Monday, January 21, 2008

Rapists and their enablers

Found this via Hit and Run.

In a summary of a study of the economics of prostitution in Chicago, we learn:

What's particularly interesting is the authors' section on bargaining and the law. They estimate that roughly 3 percent of all tricks performed by prostitutes who aren't working with pimps are freebies given to police to avoid arrest. In fact, prostitutes get officially arrested only once per 450 tricks or so, leading the authors to conclude that "a prostitute is more likely to have sex with a police officer than to get officially arrested by one."

Lovely. So, in addition to all the other fine things we get from our benevolent masters here in Chicagoland, we’ve got police on the prowl raping the most desperate members of society. (And don’t try to convince me that an interaction boiling down to “Have sex with me and I won’t haul you off to jail” is anything other than rape.)

No doubt the number of cops actually doing this is small. But, given how strong police omerta is, I’d be interested to know how many officers are aware of this and do nothing.

By all rights, I shouldn’t be shocked by this. State power preys upon the politically weak and socially despised, and it’s not as if prostitutes are in any position to fight back.

But wait, there’s more:

When freebies given to gang members are factored in, about one in 20 tricks go solely for protection and the "privilege" of plying their trade.

It would be interesting to find out just how many tricks that comes out to.

This is, of course, a direct result of prohibition pushing prostitutes underground, which makes them outside the law and thus much easier prey for predators. What’s a prostitute who’s been extorted for sex by a cop going to do, complain to the police? I suspect the illegality of it also makes it psychologically easier for a cop to do something like this. A man who would never dream of forcing himself on a law-abiding woman may be able to convince himself that a prostitute has it coming. Serves her right for breaking the law!

A large number of conservatives won’t give a shit, since 1) Who cares about whores?, 2) anyone who breaks the law deserves whatever they get, and 3) police are godlike beings beyond all moral judgment, and anyone who thinks a cop should be criticized for something as petty as rape is a dirty liberal and probably a traitor. The more sophisticated ones will expound on the need for establishing common moral truths and sending messages to young people, then politely avert their eyes from the price of their rectitude.

Respectable liberals, meanwhile, will profess great sorrow and concern, mumble something vague about more oversight of police, demand more tax money for welfare programs, and do nothing that might make a difference. What they won't do is suggest that the prohibition laws that make it so much easier for police and private-sector gangsters to engage in this kind of extortion be done away with.

And what will people who want to continue prohibition, and so continue this sort of abuse say? That legalizing prostitution would degrade the dignity of women. Better to be doomed to a life of violence and brutality than risk the greatest of all possible horrors, “commodification.” I’m sure all the women forced to service gangsters so they don’t wind up dead in an alley are grateful for your concern.

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