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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- Spas gave donations and kept the receipts for tax purposes. This would mean they are legit businesses. How many criminal entities give to charities?
- 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?