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San Francisco Not Hooker-Friendly, Rejects Prop K
/ November 6, 2008

Why not decriminalize the age-old tradition of horny men leading scantily clad young ladies into their cars using wads of cash? San Francisco Killer nurse download.com/news/politics/2008/11/04/2008-11-04_san_francisco_prostitutes_lose_propositi.html”>just rejected Proposition K, a bill to end police arrests of prostitutes and discontinue funding of anti-prostitution programs, and I don’t understand why.

The prostitutes in Brazil have unionized, German hookers are allowed to get on with their business as long as they show up for their monthly check ups and, in Amsterdam, ladies of the evening pose in red light district windows. A little closer to home, Rhode Island allows prostitution provided it’s conducted indoors and Nevada’s down with hookers in counties with under 400,000 residents. So why won’t the rest of the country hop on the lube-drenched bandwagon?

Prostitution is a victimless crime and, if the cliché is true, it’s also the world’s oldest profession in spite of its widespread illegality. TV shows like Showtime’s trashtastic “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” and the fact that “Pretty Woman” is still a popular—if wildly unrealistic– movie speak to America’s familiarity with selling sex. A recent UCSF study found that even the very people in charge of snuffing out prostitution can’t seem to get enough of the whole sex for money thing. According to the survey, 1 out of 7 prostitutes in San Francisco claim to have been threatened with arrests unless they gave the officers a free sample of their goods. More ridiculous still, 1 in 5 reported that they’ve had police officers as clients, making the dozens of arrests that many long time hookers have racked up look even more ridiculous when as much as 20% of the force clearly has no problem with getting down with whores in the backseat of a squad car.

Plus, the use of condoms as evidence in prostitution cases means that a lot of call girls skip the rubbers in order to avoid a prosecution. Seeing as the hookers themselves sleep around by profession and their clients probably aren’t the most monogamous of fellows, skipping a condom often means welcoming a whole host of skeevy STDs into their nether-regions. Nasty, right?

Prostitution is not something that’s going to just disappear with half-hearted legal crackdowns, it’s a part of our social and pop cultures so we might as well make it as safe as possible. Enough with the quick and dirty back alley business, decriminalizing prostitution will mean safer transactions for sex workers and their johns.

Photo: flickr courtesy of Alessandro Isnotaurelio.

*Before anybody leaves an indignant comment about how terrible pimps and brothels are for the poor, defenseless victims of prostitution, Prop K does not call for the legalization of pimping, forced prostitution or brothel-keeping, which are admittedly pretty terrible and exploitative. In fact, adopting Prop K would actually mean that prostitutes could go to the police if they were being exploited rather than just dealing with all the pistol whippings and whatnot.

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