Tag Archives: RI Prostitution law

The first rounds of arrests

In the first round of arrests there is one notable name.  “Pat Patriot” the mascot of the New England patriots was among those arrested. I can almost hear the Colts, Dolphins, and Jets fans now.  The ” Revolutionary Minute Man” was one of the 14 arrested during the first sting with the new prostitution law in Rhode Island.

14 Arrests with RI’s new prostitution law


The State Police have made their first arrests with the new prostitution law in RI.  14 men and women have been arrested.  From Projo:

The state police say they have arrested six women and eight men under the state’s new prostitution law, which bans indoor solicitation.

The arrests come from several undercover operations in the last two months. In some cases, detectives posed as customers who agreed to meet women in hotels in Providence and Warwick to engage in sex for money.

In at least two other undercover operations, a state police detective posed as a prostitute and attracted eight men to “hotels in the Johnston area.”

During the investigations, the detectives answered or placed advertisements on the adult section of Craigs List or in various newspapers to set up their rendezvous.

It will be interesting to see what will come of these cases.  I think it is a first for RI to actually arrest Johns.  When the State House was taking testimony it was discovered that there was over 300 women arrested, and not one John or Pimp was in prison.  One thing that I wonder about, but I know will probably  not going to have a bearing on these arrests is the section of the law about the landlords.  The law stated that is would punish landlords, they could face up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 fines.  I suppose that a hotel would be considered a landlord.  Besides the landlord point, I think that most of this would be considered entrapment, but most of the people will probably plea out before it goes that far.

I have to agree with most of the posters on the Projo story that this is a waste of money.  Providence’s violent crime rate has gone up 19.5% in 2008, and the 2 murders in a drive by shooting last weekend put the murder rate at almost twice what is was last year.  I would really like to see the police go after real criminals, but they probably have to show that they are doing something with the new law.  The police are holding a press conference later today, so you can see that these arrests are driven by the media.  I never knew of police holding press conferences when they arrest someone for a misdemeanor crime.

Hopefully this will be the last arrests for a while.

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.

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?

It is not over yet

Prison But the time is winding down.  As I have gone over, there are two bills to be voted on.  The Senate has their version by Jabour, and the House has their version by Gianinni.  They are very different bills.

The Senate bill does not call for prison time for the woman.  The House bill calls for 6 months for the first offense.

That is the big difference of the bill.  I am not for either bill.  I do think that it is better to not have prison time, so I will have to admit that the Senate bill is the lesser of two evils.

Today is supposed to be the last day of the legislation session, so really if a law on prostitution would pass, it would more likely than not pass today.  When a bill to become law, it has to be passed in both the house and the senate with the exact same language and then be signed by the Governor.  Today, the Attorney General and the State Police both came out against Senator Jabour’s bill.  (See the Projo Article) Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Rhode Island State Police cannot support civil sanctions for such reprehensible acts,” State Police Superintendent Col. Brendan P. Doherty wrote in a letter Friday to Rep. Donald J. Lally Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, where the bill awaits a hearing. “By reducing the seriousness of the enforcement of these acts,” Col. Doherty continued, “we will actually be placing the women this bill intends to protect in a dangerous environment where they will be further targeted for exploitation.”….

…In addition, Healy said, allowing for a penalty for a first offense is treating prostitutes as though they were getting a “speeding ticket.”

The house now has a reason to not vote on the Senate bill, and the Senate has their reason not to vote on the House bill.  I have been watching the House session for the last 6 hours, and the House is fighting within itself.  You should have seen the fight on the floor over a bill to allow for a New York Yankee’s charity license plate.  If the house is fighting each other over such small things like license plates, I don’t think they have the time to hash out the differences they have with the Senate over something as important sending women to prison.  The clock is ticking away, we will see what happens.

Just one day until the big screen

Columbus Theatre MarqueI have had so much to blog about, but no time.  I also wanted to leave the last blog up so as many people could see it as possible.   I am a mixture of excited and nervous for tomorrow night.  It is not easy to put yourself  in front of so many people, to work on something for more than three years and put it out there for the world to see.

I did a showing at AS220 on Memorial Day weekend for about 40 people, and the response was great.  It was part of the Open Eye Film Series, and Donna Hughes was there.  We both debated our viewpoints on the situation in Providence, and then Donna Hughes sent out a letter to her listserv starting rumors about me.  “Hurley has been showing her film in sex industry venues (not human rights film festivals). ” This is just one of the many rumors that were started, and almost the funniest because Dr. Hughes saw the film as part of the Open Eye Film Series at AS220, part of a series of films that document social issues in Rhode Island.  But leave it to Dr. Hughes to make stuff up.

What is really surprising to me is when I started this film I had just been rejected from Grad school for Gender and Ethnic Studies.  In June of 2005 I was actually already taking classes towards the degree, I just had not applied.  I thought I wanted to be a professor, actually a woman studies professor like Dr. Hughes.  Wow, am I glad I got rejected.  Sometimes when a door closes it is in your best interest.  I know that it was in my case.