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RSS icon Comments on Re: Prosecution Shift for Prostitution


Will this also apply to so-called "sex tourism" (aka going overseas to be a perv)?

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 30, 2007 5:01 PM
"Itís now in play on the House floor.

Or, er, "now it's in the House's lap." Um. "The full House will now pick it up?" How about "now we'll see if congress is ready to throw some money at this still-maturing idea."

Even "The new bill heads to the house" sounds kinda dirty...

Incidentally, can anyone explain why it is that johns are hard to catch, but prostitutes aren't? Can't the cops just place a few lurid ads in the back of this here paper and roll the johns up like cheap carpets?

Posted by robotslave | March 30, 2007 5:31 PM

Stings work when the planets align and police actually do them. However, the city's vice squad is tiny. I won't reveal just HOW tiny right now because it would probably blow your mind out of the back of your skull. Needless to say, it's not easy for them to be everywhere at once and catch johns.

Posted by Jonah S | March 30, 2007 7:42 PM

Er, OK, so the vice squad is tiny. But that doesn't really answer my question, does it?

Why is it easier for the vice squad to bust prostitutes rather than johns?

Posted by robotslave | March 31, 2007 5:25 PM

Well, let's see...

All you need is for a prostitute (usually female) to agree to do something sexual in return for money. This is very loosely defined and fairly easily done. Once she says anything that indicates sex for money, she's under arrest. Really. All she has to do is say "prove you're not a cop." That is clear indication that she's willing to engage in illegal activity. That alone is a ticket to jail.

In order to achieve the same result with a guy it takes a lot more effort. You've got to have female decoys (or guys that look really passable in drag, and I've never heard of that being done here) and a lot of back-up. Usually the decoys stand on the street and try and get the guys to meet them at a nearby hotel where the bust squad is set up.

The problem with this approach is that it only gets the clueless newbies, the drunks, and the terminally stupid. The first rule of thumb among experienced johns is NEVER say anything more than "you want a lift?" until the prostitute actually gets in the vehicle and you are moving. So unless the cops are willing to let a their decoy get into the vehicle (fuckin' unheard of) and then get felt up or undergo a good pussy grab (sometimes the girls will actually have the guy stick a finger in, under the mistaken assumption that a cop can't do that -- they can and will), it is substantially harder to bust the guys.

(Don't ask me why the cops are willing to let vice officers pick up girls. That's a double standard I'll let you parse on your own.)

The other force operating against prostitutes are SOAP orders. SOAP stands for Stay Out of Areas of Prostitution and are probation requirements that can be slapped on individuals (hookers or tricks). You are required not to enter certain areas and you can be arrested on sight if you're in a SOAP zone (even if you're just riding on a Metro bus through one). The johns are shielded by virtue of being in their cars and less visible. The prostitutes are out on the street. All a cop needs to do is see a girl on the street, stop her and run a probation check. If she's SOPAed, she's busted.

There are other reasons, but these are the most typical.

And in case anyone is wondering why I know so much about this...I've been a close follower of SOAP and SODA (Stay Out of Drug Areas) for almost 20 years and have studied their implementation and application (as has Nick Licata's honey). They are a travesty. And if you think the male cops don't have sex with the girls before they 'cuff 'em, I got a great little floating bridge up for sale. Prostitution laws are every bit as insane and rife with corruption as our drug laws.

Posted by gnossos | March 31, 2007 8:27 PM


thanks for your thorough breakdown of the problems with the current policing solutions to prostitution.

Posted by Jonah S | March 31, 2007 10:32 PM

Hey Jonah -- thanks to you for covering the issue and for your intelligent perspective. I hope your paid overlords allow you to keep pursuing it.

Posted by gnossos | April 1, 2007 10:40 PM

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