12/05 New Prostitution Bill To be introduced again in the Arizona Legislature - Very Important!

Tougher prostitution law backed
By Dennis Welch, Tribune December 13, 2005
A state lawmaker wanting to drive prostitution off the streets and out of Arizona is pushing for tougher penalties against prostitutes and their patrons. A bill prepared for the upcoming legislative session sponsored by Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, calls for mandatory jail time and offenders to attend a court-ordered rehabilitation program. Currently, there are no state laws governing the sentencing of those convicted of prostitute-related crimes.

(Dave notes but Phoenix and other cities have their own strict laws - Phoenix calls for a first conviction minimum sentence of 15 consecutive days in prison up to six months and a fine not to exceed $2500. For a 2nd conviction the minimum is 30 consecutive days in prison up to six months and up to the same $2500 fine)

"I want to try and help these folks, not just put them in jail and throw away the key," Gray said Monday afternoon. Gray, a former police officer, said the tougher penalties would chase prostitutes out of the state and save cities police enforcement costs. The bill calls for a mandatory 30-day jail term for first offenders. Second offenders would face 180 days in jail and be ordered to complete a court mandated rehabilitation program. A third arrest could be charged as a felony with punishment up to one year in prison. The law would apply to prostitutes and their customers.

Gray said he worked to get a similar bill through the Legislature last year after Mesa police conducted a large prostitution sting. That bill never left the House because another state lawmaker didn't think cities had the money to enforce the stricter law. Gray said there would be initial higher costs to cities, but those would decline as prostitutes began leaving the state. He modeled his bill after an already existing program in Phoenix that has had mixed results.

Jimmy Hays, an assistant city attorney, said itís unclear how successful the Phoenix program works and whether it saves taxpayer money. He said nearly 75 percent of the prostitutes who complete the program are rehabilitated. However, many prostitutes never finish it, he said. For customers of prostitutes, however, the program is nearly 100 percent effective. (Dave notes -I bet many are just more careful and find private providers instead of the risky streets)

Kathleen Mitchell, who serves as program services coordinator for the Dignity program run by Catholic Social Services, said felony convictions make it harder for prostitutes to begin new lives. Mitchell, a former prostitute, said tougher penalties won't drive women from the streets. To do that, she said the state needs to spend more on prevention and other types of social programs that help reform prostitutesí lifestyles. "This would be a horrible step backwards," she said of the proposal.

List of Legislatures at http://www.azleg.state.az.us/MemberRoster.asp 

Here is my response
To: Representative ___________
Re: Prostitution Sentencing

Why is there a need for tougher sentences for morality law violations? Shouldn't there be a difference between public nuisance public prostitution and private sexwork which is legal in almost all the world except the U.S.? Citizens are fed up with wasting police resources on private consenting adult sexwork (term used to differentiate between public prostitution which should be illegal).  Private consenting adult sexwork is very positive and healthy for a culture.

Arguments against private sexwork laws include:
Morality is not a basic for laws according to the Supreme Court Opinion in Lawrence vs Texas. See http://www.sexwork.com/legal/doublewin.html

Even in biblical times there was nothing immoral about "common prostitutes" only the idolatry of the Temple prostitutes worshiping the fertility gods. See Prostitution is not a biblical conflict - http://sexwork.com/coalition/christian.html

The public does not want law enforcement money wasted on private consenting adult prostitution. This was clear from the massive media reports from Sheriff Joe's publicity stunt of massive arrests of November 2003 and all cases were dismissed.

The U.S. is virtually the only country in the world that outlaws outcall private consenting adult prostitution. Brothels have differing legal status (only one girl per Flat in the U. K., to fully licensed brothels in Australia). Canada is a close by example where like most of the world prostitution has never been illegal, but rarely enforced restrictions on "bawdy houses" and pimping (living of the avils). There are no significant health or social issues related to private sexwork in most of the world. This has nothing whatsoever to do with under aged or trafficking which is and should be illegal. But why should consenting adult private outcall sexwork be a crime in Arizona when it is not necessary to be outlawed in almost all of the rest of the world, except in the U.S.? See What countries have legal prostitution at http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/whatcountrieslegal.html

Outlawing or increasing penalties on prostitution does not reduce its occurrence, only forces it more underground. It also discriminates against social classes since more wealthy individuals have easier discrete access including many government and police officials who enjoy discrete private sexwork. Those less wealthy and unable to afford high priced defense attorney's wind up having lives destroyed by convictions by participating in a victimless crime based on morality laws unique to the United States vs. the rest of the world.

Professional sexwork has never been a significant STD or public health issue in the rest of the world. Professional private sexworkers almost always insist on condoms and are very health aware. Private professional sexworkers are among the safest outlets for the natural desire for sexual variety that men have sought since the beginning of human history.

Professional private sexworkers are often highly educated women that choose sexwork as a career. They are mostly independent women whose "crime" is providing need pleasure and safe sexual release that has many social benefits. Studies have shown that the more sexually repressed a culture the more violent the culture. Sexwork results in less sexual crime per documented studies at http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/lesscrime.html .  See article BODY PLEASURE AND THE ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE Sexworkers Could Help Make Less Violent and Teach Intimacy Skills- More options for healthy physical sex would reduce violence at http://www.sexwork.com/subcontents/violence.html

For other reasons private consenting adult sexwork benefits a culture and should be legal, not with increased penalties see 15 Reasons Why Prostitution is Beneficial at http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/15reasons.html

Even some Police Chiefs are against enforcement of prostitution laws. As former Chief of Kansas City said, ""Which causes the more social harm, the prostitution or the terrible consequences of making it illegal. The violence the corruption, the spread of disease the lack of control, the blackmail the other consequences of making this kind of behavior a crime. Most police officers that are candid about this will tell you that what we do is kind of token enforcement. No one in their right mind can believe we can stamp out prostitution. My feeling is that it is not in the area of behavior that really can be controlled or should be controlled by criminal laws. It's consensual conduct between two or more people. It has been going on as long as recorded history. Trying to stop it by criminal law has proven to be an enormous failure that has led to corruption, it has led to violence, and it certainly has not lessened prostitution but probably made it much less profitable" See more of his comments at http://www.sexwork.com/coalition/PoliceChiefsView.html

Instead of increasing penalties for private consenting adult prostitution, there is no honest need for the laws at all. There should be decriminalization, not more penalties. This is very different than the situation regarding public nuisance street hookers who are often involved in other crimes and public prostitution should continue to be illegal as it is in most of the world.

As a private prostitute said, "It's absolutely ridiculous that it's an illegal profession, because the guys I see are so normal and just want some company, to see someone's "smile" and warmth...and of course the sex...usually they are not getting elsewhere. I see this occupation as very healthy since it provides so much to a man and the woman also. Not often can the man find the convenience of a woman who is sexy and willing to cater undivided attention to his desires and the woman able to fulfill her most needed financial desires. And both are usually/hopefully smiling and happy with the experience...for myself, I am elated to have someone so pleased with me, and also because I have usually made his happiest part of the week or month...whatever it be. As the old saying goes when someone has an awesome experience, "this should be a crime"...did someone think that was meant to be literal??"