Tag Archives: Police Raids

Why am I getting involved?

FeministThis really isn’t my fight.  Or is it?  Sometimes I sit back and think why am I involved in the fight to stop the General Assembly in Rhode Island from passing a law against prostitution?

I am not a sex worker.  I am not a customer.  I do not make a living off of the sex industry.  I am just a chubby tattooed lesbian who made a film on the Asian massage parlors.  Surely I should be fighting for something else, something that matters more directly in my life?!?  (Maybe Gay Marriage, RI is the only New England State that doesn’t allow for Gay Marriage.)  How ironic it is that I am one of the leading voices to stop the prostitution law, a law that is really targeting consenting heterosexual adult sex.

So why am I getting involved?

Sure, I would have liked to have moved on to my next film by now.  But I feel an obligation to speak for the women I met when I made the film.  There are three things in life that aggravate me more than anything else.  Lying, picking on defenseless people, and lying.

I think it is horrible that the women in the spas have been targeted.  With indoor prostitution being legal, the police have gone above and beyond the call of duty to go after these women.  Even though there are many other places in RI that can be called “brothels”, the only ones that have faced raids have been the Asian spas.

These raids on the spas have all been in efforts to “help the women”.  That brings up number 1 and 3 on my list, LYING!

Even in the most recent raid, the police claimed Human Trafficking.  In a raid on a spa in Warwick, where 3 women were working (two of whom were sisters) the police came in and took the women’s cell phones, laptops, and money.  If these women were victims of trafficking, don’t you think you would not take their money and all forms of communication so they could call for help?

So yes, this isn’t my fight.  I wish the women would speak for themselves, but until they do I am going to speak.  I am going to shine a light on what I think is not right. It might not be my fight, and people might think I am strange for being involved, but when I see such wrongs committed based on lies, I can not bite my tongue.

The Women who are arrested

Lets take away all the labels.  Lets stop using labels like “victim”, “prostitute”, and “sex worker”.   Lets look at what is really involved here, WOMEN.

We can argue all day about the choices women make,  but let me assert this, I believe it is a woman’s choice. More often than not, it is the circumstances of life that have led the woman to make this difficult decision.  Single mothers who need to support children, daughters who need to help with medical payments for parents, women who want to pay for college education, all different reasons for a woman to choose to sell her body.  I know that a woman would not do this work if it was not financially beneficial.

A man, he is making a pretty easy choice when he chooses to buy sex, yet we basically ignore him.

In RI, with only street prostitution being illegal in 2006 the rate of women to men being arrested was not 10 to 1.  It was not 20 to 1 or even 50 to 1, it was 107 to 2.  We put 107 women in prison and only 2 men.  107 women who made the difficult decision, 2 men that made the easy one.

Now, please, don’t take this out of context.  I actually think the situation in RI where only indoor prostitution is decriminalized is good.  Indoors is safer for the woman, and residents don’t have to deal with the “industry”.    I am just pointing out the irony of the situation.  How can the legislation say they are trying to stop prostitution when only the women are arrested?

I attached a clip I put on youtube about the raids on the spas in Rhode Island.  Also, lets keep in mind these are raids on women who are working indoors where they have the legal right to do what they want to do.  Some people have said that they have to change the prostitution law and make prostitution illegal indoors too.  I disagree with that.  How can we expect anything else but more women to get arrested?  People who say we must change the law say we have to “help” the women.  How are we helping the women by arresting them and putting them in jail?