Today, Mayor David Cicilline proposed a ban on indoor prostitution. In a letter he wrote to the City council Cicilline proposes an amendment to Section 14-251 of the City Ordinances, which requires that massage parlors and health clubs be licensed by the city Bureau of Licenses.
“Anyone who knowingly permits, offers or receives any person into any place for the purpose of committing any commercial sexual activity would be subject to a $500 fine and/or imprisonment of up to 30 days.
Anyone determined to be a customer shall be found guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of $500 and/or imprisonment of up to 30 days.”
While it is obvious that Mayor Cicilline is trying to jump into the limelight and “save the day” from the Asian massage parlors, there are a few other things that should be looked at in regard to city ordinances. I am not a lawyer, I am just a filmmaker, but while browsing through the city ordinances, I didn’t see any ordinance that had prison time. Sure I didn’t read them all, (there are a ton about keeping swine in city limits and burying horses), but even in the ones that looked important, those didn’t have any prison time.
Also lets look at the idea that Providence has become a “victim” and over run by spas. Recently an email was sent to me about Mesa, Arizona. Mesa is a city outside of Phoenix and about 2 and a half times the population of Providence. Providence reports to have 20 spas, and Mesa reports to have 120. Because of the size difference I would expect Mesa to have 50 spas. Actually, I take that back. Prostitution is illegal in Arizona, so I would expect Mesa not to have any spas, never mind having six times the amount that Providence has. So I guess criminalizing doesn’t work, or at least it isn’t working in Arizona.