Sex Work

Texas Counties Say No to 'Prostitution Diversion' Mandate

|

daquellamanera/Flickr

Several Texas counties are opting out of a state law requiring the launch of controversial "prostitution diversion" programs. The 2013 law ordered counties with more than 200,000 people to start such programs and, in some counties, has spawned a robust cycle of police stings and social-services meddling aimed at "treating prostitutes like victims rather than criminals".

The state allowed for counties to apply for a waiver, however, and Dallas-neighboring Collin and Denton Counties did so soon after the law's passing. "It's just not an issue in Denton County," Judge Mary Horn told The Dallas Morning News. "We have not and we will not be doing anything on this."

"We have not and we will not be doing anything on this." Aren't those beautiful words to hear coming from a state official? But of course not everyone's taking kindly to this laissez-faire attitude toward the sex lives of others. Proponents of the diversion programs seem to think Collin and Denton county officials are being Pollyanna-ish about the problem: 

Renee Breazeale, a senior case manager in the Dallas County district attorney's office who started the program in 2007 with Dallas police Sgt. Louis Fellini, said she also isn't surprised by counties opting out. "We're a metropolitan area, so we're a little more open-minded," Breazeale said. "If you're in a community that doesn't really kind of force those issues forward, it's really easy to say, 'No, that doesn't exist here.'" 

In "open-minded" places like Dallas, monthly sting operations serve as the cornerstone of the program: 

Police go out and round up women and bring them back to a staging area, where they receive information, counseling and a run through the legal process.

As with similar programs in Arizona and New York City, those who meet certain criteria can opt for a "rehab" program instead of jail time. In contrast, the oh-so-backward folk of Denton and Collin counties seem to think that setting up special task forces and elaborate operations to ferret out people who may be having sex for money is a bit silly: 

Officials in Denton and Collin counties say that prostitutes, if they are in their jurisdictions, aren't at the street level. They are hidden from view in brothels or on posts on websites such as Craigslist and Backpage.com. Busting those prostitutes requires more proactive and lengthy investigations, police officials say.

(…) Plano police spokesman David Tilley said they only occasionally get complaints about a lone prostitute roaming the streets. And, he said, "getting one every so often doesn't really justify putting anyone to look at those things on a regular basis."

"I kind of have to agree with Collin County on this that it's not a problem that has reached a level where putting together a group would get a lot of attention or a lot of traction—at least in our city," Tilley said.

It's not much, but… in what's generally an endless stream of cities, counties, and states competing to overhype the problem of prostitution—and the need for ever-increasing state power and resources to combat it—any slight nod to reality is noteworthy and refreshing.  

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

40 responses to “Texas Counties Say No to 'Prostitution Diversion' Mandate

  1. As a resident of Denton County I’m very glad to here this- but part of me thinks it’s a cunning plan to make johns in the county feel comfortable with internet sex workers so they get BUSTED!

    It is good to know, however, that our sheriff’s department has better (or just other) things to do.

    1. It is good to know, however, that our sheriff’s department has better (or just other) things to do.

      For now.

      he said, “getting one every so often doesn’t really justify putting anyone to look at those things on a regular basis.”

      Sounds like if it becomes more frequent, they might change their minds.

      1. yeah- but the way things are set up here there’s probably not ever going to be a large number of street walkers vs. online self employed actors.

    2. Same here, Spencer. So glad I’m not a Dalllas Co resident any more, but I’m not comfortable yet saying that this is beneath Denton.

      By and large though, they seem pretty tame

  2. Who gives a fuck if you sell a fuck?

    1. Lots of statist fucks give a fuck, unfortunately.

  3. Police go out and round up women and bring them back to a staging area, where they receive information, counseling and a run through the legal process.

    I bet that really makes them want to earn a living on the up-and-up.

    1. Of course- because it’s just a lack of information that leads people into the sex trade. How can people not know this?

      1. So true. And, of course, no one’s involved in selling sex for the money, either. They’re just in it because it’s fun!

        1. No, the men are in to exploit and make money. the women are in it against their choice or because they don’t know better.

          C’mon- all open minded people know this.

    2. I’m sure they can always find a way of, uh, skipping the counselling and the legal process if they are young enough or still have all of their own teeth.

      1. Or have no teeth at all.

  4. Look, if the cops can’t/don’t bust prostitutes, how are they going to get laid via coercion?

    1. college girls who’ve been drinking and driving. Trust me- they’ve got a solution already lined up.

      1. College girls usually have parents with money who care. Who is a prostitute going to tell, her pimp?

        Remember how lazy cops are.

        1. Ok, COMMUNITY college girls.

        2. I assume the only time a young college female is going to offer services to a cop would be if her dad’s about to take her t-bird away for too many tickets.

          1. well, she had fun, fun, fun up until that point.

          2. Oh, I wouldn’t think it’s about her offering, but rather the cop demanding/alluding/threatening. Ever seen Bad Lieutenant? In one scene Harvey Keitel does exactly that and it’s filmed very graphically and disturbingly.

            1. Yes, a DUI stop with someone who’s got impaired judgment. Planted bag of drugs- or pretend drugs. Threat of jail time, getting kicked out of school fired, etc. Intimidation…

              I bet there are a lot of women (and men) who would crack under that pressure. Hell, if they can coerce confessions for murder, surely they can coerce a blow job from a drunk women at 3am.

            2. Wow. That is one dark movie.

              1. Yes it is. It is also very good. Abel Ferrara has done some really interesting work, like Ms. 45 and King of New York.

                1. King of New York – one of the best ever.

                  What’s better than Walken dancing to Schooly D? Not much.

          3. If she’s drunk, then the cops are most likely about to take her t-bird away.

    2. There’s always a good time to be found at a DUI stop.

  5. Officials in Denton and Collin counties say that prostitutes, if they are in their jurisdictions, aren’t at the street level. They are hidden from view in brothels or on posts on websites such as Craigslist and Backpage.com.

    My brother can confirm this (buyer, not seller).

  6. I’m surprisingly not disappointed in Collin County, for once! Not only has Plano allowed liquor sales, but now the county won’t fall for the prostitution diversion hype! It’s not quite libertopia, but it’s a start.

    BTW, we need a DFW meet up. Those East and west coasters can’t have all the fun!

    1. Damn, lots of DFW folks here. I wish I still lived there (may return in a few years anyway).

    2. Can 20 year olds rent hotel rooms on their own in Plano yet?

    3. When I used to have time to run a Liberty on the Rocks group (when I lived in Ft Worth) Jacob Sullum came out to speak and I think there were a lot of people I’d never met that came from reading the website.

      That was pre twins though. I ain’t got time for that now. I would, however, recommend a denton meetup using Denton’s liberty on the rocks group- assuming it’s still active.

  7. How does Fayette County feel about it?

  8. “We’re a metropolitan area, so we’re a little more open-minded,”

    As usual ‘open minded’ means ‘agree with me’.

    I wonder if we asked the women who are being rounded up if they counseled and informed or victimized what they would say.

    Also, if a woman takes the non-jail option how much will it cost her?

    I know nearly nothing about these TX programs but my cynicism comes to me honestly via other state crime fighting programs.

    1. ” Also, if a woman takes the non-jail option how much will it cost her?”

      I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

  9. Fuck, when I was young and had one of those 8 track tape players in my car, I had that ZZ Top album Tres Hombres with the songs la grange and beer drinkers and hell raisers, I thought that Texas was some sort of libertarian paradise, that if only I could one day get there, nothing but whorin and drankin! It sucks how all of those childhood dreams come crashing down…

    1. that’s a LIBERTINE paradise, not a libertarian one.

      1. Do they have roads in a LIBERTINE paradise? If so, it’s out for me.

      2. A libertarian paradise is likely to also be a libertine paradise as you can’t stop the libertines form doing their thing. It’s a paradise for anyone who wants to mind their own business and be left alone.

        1. I doubt it. There’s really no modern society for comparison but I think libertopia would end up being fairly moralistic. Libertine behavior tends to have some rather nasty long term affects on people and without a welfare state, the libertines would have to bear all the consequences themselves. Also, shunning could definitely be a thing in libertopia. I suppose it could be a Libertine paradise, provided that libertine has enough money to take care of himself and doesn’t mind being a pariah.

  10. So, basically, the “backward rednecks” take a more civilized attitude than their “enlightened” peers. That’s pretty funny.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.