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by Peter Moskos

February 24, 2009

More wars!

Why are teen prostitutes "victims" who need to be "rescued" and drug users "criminals" who need to be "punished"?

Here's the story in the Miami Herald.

FBI Deputy Assistant Director Daniel Roberts said, "The goal is to recover kids. We consider them the child victims of prostitution." Well that's awfully sweet of him to say. Sounds to me like the FBI is codling prostitutes! Suspicious.

And if, like "they" say, we're winning the war on drugs, shouldn't we start on war on prostitutes? That would solve the problem. Besides... just think... if it weren't for all the prostitutes walking the street, my little John wouldn't have been pressured into sleeping with that whore! Let's have mandatory life sentences! Now that would send the right message and keep our streets safe. Either we're going to get tough with prostitutes or they'll be prostitutes in your neighborhood!

They say sarcasm doesn't translate well into writing. So I'd like to make it very clear.


Anonymous said...

Note sure where you're going with this.

PCM said...

Why are teen prostitutes "victims" who need to be "rescued" and drug users "criminals" who need to be "punished"?

I don't really see the philosophical differences between prostitution, gambling, and drugs. They're all vice crimes. Why is our law enforcement approach to different? Are all prostitutes victims? No. Some are. And so are some drug addicts (and drug dealers).

It's hard to argue that anybody chooses to become a junkie. So why do we treat addicts as criminals who need to be punished? You'll never hear the DEA saying that their goal is to save victims. That's the shame.

If it were up to me I'd let states regulate and tax it all, just like gambling. Let people have their fun and let idiots mess themselves up. They do it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you philosophically, but have a slightly different view. Came across quite a few teenage (and probably a few younger than that) prostitutes in my time working the street. Never, ever heard of one that was working for herself. Most were forced into it by pimps who threatened bodily harm to them or their families. That is, if they were lucky enough to have family. Once this starts its not prostitution but sexual slavery.

It's hard to articulate the amount of psychological intimidation. Along the lines of a good, sick, symbiotic domestic violence relationship with gang rape thrown in. (If you haven't seen it, I recommend the documentary American Pimp. Made me wanna throw up.) Up entry into the "profession" most are beaten, then told it will be worse if they disobey or try to leave. You worked the street, you know how this works.

Agreed that prostitution can't be stopped & we'd better use resources regulating as opposed to prosecuting. But it's difficult to make a case that people who a)can't legally consent to sex with an adult and b)can't even register to vote can legally/lawfully engage in the profession, all aforementioned issues aside. I have a nice litmus test for prostitution: If the person engaged in prostitution is allowed or able to leave the profession anytime they want to it's legit.

Sgt. T

PCM said...

You make a lot of sense, sergeant. I like your litmus test, too.