As a young reporter, I once prowled the city’s red-light district looking for prostitutes to tell me what life was like, and several were obliged to talk as long as I walked with them.
They explained that they began their strolls along K Street in Northwest as evening commutes began about 3 p.m., they continued their moneymaking trade until about 2 a.m. and legitimate taxi drivers would take them “home.” In between, their pimps would collect whatever they took in.
Ever been arrested? Certainly.
Shortchanged? Of course.
Who did they most fear? I thought the cops, but I was wrong.
They most feared men who didn’t know they were transgender.
Lawmakers in the District, New York and other states are plying their trade to erase that fear.
The D.C. Council is pondering legislation that would decriminalize prostitution. If passed, there might still be prostitutes walking K Street and other D.C. corridors popular to the sex trade, such as the Eastern Avenue Southeast/Prince George’s County line.
D.C. lawmakers say their legislative intent is take create a safe working environment for, well, sex workers by removing criminal penalties and reducing their vulnerability to exploitation and violence.
They also want to promote public health by improving access to services and help address human trafficking.
Decriminalizing prostitution and other sex trades is not going to curb human trafficking. Even if you think prostitution should be legalized, as it is in Nevada, erase that thought.
The sex trade, like illicit drugs, is too lucrative to even think that a legislative swat to aid and abet prostitution will wipe it out.
What’s in store is a torrent of Democratic lawmakers seeking to decriminalize sex work and make it legal to engage in consensual adult sex for sale.
Maine and Massachusetts are considering such laws. And New York, where Democrats try to beat the left coast to cross the First in the Nation Line, would go further still. Lawmakers in the Empire State also want to vacate prior prostitution and sex convictions.
Advocates and supporters claim anti-prostitution laws disproportionately affect women of color and members of the transgender community. Perhaps.
Yet, even that position fails to protect the young boys and girls prostituted by adults and their parents and caretakers, and children who are exploited, pimped out and raped by gangs and sexual predators.
Boys can be raped, too.
One D.C. sex worker expressed support of the decriminalization effort this way: “Decriminalizing sex work is one step toward shattering stigma, empowering marginalized communities, and ensuring access to safety, housing, and supportive services.”
And therein lies the motive, huh? “Ensuring access to safety, housing, and supportive services.”
Those prostitutes I interviewed knew they were breaking the law. They weren’t in search of access to housing or supportive services. They knew, even back then, that the 24-hour Peoples Drug Store a few blocks off K Street sold condoms.
The Democrats have given sex workers the idea that they won’t be victimized if prostitution is called something other than prostitution. What a lie.
It’s also an idiocy.
If sex traffickers and pimps continue to coerce youths to work in the sex trade, who faces the consequences?
More to the critical point: How will law enforcers be enabled to draw a deep red line between a prostitute and victim?
⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at email@example.com.
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