The end is near

The end of the “loophole” is near.  On October 28th or 29th, the RI General Assembly will come back and vote on a new version of a prostitution bill.  WRNI reports House, Senate Close to Agreement on banning indoor prostitution.

Negotiators for the House, Senate and law enforcement officials, including the state police and Atty. Gen. Patrick Lynch’s office, have been involved in negotiations to forge a compromise between the two chambers.

Sen. Rhoda Perry, D-Providence,  argued against the tough penalties but now says she is resigned to their approval. Perry says she is pleased that the compromise bill will include sanctions against customers of prostitutes, commonly referred to as `Johns.’

The measure is expected to be approved when the Assembly reconvenes on October 28.

I am sad that the politicians have given up, and decided to appease the zealots who have been pushing for this horrible bill.  We all know that all this will do is hurt the women who are doing sex-work.  I think the politicians are hoping for a little positive press, seeing that the Providence Journal’s Editorial page has been harping on this subject.  However, I do find it ironic that the projo claims that changing this law will help the women, when they (the projo) keep publishing names of the women.  They did it just today, revealing the name of the woman who was attacked by the “Craigslist Killer”.  (I will not link, because I don’t wish to further publicize names of women who are victims).

I have not seen the bill yet, but I doubt that it will not pass.  If Rhoda Perry has even resigned herself to its passage, it is almost a guarantee that Rhode Island will pass the law.  I am starting to think I might want to pick up my camera again, passing a law and enforcing it equally are two different things.  I have a feeling that the real show is about to begin, I mean this is Rhode Island, where the police were taking money from the spas.


4 responses to “The end is near

  1. I’m not as familiar with Rhode Island workings as you are, Tara. But it seems to me that most of the spas will likely shut down due to lack of business. You gotta figure in the out-of-state clients who came because it was legal. When it’s not legal, will they even bother to come anymore?

  2. I don’t know what the impact will be on the spas with the law changing. I wrote in a past post that Mesa Arizona has 120 spas and prostitution is illegal there, so I guess it will depend on the demand. When I was at the spas I would see more than half of the license plates on cars from MA or CT, but there is spas in those states too. (RI is such a small state that some of theses spas are within a 10 minute drive of the MA border) I don’t know what will happen when the law changes.

  3. As far as I know, the workers are all ‘independent contractors’, it’s illegal to have sex workers on payroll here. In that case, the workers will be hit the first, and the hardest. If the businesses themselves start seeing their bottom line (door fees vs. rent) drop out, it’s going to come down to closing or squeezing money out of the workers (also illegal, but hey, we’re hypothetically at the point where they’re operating illegally anyway).

    I think the reality will be that most places will run ‘business as usual’, but cops will hit them up for tens of thousands in bribes instead of $20 FOP donations. This will necessitate mafia involvement to arrange for a more fair ‘structure’ and ‘schedule’ to the bribes. All the while, spas will be getting busted like whack-a-mole, starting closest to influential politicians’ bases of support.

    And don’t forget the trafficking… The affirmative defense for victims of trafficking will lead to a slew of baseless trafficking cases, where willing sex workers who admit to being bussed-up from NYC will be inadvertently fingering the owners and managers for trafficking charges:

    Cop: “Are you a victim?”
    Worker: “No, I came here from New York to work.”
    Cop: “How did you get here?”
    Worker: “I was driven/bussed up by the spa after I accepted the terms of the job.”
    Cop: “BINGO! Mann Act/TVPA Violation, you’ve been trafficked!”
    Projo/Donna Hughes: “Trafficking uncovered! See, we were right!”

    (in the distance) Worker: “But… That’s not what I meant!”

  4. Well, it seems to me, from my vantage point, that many “independent contractors” will leave Rhode Island when they start losing customers, and as Mangeek says, being squeezed for money.

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