Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sex in Rhode Island

For a more complete deconstruction of prostitution and laws against it, read my post Of Whores, Slaves, and Kings.

Well, Mayor Cicilline, the mayor of our fair capital city in Rhode Island, who I like less and less as the years go on, is backing a law to completely outlaw prostitution.

For those not from Rhode Island, we're the only state in the union where prostitution is legal. As long as it is behind closed doors, you can do whatever you want. Sounds strangely... American, don't you think? When you're two consenting adults in private... YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT! My god! How novel.

Well, Mayor Cicilline, here goes... you're a moron.

Let's pick through some of his comments.

“The industry permitted by our ill-advised laws continues to flourish. We are and will continue to be a haven –– in fact a magnet — for this activity. We offer the legal equivalent of a welcome mat for commercial sex."

First, ill-advised is an analysis he gives no reasoning for. He's wrong. That "ill-advised" law is the only thing keeping our prostitution somewhat in the light. Second, why is it bad that were are a welcome mat for commercial sex. Doesn't the state need all the money it can get? And what is wrong with commercial sex. He makes the statement assuming that people will read between the lines and agree with his implied moral judgment. I don't. In fact, I think he's an idiot for making that judgment.

There is nothing wrong with sex! His judgment requires that underlying belief. In such a strongly religious and specifically Catholic state, it's not entirely surprising this belief is held, but for Pete's sake, Cicilline is gay! You'd think he'd try and disconnect himself from religious creed as much as possible. But no. There he is, spouting the same self-hating religious nonsense spouted by such intellectual luminaries as Jerry Falwell.

"The mayor also asked the Senate to consider taking the law further. He wants a law that penalizes landlords that knowingly rent to brothel operators, grants immunity from prosecution to prostitutes who were forced into the sex trade and funds police training and prostitute rehabilitation programs through the seizure of brothel assets."

Wow. You just love passing those terrible laws, don'cha? First, it will be nigh on impossible to prove that landlords "knowingly" rented to brothels. Unless the owner is actively seen running the brothel, nothing can be proven. It's called a safe harbor. The maker or owner of something cannot be held responsible for what someone else does with it, even if they have reason to suspect or even expect illicit activities. A baseball bat maker knows people will be killed with bats, but just try arresting the bat maker. Gun makers know full well that their guns will kill people, but we don't hold them responsible.

I know! Why don't we just expand it? Landlords who knowingly rent to college students who do drugs can be held for drug charges. Landlords who knowingly rent to loud people can be held for disturbing the peace. Landlords who knowingly rent to underage kids who have drinking parties can be held for facilitating the delinquency of a minor. It's ridiculous.

"The city even created an outreach team with a female Korean translator, sexual assault counselors and legal experts to try and persuade prostitutes to leave the sex trade.

"But in his letter to the Senate, Cicilline says the city found prostitutes were unwilling to cooperate: 'So complete is the power of those who control the women that not a single person has accepted our offer of help.'"

Apparently the possibility that the girls just didn't want to leave wasn't considered. Now, I'm not saying that there are no women who very much are trapped by pimps and controllers and whatnot, but he stupidly assumes the opposite. He assumes that no women want to stay, which is an overreaching statement. There are without doubt some women who want to stay.

And from the City of Providence's press release:

"In a letter to the Senate leadership, the Mayor discussed the negative impact indoor prostitution – disguised as so-called “spas” in various locations – has on the quality of life in neighborhoods, as well as the damaging impact on the state’s reputation."

Negative impact on quality of life? Oh I would love to read his explanation for that one. And the damage to the states reputation? Is he smoking the pot? Almost no one knows about our obscure law. You ask someone just from freaking Massachusetts, and they just assume it's illegal here as it is everywhere else that's run by twits. And don't you think that our biggest reputation problems stem from our legendary corruption, horrid financial condition, high violent crime rate in our capital city, and coruscating temples of justice and respect like the Wyatt Detention Facility?

“I personally went to court to testify about the city’s refusal to allow the opening of a ‘spa’ across the street from a school, public library and recreation center,” said Mayor Cicilline. “We won and this establishment was not allowed to open.”

Oh for fucks sake. He actully busted out the "protect our children" line that every politician on Earth uses to justify baseless laws. I am disgusted with mayor Cicciline. Why is sex something we should be protecting our children from? Why is sex bad? It's rhetorical. There is no answer. It's not bad and that is the underlying assumption behind all of this. Sex is bad. Sex is somehow how evil. God damn this religious state.

"The Mayor called the bills currently pending before the General Assembly an “excellent first step.” He urged the Senate to consider broadening the scope of the legislation in order to strengthen it in the following ways:

* Greater penalties for the customers which would increase for subsequent offenses by customers
* The ability for an individual to avoid criminal prosecution when he or she has been compelled into commercial sex
* Require the creation of an interview protocol to be used by police in cross-examinations to help identify victims of human trafficking and better identify and prosecute the profiteers
* Penalties for landlords who knowingly rent to brothel operators
* Using assets seized in prosecution of this crime, create a diversion program where those arrested for selling sex can avoid penalties by participating in a program of comprehensive services that will allow them to escape the conditions that compelled them into prostitution
* Use seized assets to provide training to local police departments and to fund partnerships that can assist victims of sexual trauma, provide translation services and more."

1: Prostitution exists in Iran, where the penalty is death. That means there is no law that can prevent the sale of sex.
2: What about those who aren't compelled? I guess he assumes that person doesn't exist. Or if he does, those people are apparently S-O-L.
3: Ooooooh. A protocol! Watch out! The police have a protocol! They will fail as much in their efforts as everyone, everywhere fails in their efforts now.
4: Discussed above.
5: First off, why are we arresting those for selling sex? I thought #2 sort of precluded that. I guess they're S-O-L. Furthermore, a large-scale institution to facilitate prostitutes' escape from the conditions that sent them into it is impossible. Unless we are willing to provide full costs for an education, housing, food, and guarantee that the many, many illegal immigrants will not be deported, our efforts will end in total failure. And if we do that, why bother making prostitution illegal? We already have the perfect social system, and if Mayor Cicciline is correct, no woman would ever want to become a prostitute and thus none would. Thus, no need for a law no one wants to break.
6: Or, ya know, we can put it in the general treasury like we do with all law enforcement revenue and use it to fund the aforementioned corruption and fiscal stupidity.

I am not going to mince words. Mayor Cicciline and the anti-prostitution crowd are idiots. Raging, flaming, idiots of incomprehensible idiocy.

If you are actually concerned about prostitution, don't outlaw it, make it more legal. Legalize it to the fullest extent. Drag the operation into the sun where it can be regulated, controlled, taxed, and monitored. By outlawing it, you drive it into the shadows, where you cannot do anything with it. Laws against it increase violence, create pimps, and trap prostitutes even further because they cannot go to the police.

And if you think outlawing the purchase of sex but not the sale will help, you're dead wrong. If the prostitute has any hope of continuing work in the sex trade, she'll never go to the police because either her johns will be arrested or her brothel will get shut down, which then might result in retaliation from the brothel owners and other prostitutes, again... increasing problems. That is all this law will do.

Press Release (ProvidenceRI.com)
Providence mayor backs prostitution bill, says legislators could do more (Projo.com)

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