Vice Squad
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Fake Prostitution Sting

When I started to teach vice policy six years ago, I wasn't sure where I stood on the criminalization of prostitution. But week after week of reading about the fruits of prostitution policing in the US have convinced me that some form of legalization would offer a significant improvement. This recent story out of Chicago has shored up my conviction by presenting a new way that the current prostitution laws victimize people.

It seems as if a criminal team works as follows. The woman solicits men for prostitution. They head to a secluded place, where her partner shows up, flashes a badge, and (falsely) announces that the man has been caught in a police anti-prostitution sting. Then he handcuffs and robs the victim. Part of the reason to go to this trouble, it seems, is that the victims will be unlikely to report the robbery (even if they suspect that the man is not really a police officer) given that the circumstances involve them engaging in the illegal activity of hiring a prostitute.

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