Today I returned to the state house to watch the vote. There were a few represenatives who tried to delay the vote and have another hearing. It seemed reasonable, the bill had changed 3 of 4 times while we were waiting to begin. The secretary handed out the bill, then came back around and said this is the revisions, after a few times of replacing the bill with new print outs a few people were saying “Is this the ninth version?”
There were a crowd of people, some young women wearing stickers that said “vote no” who represented the Brown Coalition against Human Trafficking. Steve Brown from the ACLU and Mimi Budnick from D.A.R.E., (both who are in Happy Endings?) were there.
After voting down hearing the bill, the vote went pretty much as expected. 4 people did vote against the bill, but it passed. Rep. Gianinni was there watching the fruit of her 4 year labor finally make it to the floor. I went over to speak to her, and she was not happy to see me. I gave her a card, and invited her to the film, and she said “I don’t know, I am probably represented horribly”. I don’t know how people always come to the conclusion before they even watch the film.
I have gotten emails from Johns, berating me for “trying to shut down the massage parlors”. I don’t know why people jump to conclusions before even seeing the film. I may sound opinionated on the topic now, but while I was making the film I was just trying to get the truth. I don’t portrayed or represented anyone. Everyone represents themselves.
When I did the film, I got everyone from the police, legislators, johns, women working in the massage parlors. The person who I identified with the most was Nancy, who had been involved in the human trafficking coalition and then testified against the prostitution bill. I felt like she was a kindred spirit, I would have been her if I didn’t have a camera in my hand. She was one of the first people who is in the film who I let watch it. She even reviewed the film. Today she blogged about her experience. I think everyone who has been involved in passing this law, either on moral grounds or “human trafficking” grounds should take a few minutes to see what a Rhode Island resident and woman has to say. Here is an excerpt.
I never wanted to be a part of a moral crusade using law as a weapon. All I cared about was legal protection for people who are trafficked, and punishment for the traffickers.
To fight immorality, I would use other weapons– reason, persuasion and example. Laws against immorality have never been very effective, and have often been cover for worse crimes. Remember the Scarlet Letter?
Morality, like patriotism, provides a convenient cover for other agendas.