You may be surprised that a middle-aged mom is writing a post advocating the legalization of prostitution. Here's why. A short while ago, news got out that the DC Madam killed herself while visiting her mother in Florida: a death that was really unnecessary.
For those who haven't followed the salacious story of the DC Madam, her name was Deborah Jeane Palfrey and she ran what she referred to as a "legal and high-end erotic fantasy service" that catered to elite clients in Washington, DC. In mid-April, a jury found her guilty of money laundering, using the mail for illegal purposes and racketeering. Ms. Palfrey's known clients included Senator David Vitter and Randall Tobias, a former State Department official. Her client list apparently contained thousands of names including high-ranking officials at the White House and Pentagon, movie stars, lobbyists, and prominent DC attorneys.
I don't know about you, but I haven't heard of Senator David Vitter or any of the other clients on the DC Madam's list killing themselves or, for that matter, facing jail time.
The Sacramento Bee reported a couple of weeks ago that:
A review of prostitution arrests in Sacramento County reveals an alarming gender bias. According to arrest data compiled by Sacramento Bee reporters Phillip Reese and Ryan Lillis over the past three months, Sacramento city police and county sheriff's deputies arrested 210 prostitutes but only two of their customers.
210 women arrested and only two men - what's that about? You think it might be blatant gender discrimination?
I have taken up an interest in prostitution only because my husband Seth Greenland has become somewhat of an expert. He is about to publish a novel about the field called "Shining City" and after extensive research for his book (on the Internet he assures me . . .) he pondered the arena here on HuffPost:
Other than huge ratings for Diane Sawyer, and sales of "Kristen's" song on MySpace, what good can possibly come from this? Human beings are flawed and that, admittedly, provides great entertainment value. But aren't there terrorists to catch? Wait, here's an idea -- the Pentagon can contact the Emperor's VIP Club, order seventy-two virgins, air-lift them to Waziristan, where bin-Laden is allegedly hiding...
I gotta admit, I agree with him. There are more important places to spend our limited time and resources than on busting hookers. But there is another important issue as well. While most of the time prostitution is a victimless crime, when there are victims you better believe they are female rather than male.
If we can't treat men and woman equally here, what about this for a solution: let's regulate it, let's tax it, and let's mind our own business. Failing that, why don't we arrest a couple of the high level clients whose names keep popping up on these lists and send them to jail? Who knows, that might bring about a shift in public policy.
Follow Susan Kaiser Greenland on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sKAISERg