" targeted at prostitution related arrests. In the first one I saw, officers dressed up as "rock stars" and cruised the local strip in a limo, hoping to attract prostitutes who were then arrested. I watched them arrest 2 local hookers, both well known to those who worked vice. As they prepared to put one of them in a squad car, they asked her what number arrest this was for her. She said 53.

53?!? I began to wonder what the point of arresting and releasing her could possibly be. I get that what she's doing is "illegal," and I'm not suggesting she shouldn't have to deal with the consequences of her actions. But if the goal is to reduce prostitution and have some sort of real impact, the methods being used are clearly inadequate. Here is a woman who has been arrested over 50 times for the same crime. Whatever sentences she's receiving are obviously not deterring her in the least. Does she get counseling? Job training? Assistance of any sort? I don't know. But at some point you'd think a different strategy might be in order.

Then came the next sting. Female cops strolled along the strip, looking for potential customers to arrest. The officer in charge of the operation told the group that they should be quite successful that day because there were so few real prostitutes working the streets that the johns were desperate. Huh??? "So few real prostitutes?" Doesn't that mean prostitution is down? Isn't that the goal? The logic escapes me:

There are virtually no prostitutes on the street, boss, what should we do?

Why, send out fake ones, of course! We WILL create crimes where there are none and we WILL make arrests today!

I'm not saying I think prostitution should be legal. I just think our cities and towns are wasting valuable resources that could be better spent fighting this "scourge."


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