Prostitution Law Enforcement
Federal and state law regarding prostitution differs slightly across the country. Except for a few counties in NV, most of the country prohibits prostitution.
Prohibition means it’s illegal. The law may impose different consequences specifically for the various players involved. The role of a trafficker or pimp is often seen as a more heinous crime than a buyer or a prostituted person. Some state law has no difference in the requirement for arrest or in the fines, fees, or jail terms.
If state law dictates that prostituted people are arrested, then police must arrest them. But federal law defines trafficking as the action of recruitment, transportation, transfer, or harboring of persons for the purpose of exploitation, by means of threat or use of force, coercion, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, giving of goods or payments to a person in control of a victim. Sex trafficking is an extreme form of trafficking.
Police may treat people with dignity and respect to earn trust. Treating prostituted people like people may reveal a better view of the situation. Setting aside the time to create rapport, so that disclosure might take place. There is more to a person than their current condition. Please have compassion.
Some people want to change the laws.
I listen to them insist that decriminalizing prostitution would increase safety for prostituted persons. I am stunned. Are they not admitting that violence is inherent in prostitution? “When a prostituted person is assaulted, they are afraid to disclose because they will get arrested,” is a common tact.
So, they are assaulted because they are involved in an illegal activity? Nope. They are assaulted because violence is part of the prostitution experience. Prostitution is illegal because it is inherently coercive and violent. I’ve heard pro-protitution advocates say that legalization or decriminalization will make prostitution safer.
That is the same argument gun control advocates use. “The police will keep you safe, when you turn in your guns.” Nope! Once a crime has been committed, then police may be called. They are not able to be present before the crime is committed. That’s simple logic.
That is what they are saying, when they talk about legalizing prostitution -“they will be able to call police.” That is not safe. That allows for recourse. No one is there when the door closes. The buyer is usually alone with the prostituted person. Buyers usually want to use their time in private, so they can do whatever they want.
Disclosing abuse doesn’t prevent it.
We are told to believe that when assault, robbery, or rape victims are able to press charges, it won’t happen. Wait, the people who are now involved in illegal activity who rape and brutalize victims, will somehow change their behavior to be more respectful of the rights of their victims? How is that even logical?
Do we believe that a person who will illegally buy another person suddenly becomes aware of their agency when the buying of that person becomes legal or not illegal? Really?
So, it’s ok for you to degrade the humanity of a person and regard them as a commodity, but you have to be nice? I feel like I’m on another planet.
Is abolition possible?
Well, maybe we should ask the question a bit differently. Did abolishing chattel slavery end exploitation? Obviously, we don’t have the horrendous atrocities that were rampant prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, but we still have slavery. We call it Human Trafficking. Trafficking isn’t about transportation. It’s about exploitation.
Most people think of sweatshops over seas, but it could be at the nail salon down the road, or in the restaurant at the mall, or in the fields of the farm that ships to your grocery store. It happens to prostituted people every where, as well.
Abolishing slavery will happen when and where people honor the dignity of every other human being. We must honor their right to personhood.
A person should be free to enjoy safety and security. In order for that to happen, every person must recognize every other person’s right to the same.
That is a cultural issue. Can it happen? I hope so. What do you think?