Rep. Joanne Giannini, the state rep. who is responsible for the new prostitution law, has decided not to run for reelection. On Channel 12 News Makers she says she wants to spend time with her family and focus on other endeavors.
You can see her interview here:
Today is Easter. I was raised Catholic and told that Easter was about forgiveness. Although I would not consider myself a practicing Catholic, I do believe that forgiveness is important part of life, and not just a part of this season.
One part of the prostitution law that passed in November was this allowance of forgiveness. Women who were charged with prostitution would be able to get their first offense expunged. This was a very important part of the law, to me this was the most important part of the law. It would allow for the women to not face life with a burden of a criminal record. It would allow them to not face employment or housing discrimination. This would allow them a second chance, where they would not be destined to be in the lifestyle if they wanted to get out. (This only applied for first time offenders)
Well it seems that a few women decided they wanted to get out. They wanted to change their lives, to be able to apply for jobs without marking down they had a criminal record. We all know that the job search in Rhode Island is abysmal, 3rd highest unemployment in the country, can you imagine if you had the Scarlet letter of a prostitution charge on your file?
One women commented on this blog:
I work for a social service agency that assists ex-offenders. Last month, several of the women we assist applied for expungement of previous prostitution related offenses. ALL met the current criteria (had only one offense), and ALL WERE DENIED in the 6th District by one VERY prejudice and lousy jurist.
It is sad that this law that was changed with the mantra of “Helping the women” has not helped one iota.
Posted in documentary, happy ending, prostitution., providence, sex work
Tagged asian massage parlor, documentary, forgiveness, happy endings, indoor prostitution, legal prostitution, prostitution in rhode island, prostitution., rhode island
Oh My God. I have been out of commission for a few days doing my civic duty…Jury Duty! So I haven’t been blogging. Actually I haven’t been blogging or saying much on this topic lately because not much has been going on. The law passed last November with pressure to “Help the Women and Children” and this past week we helped them…by arresting them.
Nick Horton has an excellent article at the Providence Daily Dose about the Raids
Until the details of the arrests come out, it will be impossible to say for certain whether there is any evidence of human trafficking in the spas where the arrests occurred. All three of the women were released by the judge on bail, meaning that the state did not hold any of them for interrogation as part of a human trafficking investigation or place them in protective custody as potential victims of trafficking. Proponents of the legislation previously argued that arresting women for indoor sex work would allow the state to remove them and protect them from dangerous situations.
Details of the arrests came out today in the Providence Journal. Previously I was incorrect when I said there were no translators. That was what I had heard “through the grapevine”, but the Journal reports:
Federal immigration officials and advocates from Day One, a sexual assault and trauma resource center in Providence, also interviewed the women who were working at the spas to determine if they are victims of sex-trafficking, Correia said. The law allows victims of sex trafficking to be granted immunity from prosecution.
“We weren’t able to get any information to lead us to think they were being held against their will,” Correia said.
As for the OMG moment of today, I decided to see what the men were saying about what was going on in the spas. I went back to a website where they rate the women. Think of this website is the 21 century version of a men’s bathroom wall. You can’t believe half of what is said on this website, it is not for those who value women as more than sexual objects. On www.usasexguide.info if you check the forums in Rhode Island you will see a very interesting conversation going on started by one user named “Donna Hughes”. Now, I don’t believe this is the real Donna Hughes, but some of the people in the site did believe that it was and what followed was crazy. What is very ironic is the fact that the real Donna Hughes uses this board for her primary if not only source for research on the AMPS in Rhode Island. I guess this should teach both sides one very valuable lesson…always check your sources!
The video above was posted as a response to the Happy Endings? trailer on youtube.
I checked it out and it looks to be all true. The State Police in Pennsylvania paid for a John to have sex with women in a Allentown Massage Parlor. The local news channel 7 reported:
An appeals court has ruled Pennsylvania State Police botched a prostitution investigation in which troopers gave an informant money to pay for sex four times at a massage parlor, along with a total of $180 for the man’s trouble.The Superior Court opinion issued Thursday upheld a Lehigh County judge’s ruling that threw out prostitution charges against (name redacted) in suburban Allentown on the grounds that the government had acted outrageously.
Very interesting! Not only did the man get money to pay for the sex, he also got paid $180 for his trouble. I would say it is a waste of taxpayers money, but I don’t need to be redundant. This is just another example of how prostitution laws are only used to send women to prison.
For the past 4 years, one of the spas I was familiar with gave Turkeys and the fixings to RI’s food bank. The women working there liked Thanksgiving, it was novel to them. In 2005 they gave 10 turkeys, 10 stuffing mixes, 10 cranberry cans, basically they gave the whole setup for dinners for 10 families in Rhode Island.
The donation changed in 2006-2008, where they donated just turkeys. Probably about $300 worth of turkeys. RI Food bank said they needed the turkeys more, so that is what they got.
This year the RI Food bank will not be getting any donations. It is sad because the need for food is up dramatically in 2009 due to the economy.
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank says from September 2008 to August 2009, emergency food programs served more than 13 million meals, an increase of 30 percent over the previous year.
The report said 11.7 percent of Rhode Island households are considered food insecure, which means they’ve had to reduce food intake or skip meals. It says 4.2 percent of households have run out of food or experienced hunger. (See the full article here)
It is not like the spas do not want to donate anymore, it is because they do not have money to give. Since the change in the law, there has been a decrease in customers. The RI Food bank is just part of the domino effect. Lets hope it doesn’t get any worse for the women in these spas.
Actually I don’t know how many there were to begin with, but I know that many of them are leaving at a record pace. I know they are not all going to Nevada, so I think they are most likely either getting out of the business or going to hawk their wears in other states where it is also illegal (but no media an police pressure on the women).
The Providence Journal reported
Word that Rhode Island’s governor signed legislation Tuesday afternoon to outlaw indoor prostitution traveled quickly through the state’s community of sex workers, leaving many of the women who work at Asian “spas” on edge and their employers angry and without customers.
Neon signs outside some spas went dark; employees at others said they were open, but many of the women, fearing a police crackdown, had refused to come to work.
I guess this is the first impact of the law, the human impact. I am going to pick up the Phoenix tomorrow and see if any of them stopped advertising, the first indicator of the economic impact.
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?
- Clips from the meeting
- Interview 1 and 2
- Interview 3 and 4