Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Phoenix has better things to worry about than prostitution

2004: 238
2005: 238
2006: 253
2007: 244

Sexual Assaults
2004: 824
2005: 824
2006: 796
2007: 772

Violent Crime Total
2004: 10,504
2005: 10,783
2006: 11,240
2007: 11,127

Phoenix, Arizona, is a growing city with big-city crime problems. These problems aren't out of control; homicides have been relatively steady in recent years, sexual assaults are down a tad, and overall, violent crimes have risen just a bit -- that's not too bad for a city growing as quickly as this one is. But there are real problems in Phoenix that could occupy police time and energy without the need for additional distractions to keep them from becoming bored.

So why are the cops bothering to devote resources to chasing after a business that engages in consensual sexual activity -- namely, prostitution and Internet adult entertainment?

Reports ABC 15:

Investigators said Nichta's organization was providing prostitutes through several websites with titles such as “Desert Divas”, “Az Confidential”, “Hips Tours”, and “Escorts in Action”.

More than 100 people, mostly prostitutes, are believed to be involved in the ring.

The organization filmed pornographic acts with the prostitutes, according to the investigators, and made them available for viewing through the Internet to hundreds of customers, or “johns”, who ordered the service through their various websites.

Charges so far in the case are: conspiracy to control an illegal enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, money laundering, operating a house of prostitution, employee at a house of prostitution, pandering, receiving the earnings of a prostitute, use of a wire or electronic communication, and prostitution. Not only do none of the charges refer to acts of violence, as far as I can tell, none of them involve doing anything that I would consider wrong.

I say that because there are no rights violations involved in prostitution as such. It's simply the exchange of sexual services for money. You say that some prostitutes are held against their will? No doubt -- but that's a function of the industry operating underground, beyond the reach of open scrutiny and legal protections. Illegality is the culprit there, not the simple act of exchanging money for sex.

In fact, Barbara Brents and Kate Hausbeck of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, have studied legalized prostitution in Nevada and concluded that legalization reduces interpersonal violence against prostitutes, violence against community order, and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. The researchers also emphasize the overwhelmingly consensual nature of the business: many sex workers choose that trade and don't need to be saved -- certainly not by the heavy hand of criminal prosecution.

With Phoenix's violent crime rates stagnant over the past few years, leaving prostitution alone -- or, better yet, legalizing it -- would seem to be an excellent way of getting crime statistics moving in the right direction.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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March 19, 2009 2:00 AM  

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