Barton Street was once the Route 2 of the sex trade. Two weeks later, the prostitutes and their johns would re-take the streets.
It seemed to be an intractable feature of the neighborhood. Then, five years ago, the Pawtucket Citizens Development Corporation tried a different tack: direct outreach and services to the commercial sex workers.
The have been astounding. From toprostitution arrest rates dropped from forty-one to eight.
In one year, the of calls to the Pawtucket Police for the Barton Street neighborhood dropped by No Rhode Island agency would accept her, because of her gender status, but Project Renew found a drug rehab bed for her in New York and a social welfare agency, Crossro, to pay for her ticket. But she got clean and stayed clean for over two years.
In early November, the state entered a new era of ramped-up prostitution enforcement. But inprosecutors lost a case against some sex workers operating out of a Providence massage parlor, because indoor prostitution was not explicitly banned. Seven years later, the alleged Craigslist Killer, Philip Markoff, was charged with assaulting a sex worker and attempted robbery during an asation at a Warwick hotel.
Inthe state had added a human sex trafficking law, but the chain of criminality had a few broken links. Moralists, law and order, and sex worker advocates, civil libertarians and social workers agreed that a new law would not end indoor prostitution; minors should not be prostitutes and no one should be coerced into sex work. After that, there was violent disagreement that shoved the debate into public name-calling and widening rifts between potential allies.
Rethinking Arrest: Street Prostitution and Public Policy in Rhode Island was issued by the Family Life Center, a nonprofit that advocates for and provides social services to ex-offenders. The short-term effect was swift.
By Thanksgiving, one spa worker complained that her business dried up overnight.
Her co-workers had to decamp to spas in other states, where the activity was just as illegal, but not under a spotlight. The Phoenix, which normally printed two s of display advertising for massage parlors, saw its lineage cut in two.
But the arrests may not address the heart of the problem. Despite past laws that largely prohibited the buying and selling of sex, enforcement has almost exclusively targeted the most visible suppliers. Inthe Adult Correctional Institutions had held women for the crime of prostitution, either as a sentenced offender or an individual awaiting trial, times.
Some women for multiple instances. There were no men in jail for pimping, trafficking or buying sex.
And with a few exceptions, the arrest math comes out the same: Prostitutes are charged more often than their customers or managers by a factor of three-to-one, or eight-to-one, or eleven-to-one. In New York City, where the Enlightenment has not yet dawned, a nearly identical law has had the opposite effect.
It does reduce the visibility of indoor prostitution. And the closer you get to street level, the more dubious the view.
Ten years ago, with the help of her faith and a host of informal mentors, Felicia Delgado left the life. You have nothing.
The ACI provides each female offender with a risk assessment, counseling and discharge planning. And, says Director A. Yet 70 percent of female inmates are incarcerated for less than a year.
Half stay for less than six months. Ellen Liberman.
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