On July 12th we ran our first opinion piece in the Chronicles. Written by Isabella Carter, it argued that prostitution should be legalized in Santa Ramona Valley. We asked for people to submit their own opinions.
This reply is by Under Sheriff Azariah Brentt of the Santa Ramona Sheriff’s Department. It is, as he makes clear, his own personal opinion and not that of the SRSD.
I am not one to usually speak my mind on most subjects. However, as I have already been quoted in this, out of context I might add. I feel the need to consolidate the reason behind my views. Before I begin I want to make it VERY clear this is my personal stand, not the view of the law or the Sheriff's Department.
My words as reported were, "Sex is something that should be shared intimately between people who are bonded together not sold like a commodity." Well, let's break that down, shall we? “Sex is something that should be shared intimately between people who are bonded together...” Bonded means tied to someone, not necessarily married, or even in a long term relationship, but joined by some common bond, even if that is simply companionship. “Sex as a commodity” is something more complicated. And I would like to point something out.
Paying for sex on the surface may not be such a huge deal. Just like, some might say, snorting the odd line of coke is not a huge deal. And probably in the grand scheme of things it isn't, but, it's much more complicated than one person offering sex and another person buying.
All over the world, every day, there have been millions of young girls, and guys I guess, hoping to get babysitting or waitress jobs, whatever, who are tricked and wind up prostituted in Italy, Greece, Spain, or who knows where. Including America. The spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical trauma caused, not just to the individual, but to society itself is tremendous. Many of these people never recover, even if they make it back home. I am talking about the trafficking and organized crime that it takes to get the vast majority of prostitutes on the streets and keep them there. Legalizing prostitution would serve to legitimize this abuse of integrity. It would help criminals ruin more lives. Those in favor of it will say “yeah but once it's legal it can be regulated it and can be managed” but I can tell you from experience out on the streets, it can’t, it would be near impossible to police it or manage it.
The edges between prostitution and sex trafficking are so blended its often impossible to have one without the other. As prostitution is accepted, especially if it is legalized, organized crime is empowered. The demand from sex buyers increases and there is more demand than supply of women and girls or guys, which leads to more trafficking, more demand for more abusive things that are seen in the world of pornography, and the worse the abuse these people suffer. If there no demand, there is no market and those poor women and men tricked and trafficked have a potential opportunity to get out of the system.
And no you won't get rid of it completely, that's an unrealistic goal, but by decriminalizing it only protects those organized criminal gangs. It makes it just a commercial transaction and normalizes the virtual and often actual abduction of people for supply paid sex to the masses, who will continue to demand more, more exotic, more aggressive, more perverted things for their buck and the worse the abuse to the people involved in the system is. Legalizing prostitution simply makes it acceptable to society, it gives out a message this is 'Okay' and whilst I do not claim sex, even paid sex to be inherently wrong, desensitizing the vast majority of people to the suffering is NOT okay.
So to go back to the beginning, "Sex as a commodity" in itself, depending on your upbringing, beliefs, religion, etc may or may not be considered a bad thing. The flood gates it opens by making it legal and acceptable is. While I make these comments as an independent person. I have been in law enforcement for a well over a decade, in two different countries and two states and I therefore believe can I speak from the things I have seen, out there on the streets. For most people prostitution not a choice, for a few it might be a way to make quick money when they are desperate, but there are better, safer, and less destructive ways to the same. The vast majority though have no say in at all. We, therefore, owe it to our city, our nation, to all nations on earth, to use some common sense and keep prostitution illegal and punishable.
Why hit the little fish in the pond though I hear you ask? The girl making $50 from a 20-minute blow job, the John paying her for it. Well, the truth is the big fish don't often come near enough to the surface to catch them. They hide and run things from a distance. When they are caught they receive stiff penalties, but it happens so rarely. That leaves the only option being to deter people from getting into it in the first place and those purchasing the services from doing so. Less demand, the less desirable trafficking people becomes, less lives devastated.
And while I fully agree there is a disparity between those who doing it and those that pay of the service in terms of fines, the real fact is we rarely cite the 'girls' I use that generically, but will ALWAYS cite the persons paying when and IF we can catch them.
Do you agree with this? Let us have your opinion, on this or any other subject. The Chronicles is always interested to hear your views, and will print the best articles.