Speaking of no Full Release…
I always figured the Erotic Services space on Craigslist was much like the back pages of The Village Voice. Somebody obviously finds it useful because it it’s there. But chances are you’re less likely to find Julia Roberts and more likely to find yourself with a nuclear-strength venereal disease and/or beat up and robbed by some dude in pantyhose. So it was no surprise to me when someone used Craigslist ads to start dropping bodies left and right. Actually, it was only one body but that was enough to earn the nickname: “Craiglist Killer”. And that sexy nickname was all the media needed to put the story on heavy rotation.
Unless you’re a rapper, it’s never good when then name of your your neighborhood or business is followed by “Killer” or “Slasher” or “Strangler”. The cops already had it in for Craigslist. It was probably about a year ago when I read a NYT article about cops going after prostitutes who were hawking their panties there. The cops said that the online classifieds site had become a haven for illicit sexual activity. So when Phillip Markoff allegedly donned his Craigslist Killer mask, he gave authorities exactly what they needed to come down on them even harder. Naturally, Craigslist cooperated to help catch the killer, but while the investigation was ongoing, law enforcement officials from around the country put extra pressure on them to do something about their online brothel. So they did. They renamed it! Starting this week, the ‘Erotic Services’ section will be called ‘Adult Services‘ and Craigslist will force (ahem) adult advertisers to pay between $5-$10 to do business. Problem solved! The good folks at Craigslist aren’t stupid. If there’s a market for goods or services that can’t be provided by a mainstream market, the black market will take it. Why not take a slice? At least Craigslist is trying to make it as above board as possible. They’re going to screen ads for nasty pictures and make sure they get working telephone numbers to protect their uh… ladies. Which effectively makes them Cyber Pimps. But this also raises a larger question: Should prostitution be illegal?
Sex is as important to the human species as protein and not being eaten by lions. Obviously, you can’t buy a steak from just ol’ anywhere to get your protein. The place you buy your meat is controlled by some government Health Department. The place that slaughtered the animal is controlled by Food and Drug Administration -as is the place that housed and fed the cows from the day they were born. Steak isn’t illegal, it’s regulated. And in some parts of the world, including some parts of this country, prostitution isn’t illegal, it’s regulated. Though inadvertent, don’t think the irony of comparing prostitution to the meat industry is lost on me, either. But if we take a lesson from our friends in Amsterdam who have legalized prostitution, their working girls are licensed and constantly medically screened by the government. Their industry exists in an open market so there are little to no instances of murder or physical abuse … unless that’s what you paid for. Why not get a government agency to regulate prostitutionin the US? This would probably be one of the few agencies that would operate without needing funding.
This isn’t to say that I’m an avid proponent of legalized prostitution. The industry places a monetized value on sex, which has far reaching consequences even into the lives of people who would never sell their bodies or partake. That value is what causes people to sell other people into sexual slavery. That value is what makes some men think that money can buy anything from a trophy wife to a sex tour vacation. That value is what makes some women not mess with no broke niggas. There’s a lot more to it, and correlation isn’t causation, but it’s not that far a leap. Sex is a human necessity and those who can’t get it for free, are going to pay for it. I’m just not convinced that allowing it to operate underground is the best thing for those on either side of that transaction.
If I were Barack Obama, I’d release this statement:
“Uh, look… I have to tread lightly with this because, well first of all, Michelle watches everything I do. And also when I make decisions for what’s best for this country, I always keep my two daughters in mind. So, I wouldn’t want them to get the wrong idea about the value of sex. However, prostitution isn’t called the world’s oldest profession for nothing. It’s had its place in human society for a very long time. The prohibition on prostitution hasn’t stopped it and it never will. Regulation doesn’t work with all markets, but it may be worth giving it a closer look in this case. Perhaps this could help us to break the shackles of our puritanical roots. Taxes are the government’s way of pimping you out of some of your cash. Why not get some money from those who might already have pimps?”