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Monday, September 29, 2014

Prostitution / Everyone Has an Opinion / Everyone is Wrong


Money for sex – a bad thing – I’m not sure.  I suppose it depends on the circumstances.  In some instances, many might even consider marriage a form of prostitution; a ubiquitous form of prostitution which was undoubtedly more prevalent a generation or two back.  Sex for security:  Isn’t security a synonym for money?

Currently, we have a society where the very rich use prostitutes and even sometimes brag about it:  athletes, actors, business tycoons.  Consider for a moment Hugh Hefner (Playboy Enterprises) who has cohabitated with a bevy of beautiful women (often several at the same time), aka trophy wives, girlfriends or partners.  A form of prostitution, I think so.  And, Charlie Sheen who has openly discussed his many dalliances with women who love you more and with more vigor if you have considerable resources.  “A rose by any other name…”

However, the ‘Common Joe’ is expected to walk a fine line.  Obey the laws.  However, if, when and how those laws will be enforced is anyone’s guess?  In contrast, for those who are not students of the law, some crimes are self-evident like murder, burglary or car theft.  A five-year-old understands that you don’t do those things; and, if you do, you will very likely be punished.

The crime of prostitution or soliciting for prostitution, on the other hand, is more obscure.  As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes you have to stretch the imagination to define the crime, determine the victim or the perpetrator, as well as ascertain the genesis of the crime (mens rea).  Is it the man (or sometimes the woman) who is interested in paying someone for sex?  Is it the woman who voluntarily makes herself available to exchange money for sex?  Is it the man who forces a woman or convinces a woman to prostitute herself?  Or is it, perhaps, the police agency that creates a fictitious scenario to entice the unwary or the unsophisticated to participate in a crime like soliciting prostitution?

As an aside, there is a famous quote attributed to Winston Churchill, or was he paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw:

Churchill: "Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?"
Socialite: "My goodness, Mr. Churchill... Well, I suppose... we would have to discuss terms, of course... "
Churchill: "Would you sleep with me for five pounds?"
Socialite: "Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?"
Churchill: "Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price”


But, as promised, I planned to talk a bit about my personal experience with prostitution.

In the later 70s, I was a Special Agent with the FBI and stationed in San Francisco.  I was on the Organized Crime Squad.  The sexual revolution was in full bloom, especially in the Bay Area.  A significant organizer and player in the prostitution industry was a woman named Margo St. James.  Margo, a former prostitute, founded the organization COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics).

Margo turned out to be one of the more interesting people that I’ve ever met.  And, for a brief period, one might even say that we were friends.

To be continued…

True Nelson