January 9, 2009

Making Indoor Prostitution Illegal

Carroll Andrew Morse

And while we're on the subject of Democrats sponsoring sensible legislation, let's not forget to mention that State Representatives Joanne Giannini (D-Providence), Elaine Coderre (D-Pawtucket), Helio Melo (D-East Providence), Al Gemma (D-Warwick), and Deborah Fellela (D-Johnston) have reintroduced the bill to the Rhode Island House (H5044) that would make indoor prostitution illegal in Rhode Island.

If this is the first you've been informed that indoor prostitution is currently legal here in Rhode Island, click here, here, or here for more background on the issue.

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There goes Rhode Island again, creating a worse business climate. We don't have casinos, we don't have world class special events, we don't have much that makes RI a destination, but the one benefit that we do have over most states, the ability for someone to make a phone call and get some booty on a slow Tuesday night, and the Assembly wants to take that away now. Sheesh.

What two consenting adults want to do behind closed doors...


Posted by: pitcher at January 9, 2009 1:36 PM

{Unnecessarily crude example deleted.

Posted by: erik d. at January 9, 2009 2:23 PM

If that was her choice, sure.

But I think I'd probably rather go to Burger King, get a job and earn that $20 for her, but that's just me. I know people actually getting out and working is a new concept to liberals, as is being personally responsible for oneself.

There are some people who like the profession.

If you couldn't tell, my post was in jest. I don't care either way. I don't see the problem with legal indoor prostitution though. I don't want streetwalkers, which is why it's illegal outside. But if there's someone who wants to sell their body for whatever amount of money, good for them.

Posted by: pitcher at January 9, 2009 2:46 PM

George Carlin used to say that he never understood something being illegal to sell that is perfectly legal to give away.

Though he said it much more crudely, of course. ;-)

Posted by: EMT at January 9, 2009 6:08 PM

Why ANYBODY thinks we shoud lock up people in cages (at roughly $5000 a month) for consensual sex is beyond me.
Another issue where the police-state Right and the police-state Left happily converge

Posted by: Mike at January 9, 2009 7:26 PM

"{Unnecessarily crude example deleted."

To whoever deleted it, thanks.

Posted by: pitcher at January 9, 2009 7:58 PM

Mike is right again.What business is it of anyone's what two consenting adults do with each other?Money is involved?For shame!Money NEVER plays a role in"legitimate"relationships,does it?
I don't want to police anyone else's "morality" unless they try to mess around with kids,in which case they should be deep sixed.

Posted by: joe bernstein at January 9, 2009 9:35 PM

Now, if we could only make it illegal for legislators to prostitute themselves inside the State House...

Posted by: Will at January 10, 2009 12:56 AM

if your looking for a new source of tax revenue.....

Posted by: pmetro at January 10, 2009 2:42 AM

"What business is it of anyone's what two consenting adults do with each other?"

Courts have ruled that people under economic duress cannot give consent.

It's considered exploitation.

Most civilized socities aim to decrease the exploitation of it's members, not increase it.

Maybe you guys need to try getting some the traditional way... with your charm, looks, or proficiency at something women value in mates.

Posted by: erik d. at January 10, 2009 11:48 AM

(Readers not interested in libertarian theory can jump to the last paragraph).

There is a rationality that appeals to me inherent in the libertarian approach to the many issues, but for me personally, it doesn't extend to this issue.

Libertarianism, as a workable social system that's something more than anarchy, is based on the idea is that people make choices; some work out, some don't, and individuals then enjoy the rewards/suffer the consequence of their decisions and hopefully learn to make better decisions that on-balance bring more rewards. But inherent in this is idea that one or two bad choices won't unexpectedly ruin an individual forever.

Extreme example of what I mean: Most (I know, not all) libertarians don't see anything wrong with laws that prevent people from owning nuclear weapons, because one bad decision with a backyard nuke could have consequences that would deny lots of people the right to make better decisions about who they live next to in the future.

Slightly more sane example: Most (I know, not all) libertarians don't object to something like Food-and-Drug Administration standards, because they accept that buying meat at the supermarket shouldn't be a life-and-death lottery. Though it is fully "rational" to say that customer should be aware of the record of the company he buys his food from, e.g. that 5% of company A's customer's died from mad-cow disease last year, while none of company B's did, so buy from company B, the cost of gathering that information is too high and -- what may be most important from the libertarian perspective -- the dead people don't get an opportunity to adjust their behavior.

In this same vein, when it comes to prostitution, I see too wide a gap between the young girl or boy who has been drawn into a life of prostitution and the idealized "economically rational actor" who is choosing career A now and will have an opportunity to move on to career B later. When career A is prostitution, given the intricate and intense mixture of forces that are part of human sexuality, lots of harm may be done to an individual before he or she has a realistic chance to realize and escape from the consequences of a bad decision. And to step back fully to the conservative side, biology dictates that lots of people involved in prostitution will always be young and inexperienced with making decisions about life & sex. As a result, I tend to agree with society's judgment that prostitution is something that people should be kept away from.

Posted by: Andrew at January 10, 2009 2:43 PM

Thanks Andrew, but if young people are your concern, then make it illegal for either party to be under 21. Just like for alcohol. Then if someone at 21 wants to make the decision to either be a prostitute or contract their umm, services, they're more than adult to make those decisions.

As for bringing the libertarian philosophy into something like this, I'm fairly libertarian, but until any kind of smoking tobacco products is completely banned around non-smokers or children, I think the libertarians are jumping on the wrong issue. I believe smoking falls just below the backyard nuke example, but above most others. Smokers will talk about their right to smoke, but without even a second thought of the 3 year old in the back of the car with all the windows rolled up, or standing right in the portico at my office, forcing me to make the walk of death every day.

Posted by: pitcher at January 10, 2009 5:57 PM

And Erik the bomb-tosser, care to cite examples of the courts making those decisions? I just did some googling and came up with nothing in this country. Something close in New Zealand, but I don't see how that applies.

So if some 22 year old woman, way behind on her mortgage and little money to pay for food advertises her "services" on a web site, and I call her up and make a "date" and pay her for those services, I've "exploited" her? I've broken more laws than just solicitation? Funny how we never hear much about the Johns getting charged with exploitation, unless every prostitute they were with are all economically sound. I guess that's a viable argument.

Posted by: pitcher at January 10, 2009 6:01 PM

Economic pressure is duress.

Duress voids contracts.

Posted by: erik d. at January 11, 2009 12:10 PM

Like drug laws, global interventionism, the bailouts and so many other bad policies, the spending of tax money to prevent people from selling consensual sex is a grossly misguided abomination which the Police State Right and the Police State Left happily concur in.
6 figure (with benefits) cops make the arrest, six figure prosecutors prosecute, 6 figure defense lawyers defend, 6 figure judges sentence, 6 figure court clerks process, 6 figure marshalls transport, 6 figure prison guards guard, 6 figure counselors counsel and 6 figure probation and parole officers supervise.
All on the taxpayer's dime. All to protect the Left/Right totalatatrian instinct.
From the same people who brought you defined benefit pensions at 41 with lifetime COLA's and free medical.

Posted by: Mike at January 11, 2009 12:19 PM

"Economic pressure is duress.

Duress voids contracts.

Posted by erik d. at January 11, 2009 12:10 PM "

Wow, thanks for that brilliant legal opinion. Now that I've lost my job and I'm under tremendous economic duress and I have a contract, I mean mortgage for my house. So that's now void? My contract to pay for my car? Void? The last thing we want is for me to be exploited for the money, right?

Have we actually found someone on the same level with Crowley for "logical" thinking?

Posted by: pitcher at January 11, 2009 4:27 PM

"Now that I've lost my job and I'm under tremendous economic duress and I have a contract, I mean mortgage for my house. So that's now void? My contract to pay for my car? Void?"

Not only that but you can rob banks with impunity.

Posted by: Monique at January 11, 2009 7:16 PM

What's funny is that you two are too stupid to even begin to realize how stupid you really are.

Posted by: erik d. at January 12, 2009 9:15 AM

Heh heh heh, Monique, you know we've gotten to the bottom of things when the only remaining response is "you're stupid". Heh. Erik is awesome.

Posted by: pitcher at January 12, 2009 8:41 PM

Just passing through, but couldn't help but mention:

If you two can't see the difference between duress during the signing of a contract, and duress after the contract is already in effect, then I'm not sure you're capable of understanding much else.

That's why I called some of you here stupid, because when you spout out insults, while all the while unaware that you really have no clue what you're talking about, it makes you look... well, stupid.

Posted by: erik d. at January 16, 2009 11:47 AM

I came here after "indoor prostitution" came up in a story about a 16-year-old being allowed to strip in Rhode Island. Seriously, what's the problem with this? This does nothing to address the human trafficking problem. They're giving handies for $20 -- where is the societal harm in that act?

Posted by: GC at July 21, 2009 11:01 PM
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