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There's a killer on the loose...
December 12, 2006 4:27 PM   Subscribe

There's a killer on the loose...and he's targetting working girls in your provincial English town. Some are in such dire straits that they go back out to work even after the first body was found. According to some, sex workers "are more terrified of starving than of murder." In the words of Carrie Mitchell, "It's no wonder when women are thrown off welfare...that they turn to prostitution to survive." "How do you ask the Police for help when you may have a warrant out for arrest and an ASBO?" Is it really unthinkable to consider the prostitutes claim: "Would decriminalisation really make women safer?"
posted by dash_slot- (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by dash_slot- at 4:28 PM on December 12, 2006


ASBO is a joke. Best way to keep someone in jail, no crime, must be mental.
posted by IronWolve at 4:30 PM on December 12, 2006


I had never heard of those ASBO things. England was a lot worse off then I'd thought.
posted by delmoi at 4:32 PM on December 12, 2006


According to some, sex workers "are more terrified of starving than of murder."

the majority of women involved in prostitution do so to pay for drugs.

Hmm....
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on December 12, 2006


I must admit that I tend to assume that decriminalisation of sex work, prostitution, whatever it is in your neck of the woods, would make things safer. This is because the prostitutes could organise themselves, maybe in owner-operated brothels, and have improved health care (not to mention higher tax revenues).

Is it safer to be 'on the game' in the UK, say, or in Amsterdam or Nevada? Certain areas have legalised it there, right? Anyone have any stats on sex worker safety?

More on ASBOs from the Beeb here and from the esteemed seanyboy here.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:50 PM on December 12, 2006


When first reading about this story, I thought it was a publicity stunt for Dexter
posted by thanotopsis at 5:00 PM on December 12, 2006


This is a very interesting post, dealing with something that I feel strongly about. I feel about criminalizing prostitution as I do about criminalizing drugs - both do a lot more harm then good, and are the result of antiquated mores.

But...

I'm sorry, there's too much bad grammar here.

Is it really unthinkable to consider the prostitutes claim: "Would decriminalisation really make women safer?"


First of all, unless it's some sort of declaration, prostitutes'.

And the statement, Would decriminalisation really make women safer?, is just a further question. The claim is that decriminalization makes prostitutes safer.

...

I'm sorry, I don't know what got it to me. If I get flamed, I deserve it.
posted by Alex404 at 5:10 PM on December 12, 2006


Horrible. But I was positive that this was going to be about Jack the Ripper.
posted by lekvar at 5:13 PM on December 12, 2006


I lived in the UK for years and I just can't buy that starving is a real fear there. It's a pretty civilised country that way.

They were talking about legalising prostitution where I lived and it was shown that it wouldn't necessarily decrease illegal prostitution. Despite the sanctioned local red light district men still went to illegal brothels where young women from mostly Eastern Europe were tricked into sex slavery. These girls, unlike the local prostitutes, were young (often underage), pretty, cheap and too terrified to turn down any clients or sex acts they didn't want to perform. Sadly it appears that prostitution is about much more than just sex.
posted by fshgrl at 5:16 PM on December 12, 2006


Something similar is happening in Atlantic City.
posted by subtle-t at 5:19 PM on December 12, 2006


Alex404:
Quite acceptable comments. I don't know what got it to me, either...
posted by dash_slot- at 5:31 PM on December 12, 2006


"I was positive that this was going to be about Jack the Ripper."

Me too.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:33 PM on December 12, 2006


From subtle-t's link:
"Khadijah, 38, said..."I'm only out here on the days I absolutely need to," she said.

How often is that?

"Every day.""
posted by dash_slot- at 5:34 PM on December 12, 2006


If there were more legalized prostitution houses in the US...

Would the hookers in Nevada finally quit charging so damn much? Jeeeezuz!

(j/k)

I think that if it were to happen here, it would keep the sex workers safer. At the very least, it'd be one less thing for the cops to run around playing whack-a-mole against.
posted by drstein at 5:46 PM on December 12, 2006


I don't really care if legalizing prostitution would make prostitutes safer (hint: it would). OK, I care, but that is not the issue.

There is no rational reason why selling sex should be illegal. Any harm done by the illegality is too much, and it's trivially easy to demonstrate the harm done by making it illegal (see pimps; see dehumanization of prostitutes; see grave threats to prostitutes lives that go unreported/punished; see easier propagation of disease; see further marginalization of women that were already on the margin; etc) . Illegal prostitution is nothing but negative to a society. Legal prostitution simply allows behavior that many, many members of that society want, but some members don't "like;" it provides no tangible negative to a society (at least not in an era of birth control).

Making prostitution illegal has been 100% ineffective at curbing prostitution, and societies have had centuries to try and get some success in that putrid social experiment.

Ergo, prostitution should be legal.

I don't care if hookers hook for drugs or food or fun, they have every right to do it. And the Johns have every right to use their services. Period.

(now sex slavery is and should be illegal, but that has nothing to do with the issue here.).
posted by teece at 5:49 PM on December 12, 2006


There's a killer on the loose...and he's targetting working girls in your provincial English town.

TabloidFilter. Well, close - the proper tabloid jargon for the murderer is 'ripper' (more Yorkshire than Jack); and the women are always 'vice girls'.
posted by jack_mo at 6:26 PM on December 12, 2006


"sex worker". heh.
posted by quonsar at 6:32 PM on December 12, 2006


I too think that decriminalizing prostitution would be safest for all involved, most likely, but some of the things that last link arguesfor are bonkers. No mandatory HIV tests? Are you kidding? Even the porn industry does that, and presumably, prostitutes would have more clients than the porn industry has scenes.

And lastly, they say no zoning, licensing, or legalized brothels; this, coupled with the no health checks essentially boils down to 'no regulation,' which seems tremendously foolish, considering the potential for prostitution to serve as a hub of transmission of STD's and other agents.

Awful that this is happening. Hope they catch the guy soon.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 6:53 PM on December 12, 2006


To quote George Carlin: "Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. So why the hell isn't selling fucking legal?"
posted by clevershark at 7:16 PM on December 12, 2006


Prostitution was legalised here in New Zealand a few years ago. Tragically, legalisation alone hasn't been enough to protect sex workers - at least one (maybe two?) prostitutes were murdered in Christchurch recently.

Legalisation means its easier for the prostitutes to go to police, but I'm not convinced that it's made them any safer (I'm in favour of legalisation on freedom of choice grounds).
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:49 PM on December 12, 2006


The solution is to criminalize Christchurch.
posted by The Monkey at 7:56 PM on December 12, 2006


There's a difference between decriminalizing prostitution or other sex work--which is what is advocated in the post's last link--and legalizing it: the latter implies various regulations--often, registration, health checks, liscencing fees. In Nevada, it is legal only in brothels, and brothels were recently legalized in the Netherlands.
The Network of Sex Work Projects has more information.

On preview: yah, the distinction HighTechUnderpants makes.
posted by girandole at 8:12 PM on December 12, 2006


Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho ho ho!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 7:05 AM on December 13, 2006


I don't see how anyone could argue that prostitution is anti-social behavior.
posted by effwerd at 7:27 AM on December 13, 2006


I'm for legalized prostitution only because it makes sense. Though I do have stripper and escort friends who wouldn't appreciate the price and service pressures on their markets.
posted by effwerd at 7:32 AM on December 13, 2006


"Would decriminalisation really make women safer?"

Dealing with the criminal economy is not safe for anyone -- "Oh, he has a gun. Now what?" -- but imagine the dangers of working secretly and naked at night alone in secluded places with unidentified customers who crave physical contact of various kinds with you and who know you probably aren't going to call the cops for anything. I'm surprised more prostitutes, women and men, girls and boys, aren't killed.

Decriminalization or legalization of drugs would make prostitutes much safer -- many wouldn't be driven to do the job at all if they didn't need so much cash for overpriced (because illegal) drugs -- and decriminalization or legalization of both drugs and prostitution would spare users and prostitutes from having to deal with the criminal economy and its inherent dangers.

There might be other benefits, too. Make prostitution and drugs legal businesses and you'll involve government regulation, improve health practices, reduce the spread of disease, add more taxable businesses to the tax rolls, improve real estate values in the area, raise money for schools and roads, make room in prisons for actually dangerous people, etc.

The downside, of course, would be that more people would have sex and feel good. We can't have that.
posted by pracowity at 7:41 AM on December 13, 2006


Have the media given him a name yet? A name as in Ipswich Ripper or something like that? I yearn for the day when my home town (Bradford) doesn't outnumber the rest of the UK put together in named serial killers.
posted by vbfg at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2006


Ripper isn't appropriate -- he isn't ripping (cutting, tearing, hacking) like Jack did, he's strangling or smothering. The Ipswich Asphyxiator. The Suffolk Suffocator. The East Anglia Strangler. The Orwell Horror.
posted by pracowity at 8:42 AM on December 13, 2006



I don't see how anyone could argue that prostitution is anti-social behavior.


Presumably because you don't have to deal with clearing up used condoms and syringes from your doorstep, or have your kids run the gamut of crack dealers and pimps on their way to school.

We don't need to decriminalize prostitution, because it isn't actually illegal. Soliciting is, as is running a brothel and living off immoral earnings, and these tend to be the laws that sex workers fall foul of in the UK. That said, I totally support the creation of tolerance zones that allow street prostitutes to work legally in a safe, controlled environment, and New Labour missed a significant opportunity to do the right thing last year when it introduced its Prostitution Bill.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2006


Have the media given him a name yet? A name as in Ipswich Ripper or something like that?

Today's Daily Hate called him the "Suffolk Strangler"
posted by Luddite at 11:03 AM on December 13, 2006


>I don't see how anyone could argue that prostitution is anti-social behavior.

Presumably because you don't have to deal with clearing up used condoms and syringes from your doorstep, or have your kids run the gamut of crack dealers and pimps on their way to school.

I imagine you must not know where I live.
posted by effwerd at 3:16 PM on December 13, 2006


Alex404:
Quite acceptable comments. I don't know what got it to me, either...


You win.
posted by Alex404 at 6:50 PM on December 13, 2006


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