My current state representative, Joanne Giannini, has helped out our neighborhood greatly. She works with a neighborhood group with which I work (and also run their website). However, she has recently gone crazy with the fight against indoor prostitution. She has sponsored a bill to band indoor prostitution in Rhode Island, where it is currently legal only through a loophole. She wants the police to be able to arrest prostitutes and throw them in jail.
I don’t support prostitution. I don’t see a reason why anyone would want to pay for sex. However, I do support the right for people to pay for sex and for people to sell their bodies for sex. I understand that some people are forced into the business, some even brought here from overseas for the sole purpose of being used as prostitutes. I don’t support that. I don’t see a problem with people who are willingly doing this to continue to do so.
What the RI General Assembly should be doing is legitimizing the sex industry. Regulate where brothels are allowed through zoning laws. This will prevent them from opening in residential neighborhoods. Regulate the business with random visits by social workers and health inspectors. This will keep the business clean and allow the employees to come forward to someone other than a cop if they are being forced into prostitution.
Most of the prostitutes in Rhode Island are doing it because they need the money. They are supporting their families. In a state with one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country, it is horrifying to think that the General Assembly is so heartless to force hundreds more people into unemployment. And not only will they be forcing them into unemployment, they will be forcing them into a life of crime. Putting these people in jail will cost our state and communities more than leaving the law as it stands. However, if we regulate and tax the sex industry, we will be putting money in the state’s coffers… money that the state desperately needs.
Shame on your Rep Giannini. Shame on all the members of our General Assembly who are buying the garbage spewed by the likes of Donna Hughes, the URI Women’s Studies professor who has made the sex industry her #1 enemy. I will be voting against Rep Giannini (and possibly Senator Maryellen Goodwin, if she also votes in favor of this) in the next election, not because she has been a horrible representative, but because she is putting her own personal moral beliefs before the needs of the state, including the needs of my community.