Warehouse F

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The Unseen Enemy
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San Francisco Voters Deciding On Prostitution Issue

By James Donahue

If it was going to happen anywhere in the United States, San Francisco was bound to be the place where voters would get to decide on the issue of legalizing the world’s oldest profession.

Concealed under the name “Proposition K” is the question of whether to allow prostitutes to work the streets of San Francisco without police harassment.

The issue can’t legalize the sale of sex for money since California state law forbids it. The measure only calls upon the police to spend their time doing more important things than making life difficult for people who are going to do what they do anyway. Proponents say passage will free the estimated $11 million spent by the police each year arresting prostitutes. It will also allow the prostitutes to organize for their rights and safety.

San Francisco has always been a wide-open place. This dates back to the Gold Rush days, when places along the pier were known as the Barbary Coast because they were a center for sex, gambling and drinking. Today the prostitutes are both male and female, and the trafficking is so heavy police are making more than a thousand arrests a year.

Opponents to Proposition K say they fear that the measure will make portions of the city even bawdier than they already are, and tie the hands of the police who also are battling to stay on top of the growing problem of sex slavery.

The sex slave trade, which appears to involve organized crime, has been reaching its ugly fingers into communities all around the world and the United States does not seem to be immune. This is such an ugly crime we find ourselves agreeing with the opponents of Proposition K.

We believe that consenting adults who wish to solicit for sex should be allowed to do their will, but we suggest that it be done in a more controlled setting. Licensing prostitutes and requiring regular health examinations like they do in Europe might help curb the growing problem of sexually transmitted disease and offer a public service at the same time.

Passing a law that orders the police to look the other way and let the prostitution go its merry way isn't a solution.

In case you are wondering, forms of prostitution are already permitted in two states. Nevada allows brothels to operate in some rural counties, and Rhode Island permits the sale of sex between consenting adults. But it must be done behind closed doors.