Commentary

Letters to the Editor

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The way the prosecutors do it, pandering is a lesser offense included within the charge of pimping. If the defendant didn't cut a deal with the prosecutor, that would give the defendant two strikes.

Then we need to look at the federal crimes. The most-assuredly illiterate individual who was the pimp in the story, responsible for enticing the young lady from Phoenix to move to Denver to engage in prostitution, seriously violated the Mann Act, 18 USC 2421, which carries from ten to fifteen years. And since the state crimes are aggravated felonies, for federal purposes, this would allow the federal judge to move upward from the recommended sentencing guidelines by at least another few years. Then, of course, there are the federal and state, criminal and civil sanctions for tax evasion and other violations of the RICO (Racketeering, Influence and Corrupt Organizations) Act.

I don't agree with government legislating morality; it's an archaic concept that's a remnant of the unenlightened age when religion ruled the world. However, since we have the statutes; byzantine, jackbooted, fascist thugs in the police; and overzealous, incompetent prosecutors willing to ruin people's lives over something as stupid as marijuana, I'll just say that we have more than enough of a criminal-justice (I'm laughing here) system in place to prosecute this parasite on society.

Maybe when enough people have been convicted of all of these stupid crimes and the "felons" are in the majority, they'll get around to voting these dumbass old geezers out of the legislatures and institute a more progressive legal system.

David Burnham-Leigh
Denver

Mean streets: I am a fifty-year-old man who has known East Colfax intimately. From 1983 to 1985 and beyond, I was the only young man in Denver trusted to go to nearly every hooker-front location in town. My mission was to sell the girls condoms, perfumes and assorted sundries. The girls were good to me, and many became friendly acquaintances, a few actual friends. I was never a trick and never treated as one. I did not accept sexual favors as payment. I avoided sex for reasons of business and preference. But I got along good with a lot of girls.

Society's treatment of prostitution is massively hypocritical. The girls I knew were hardly criminal. Although some had abusive boyfriends -- thus causing them to want to blow their wad before getting home -- most of these girls did not have pimps, because they were off-street. Laws against prostitution are precisely what makes pimping profitable. No woman selling her body feels safe to call the police for anything, and thus such women are routinely abused and ripped off. Laws against prostitution are what draws crime to prostitution. The proposal to make repeat prostitution a felony is merely an extremely arrogant furtherance of the massive alienation these girls already know in their daily lives. If anything, a pimp like Kid Rock should be facing severe felony time for kidnapping as a result of the "trunking" of Asia, as reported in David Holthouse's article.

On the one hand, I am very happy to see hookers working on East Colfax, because it represents a form of defiance against laws and moral gestapo tactics that oppress everyone's human right to sell their sexual services. On the other hand, prostitution saddens me, because it is the primary exchange mechanism for sexual diseases that are rampant in Denver's crossroads population. It is absolutely immoral to criminalize prostitution. Instead of having police out trying to identify and arrest curbside hookers, police should be protecting them. They should focus instead on porch trespassers and pimps who kidnap and extort money in their system of glorified slavery. Instead of using police power to suppress a natural and humanly legitimate form of commerce, our local government should send out an army of undercover health professionals and concerned observers to encourage good health habits among hookers, many of whom begin this profession as desperate teenage runaways. There should be a civil system to protect these women from slavery, from extortion, from physical abuse and from the drug addiction that makes it all filthy. There should be shelters specifically for such women -- to network, to get off the streets, to learn the identities of violent predators and robbing tricks, and to get help and more direct access to economic resources.

Hookers are not inherently criminals. They are targets of social hatred. They are pawns of class antagonism between property values and human values. Every hooker is a human being who should, if she must, ply her trade freely without ever spending a night in jail unless she commits a real crime. The real crime here is our inhumanity toward this desperate creature surviving in the gutter.

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