Melissa Farley, My Unfortunate Name Sharing Foe

Okay, so this probably the least offensive thing she could ever say, pointing out the double standard that clients of sex workers are never jailed at the frequency that sex workers are.

Posted by: Melissa Gira More stats

3 Responses

  1. Interestingly enough, San Francisco (Ms. Farley’s hometown, as well as my own) was the exception to that rule for years. In 2003, there were 1,276 prostitution arrests, of which only 383 were women.

    http://stats.doj.ca.gov/cjsc_stats/prof02/38/16.htm

    This goes back at least as far as 1999, when only 193 out of 1704 people arrested for prostitution in SF, were women, and probably started a few years before that.

    But in 2004 this trend started to reverse, putting the year end prostituion arrest totals at 460 for the men and 599 for the women. The most recent year I could find data for (2005) showed an overall decrease in prostitution arrests, but there were nearly 50% more women arrested than men (reflecting the average national male to female arrest ratio for solicitation).

    So, what happened to cause this change? Well, in January 2004, San Francisco inaugurated Kamala Harris as its new District Attorney. While it may sound strange that having a woman (and a feminist) as DA would lead to vice cracking down on the alleged “victims,” that is exactly what happened.

    Our old DA, Terrence Hallinan, was opposed to criminalizing sex work, so he refused to prosecute sex workers. So when the police brought them in on solicitation charges, they had to let them go again, making vice stings an unjustifiable waste of police resources. Unfortunately reverse-stings really took off.

    I find it odd that a woman whose political career really took off when she was so young, with the help of her much older, powerful, well connected “boyfriend” Willie Brown; wouldn’t be more sympathetic to our plight. Maybe she’s just always had a thing for frumpy, old, unattractive men. Or maybe she just doesn’t see the correlation.

    In any case, Kamala Harris is pretty tight with Norma Hotaling, and presumeably Melissa Farley as well. She helped author the CA state anti-trafficking bill (which would be fine if the law enforcement focus stayed on involuntary servitude) and she’s given a lot of money to Hotaling’s programs. I think, maybe she’s starting to wise up. I wish she’d listen to some of us for a change, though, instead of only listening to what those nut-bag, anti-sex crusaders are telling her.

  2. Where exactly are Farley and her rad fem colleagues? I thought they were so into the war against trafficking They are very quiet when their anti prostitution czar turns out to be hiring escorts.

    Who is the bigger hypocrite? Tobias, for being the anti prostitution czar whose war on trafficking is a front for he and his allies to have the entire USaid pie.

    Or the rad fems who shout so loudly at sex workers and sex worker rights activists who are allegedly heretics to women. Yet when their leader gets caught, seems there is no criticism for his using “prostituted women”…………

    perhaps they are afraid to jeopardize their huge stash of funding? Or perhaps they really don’t care about the issue, just the power the money and funding gets them.

  3. I’m also from San Francisco and I’ve always been pretty disgusted by the too-cosey relationship between Norma Hotaling and the District Attorney’s office, as well as the SFPD vice squad. The whole “john’s school” thing is a fucking racket, really – Hotaling gets a captive audience of johns to slap around and the vice squad gets money directly from the program. I’ll have to find this, but I remember the Chronicle running a story about how the SF vice squad was mismanaging the money they got from the john’s school program – how they pretty much got the money as an open coffer that they didn’t have to account for. The whole thing is basically just a legalized shakedown of tricks.

    Similarly, arrested prostitutes are often forced into Hotaling’s SAGE program as a condition of release.

    What’s interesting is how strongly this contrasts with San Francisco’s attitude toward indoor prostitution, which is almost entirely left alone. Actually, most jurisdictions don’t go after indoor prostitution very strongly, because its inherently difficult to enforce. But San Francisco is particularly tolerant, to the point where the O’Farrell Theater and some of the other local strip clubs are damn near open brothels.

    I can understand why a community would want to keep prostitution off of the streets, but supporting hard-line abolitionists when dealing with street prostitution coupled with a hands-off approach to indoor prostitution comes across as a glaring contradiction.

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