The city of LA is exploring a new idea to reduce prostitution. The plan is to use license plate scanners to track people who enter areas known for prostitution. The scanners read and record the license plates of any car that passes by it. They will then send letters to the address the car is registered to, about the car being in an area known for prostitution. The idea is that people will be too scared to enter these areas and prostitution will decrease. However, there are a lot of problems with this policy.
One of the most important principles in the American criminal justice system is that you are innocent till proven guilty. This policy is a slap in the face to that principle. The city is implying that anyone in one of these areas is guilty looking for a prostitute. There is no trial or even a cop writing a ticket. Simply being in an area known for prostitution is enough to get one of these letters sent to your home. While there is no fine or legal recourse from receiving one of these letters, those who developed this plan understand it is a punishment to receive one of these letters.
A second problem is that prostitution will move. Prostitution is similar to any business, location is very important. The prostitutes will just move to an area the costumers know they will not be tracked. This will not solve the prostitution problem, just move it around. This often happens with drug dealers. Cities will increase police in a area known for drug dealings. Once the dealers see the increase police presence they just move to an area with less police. This policy will not solve the prostitution problem, just move it around.
The last problem with this policy is that it does nothing to help the women. Trying to scare away the “Johns” will not get them better treatment from their pimps. This will not keep them from being beaten or exploited. This will not stop them from contacting STDs. This policy in no way protects the women.
If you want to help these women, then legalize prostitution. If prostitution were legal then they could operate like any other business. They could require the men to get a STD screening. They could call the police if they are being abused. This would also allow them to be the same as anyone else with a job. These women could put their money in a bank without fear of having to prove where their income is from. This would allow them to use their income on home loans, apartments, credit cards or car loans.
Just like any thing else that has faced prohibition, prostitution is more dangerous when illegal. You no longer hear of whiskey distilleries having shootouts with each other, which occurred under alcohol prohibition. Allowing the business to become legal will provide the women involved with a safer environment. The government has tried to ban many activities like drug, alcohol and prostitution that it finds morally wrong. However, the use of these vices is never eliminated. It is just driven underground, making it more dangerous for everyone.