Prostitution Investigation Requires 19-Month Investigation

Posted on March 17, 2010

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I’ve been meaning to get to this story in the Seattle Times about charges finally being filed in the case of the owner of a massage parlor. She is accused of advertising and promoting prostitution. Specifically, providing “happy endings” to clients and encouraging employees to do the same. What I found particularly interesting from the story:

Vivian Ellis, who is also known as Rainbow Love, 44, of Marysville, was arrested in May 2009 at the conclusion of a nearly 10-month investigation by Seattle police.

A female detective working undercover interviewed for a job at the Greenwood location, charging papers say.

Prosecutors said the charges came nine months after the arrest because additional investigation was required.

Now think about this for a moment. Law enforcement in my state, Washington, just spent up to 19 months investigating a “crime,” including the use of an undercover agent. How much money did that cost? 19 months of labor for police, detectives and under cover agents is not cheap – all while our state is facing a multi-billion dollar deficit and virtually every local municipality is struggling.

Now, I don’t blame the police or the DA for this. Let’s be clear, the police can set priorities, and I don’t think this was a wise judgment of priorities, but the police cannot pick and choose which laws they enforce. The blame for this kind of non-sense falls squarely on our law makers.

Can someone please explain to me why prostitution ought to be a crime? Stupid, sure. Immoral, without a doubt. But illegal? On what basis? From a Christian perspective, which I share, it’s morally wrong. But then again, so is all sex outside of marriage. That’s a concept that many of my Christian friends seem to forget. Even if the Bible held out prostitution for particular ridicule or condemnation, we could not make laws for that reason alone under the 1st and 14th amendments.

Why is porn ok, but prostitution not, when they are effectively the same thing. Arguably porn is worse because the scale involved is much larger. Logically, why is it ok to pay someone for sex in front of a camera, but take away the camera and do it in private and it suddenly criminal behavior. Government should no more prohibit prostitution than it does other sex acts, such as sodomy.

How is prostitution any worse than what goes on in every bar and club on any given night of the week? It’s ok to get a girl drunk in hopes of getting sex, but if she is compensated for the same no-strings attached sex both parties become criminals.

It seems to me that the only issue here is money. Porn is sold in retail shops which are easy to tax. Granted, if legalized, prostitution would likely occur in large brothels. But it would also likely occur in private homes and hotels, as it does now. And that’s just too hard to tax. This prohibition seems to come from an attitude that if it creates wealth and is hard to tax, it should be illegal. And that’s not how the government of a free state should operate.

To be clear I don’t condone prostitution. It is, in my view, stupid and immoral. But those are my views and I should be free to not associate with hookers and johns. Instead the government takes money from me at gun point in order to prosecute those who engage in this behavior.

I love debate, and I honestly have an open mind on this issue. I don’t like prostitution and I’d love to be convinced that there is a genuine societal interest that out weighs individual liberty on this issue. Unfortunately, I don’t see that. If you can think of a reason, please leave it in the comments.

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