April 3 2017
The police simply do not understand that the stings do not even remotely stop prostitution in Sarasota. Arresting the men accomplishes nothing. The same women work the North Trail year after year. The women, some homeless, are desperate. Many have drug issue and none have real employment. The police theory is that if they arrest the “johns”, it will somehow stop prostitution. Many of the men are from out of town and simply driving down the trail when they are waived over by a female undercover officer who gives them the eye.
Arresting the out of town “johns” accomplishes nothing.
They are not from here and will probably never be back. The police need to address the underlying cause. These women are so desperate that they are selling their bodies. Until that issue is addressed, the prostitution will continue.
Prostitution has been around since the beginning of time and it will never be stopped. The more progressive countries and more progressive States have realized that fact and legalized and regulated sex for money. There would not be human trafficking if prostitution was legalized and regulated. Here in Sarasota, men are arrested, publically humiliated and jailed for simply being lonely and wanting a casual encounter with another consenting adult.
What few people know is that there is a $5000 civil fine that comes along with a conviction.
That is financially a death blow to some poor working guy just trying to make a living.
As an experienced Sarasota criminal lawyer, I have handled sex cases for over thirty years. Unlike other sex crimes, prostitution involves consenting adults. At the high end hotels here in Sarasota prostitution is tolerated and working girls, expensive ones, regularly target wealthy lonely men. On the trail, it is another matter. I seriously question whether these sex stings accomplish anything other than generating revenue for the City and County. It ties up officers whose presence is needed elsewhere. We need to target burglaries, car break ins, aggravated assaults and other violent crimes where there is a real victim. Most importantly, we need to legalize prostitution.