Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Tolerate Prostitution? No, No, Yes, No
In a major reform of commercial sex laws, the British government has proposed prostitution tolerance zones, as well as, perhaps, legalized brothels. But Birmingham has signaled its own zero tolerance approach, by golly:
A crackdown? Hey, I hadn't thought of that -- that should cure any problems associated with prostitution.
Councillor Sue Anderson, chairwoman of the city council members' panel on prostitution and Cabinet member for social care and health, said local agencies wanted a zero tolerance approach to prostitution.
She said: "We are committed to addressing any activity surrounding prostitution which causes harm, nuisance and distress.
"The harm caused by both on and off street prostitution is unacceptable and we support a zero tolerance approach."
She continued: "We are recommending that civil and criminal law should be used effectively to tackle pimps, prostitutes, kerb crawlers, users and those who groom the vulnerable for prostitution.
"Where appropriate, legal powers should be strengthened and made more effective."
In keeping with the special relationship between the US and Britain (or, OK, Birmingham), the US Army in Korea is adopting its own zero tolerance approach to prostitution:
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea -- Nearly 400 U.S. servicemembers in South Korea have been punished this year for offenses related to prostitution, and military commanders promise continued efforts to end any activity associated with the sex trade or human trafficking, the top U.S. officer in South Korea said.Now don't get me wrong -- it isn't like the US armed forces haven't always had zero tolerance for, er, commercial vice:
"Zero tolerance means exactly that. We're not going to tolerate behavior which is dehumanizing, demoralizing and illegal. That’s always been the military’s intent," U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Leon J. LaPorte said in an interview last week with Stars and Stripes.
LaPorte also dismissed the notion that the military has lately increased its focus on the issue.Liverpool, though, is sticking with its something-greater-than-zero tolerance approach. But they are calling their special areas managed zones, not tolerance zones:
"I wouldn't say that it's something newly emphasized because it has always been the position of the U.S. military — clearly it's been the position of this command — that we don't support this kind of activity," he said.
A tolerance zone is where sex workers can work without interference from the authorities. A managed zone would see health workers working with vice girls and include measures such as drop-in centres.Meanwhile, back in the US, the arrest-our-way-out-of-this-problem approach goes from victory to victory: 85 arrests in Oakland, 100 arrests (for prostitution and drugs) in Orange County, Florida, and so on, and so on.