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Hookers and crooks

2009-09-30 10:18
This was a slogan on the cover of a photocopied punk fanzine in the early '90s who, in true anarchist fashion, had re-published some of my scribbling without even bothering to tell me about it, let alone pay me.  I was tempted to find out where they lived, just so I could test their commitment to their "property is theft" philosophy by stealing all their hair gel.

I thought the slogan was pretty cool though – partly because it echoed my sentiments, but also because it used the word "whores", which I've always felt should replace the word "girls" on stripper joint signs.

But I digress. According to the top story in Monday's Cape Argus (which carries a hefty "adult" section in its classifieds), police in Zilleville have launched a new vice squad to arrest as many street prostitutes – not the top totty at the brothels escort agencies, though – as they can find. And they've been busy little bees already, taking down 18 bloodthirsty hookers over the weekend. This is despite a court interdict won by the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) to stop police arresting prostitutes without going through all the bother of actually prosecuting them.

In the rape and murder capital of the world, I'm sure the crime-struck, tinfoil hat paranoids are all sleeping a lot safer in their sweaty beds.

Now I've never had the desire to use a prostitute... Actually, that's not entirely true. I once hooked up with someone who just happened to be a prostitute. No money was exchanged and I think she used me just as much as I used her, so I don't think that really counts. But just for the record, I feel more or less the same way about prostitution as I do about abortion, gambling and addictive drugs (especially alcohol). I'm not PRO any of them, and apart from the drugs, I've never indulged.
Except for the gambling. But I was only 15 at the time, it was Sun City, and I had to constantly dodge security guards between the rows of slot machines, so I don't think that really counts either. I think I'm safe with when it comes abortion, at least.

Calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution is like begging for a stream of angry letters from cubicle commentators who sign their names "Disgusted in Rosebank", "Shocked in Newlands" or something along those lines. Detractors say that prostitution attracts other crime, and, says a member of the new vice squad, legal prostitution could lead to legalised avenues for criminals to engage in "money laundering" – which I can only imagine would take some serious business away from our perfectly legal casinos.

Prostitution attracts crime because – duh! – we made it a crime. Criminalise anything, and all you end up with is more criminals and even less control. Thanks to the Prohibition laws passed in the 1920s, the Mafia in the US made a killing, and apparently still control a formidable chunk of the country's alcohol distribution. So there's a lesson.

As for halting society's "moral decline", prohibitive laws are about as effective as a sock puppet without the hand. People are going to morally decline on their own sweet time, no matter what the laws say - and good luck to them. But I know that when I'm alone, walking down a dark street, the possibility that a prostitute might leap out from a doorway and offer me a blowjob for R50 is the least of my worries. And even though I live a block away from Cape Town's notorious Long Street, I'm not too concerned that club-creepers might be carrying drugs either. Call me a communist homo Satanist for even thinking it, but with our limited law enforcement resources, shouldn't we be prioritising this whole crime thing?

Since it's far easier to prey on prostitutes on streets and druggies in bars than vicious gangsters with guns, I doubt the cops will be leaving their comfort zones any time soon. So if I were a street whore, here's what I would do: I'd get myself a cellphone with a good quality video recorder, and if the cops came, I'd say I'm only available for porn shoots. It's still perfectly legal to have sex for money if you're recording it. But since nobody's reading this any more because everyone stopped at the bit where I talk about having sex with a prostitute, I'll just end off with gaargble haargble vas deferens doorknob Bunsen burner, and that's why my penis is the only biological entity clearly visible from space. True story. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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