Friday, May 28, 2004

oh, the police

my current away messge reads: "Presumably you could put 'contract killer' on your income tax for and nothing would happen.' (Jim Leitzel on the Fifth Amendment) his class is turning up lots of away-msg-worthy soundbites, as is Mearsheimer's, though i am less faithful about transcribing JJM's - they also tend to be longer.

tonight's edition of Idle Thoughts will comprise mostly remarks about the Regulation of Vice, and random news articles regarding prostitution: i have a paper due after the weekend, and it is Research Time.

first up, we have: Tucson Police Use Education to Drive Away Prostitution. in brief, they are picking up johns, and trying to educate them on a bunch of issues, the "issues being the variety of sexual diseases prostitute carry, the damage being caught can do to the man's reputation, and the range of other crimes prostitution brings to a neighborhood. The program, called Safety Through Deterrence, or STD, educates johns about these problems and aims to drive down the demand for prostitutes." now, i don't know about you guys, but i find it hilarious that a program educating clients about the dangers of prostitution should be called STD. kudos, Tucson - you made my evening. or what's left of it after spending two hours on my couch watching America's Sweethearts. but i digress.

meanwhile, the IHT has an article about new approaches to Italian prostitution, including a 'rehab program' (as if prostitution were like drug addiciton). it's interesting that some women turned to prostitution because they earn more as prostitutes than they would as lawyers/doctors/indian chiefs. leads me to wonder if women substitute between professional jobs and high-end prostitution because of the glass ceiling - women finding some way to make their sexuality work for them? hmmm-mm. obviously, at the lower end of the income ladder, prostitution is a job that requires no educational qualifications, pays relatively well if you're good at what you do, and in fact pays better than flipping burgers at a local diner.

a final case involving prostitution of sorts: this was pointed out in class today by Prof. Leitzel - a connection between Greenpeace and prostitution? the article, it's worth it. Federal prosecutors tried to charge Greenpeace with an old law aimed at prostitutes which makes 'sailor mongering' illegal, in effect making it illegal to board ships offshore (to solicit, but that isn't clear in the law). it's disturbing, esp with regard to the fact that it was thrown out on a technicality - and its very use is based on a technicality. someone needs to go through the law books and take these things OUT!

to wind up, a few thoughts about the paper before i forget what i want to write: i'm going to attempt to make a case for legalising (not just decriminalising) prostitution in the United States. legalised prostitution would only cover brothel prostitution, and perhaps call-girl agencies, but not streetwalking. i don't think there's a regime in the world that likes the idea of streetwalkers, and i certainly don't. it's the most unsafe of the various forms of prostitution and it's got the greatest public nuisance value. at the same time, i think i want to limit the public nuisance externality, so i'm gonna go with the 'Zones of Tolerance' notion (basically a red-light district a la geylang, though it will be hard to create the good food...) and perhaps insist that clients be sober. of course all prostitutes must not be underage, and the same applies to clients.

need to do more research!


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