Hundreds of Adult Sex Workers Arrested in “Child Prostitution” Stings

I love how this headline at CNN reads “Operation Frees Dozens of Child Prostitutes” rather than “Over 500 Prostitutes Arrested Under Guise of Saving Children.”

In the three-day operation, which began Thursday night, the FBI, along with local and state law enforcement agencies, took the 46 girls and one boy — all of them U.S. citizens ages 13 to 17 — into protective custody.

“Operation Cross Country II” involved efforts in 29 cities and resulted in the arrest of 73 pimps and 518 adult prostitutes, the FBI said.

Those arrested could face federal or state charges, depending on their alleged activities.

Nice, eh?  I mean, yes, excellent — 47 children were rescued from a rape trade.  Surely, that’s a good thing and worth the huge sums of money spent.  But is it necessarily worth over 500 female adults being laden with these serious charges, and ultimately I’m sure being subjected to intense public humiliation, for doing nothing more than attempting to make the best living they know how?

And far more importantly and far less fraught than that question: why do we assume that in order to do one, we must do the other?

The article above is a few months old. But it is indeed still relevant. Because the number of arrests eventually climbed to over 600, though the number of children rescued remained static. And because the operation continues, and on Friday, yet more arrests were made.

The Boston Globe has a chilling description of those arrests:

A guest at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf said she and her mother were on their way to their room after checking in shortly after midnight yesterday when they encountered a raucous scene in a sixth-floor hallway as some 17 FBI agents and plainclothes officers were struggling to arrest two kicking and screaming young women.

“It was a huge scene,” said the guest, who asked not to be identified, adding that it was frightening to have to walk by a gauntlet of investigators to get to their room as one of the women screamed at the top of her lungs, then rolled around on the floor hyperventilating.

[. . .]

The goal of the sweeps, being conducted in over 30 cities, is to target pimps, rescue juveniles, and gather intelligence, according to law enforcement officials.

The Boston sting led to the arrests of five women, ages 19 to 33, who allegedly showed up at the Marriott after agreeing to provide sex for up to $300 an hour to undercover officers. The officers had responded to advertisements posted on the Craigslist website, according to Boston police reports.

The first three women to show up were arrested outside the hotel, but police arrested the other two women in a hallway around 12:30 a.m. when one shoved the other in an apparent dispute over who should collect the $300 fee for promised sexual services, according to the police report.

Really, can someone explain to me how that is targeting pimps and rescuing juveniles, as they so claim?  Does one usually book the services of a sex worker, only to have her pimp show up in her place? Where they just thinking that maybe the women in question might be underage and if they weren’t, hey they get to make some arrests anyway?

Or really, is this just exactly what it looks like: an effort to round up, shame and give permanent records to adult women, under the much more palatable pretense of saving children?

As SWOP-Chicago says on their blog:

To target child prostitution and trafficking is one thing. To scapegoat sex workers and crackdown on prostitution in the name of preventing trafficking is a horse of a different color. It’s a waste of money and it’s a waste of tax-payer resources. And if you really care about “rescuing” sex workers, why the fuck are you giving them felony records?

Indeed.  Even if you’re one of those people who thinks that prostitution is never, or extremely rarely, made under the circumstances of free choice — or think that making the decision to be a sex worker when comparing it against other poor options doesn’t count as a free choice, even when working at Wal-Mart seemingly does — how is this in any way helpful?  How will this help those women who do want to get out of the business, or may want to get out someday?  The scarlet letter of a criminal conviction for prostitution is going to serve them well?

Of course it’s fucking not.  Because this isn’t about helping women.  That would just be paternalism, but this is straight up misogyny.  This is about enforcing standards of morality around how women “should” behave, and outing and humiliating those women who don’t live up to those standards for whatever reason, whether it be choice or desperate circumstances.  It’s about deciding that if they don’t live up to some stupid, sexist social requirement, they deserve incarceration and to never be able to find other employment.

And it’s about saying that legally, women are not allowed to use their own bodies as they so please.  Not “men aren’t allowed to use women’s bodies at their will,” because no clients were arrested here.  It’s about saying that women cannot make choices about their bodies.

And if they do make a choice?  Even if it’s not a choice, and another person or circumstance forces them into it?  They’re going to jail.

Read more at Bound, Not Gagged.

0 thoughts on “Hundreds of Adult Sex Workers Arrested in “Child Prostitution” Stings

  1. Aspasia

    Thank you for this Cara. Of course, that much larger number of adult female prostitutes arrested will never be boasted in this context because with only 47 children rescued, it shows that their approach is flawed at best. A 7.83% rate isn’t a success, it’s a failure. I’m sure they could do a lot better in tracking down creeps who traffick in children and those who want to, *shudder* have sex with them. Of course, while they were spending time on these adult women, there were actual children needing to be rescued.

    Reply
  2. James Landrith

    This is very disturbing and unfortunately, business as usual.

    Last year, certain elements on the far right, in the Administration and Congress attempted to hijack anti-trafficking legislation meant to protect people from human traffickers involved in the modern day slave trade – sexual or otherwise. In short, the hijackers of the legislation were trying to turn prostitution into a federal crime. I use the word prostitution in reference to real, actual voluntary sex workers solely. A person forced into sexual slavery whether by physical force, blackmail or other means of coercion is not a sex worker. They are being victimized and every act of sex they are subjected to is rape.

    My publication (The Multiracial Activist) was one of those who objected to the attempt to turn anti-trafficking legislation into a backdoor attempt to create a federal anti-prostitution law:

    http://jameslandrith.com/content/view/3021/40/

    These people have absolutely no shame are so transparent.

    Reply
  3. Eghead

    I’m one of those people who you mention so disparagingly: I believe sex work is rarely a choice. I’m not sure why it is you assume all these other things about what I believe. For instance, I think the only people who should be arrested when it comes to prostitution are the pimps/madames and the johns/janes.

    And, cmon, comparing sex work to working at WalMart? I know I don’t actually have to explain the difference to you, so I’ll just ask that you refrain from making hyperbolic statements like that.

    Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to point out the ridiculousness of arresting a 19-year-old prostitute while rescuing a 16-year-old. The ‘logic’ behind that boggles my mind.

    Reply
    1. Cara Post author

      And, cmon, comparing sex work to working at WalMart? I know I don’t actually have to explain the difference to you, so I’ll just ask that you refrain from making hyperbolic statements like that.

      I’ll tell you what I see as the big difference. Sex work is a hell of a lot more physically/sexually dangerous and a lot more socially stigmatizing. Wal-Mart usually pays a hell of a lot less for a lot more work.

      The similarities? Both are seen by both many outsiders and those doing the work themselves as highly degrading, abusive and exploitative. Both are jobs that people tend to, though not always, choose because of economic desperation. Both jobs lack benefits. Both jobs are often very difficult to do, and as someone who has worked many Wal-Mart like jobs, can in many ways, for many people engaged in them who don’t want to be, utterly soul crushing. Both make people look down on you and your intelligence and worth as a human being. Both positions negatively affect significantly larger percentages of women and racial minorities.

      So actually, if something different from what I’ve outlined above, I’d love to hear what you think the difference is.

      And I don’t think that I disparaged your point at all. Heavily implied that I disagree, yes. Disparaged? No. Indeed, you’ve just proven right my assertion that you believe some exploitative economic decisions made out of desperation are better than others. If you think that I have been inaccurate, please do correct me. I didn’t in any way mean to imply that you do think that sex workers should be arrested. I was attempting, though perhaps failing, to point out that despite our other differences on this matter, surely this is one area where we can agree.

      Reply
      1. Cara Post author

        To clarify, I’m not trying to minimize the very real damage that can be done to women forced or coerced into prostitution. That is rape, and I hope it’s clear that I’d never attempt to minimize that.

        My point is simply that there are many ways to exploit and enact violence on people, and I think that we need to be careful with our definition of coercion, and whether we apply it only to instances of prostitution or other instances of well. If people want to admit that other, usually very low-paying, work that people take on due to a lack of other options is also exploitative and not the result of free choice, I accept that. But when people say that prostitution is rarely freely chosen while ignoring the many other kinds of work that are rarely chosen freely, perhaps even more so, I have an issue. And that is what I see happening a lot.

        Personally, given the choice between Wal-Mart and prostitution, if I had to do one to survive, I’d take Wal-Mart if I could. But that’s me, and I make no value judgment about the autonomy of a woman who looks at those same circumstances and chooses differently. My point is that it’s silly to look at a woman who faces those two stark choices and chooses the exploitative non-sex work and say that she made a free choice, and look at the woman who chose sex work and say that she didn’t.

  4. Eghead

    “Even if you’re one of those people who thinks that prostitution is never, or extremely rarely, made under the circumstances of free choice — or think that making the decision to be a sex worker when comparing it against other poor options doesn’t count as a free choice, even when working at Wal-Mart seemingly does — how is this in any way helpful?”

    I took this to be you assuming that, because I’m anti-sex-work, I’m pro-arresting-prostitutes. And you sounded very angry about that. Maybe I misread who you were directing your statements at, but it’s hard to misread the anger, especially here:

    “Of course it’s fucking not. Because this isn’t about helping women. That would just be paternalism, but this is straight up misogyny. ”

    So I was just pointing out, helpfully, that this is not what I believe, and that I am a feminist, not a misogynist. And I find it disparaging that you would say someone with my beliefs is a misogynist.

    Back to the issue at hand: Of course lots of jobs are degrading. A woman taking a minimum-wage job stocking shelves at Walmart because she feels she has no other options is definitely not making a free choice, and it’s unfortunate that some people have to do this. A woman working as a prostitute because she feels she has no other choice is only comparable to the first woman in that neither are making totally free choices. However, stocking shelves against one’s will is not comparable to having sex against one’s will. Mind-numbing labor sucks, but it’s not rape. And make no mistake, having sex because one feels she has to, in order to survive, is absolutely rape. That is why I am so concerned with prostitution. Because I am concerned with rape, and I am concerned with the poverty that fuels such rape. Hopefully, my work against poverty can also help women who work those mind-numbing jobs at Wal-mart, but I am concerned first and foremost with those who are being raped. If that makes me paternalistic…well, fine. Though I’d prefer maternalistic 🙂

    Reply
  5. Eghead

    By the way, I wrote a comment a few days ago on your statutory rape post, saying why I feel it should still be called ‘statutory rape’ and not just ‘rape’ (at least in certain instances.) I argued that consent is definitely along a continuum, and that there are many different kinds of ‘rape.’ I would like to say that the same applies to my post here. If I could refer to prostitution as something more like ‘statutory rape,’ rather than simply ‘rape,’ I would. Though, as I also mentioned in my previous comment, it’s dangerous to try to draw those semantic lines. Especially when all different kinds of rape are routinely dismissed… So, I guess my point is just to keep in mind for the sake of this discussion that I use ‘rape’ to mean sex without full consent, that such an act is always wrong, but that it doesn’t always refer to the exact same act. …Hope that made sense…

    Reply
  6. Tazia

    “But is it necessarily worth over 500 female adults being laden with these serious charges, and ultimately I’m sure being subjected to intense public humiliation, for doing nothing more than attempting to make the best living they know how?”

    Depends how much you value getting kids out of the rape trade really doesn’t it?

    I’ve never met a pimp who wasn’t a pedophile, and johns, are not much to write home about either.

    “There is a reason they pay for it”

    Scratched on a wall in Sodom or somewhere.

    Tazia

    Reply
  7. Lyndsay

    Even if you’re one of those people who thinks that prostitution is never, or extremely rarely, made under the circumstances of free choice — or think that making the decision to be a sex worker when comparing it against other poor options doesn’t count as a free choice, even when working at Wal-Mart seemingly does — how is this in any way helpful?

    It sounds like you’re equating “thinking prostitution is never a free choice” with thinking arrest will be helpful. First, I don’t think most people who want to arrest sex workers want to do it to be helpful. They want it to happen because they don’t like sex work and sex work is illegal. Some people don’t think of the many reasons not to arrest sex workers; they think if you do something illegal you should know there is always the possibility of arrest. Also, when it comes to arrest I think it is people who think that prostitution IS a choice (and don’t like it) that want them arrested.

    I agree with all you’ve said though now that I think of it, it seems the arguments of feminists on the topic of sex work are based partly on empathy and compassion. I think this is a great thing because we need more empathy in the world. What I’m trying to say is no matter how well-reasoned and logical your arguments are, I think someone who can’t have empathy for sex workers just won’t get the arguments people like you present.

    Actually, this kind of reminds me of the abortion issue. It seems if your hatred toward something (such as abortion or sex work) is great enough, then you don’t care about the consequences of trying to get rid of them such as wasted tax money or treating women like they’re stupid or women going to jail. It doesn’t even matter if the thing is actually gotten rid of (abortion and prostitution are still around when it’s illegal). What matters is that those in power agree with you on what is okay and not okay and that they use their power to try to get rid of what you don’t like no matter what the consequences.

    It is interesting that underage prostitutes are to be rescued while anyone 18+ is to be punished but there is the idea that once your 18, you are legally an adult and thus able to make all your own decisions. It’s not fair but I bet that’s how some people would justify it.

    Reply
  8. Tazia

    “I argued that consent is definitely along a continuum”

    It’s not like that, it’s more like, do you pull a trigger, a half-squeeze, not really. One has consent or one doesn’t, end of story.

    Does anybody get half-arrested, half-shot, there has to be real world rules.

    Half-torturing people is so neo-conservative, a house half on fire, is good enough for a call to the fire dept.

    Reply
  9. hexy

    Thank you for this, Cara. The way this story was covered on Shakesville was like a punch in the stomach. I’ve tried to comment several times over there, but just can’t find the words.

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » links for 2009-02-25

  11. SunlessNick

    Depends how much you value getting kids out of the rape trade really doesn’t it?

    Very much indeed, but Cara’s main question was, “why do we assume that in order to do one, we must do the other?”

    Reply
  12. Faith

    “Very much indeed, but Cara’s main question was, “why do we assume that in order to do one, we must do the other?””

    While I wholeheartedly agree that we shouldn’t be arresting adult prostitutes, the way that part was phrased irked me too. I don’t think that we should be arresting prostitutes. However, saving children from a lifetime of daily rapes is worth the arrest of adult women to me, in a sense.

    Not sure how clear that is. I’m sure the way I phrased it doesn’t make my feelings clear and I’m sure someone is going to react in outrage since I’m not articulating my feelings well enough but not really sure how else to say it.

    Reply
    1. Cara Post author

      Depends how much you value getting kids out of the rape trade really doesn’t it?

      Actually, I’d argue that it depends on how much you value getting kids out of the rape trade and how much you value not ruining the lives of over ten times as many women. I think it’s incredibly important to not minimize what arrest does to one in this country, especially an arrest for prostitution. But again, like Nick said, that was not the main question at hand. It was food for thought before the real question.

      Eghead, it seems like a misread of where the anger was directed. I apologize if it is unclear, because the anger is indeed directed at those who are making the arrests and supporting them.

      Reply
      1. Cara Post author

        Or, look at it this way: if you really do see prostitution as rape, as at least a few of you here seem to, what about the fact that arresting a woman for prostitution permanently brands her and makes it incredibly difficult for her to find a job, thereby almost guaranteeing that she will be stuck in prostitution from there on out whether she likes it or not.

        So, from that lens, if prostitution is indeed always or almost always rape (I disagree with that, but again I’m working within the frame that others here seem to be laying out), is rescuing a few dozen children from daily rape worth ensuring that over 10 times more as many women do indeed continue to endure daily rape?

        I don’t have an answer to that. As I said above, it’s an incredibly fraught question. The point I was attempting to make is that the question is difficult, almost impossible — and it’s at least part of the reason why I think that we shouldn’t be asking it at all, and indeed asking the one I posed later.

  13. laura agustin

    It’s good to see this sort of false rescue getting wider attention. I’ve been researching and writing about the problems of ‘helping’ when you don’t know what individuals really want for many years. What’s described here takes place *all the time* in poorer countries where US money is being used to raid brothels and forcibly take people out of them into detention, deportation and other messes. Visit Border Thinking on Migration and Trafficking at http://www.nodo50.org/Laura_Agustin

    Reply
  14. Faith

    “Actually, I’d argue that it depends on how much you value getting kids out of the rape trade and how much you value not ruining the lives of over ten times as many women.”

    Saving children who are being raped on a daily basis by upwards of 30 men a day vs. arresting hundreds of women.

    It’s a no-brainer to me – even as a devote feminist. The gravity of being raped, particularly as a child, is that serious to me.

    Being incarcerated and getting a record is not as bad as being raped.

    Reply
    1. Cara Post author

      It’s your right to have it be that serious to you, Faith, and I adamantly agree, as a rape survivor myself, that there are few things “as bad” as being raped. But I still think that you’re trivializing and still underestimating the impact that this kind of an arrest has on a woman’s life.

      And yet again, the main question was why one must involve the other. It needn’t, and it shouldn’t. There no reason, absolutely no reason, that we can’t fight child rape while at the same time not ruining the lives of adult women. None at all.

      Reply
  15. James Landrith

    Well said Cara. Fighting child rape does not have anything whatsoever to do with imprisoning women for prostitution. They are two separate concepts that only have a link because those who want to imprison women for prostitution (for “moral” reasons) have decided to link them.

    Perhaps some people just don’t realize that women who go to jail or prison stand a strong chance of being raped both by guards and inmates? Getting maimed? Murdered? Traumatized over and over and over again?

    Yeah, prison is no big deal, nothing to it…

    If eliminating rape is the goal then why endorse a practice that ensures some of those women will indeed be raped?

    Before I get jumped on, like Cara, I am also a rape survivor, so be advised that any responses implying that I am soft on rape hold no weight. The choice between rescuing children from rape or not imprisoning women is a false one that fails the logic 101 test. There doesn’t have to be a choice at all.

    Rescue the kids. Leave the women alone.

    Why is that so hard to grasp??????

    Reply
  16. Eghead

    Cara:

    ‘Actually, I’d argue that it depends on how much you value getting kids out of the rape trade and how much you value not ruining the lives of over ten times as many women.”

    Careful with the way you say that… you seem to be arguing for some weird, numbers-based form of utilitarianism. Like 10 children being raped is better than 100 women being arrested. Which I know is not something any of us would agree with. You ask a similar question in your next post, and… I’m just not sure what the point of asking that is. Why can’t it be an either/or question?

    But, yeah, okay; I guess the OP was directed towards the people making the arrests. It’s good not to conflate people who want to end prostitution (like myself) with those who want to make it illegal for people to sell sex.

    Tazia:

    ” “I argued that consent is definitely along a continuum”

    It’s not like that, it’s more like, do you pull a trigger, a half-squeeze, not really. One has consent or one doesn’t, end of story.

    Does anybody get half-arrested, half-shot, there has to be real world rules.

    Half-torturing people is so neo-conservative, a house half on fire, is good enough for a call to the fire dept.”

    I’m uncomfortable with the analogies you’re making her, but I’m going to go ahead anyway and point out that the only one I agree with is the last one: if a house is half on fire, call the fire department. Please read my original comment again. I was very careful to say that all forms of non-consent are terrible and should not be tolerated.

    Reply
    1. Cara Post author

      Careful with the way you say that… you seem to be arguing for some weird, numbers-based form of utilitarianism. Like 10 children being raped is better than 100 women being arrested.

      No, the question is “if the only way to save 10 children from being raped is to arrest 100 innocent women (for prostitution, which I feel like keeps getting glossed over here as though an arrest for prostitution is the same as an arrest for most other things), is it worth it?”

      And the answer is — and the part I keep seeing ignored for some strange reason because it’s the most important part — wow, that’s a really shitty question, and I don’t want to play some weird, horrible numbers game with people’s lives, and how does this question make sense in the first place? Why is that the only way to save those children from being raped? What does one have to do with the other? It’d really suck to have to answer that question if arresting women for prostitution charges and ruining their lives was the one and only way to save children from rape, so I’m glad that I don’t have to do it — because one should have absolutely nothing to do with the other.

      And here’s to hoping that finally this comment will be taken as a whole without the horrible question part cherry-picked as though I’m advocating it as a serious set up!

      Reply
  17. Faith

    “It’s your right to have it be that serious to you, Faith, and I adamantly agree, as a rape survivor myself, that there are few things “as bad” as being raped. But I still think that you’re trivializing and still underestimating the impact that this kind of an arrest has on a woman’s life.”

    No, I do not think I’m trivializing women getting arrested in the slightest. It seems to me that you are trivializing one of the most horrendous forms of abuse imaginable. I mean, it seems to me that you are almost arguing that we shouldn’t try to save the children if it means women getting arrested. According to the current law, if authorities bust up a sex ring to save children and find adult prostitutes, they are required by law to arrest the women. Does that fact suck? Yes. Does that fact need to change? Absolutely. But those children can not wait for the law to change. They need to be rescued now.

    “And yet again, the main question was why one must involve the other. It needn’t, and it shouldn’t. There no reason, absolutely no reason, that we can’t fight child rape while at the same time not ruining the lives of adult women. None at all.”

    It doesn’t, and no one has said that it must. All that I’m acknowledging is that as it currently stands – according to the law – that is the way it is. And goddamn it, I’m not going to argue that we should let children sit around enduring abuses that the people reading this can’t even begin to imagine because we don’t want some adult women to get arrested. And I’m not going to remain silent if anyone else makes that argument.

    The thought is inconceivable.

    Reply
  18. Faith

    “Rescue the kids. Leave the women alone.

    Why is that so hard to grasp??????”

    It isn’t hard to grasp. And from what I’ve read on this thread, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t grasp it.

    Reply
  19. Eghead

    I’m seconding Faith’s comment. The reason it has to happen, for the meantime, is that prostitution is illegal. That’s the law, and officers of the law can’t ignore it no matter how much they disagree with it.

    But, again, no one is arguing that that’s the way it should be.

    Reply
    1. Cara Post author

      They are specifically fucking targeting women. Adult women. What part of that do you two not understand? They’re trolling fucking Craigslist. Do you realize how ridiculously crap our law enforcement would have to be if after all this time and money, they could only rescue 47 children while arresting 600 adult sex workers, if they were actually targeting the children? Really? Do you understand how many more children could be saved if this was done right?

      And don’t give me that bullshit. “Officers of the law” turn a blind eye to things every fucking day. They seek out who they want to seek out, and they turn a blind eye to those they don’t want to seek out. All. The. Time.

      So yeah Faith, I’m arguing that if saving these children means a fucking witch hunt of adult women — and again, I don’t believe that actually rescuing children is the real goal of this operation for a single second — then they need to find a new way to do things that is more humane, more effective, and a will save a hell of a lot more kids, too. Right now. And if you want to call my saying that these raids are absolute bullshit trivialization of child rape, well frankly you have your own blog on which to do it.

      Reply
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  21. frau sally benz

    They are specifically fucking targeting women. Adult women.

    That’s the problem with these laws and why I get upset at the battle between the different sides of the prostitution argument. From the conversations I’ve had with people that think all different ways, they all agree that women should not be the ones being arrested all of the time. They hardly ever prosecute the pimps or johns. The children are not given the proper education and the same paths in their life often remained blocked. The women are arrested and left vulnerable to attacks from society.

    I really wish that at the very least, everyone could come together to protest raids like these. They don’t help anybody but the law enforcement who can say they’re cracking down on crime when they’re doing the bare minimum and leaves nobody focusing on the real issues.

    Reply
  22. hypatia

    “They are specifically fucking targeting women. Adult women. What part of that do you two not understand? They’re trolling fucking Craigslist.”

    Yeah this is pretty much the part where I thought “Protecting the children huh?” People pimping out children do not advertise on Craigslist. The vast majority of people advertising in the Adult Ads section are well just looking for porn actors or professional escort services looking for “talent”. But those extending services are people who are, 99% of the time, in business for themselves, either as their chosen profession or to pick up some extra cash.

    The part that scares me about that is, recently being a member of the poor college set, I know girls who chose to get paid for a sex act to take care of the bills once in a while. I’ll be honest, most did it because they didn’t want a “real” job but with this kind of targeting the scenario of “Honours Psychology Major with Scholarship Busted for Prostitution”, is entirely possible.

    I highly dislike the way that authorities are trying to hide their misdeeds behind a “Save the Children” mantra. Recently in Ontario there was an online child exploitation bust. They arrested many people distributing child porn and several who were making it, rescuing two children I believe. Afterwards there was a lot of huffing and puffing from the police that they couldn’t do their job because of “internet privacy laws”. I just can’t fall in line with the idea that the government should be able get a list of what I do on my computer each day or that we should target women trying to get by in this world under the guise of “protecting the children.”

    Reply
  23. OuyangDan

    I would believe that it was about the children if they were actually “saving” (scare quotes b/c these kids are going to go into The System, so how “saved” are they?) more children the number wouldn’t be static.

    No, this is a way to humiliate, degrade and needlessly complicate the lives of women under the guise of helping children.

    Why are they targeting the women if they are really trying to save the children and arrest the pimps/johns? Are they not clever enough to trick traffickers into bringing them children?

    And I can’t believe this is being turned into an accusation that Cara is somehow a child rape apologist! Holy reading comprehension, Batman! It is possible to focus on rescuing child victims of trafficking, as well as the pimps that traffic them w/o going after these women. This really is just another witch hunt.

    It’s also not about saving anybody when they will “rescue” a 16 y/o, but somehow being 18 magically erases any rape and abuse someone has suffered? Crossing a midnight suddenly turns hir from a victim to a criminal? Give me a fucking break. They are fucking targeting women intentionally to inflict a moral code, b/c sex workers are seen as less than human. Last I knew the women using Craigslist were doing so b/c it was a way to keep them safer. This is going to put more women at more risk. Illegal or not, I care more about keeping women safe than I do about putting someone away for prostitution. Prison isn’t going to keep anyone safe. Read any prison rape stats lately?

    And I almost choked on that “officer of the law” bullshit. Yeah, cuz they never turn a blind eye on stuff. Ever. Yep.

    They could easily run a sting on child trafficking w/o harming women, w/ half their brain tied b/h their back. One does not necessitate the other.

    Reply
  24. Faith

    “So yeah Faith, I’m arguing that if saving these children means a fucking witch hunt of adult women — and again, I don’t believe that actually rescuing children is the real goal of this operation for a single second — then they need to find a new way to do things that is more humane, more effective, and a will save a hell of a lot more kids, too. Right now.”

    I think we’re both in agreement that there is a better way to handle the situation. Again, no one has said any differently.

    Reply
  25. James Landrith

    “It isn’t hard to grasp. And from what I’ve read on this thread, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t grasp it.”

    Clearly, some people have given that sentiment lipservice, but then contradicted themselves out of the other side of their mouths.

    Reply
  26. Fionnabhair

    Something else about this that bothers me, in addition to the number of arrests made vs. children saved, is the need to mention that the children that were saved are US citizens between the ages of 13 and 17. What about the non-citzens? Why are they not included in the count? Are non-citizen child prostitutes not saved, are they arrested/deported, or are they just being left where they’re found? I find it hard to believe that, in these raids, law enforcement is only finding citzens. What about the rest?

    Reply
  27. frau sally benz

    Are non-citizen child prostitutes not saved, are they arrested/deported, or are they just being left where they’re found?

    If I remember correctly (and darn me, I need to find some sources), when non-citizens are found, they’re just deported. Which, of course, only worsens the problem because most of them were probably trafficked here in the first place. So taking them back to where they were trafficked from doesn’t solve a damn thing.

    Reply
  28. Jane Brazen

    Thanks for this, Cara! I think what also should be noted here is that there is a lot of studies right now and work about the use of raids and busts for trafficking. I’m thinking of the Urban Justice Center’s report Kicking Down the Door. When we proliferate these images of trafficking and child trafficking especially (totally agree with the poster who mentioned that traffickers and child traffickers aren’t posting on goddamn Craigslist of all places), law enforcement then follows suit. Public policy follows suit. If someone isn’t the “picture” of trafficking (an 8 yr old little girl from Eastern Europe chained to a radiator?), they aren’t recognized as being “legitimately vicitimized”. That’s why so few T visas have been issued.

    I guess that’s kind of a side issue. I just think it’s ridiculous that anyone could suggest trying to separate the issue of child trafficking from adult sex work is demanding to child survivors. People like me, activists who draw attention to this shit, do care. We care a whole lot.

    Reply
  29. Steve

    If prostitution were legal, law enforcement could periodically check the brothels and make sure everyone was a consenting adult. When was the last time you heard about an underage prostitute at one of the legal brothels in Nevada? Most people want to satisfy their needs legally, so they don’t get arrested and serve lengthy prison terms for sex with minors. It is like alcohol. When was the last time someone offered you moonshine? Moonshine only flourishes in places where liquor is illegal. If consenting adult prostitution were legal, law enforcement could focus its limited resources on prostitution involving minors and other crimes that actually hurt people. We might have found some missing people or arrested some serial killers if the FBI and other law enforcement agencies hadn’t been wasting their time busting consenting adult prostitution operations such as the ones involving Elliot Spitzer, David Vitter, and Heidi Fleiss. How many children were involved in those operations? None.

    Reply
  30. Pingback: March 3rd is International Sex Workers’ Rights Day « random babble…

  31. Holly

    Eghead wrote, “And make no mistake, having sex because one feels she has to, in order to survive, is absolutely rape. That is why I am so concerned with prostitution. Because I am concerned with rape, and I am concerned with the poverty that fuels such rape.”

    Would so say the same thing about marriage, Eghead? There are also people who get married out of necessity rather than by free choice, and sex is often part of marriage. Thus, would you also say that having sex in a marriage that one enters for surival purposes is rape?

    Reply
  32. Holly

    I don’t look at survival prostitution from a choice-based paradigm, but rather from a survival-based paridigm. If you have the time and luxury to be able to dispute whether this is a choice, then consider yourself privleged because if you were actually in a position where you have to engage in prostitution or any other industry for survival, you wouldn’t have the luxury of being able to dispute whether it’s a choice. Rather, your focus would be more on getting what you need to survive.

    Reply
  33. Holly

    Faith wrote, “However, saving children from a lifetime of daily rapes is worth the arrest of adult women to me, in a sense.’

    What about the daily rapes that many sex workers have been subject to by police and prison guards under the criminalization of prostitution? Persecuting sex workers is not simply a “necessary” evil in the fight against child prostitution. Rather, incarcerating sex workers and subjecting these workers to brutality from police and guards is in and of itself a human rights abuse that must end. Incarcerating sex workers has nothing to do with stopping child prostitution and it is totally unneccessary if the objective really is to stop child prostitution.

    Reply

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