My wife and I were playing a game of “cop, not a cop” yesterday as we tried to figure out whether we were dealing with dueling prostitutes at the corner of Maple and Union streets, or if one was a police officer and the other, whom we had seen before, was authentic. The city has announced that it will be focusing on the arrest and public humiliation of “Johns” as its strategy to reduce prostitution, and our little corner gets its share of such activity as I have previously mentioned here.
There is a proposal at the state level to decriminalize prostitution which I would support. I do view the women that I see out my front window here as victims, not because they work in the sex trade, but rather in connection to their addiction to drugs. From appearances and from reports the women who walk the streets in my neighborhood do so to get enough money to buy drugs at the open-air drug market one block away at the corner of School and High streets. Legalization and regulation of narcotics would also improve the quality of life in my neighborhood, take money out of the hands of violent people, and make it easier for addicts to seek help, not to mention the resources that could be redirected from law enforcement to public health.
I’ve never felt threatened or offended by the presence of prostitutes, but I do know that my wife and daughters have been queried on multiple occasions regarding their willingness to engage in sexual activity for a fee by men traveling through the neighborhood, and that can be uncomfortable and seem threatening to them depending on the time of day and the immediate surroundings. I’m not sure that de criminalization or even legalization and governmental oversight would ever eliminate the convenience sex trade in more humble parts of the city, but giving women who engage in the practice the option to communicate with law enforcement about abusive clients without fear of legal consequences would likely do no harm.
I don’t share the anti-sex stance or the religious perspective of sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, but her question, poorly translated:”Who is more to blame, a woman who will sin for pay, or a man who will pay to sin?” has a pretty clear answer, I’m glad local law enforcement is responding correspondingly.