Sex Work

Jacob Sullum Debates Prostitution on HuffPost Live


Today I debated prostitution on HuffPost Live. The news peg was "Operation Flush the Johns," a month-long sting conducted by police in Nassau County, New York. The other guests included Newsday columnist Lane Filler, Abt Associates researcher Michael Shively, and Dennis Hof, owner of Nevada's Moonlite Bunny Ranch. 

You can read my recent New York Daily News piece condemning Operation Flush the Johns here.

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  1. You know who else wants to tie up people and assault them, sexually or not?


    2. Barack Obama?

  2. You know who else wants to screw the public to get money?

  3. It’s Sociology 101 that wives want to criminalize husbands for spending money on another woman and that would-be wives support restricting sex bargains to marriage, which has become a government-enforced bad deal for men nowadays.

    1. “a government-enforced bad deal for men”

      That’s because of the divorce laws, not because of laws protecting marriage.

      And I didn’t see the whole video, but I hope they addressed the issue of protecting marriage. You can roll your eyes all you like, but how can you talk about consenting adults when the betrayed spouse rarely* consents?

      *Sometimes you hear about the “open-minded” spouse who is into a menage-a-trois or a menage-a-dix; I’m talking about the usual situation.

      1. Here’s what I object to: The government deliberately shaming people who are arrested, but who haven’t been convicted. Any shaming by the government should be only after conviction, if the law allows for such a penalty.

        Of course, a newspaper or Web site could conduct its own shaming campaign against alleged johns, so long as they know that if the mid-identify an innocent person, or someone wrongly accused, they may have to pay damages for defamation.

        1. Here’s what I object to: organizations that fund themselves by stealing arresting and imprisoning people who have not committed any real crime.

      2. menage-a-dix


  4. What are they debating. Skinny skanks vs fat skanks?

  5. So, is it the sex, or the mutually beneficial voluntary exchange of a service for money that they disagree with? (I didn’t watch, I just assume huffpo is in favor of more coercion in all cases)

    1. They’ve only one person on the panel advocating status quo, and he Dunphies the proceedings with claims about the success rates of actively targeting buyers. His basic rationale: double down on our bad policies and we’ll start seeing this thing turn around. His schtick is bland, transparent cop fellatio.

      1. After listening a little more, Shively makes a truly disingenuous argument which, for me at least, sinks his credibility. He claims that 80% of sex work occurs in the unregulated sector even where it is legal (extrapolating from numbers in New Zealand), and that sex workers are among the most frequently brutalized people on the planet, and draws the conclusion (while citing NAP, no less) that libertarians should be onboard with continuing to criminalize the trade. Because the State doesn’t perfectly control the industry, or because its regulations are ineffective and/or too onerous for compliance, we should dismiss decriminalizing the practice and allow cops a free hand in doubling down on prohibition.

        1. By this same logic, we desperately need to reinstate the 18th Amendment because moonshiners still operate illegal stills. Never mind that alcohol production is a safe, efficient industry, we can point to the multitude of ill effects attending consumption as further evidence (despite being irrelevant to question of legality) for recriminalizing it.

          Shively is a parasite, full stop.

        2. Sullum did a good job in pointing out that this is due to overregulation of the legal industry.

      2. Click it or ticket!

  6. OK wow that sounds like a solid deal ldude, I like it.

  7. Is this really being discussed as a new tactic in fighting prostitution? Some states (Oklahoma, for example) have been shaming johns based on arrest and not guilt for decades.

    Libertarian bona fides aside (yes, sex for remuneration should be legal) why is this case suprising?

    The argument Shivley immediately humps about “underage” prostitution (an oxymoron if it’s already illegal) being more prominent in places with legalized prostitution (which of course set age limits, etc) is a self-defeating argument.

    Prohibitions, inhabitions
    Criminals is movin large
    Snitches, bitches, intuitions
    Shit, man, pimpin is hard

  8. The owner of the Bunny Ranch seems to be bouncing between full on legalization and rent seeking.

    Which isnt surprising.

    He wants Las Vegas to strongly enforce their laws and he wants a brothel on every corner in NYC.

    1. No, it isn’t surprising. Hoff doesn’t want Clark County to compete with Reno.

      Btw… the …sex workers of Hoff’s Bunny Ranch supported Ron Paul, M.D. for President.

      “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here.”

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