Brits Propose Possible Life Sentence for Johns

The UK is proposing a new law stating that any sex with a prostitute later shown to be working in the sex trade involuntarily is per se rape, possibly punishable by life in prison. Johns will be prohibited from claiming ignorance of the prostitute’s status in their defense.

In a society where prostitution were legal, open, and market regulated, this sort of law would make some sense. Under such a regime, most (or nearly all) advertised prostitutes and brothels would, in all likelihood, be legit. Few people trafficking in sex slaves would want the attention that comes with openly advertising their services.

But black markets by definition obscure information from consumers. When prostitution is illegal (or quasi-legal, as it is Britain), it’s hard to distinguish voluntary sex workers from involuntary ones, because they’re all illegal. They all operate underground. There’s undoubtedly a clear moral distinction between patronizing a sex worker who chooses to sell her body, and one who’s forced to do perform under the threat of harm by a pimp or a mama-san. The problem is that under a prohibition on prostitution, it becomes more difficult for Johns to make that distinction.

The other sad irony here is that I would guess that all else being equal, most Johns don’t want to have sex with a woman against her will. Yes, I’m sure many Johns today practice some willful ignorance about the status of the prostitutes they patronize. But in a society where sex for money were open and legal, the sex slave trade would almost certainly lose a huge chunk of its market share (whatever that may be). Given the option between legal sex with an advertised prostitute or brothel or risking arrest by having sex with a prostitute in a shady, unadvertised, unregulated, underground brothel that may be using sex slaves, I don’t think it’s wildly speculative to say that most Johns would choose the former.

In any case, under such a scenario, you could certainly make a stronger case for throwing the book at those who choose the latter.

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  • Karen||

    Perhaps they should do what is right and not go to any prostitutes. Is that really not an option? Prostitution victimizes all women.

  • ||

    Yes! It's about time!

    Oh...you mean THOSE Johns.

    Naw, that's just nuts.

  • hmm||

    How exactly do they plan to work around the mens rea portion of the crime? The act is present, but if you are unaware the person is being forced, outside what is obviously visible, I wonder how they are going to go about justifying the mental state? Then again they probably won't bother with such silly nonsense and just go about tossing people in jail.

  • ||

    Prostitution victimizes all women.

    Egads! Is Edward/Lefiti now posing as a woman? I hope so. Otherwise Karen is very very lost.

    And look for Biden to take this up in the US Senate next.

  • That Dude||

    "In a society where prostitution were legal, open, and market regulated, this sort of law would make some sense."

    Huh? Are there no prostitutes working openly in, say, Amsterdam who could be said to be working "involuntarily"? There are no czech, hungarian, or bulgarian ladies who, after taking a job, who then find out there boss isn't the most above board person and might rather leave but are scared to? And what does "involuntarily" really mean?

  • ||

    In a society where prostitution were legal, open, and market regulated, this sort of law would make some sense.

    In New York, where a small number of restaurants use immigrants trafficked by snakeheads or coyotes to work as slaves in their kitchens. Would a law that penalizes the patrons of those restaurants make sense, given that restaurants are legal, open and market regulated?

  • rap||

    Karen:

    Prostitution victimizes all women



    Hmmm...having a little trouble here seeing how my mother and wife and sister are victims of prostitution. They don't have anything to do with it. Could you fill me in on that please?

  • ||

    joe,

    You wish to incarcerate John for his political views?

  • Karen||

    How exactly do they plan to work around the mens rea portion of the crime?

    That doesn't apply to most sex crimes, which are usually strict liability.

  • Karen||

    Hmmm...having a little trouble here seeing how my mother and wife and sister are victims of prostitution. They don't have anything to do with it. Could you fill me in on that please?

    The personal is political. It affects the way society views women and causes them to be devalued as commodities.

  • ||

    So, how come prostitution is legal in Nevada, but illegal prostitution has not lost any of it's "market share"? If the industry was just about paying for sex, wouldn't everyone just go to the legal brothel? Or could it be that most john's aren't really interested in sex per-se. The target market for legal brothels and illegal prostitutes are very different, and there's hardly any overlap.

  • ||

    Prostitution victimizes all women.

    Would you be so kind as to share with me how gay male prostitutes working for gay male clients victimizes women?

  • spongepaul||

    In Asterdamn the sex trade is very heavily regulated. brothels must have cleanliness standards and all workers are checked for all std's regualrly. I personally find prostition deplorable, when 5 min and a though work just the same and is free. but to thoose who use the services, they should not be villified. the world would be a much nicer place if everyone followed the englightened dutch ideas

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Karen, the dearth of (heterosexual) gigolos is due to sociological circumstances that would require a lot of research for me to elaborate on.

  • ||

    The other sad irony here is that I would guess that all else being equal, most Johns don't want to have sex with a woman against her will.

    What would be your basis for making that guess?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    and what swillfredo said. Not the nicest way to make a living but we all did stuff we're not proud of in college. ;)

  • ||

    If the industry was just about paying for sex, wouldn't everyone just go to the legal brothel?

    Uhh, no, because the legal brothels are like really far from Vegas and other places that people actually go to. If there were legal brothels on the Vegas strip you'd probably see illegal prostitution plummet there. Let the girls legally go to people's rooms and that would be the end of the illegal trade entirely.

  • ||

    It affects the way society views women and causes them to be devalued as commodities.

    I love this line. Does it affect the value you place on women? No? Are you immune to the dastardly plot that affects those of lesser intellect?

    Reminds me of the Passion of the Christ flap. "It will make people hate teh joos! ...No, not me. Dumb people!"

  • cunnivore||

    So, how come prostitution is legal in Nevada, but illegal prostitution has not lost any of it's "market share"?

    Right. I can't imagine why a guy would go to an illegal prostitute a fifteen minute drive away, when he can just book a flight to Nevada (not Vegas, either, as prostitution is still illegal in Clark Co).

  • Abdul||

    The other sad irony here is that I would guess that all else being equal, most Johns don't want to have sex with a woman against her will.

    What would be your basis for making that guess?


    Well, why pay for it if you're just going to take it by force anyway?

  • ||

    The personal is political. It affects the way society views women and causes them to be devalued as commodities.

    Perhaps what "devalues" women (and all people) is being told what kinds of voluntary transactions they can and cannot be permitted to engage in. Just a thought.

  • cunnivore||

    What would be your basis for making that guess?

    Perhaps the fact that, despite the rantings of radical feminism, in modern society, the vast majority of men are NOT rapists.

  • the innominate one||

    Karen, you ignorant slut.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    What would be your basis for making that guess?

    I think there is a sizeable population of males who have difficulty acquiring the nookie on a monthly basis without using cash dollars to fund their escapades.

    What Spitzer's reasons were I can only guess.

  • ||

    It affects the way society views women and causes them to be devalued as commodities.

    That's just silly. Women are *very* valuable commodities.

  • Abdul||

    Also, as i recall, money for sex in the UK is not illegal. Pimping, advertising, bordellos--they're all illegal--but being a prostitute on a small time, occasional basis is not.

  • ||

    Karen--

    What would you say to this woman, who works in the sex trade, voluntarily I might add, and is wholly against this law? Is she somehow hurting women everywhere?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    FrBunny, cunnivore and Abdul make good points.

  • Xeones||

    It affects the way society views women and causes them to be devalued as commodities.

    If it's legal for dudes to be prostitutes too, why then we can all just be devalued together! Or, you know, not.

  • Boston||

    but illegal prostitution has not lost any of it's "market share"?

    Where does one get figures for this "market share" that isnt heavily biased?

  • cunnivore||

    Housewives think legal prostitution demeans women because it gives their husbands a consequence-free sexual outlet that they don't control.

    That's the only explanation I can think of.

  • ||

    JW for the win!

  • ||

    If it's legal for dudes to be prostitutes too, why then we can all just be devalued together! Or, you know, not.

    Dennis: I will be providing a very important service, however, as what I would like to be called ... a handsome companion.

    Mac: To dudes?

    Charlie: To guys or...

    Dennis: No, not to dudes. To-no, hang on. Hold on. Hang on. To old fancy rich ladies who want to do classy, exotic, fancy things with me.

    Mac: Great, Dennis, you keep banging dudes.

  • ||

    Housewives think legal prostitution demeans women because it gives their husbands a consequence-free sexual outlet that they don't control.

    That's the only explanation I can think of.


    So its akin to a monopolistic organization trying to keep its stranglehold on a market?

  • ||

    The UK is proposing a new law stating that any sex with a prostitute later shown to be working in the sex trade involuntarily is per se rape, possibly punishable by life in prison.

    I thought "the sex trade" was the definition of prostitution (i.e., that prostitution makes sex into a commodity, which is "traded," or provided in exchange for money).

    Yes, yes, I know what they mean, but can't they even be troubled to find terms that actually refer to what they're talking about. (It's like when the newspapers report the "shortage of affordable housing," when what they really mean is housing that's affordable by poor people. To the best of my knowledge, there are very few houses going unsold because no one can afford them; if there were, the sellers would drop the prices.)

  • ||

    Housewives think legal prostitution demeans women because it gives their husbands a consequence-free sexual outlet that they don't control.

    ZING

  • a name before submitting the f||

    Misleading blog-post title!

  • cunnivore||

    And yeah, wouldn't charging for sex rather than giving it away for free mean that women have higher value?

  • rap||

    Karen:

    The personal is political. It affects the way society views women and causes them to be devalued as commodities.



    So, society is devaluing my mother and wife and my sister, and they are suffering from this, because of prostitution. And they're part of society, so they're devaluing and commodifying themselves because of prostitution. And my father and brothers and I are devaluing and commodifying them because of prostitution.

    I don't think so.

  • ||

    Well, why pay for it if you're just going to take it by force anyway?

    Right. Paying for sex is not rape. It baffles me the way some groups seem to want to subsume a lot of non-rape activities under the rape umbrella ("rape umbrellas: the classy gift this holiday season" =P).

    I guess if you're in the victim business, you need to keep your victim supply high.

  • ||

    I guess if you're in the victim business, you need to keep your victim supply high.

    God knows I'm doing my best to keep the supply up.

  • ||

    Pro Libertate | November 20, 2008, 12:30pm | #

    joe,

    You wish to incarcerate John for his political views?


    Of course not! That would fascist, and contrary to everything I believe.

    I wish to incarcerate him for his personality, thank you very much.

    ;-)

  • ||

    It's generally bad to take mens rea completely out of the equation. The punishment for rape is different from the punishment for soliciting prostitution for a good reason. Trying to make the victim representative of society rather than an individual is part of the problem.

  • cunnivore||

    Dagny, I'm not baffled at all. These groups don't like prostitution etc. for other reasons, so they try to associate it with rape. Just like the drug warriors are forever trying to shove marijuana into the same category as cocaine.

  • hmm||

    Strict liability is only a factor in statutory rape in the US and I don't even think it makes it that far out of tort in England? Rape is an assault charge, which requires a mental state and an action to occur at the same time. In order to be culpable the defendant has to have knowledge of what he/she is doing when he/she is doing it to some degree.

  • cunnivore||

    I wish to incarcerate him for his personality, thank you very much.

    Keep your bondage fantasies out of this, perv.

  • anarch||

    As I ask every time this topic arises: How does the law distinguish between proscribable prostitution vs barter for charming company, drinks, dinner, the-status-of-having-a-boyfriend, free lodging, house-with-picket-fence, children, grandchildren?

  • Nicolas Adjuder||

    There is nothing to worry about in Britain.

    As with all government agencies, THEY ARE TOO STUPID TO ENFORCE SUCH A LAW!

    http://www.PleaseBreakTheLaw.com

  • ||

    Paying for sex is not rape

    So why do I feel so dirty after I get paid?

  • ||

    Can someone please tell me how to use Greasemonkey to permanently remove a commenter from all future H&R threads I read, such as "lefiti"? Can't figure it out. Thanks!

  • lefiti||

    Grease your ass, prolefeed!

    (Oh that felt good)

  • ||

    In New York, where a small number of restaurants use immigrants trafficked by snakeheads or coyotes to work as slaves in their kitchens. Would a law that penalizes the patrons of those restaurants make sense, given that restaurants are legal, open and market regulated?

    I don't fornicate with the kitchen staff.

  • ||

    I don't fornicate with the kitchen staff.

    Your loss. I certainly didn't pay $48 for the egg rolls.

  • ||

    Despite douchebag fakers like Karen, I think we can all agree that such laws mean disproportionate sentences. Whenever you hear the argument "you shouldn't be doing it anyway" it means that a person is trying to justify imposing absurd sentences for certain crimes. Prostitution is a crime with punishment X. People who wish that they had the electoral power to give Johns the death penalty will welcome anything that makes the sentences higher, despite the fact that the penalty imposed for prostitution is significantly less.

    It's like an off-label use for medication. Anything to put these pervs away forever. If prostitution is so terrible that it requires heavy penalties, then go through the front door and make your case.

  • The Owners Manual||

    What part of "knowingly" do you not understand, Radley?

  • ||

    I think there is a sizeable population of males who have difficulty acquiring the nookie on a monthly basis without using cash dollars to fund their escapades.

    What Spitzer's reasons were I can only guess.


    Prostitutes are not paid for sex. They are paid to leave after sex. It's all about no strings copulation. You got your money, don't ask me to cuddle/fix your car/meet your parents/go to the opera ...

    That is not complimentary to Johns, but that is just what Spitzer and so many others are thinking.

  • Just Plain Brian||

    Can someone please tell me how to use Greasemonkey to permanently remove a commenter from all future H&R threads I read, such as "lefiti"? Can't figure it out. Thanks!



    You can find what you need at This Site

  • ||

    The problem with a knowledge standard like this is that it will likely be assumed that the john "knew". In other words, it'll be read as knew or should've known. Whether the john actually knew will go out the window.

    Again, using criminal laws designed to protect individuals to reach a sociological result is using a hammer to turn a screw. If they want to enhance the penalties where the government can prove that the john actually knew that the prostitute was acting as a prostitute involuntarily, okay. But that's going to be really hard to prove in real life.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Owners Manual,


    The home secretary has made clear that under the new offence it will not be enough for a man to say "I didn't know". The new offence will include a "strict liability" test so that police will only have to prove that the man paid for sex, and that the woman had been trafficked. There will be no need to prove he knew it at the time.




    J Sub D. Interesting insight. I've never been the type of guy that many women seemed to want to stay around so I guess Spitzer's worldview is kind of opposite of mine (and not just in this category).

  • Dammit, someone parley this on||

    using a hammer to turn a screw

  • ||

    Feminism is all about giving women the right to choose, as long as they choose the "right" choices.

  • ||

    How exactly do they plan to work around the mens rea portion of the crime?

    By legislating it out of existence, silly.

    Huh? Are there no prostitutes working openly in, say, Amsterdam who could be said to be working "involuntarily"?

    Probably relatively few, in the strong sense of the term "involuntarily".

    Of course, if by involuntarily you mean, would rather do something else or work for someone else, but doesn't for reasons other than the use or threat of force, you've just described about 98% of the workforce in the US.

    So, how come prostitution is legal in Nevada, but illegal prostitution has not lost any of it's "market share"?

    I believe because prostitution is legalized in only a few venues.

    It affects the way society views women and causes them to be devalued as commodities.

    Of course, prostitution is a service, not a commodity, but leaving that aside . . .

    This view seems hard to reconcile with the position of feminists that women should not be discriminated against in every other area from trading their services for money (that is, having a job). One of the fundamental goals of feminism was to get women out of the house and into the workplace.

    Where, presumably, they would be devalued as commodities.

  • kinnath||

    Assuming Karen isn't a sock puppet for an regular at H&R, how does she become the first to post a message on a topic like this? Does she have some 'bot that is constantly looking for news on prostitution?

  • ||

    Feminism is all about giving women the right to choose, as long as they choose the "right" choices.

    Ah, yes. RC'z Fourth Iron Law:

    You aren't free unless you are free to be wrong.

  • anarch||

    RC Dean @ 1:38pm:

    Twenty million young women rose to their feet with the cry, "We will not be dictated to," and proceeded to become stenographers. ~ G.K. Chesterton

  • bubba||

    Couldn't this law apply to any prostitute with a pimp?

    Even if the pimp is the proximate cause of the prostitute's situation, wouldn't she have a moral claim against the government policies that deprived her of an education or opportunities to pursue a different career? I know that's claptrap, but it's consistent with the logic behind most of these laws.

  • Boston||

    Still waiting on those Market share numbers, Karen. Also I thought Spitzer was all about the GFE, so she was also presumably paid to sit and watch him cry.

  • ||

    So just when did Britain stop being a serious nation?

  • ||

    Can someone please tell me how to use Greasemonkey to permanently remove a commenter from all future H&R threads I read, such as "lefiti"? Can't figure it out. Thanks!


    If I keep changing the name I post with, will I always be readable? You must know the name in advance to block it, no?

    Karen most certainly is a sock puppet, methinks.

  • ||

    Britain turned south once the Scots banned swords.

  • ||

    Of course not! That would fascist, and contrary to everything I believe.

    I fail to see how fascism is any different then socialism in this regard. being nationalist or internationalist has little to do with the scope of the state's power to incarcerate.

    The notion that people cannot be incarcerated for their political views is not a leftist principle particular to the socialist flavor that you prefer but a classically liberal one...or dare I say; a libertarian one.

  • ||

    Perhaps the fact that, despite the rantings of radical feminism, in modern society, the vast majority of men are NOT rapists.

    To be a rapist, you have to have sex with a woman against her will, which can have very serious consequences. To want to have sex with a woman against her will, all you have to do is want it, which avoids much of the negative downside of actually raping a woman.

    I'm aware that enjoying fantasizing about something is not the same as actually wanting to do it, but the popularity of rape scenarios, both in mainstream entertainment and in porn, would prevent me from concluding that most johns don't have a desire to have sex with a woman against her will. (Not necessarily as the only thing they want from a woman, but among the things they would enjoy doing sexually.) Radley may have access to some evidence that makes him more confident in making that statement than I would be--I'm wondering if he might share what that evidence is.

  • Boston||

    popularity of rape scenarios

    As a common sewer of the adult arts, i dont think this is as popular as you think it is.

  • Boston||

    In terms of percentage of adult entertainment produced that is.

  • Kolohe||

    Britain turned south once the Scots banned swords.

    o, omeone ay uck hit, ent trait to lammer?

  • Reformed Republican||

    Parse,
    There are women who fantasize about being raped. Does that mean they really want it to happen to them? The whole point of a fantasy is that it is not really happening.

  • Sean Connery||

    It looks like this is my lucky day! I'll take The Rapists for $200.

    Alex Trebek: That's "Therapists. . . ."

    Kolohe,

    Excellent! You, too, feel the Trebek flowing through you!

  • ||

    On rape scenarios in pornography:

    Since the feminist definition of rape is any sex that is not 100% enthusiastically engaged in by the entirely sober female partner, in their perception rape pornography is extremely widespread. Mild reluctance to engaged in anal sex? Rape porn. Drunken party orgy? Rape porn. Sleepy sex? Rape porn. Professional porn in which the actors are doing it for money, and therefore under "economic duress"? Rape porn.

    When you define rape down, all pornography is rape porn.

  • ||

    No Reformed Republican, I'm not suggesting that women who fantasize about rape actually want to be raped--that's why I wrote "I'm aware that enjoying fantasizing about something is not the same as actually wanting to do it." But your suggestion of the other extreme--that fantasizing about something necessarily means you would not enjoy that actually doing it--doesn't make anymore sense than claiming that anyone who fantasizes about rape desires it in real life.

    I'm not even claiming that Radley is wrong--only that I'd like to see actual evidence to support his suspicion that not many johns would enjoy having sex with a woman against her will.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    only that I'd like to see actual evidence to support his suspicion that not many johns would enjoy having sex with a woman against her will.

    ...That's a little abstract, I think. I consider the desire to have sex with someone against that person's will pathological and I would be loathe to think that any subset of individuals other than rapists and serial killers harbor a serious compulsion to rape.
    Of course, I don't know. It would be a hell of a study to conduct.

  • dfd||

    Radley may have access to some evidence that makes him more confident in making that statement than I would be--I'm wondering if he might share what that evidence is.

    Maybe if you bothered to read what the post actually said you'd have noticed this part:

    The other sad irony here is that I would guess that all else being equal, most Johns don't want to have sex with a woman against her will.


    [emphasis added]

    It was simply a guess, and a very reasonable one at at that, I would think. If you don't think so it seems it is you who ought to provide evidence for the much less likely scenario where where most (or even a large percentage of) johns really do want to rape a woman. It seems much more likely on its face that the vast majority johns just want to get laid and leave, not engage in a violent attack on a woman.

    As for offering evidence you could start by offering some for the supposed "popularity of rape scenes" in pornography which, as Boston says is a very small percentage of porn. I've seen a lot of porn of various flavors and don't think I've ever seen a single rape scene. I know, as in all fetishes, it is out there, but it is clearly a very small percentage of overall porn production. People with violent fantasies who would act them out are, luckily (and without further evidence to the contrary) a rather small group.

  • Is this what it\'s like to be ||

    popularity of rape scenarios

    ...is the result of artificial scarcity. Legalizing rape would end the black-market in rape. But good luck waiting for the bluenoses in our country to do something that sensible!

  • ||

    Is this what it's like to be a troll?

    Yes. False equivalencies are common in trollish "arguments."

  • Is this what it\'s like to be ||

    Well. Now I feel raped!

  • Boston||

    It would be a hell of a study to conduct.


    I dont even know how you would conduct this other than some dubious survey or cross referencing sexual assualt charges with solicitations.

  • anarch||

    From a comment at Radley's Agitator website:

    >All prostitution is in America is is "pornography without anyone recording it."

  • anarch||

    From a comment at Radley's Agitator website:

    All prostitution is in America is is "pornography without anyone recording it."

    Which makes me wonder: How do porn actors, or for that matter, mainstream actors in mainstream movie sex scenes, avoid arrest for prostitution?

    (The server squirrel must not have liked my tags the first time.)

  • Boston||

    anarch,

    Try the link in my name for an article about the distinction.

  • Invisible Finger||

    If they cared about rape, they'd do something about prison rape. Fact is, these government officials are sick fucks who sort of LIKE rape.

  • ||

    I think Balko is right about most johns not wanting to sleep with trafficked women. I have hired a prostitute once (in Amsterdam) and certainly would not have done it if I thought the woman had been trafficked.

    [i]So, how come prostitution is legal in Nevada, but illegal prostitution has not lost any of it's "market share"?[/i]

    Um, because it's illegal in Clark County, Nevada, where Las Vegas is located? There are services which drive you in a limo to brothels outside the border of Clark County, but most guys would rather bonk someone in their hotel rooms.

  • cunnivore||

    I'm surprised Reno hasn't surpassed Vegas yet as the place to go, for that very reason. Reno is much closer to the edge of its legal-prostitution-free county than Vegas is.

  • Boston||

    They don't have the Wynn in Reno, thats for sure.

  • ||

    Well, I see that the British government has figured out how to boost their airline industry. Look for twenty direct flights a day from Heathrow to Bangkok if this becomes law.

    -jcr

  • ||

    the feminist definition of rape is any sex that is not 100% enthusiastically engaged in by the entirely sober female partner

    Don't forget that it becomes rape if she changes her mind anytime in her life after that, like if the bastard doesn't call her again.

    -jcr

  • perilisk||

    "Perhaps they should do what is right and not go to any prostitutes. Is that really not an option? Prostitution victimizes all women."

    Prostitution doesn't devalue women, it devalues sex, which means women who didn't get with the liberated program will lose their meal ticket.

  • anarch||

    Thank you, Boston, I will study it at my next opportunity.

  • ||

    If this gains traction it will not be long before liberals and libertarians argue that it would be preferable for johns to be declared mentally ill and diverted to "treatment" programs. Libertarians may reject the punitive state, but they overwhelmingly embrace the "humane" therapeutic state.

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