Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicago cops should lay off the hookers

The sheriff of Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, recently got a lot of press for announcing plans to sue Craigslist for allegedly being a major source of prostitution.
With Chicago a contender for murder capital of the nation, it’s amazing that our cops are wasting their time trying to make a dent in the “world’s oldest profession.” Gang violence, street robberies, burglaries, fraud and other crimes should be much more pressing concerns.
Prostitution is not a crime that makes people afraid to walk the streets at night. I happen to believe that prostitution should be legalized, regulated and taxed. No amount of enforcement is going to stop it.
The benefits of regulating prostitution include controlling the spread of HIV, protecting women who choose this line of work from violence, getting help for women with drug abuse problems, and getting tax revenue from an underground-economy business.
However distasteful to many Americans, prostitution is something that’s always going to be here. Right now, it’s hiding in plain sight in massage parlors and ads for escorts. A look at Craigslist’s “erotic services” section makes it pretty clear there is more going on than private dancers and platonic dates for hire.
Craigslist, the Web’s biggest publication of classified advertisements, promised in November to begin cracking down on ads for prostitution after coming under fire by several state attorneys general.
As it should, the San Francisco-based company says it’s working with law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking and child exploitation on its site. Both serious crimes.
Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart’s move to sue Craigslist is a misuse of taxpayer money. Cook County has the highest sales tax rate in the country, thanks in part to threats of layoffs at the sheriff’s department that could affect public safety. Surely, those cops can put that money to better use.
Cook County last year doubled its county sales tax to 1.75%, which raised the overall sales tax in Chicago to 10.25%. The rates in New York and Los Angeles are below 8.5%.
In January, Cook County sheriff’s police lured to Chicago a 37-year-old Las Vegas woman advertising escort services and arrested her for prostitution. They scored big headlines because they said the woman, Charlie Sunn (pictured above), was charging $500-an-hour, the most they’d seen in two years of stings.
I consider myself something of a pragmatic libertarian. I believe that government should be fiscally conservative and focus on the things that matter most. It also should stay out of people’s personal lives as much as possible and leave the moral issues for religion.


momotwo said...

Again, my question to you is why do you have so many posts about porn, sexy women and legalizing things like pot and hookers? Are you really a suburban father of two or are you secretly some sort of overgrown adolescent with too much time on his hands? Shouldn't you be working to sell your house? Where's your wife? Shacked up in some fleabag motel off the PA turnpike? Inquiring minds want to know....

Patrick Seitz said...

Well, MomOTwo, the publisher of Tech-media-tainment has done extensive research into its target audience and found that most men are overgrown adolescents. Hence all the coverage of sexy women, porn, etc. If you're offended, I suggest you try iVillage. It's a Web site for women run by NBC Universal, which is majority owned by a company called General Electric. Never heard of it.