Friday, October 08, 2004
(1) Yesterday marked another large protest by prostitutes in Korea against the current stepped-up anti-prostitution enforcement campaign. The police estimated that 2,800 prostitutes took place, though the crowd was swelled by 1,200 police. The protestors issued a statement, excerpts of which were reported in this news story:
"Women politicians and the women’s groups, which are purported to be helping us, do not have any interest in our day-to-day reality," the statement reads, "Don’t scapegoat us for your cause."Prior to the larger protest, "about 150 blind masseuses" occupied a highway for half an hour, to demonstrate their concern about the enforcement pressure put on massage parlors -- and on their livelihoods.
(2) A 1995 court case made it illegal for Florida police to use wiretapping to combat prostitution. A Florida Supreme Court ruling issued Thursday did not overturn the earlier case, but nevertheless greatly watered it down, by allowing such wiretaps in racketeering or organized crime cases -- even if the racketeering is prostitution-related. The brief news report makes it appear that the exception will apply to lots of small-scale prostitution operations, and not just major organized crime syndicates.
(3) The parade of arrests of US citizens from all walks of life for prostitution offenses continues. In McAllen, Texas, the "Executive Director of the International Museum of Arts and Sciences (IMAS), is now accused of soliciting the sexual services of [an] undercover cop." Back in Florida, in Jacksonville, "Police announced Friday that some prominent community leaders were busted in a prostitution sting, including a college basketball coach and a former Jacksonville Sheriff's Office lieutenant." The police operation that yielded these arrests didn't even concern the unsavory public manifestation of streetwalking. Rather, it was a reverse sting involving a fake escort service the cops advertised in the paper; the arrestees allegedly arranged a meeting over the phone, and were arrested when they showed up at a hotel room. So now they and their families are publicly humiliated for behavior that is perfectly legal in much of the less-enlightened world. Kudos to the Jacksonville police for resources well-deployed. Part of the beauty of this brilliantly-conceived plan is that it won't even matter if the misdemeanor arrests get thrown out of court, say, on entrapment grounds, because the real punishment is the publicity of the arrest.