"We don't want to be known as the only state in the nation that has legal prostitution."


The Boston Globe has an interesting article on the efforts to criminalize prostitution in Rhode Island, where the practice is legal so long as it doesn't take place in public view. As the story notes:

Rhode Island began tacitly allowing prostitution after a 1970s lawsuit spurred legislators to rewrite old laws covering a variety of sexual behavior. The new law banned prostitutes from selling themselves on the streets but was silent about sex for money in private. That exclusion went largely unnoticed until 1998, when the state Supreme Court said the Legislature had intended to bar only prostitution in public.

After that, prosecutors sought to crack down on prostitution using other laws. They brought charges against alleged brothels for performing unlicensed massages, but the alleged brothels soon changed the names of their services to table showers and body rubs, which are not regulated activities, [Citizens Against Trafficking co-founder Donna] Hughes said. Thwarted, local authorities tried to force brothels out of business districts, saying that its workers were living in the businesses in violation of the zoning codes. But the alleged brothels moved to residential areas, Hughes said.

Rest here.

Meanwhile in Reason: Kerry Howley discusses legalizing prostitution with former sex worker Tracy Quon, Joanne McNeil explains how anti-prostitution activists have equated sex work with slavery for over a century, and Nick Gillespie argues that legalizing paid sex acts would bring in millions in new tax revenue.