Tag Archives: indoor prostitution

Tomorrow ends 29+ years of decriminalized prostitution in RI

Tomorrow RI Governor  Carcieri will sign h5044B into law.  As the projo reports:

The governor, who is scheduled to sign the legislation at a ceremony in the State Room, will be joined by State Attorney General Patrick Lynch, State Police Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, and the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Joanne M. Giannini, D-Providence, and Sen. Paul V. Jabour, D-Providence.

I will be at the signing too, as it is a public event.  As the Grateful Dead said it best “What a long strange trip it’s been”.  I started this project in August of 2005 after leaving my pursuit of a graduate degree in Gender and Ethnic Studies.  Now, it is over.

Skeletons from the ClosetInterestingly enough, I have owned this cd.  With the invention of mp3 players, I don’t play cds to often, but how ironic the title is “Skeletons from the Closet”.  I wonder how many skeletons will be exposed once this legislation is signed and enforced?

Sunday’s meeting

On Sunday, October 25th, over 30 women from spas through out Rhode Island met to discuss the pending legislation on prostitution in Rhode Island.  You can read about it in the Projo, and at the Huffington Post.  The article on the Huffingston Post was written by Rep. David Segal who was at the meeting.

I was also at the meeting.  Rep. Edith Ajello told the women: “This is a huge rock you are looking to push up a very steep hill,” encouraging the women to attend a State House committee hearing Tuesday at 4 p.m. where the prostitution bill could be amended. “I think you should try. The most positive thing would be to put a human face on the issue.”

Some women did try, not by showing  up but by the old American way…getting a lawyer.  The Providence Journal seems like it is coming around against the legislation.  Bob Kerr wrote about the meeting, stating:

One woman talked of how it will interfere with her ability to send her daughter to college. Another suggested that the work she does is better than stealing.

But they will lose their jobs. The Rhode Island legislature will end its slow crawl to the moral high ground this week by eliminating the legal loophole that has allowed indoor prostitution to flourish.

At this time the bill has passed the house, and will shortly be voted on in the Senate.  It looks like indoor prostitution will be illegal by this weekend or early next week.

Here is audio from the meeting.  Listen to these soon to be “criminals” and ask yourself the question, Are you going to feel safer when these women are in prison?

  1. Clips from the meeting
  2. Interview 1 and 2
  3. Interview 3 and 4

 

 

Another Round of Hearings on Prostitution bills

From the Projo…

“The way the bill has been re-tuned and re-drafted is very sensitive to all the groups that have come forward,” the Senate bill’s sponsor, Sen. Paul V. Jabour, D-Providence, said Thursday. “Whether or not the bill really gets passed really depends on what happens after everything is heard.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday the Senate and the House will hold public hearings on a new prostitution bill.  This bill is the “new compromised bill” we have all been waiting for.  It doesn’t matter what the bill says, I know it will only be enforced against women.  In all states where prostitution is illegal, women are arrested at a rate over 90%, where the Johns are 5% and the pimps are 5%.  In RI there were 237 women in prison for prostitution (because street solicitation is still illegal) and not one man was in prison for being a john or a pimp.  Do we really think that making a new law criminalizing women who work indoors will be fair???

Please write to all the Senators and Representatives to show you are against this bill.

Anti-Sex Crusade

no_sexThere are radicals in every group.  Radical Republicans, Radical Liberals, Radical Feminists.  What is unfortunate is when the media decides to focus on those groups and alludes to  them representing the larger majority.   For some reason these radicals are vocal minorities, sometimes bullying people in their own group who even share some but not 100% of the same views.

Donna Hughes is the perfect example of radicalism, taking over groups and media with scare tactics and propaganda.  As the force behind the “close the prostitution loophole” drive, she bullied women out of Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking, falsely promoted the idea that the Senate  did not pass an anti prostitution law (and they did as Senator Jabour and Senator McCaffery stated), she has attacked the 50 academics that support keeping indoor prostitution decriminalized, and she even attacked the women in the massage parlors (these are the women she is trying to help).

I understand that prostitution is a heated and controversial issue, but I have always been taught that time is  better spent  promoting your own ideas rather than tearing down the people that may have different ideas, and I find it incredulous that she would spend time attacking women that share some of her ideas but are not in complete lock step with her.

Now, it seems that Hughes has gone and attacked another women, this time not for prostitution or human trafficking, but for wanting to open a Center for Sexual Pleasure and Education.  The Phoenix reports

The trouble started with an e-mail sent a couple of weeks back by University of Rhode Island professor Donna Hughes, best known for her crusade to close the state’s prostitution loophole, to members of the city council. Utilizing the suggestive power of well-placed quotation marks, the missive read, simply: “Hello, A center for ‘sexual rights’ and ‘sexual pleasure’ is opening in Pawtucket,” and included the web site for the center. Deputy City Clerk Michelle Hardy said Hughes’ e-mail was the first time any of the council members had heard of the center.

The Providence Journal reports that

She (Megan) and her husband went to City Hall. They met with Mayor James Doyle and his chief of staff Harvey Goulet. Goulet says they seem like very nice people. He just doesn’t like what they want to do.

“You have elderly living near there,” says Goulet. “And, usually, the elderly are not too much in favor of stuff like that.”

Education?  The elderly are not in favor of education?  Good thing we have Donna Hughes an educator keeping us away from education!!!  How ironic.  Also ironic is the city not supporting a center for education when the state of Rhode Island is #1 in New England for teen birth rate, with Pawtucket being the 3 in the state.  The ironies are piling up when you figure in the fact that businesses are leaving RI at a record pace, one would think a city would welcome a new business.

With this attack on a business that A) is not a brothel B) is not part of human trafficking and C) women owned, I truly believe that Donna Hughes should not be able to cast herself as anything more than an anti-sex zealot.

I am sad as a feminist that this women is able to harm so many.  I will pray for her ;)

(Also for your information all links are included to the articles so you can read user reactions, if you visit the CAT website, you will notice that articles are written anonymously, or if they are newspaper articles they are in pdf form so viewers will not get to see the readers comments, another great way of censoring the public!)

Breaking the law!

breaking the law!This weekend the Providence Journal released an excellent report RI Police charities solicit from “spas”.  In this report we find out how over the past years many of the spas, believed to be fronts for prostitution, have been donating to the Faternal Order of Police.  One of the spas even had what looks like 30 stickers from all of their donations wallpapered on the door of the spa.  Other spas  advertised in the police booklets.

 “COME TREAT YOUR BODY…” reads an ad for Lily Spa in the most recent 2008 issue of Cranston Police Union’s Public Safety Guide, a booklet of safety tips thick with ads from a variety of businesses….Spa ads also have turned up in The Rhode Island Trooper, the official publication of the non-profit Rhode Island Troopers Association, a membership organization of state troopers “dedicated to the improvement of the law enforcement profession…” The magazine’s spring/summer 2009 edition features articles on topics such as state police promotions, construction of a new state police headquarters and investigating fraud. The back of the magazine contains a directory filled with ads for area businesses. Under “pools & spas” is a thumbprint-sized listing for “Lily’s Spa.”

There are many things that I would like to point out about this article. 

  1. It is illegal for police to use a third party to collect donations.  RIGL 11-18-31 “No professional solicitor shall solicit money from any individual or business in the name of any law enforcement agency or any organization which would reasonably appear to be affiliated in any way with any law enforcement agency or personnel.”   
  2. The article also states “Police questioned three Korean women at the spa and concluded there was no evidence that they were victims of human trafficking and made no arrests.”  I hope people read this sentence and realised that the police have been in many of these spas (not only collecting donations) and have never found evidence human trafficking.  
  3. Spas gave donations and kept the receipts for tax purposes.  This would mean they are legit businesses.  How many criminal entities give to charities?
  4. A reported went in a spoke to women in the spas, she didn’t need to arrest them to get them to talk.  The police have said they need to arrest the women in order to get them to speak.  

 

Right now Rhode Island is working on a new prostitution law.  There are two bills, but  for a bill to become law there must be one bill that everyone in the House and Senate can agree on.  Because there is a disagreement on the bills, the State Police and the Attorney General have come in to create a compromise bill.  One question I have is how can the State Police be in charge of creating a bill about prostitution when they have been receiving money from the places they have been and will be targeting?  Usually politicians will recuse themselves when a bill comes up and it involves someone they have represented or received money from.  I wonder if the same thing will happen here?

Current Status on Prostitution in Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Since the end of the legislative session not much has happened.  Reports have said that the State Police and the Governor’s Office have been working on a new prostitution law, but both Representative JoAnne Gianinni and Senator Paul Jabour have said they have not seen the legislation yet.  I personally do not know how far the State Police and the Governor’s office have gotten on the bill, both have more pressing issues to deal with.  The Governor is dealing with his face off with the Unions,debating the fur-low or 1,000 worker layoff.  Now the State Police have to deal with one of its troopers beating up a Providence Cop.  Bad publicity and national headlines for both the Governor and the State Police.

Just a week ago Senator Paul Jabour and Micheal McCaffery wrote an Op Ed in the Providence Journal defending their bill.  In the letter they write:

We must delineate the lines that have been blurred among the problems of indoor prostitution, outdoor prostitution, human sex trafficking, and strip-club dancing by minors. Each of these issues has an appropriate legal and moral response and confusing them will lead to ineffective policies and political responses.

The woman who blurs these lines, Donna Hughes of Citizens Against Trafficking, blasted back at Jabour and McCaffery with her own Op Ed entitled “Senator’s Prostitution Bill is a Sham”

RHODE ISLAND needs a good prostitution law to halt the metastasizing problems of prostitution and sex trafficking. The growing number of spas and clubs are sordid destinations for foreign women and teens from around the Northeast. .. Contrary to the claim made by Senators Paul Jabour (D.-Providence) and Michael McCaffrey (D.-Warwick) in their Aug. 31 Commentary piece, the Senate bill does not “close the loophole.”

In order for a prostitution bill to pass, it must be the same on the House and the Senate side.  If the Governor and Police do actually submit a bill, Senator Jabour will need to sign off on it.  I can’t imagine he really wants to do any favors for Hughes, who has been dragging his name through the mud.  (She has published this op-ed in several local papers)

After all of these back and forth op eds, Senator Levesque jumped into the action and wrote his own titled “Anti-prostitution law means more deaths”  Opening up with the line “We have once again been treated to Donna Hughes slender relationship with truth.”  (Nice way to put it!)

With all this infighting, and the prostitution legislation pretty much grinding to a halt, Providence Mayor David Cicilline decided to get into the fray.  Mayor Cicilline has submitted an ordinance to be considered at Thursdays at the City meeting.  If found guilty, those accused would face, for each offense, a $500 fine and/or imprisonment of up to 30 days, which is the maximum penalty allowable for municipal-level violations (the proposed ordinance would be adjudicated by the Municipal Court, but I wonder where they would house those found guilty, Providence doesn’t have any prisons). I don’t know how legal this ordinance is because it is in the massage ordinance, so essentially they will only be going after the massage parlors and if that isn’t selective enforcement I don’t know what is?!? (Selective enforcement is one of the reasons RI doesn’t have a prostitution law today)

Personally, I think there isn’t much political reason to pass a prostitution law this year.  Next year is an election year, so this year doesn’t count for much.  With the state in such economic shambles, the Governor going to court every other day to fight the state workers, the 60 million budget shortfall, I think the prostitution law will stop being front page news.  Besides, RI doesn’t have the money to implement it. When I was asked back in the beginning of June if a prostitution law was going to pass this year, I though the odds were 80/20 that it was going to pass.  Now I think it is 70/30 that it will not. (Not this year, but when January rolls around I will put the odds back at 80/20)

Also if you follow the links to the articles, be sure to read the comments by local Rhode Islanders.  There is not one that supports changing the law.

Mayor Proposes Ban of Massage Parlors

City Ordinance! What a Great Idea!!! *sarcasm*

Today, Mayor David Cicilline proposed a ban on indoor prostitution.  In a letter he wrote to the City council Cicilline proposes an amendment to Section 14-251 of the City Ordinances, which requires that massage parlors and health clubs be licensed by the city Bureau of Licenses.

“Anyone who knowingly permits, offers or receives any person into any place for the purpose of committing any commercial sexual activity would be subject to a $500 fine and/or imprisonment of up to 30 days.
Anyone determined to be a customer shall be found guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of $500 and/or imprisonment of up to 30 days.”

While it is obvious that Mayor Cicilline is trying to jump into the limelight and “save the day” from the Asian massage parlors, there are a few other things that should be looked at in regard to city ordinances.  I am not a lawyer, I am just a filmmaker, but while browsing through the city ordinances, I didn’t see any ordinance that had prison time. Sure I didn’t read them all, (there are a ton about keeping swine in city limits and burying horses), but even in the ones that looked important, those didn’t have any prison time.

Also lets look at the idea that Providence has become a “victim” and over run by spas.  Recently an email was sent to me about Mesa, Arizona.  Mesa is a city outside of Phoenix and about 2 and a half  times the population of Providence.  Providence reports to have 20 spas, and Mesa reports to have 120.  Because of the size difference I would expect Mesa to have 50 spas.  Actually, I take that back.  Prostitution is illegal in Arizona, so I would expect Mesa not to have any spas, never mind having six times the amount that Providence has.  So I guess criminalizing doesn’t work, or at least it isn’t working in Arizona.