With little fanfare and no public announcement, Las Vegas Metro Police have launched a crackdown on repeat-offender prostitutes in the Strip resort corridor. So far 29 suspected prostitutes have been arrested and are being processed through the criminal justice system.
Metro says the economy is just one of the reasons it is launching this enforcement effort now. With tourism numbers down, the department says it wants to keep visitors from being victimized by crimes related to prostitution. That means cracking down on repeat offenders and making sure they get tough sentences.
"To keep visitors from being victimized by crimes related to prostitution." It seems to me it would be hard to come up with a more ridiculous story than that. The "crimes related to prostitution" mentioned in the article are basically stealing from the clients. I seriously doubt that happens very often. I would think the working girls in Vegas are happy to turn tricks and generally don't ask for trouble by ripping off the source of their income. So, if we rule that out, the question remains, what's really going on here?
Las Vegas has been known since the time of its inception as a type of sin city. Prostitution is actually legal in Nevada outside Clark County, which is where Las Vegas is. In the city of Vegas, gambling is encouraged of course, drinking too, prostitution is generally tolerated, although technically illegal. So, it's difficult to reconcile the nature of Las Vegas with this type of initiative on the part of the Metro Police. If it's some kind of moral crackdown, in a place where folks are encouraged to be morally uninhibited, it's just absurd.
It does bring up some interesting questions though. What about the clients? Are they not being targeted? If not, why not? In an encounter between client and prostitute, are both in the wrong? Is one more in the wrong than the other? Is neither? What's your opinion?
Working girls in Las Vegas are often women who come there because they think it's "a proper venue to make an easy buck," as the police spokesman said. As such, they would seem to be operating with autonomy and agency and calling their own shots, at least more than your typical teenage hooker in a Tijuana brothel, let's say. What do you think about that? Is it possible for a woman to work as a prostitute without being a victim of the system, economic or otherwise?
In the article I linked to there is an amazing "slide show." It consists of photographs; I suppose trendy new color mug shots, of the girls who were arrested in the sweep. The amazing thing is that under each picture there's the number of views, the same way Youtube shows you how popular videos are. Combined with the fact that there was no mention of the clients except as poor victims of being ripped off, this vulgar display of the arrested girls along with their popularity rating made it clear in what low esteem this article, and perhaps Las Vegas itself, holds these women. What's your opinion? Is there another take on that slide show that I missed?
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