The "erotic services" shell game: hypocrisy online

The "erotic services" shell game: hypocrisy online

Summary: It is memorialized as the world's oldest profession. The movie Pretty Woman glamorized it.


It is memorialized as the world's oldest profession. The movie Pretty Woman glamorized it. Congressmen and Governors get in trouble over it.

But what it isn't, is on craigslist anymore. A group of state attorneys general's have browbeat craigslist into closing the "erotic services" section.

Web 2.0, meet Hypocrisy 1.0. Online storage, meet online censorship.

Oh, and "erotic services" - meet "adult services" Yup, craigslist is replacing "erotic services" with "adult services." Which is completely different because - well - because "erotic" sounds fun and "adult" sounds boring.

Your dentist might advertise cheap root canals in "adult services." Tax prep software. DUI lawyers. Hair implants. Face lifts. Credit card counseling.

Yuck. Double Yuck.

Adult city, you and me . . . . But if it makes the nation's attorneys general happy. . . .

Privacy? Get over it. If Sun's McNealy is right, we have no privacy on the Internet. For the first time the whole sordid range of human misbehavior - much first documented in the Bible - will be public. In real time.

Then what?

Sick is the new normal? We'll either have to pretend that normal human behavior is sick. Or accept that what consenting adults choose to do in private is none of the state's business.

For all its promise, the Internet may simply enable a new, global prudery and repression. To paraphrase a keen observer of human behavior: "sinners cast the first stone."

The Storage Bits take This is a classic shell game played with fig leaves. The state AG's get to pretend they're tough on crime while the only thing that's really changed is a section name on craigslist.

What about crime? As craigslist notes, the assault rate for cl users is much lower than for print classifieds. Criminal predators will use whatever works.

Craigslist has gone above and beyond duty and the law to reduce illegal offers. The most likely outcome though is that someone else takes advantage of cl's tougher requirements. Like most efforts to control "vice" the AG's will simply drive it somewhere harder to police.

Comments welcome, of course. Guys: think it can't happen to you? Read about Belle Gunness, America's most prolific female serial killer.

Topics: Storage, Browser, Hardware, Mobility

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  • Why dont they just make it legal, regulate and tax the crap out of it.

    If many law abiding citizens continue to break a particular law then the law is no longer socially justifiable. Laws are simply social control over behavors that are unwanted.

    Its the same with pot and speeding. Many people smoke pot and many people speed(like me).. hopefully not at the same time.

    Its another law that needs to be repealed.

    Its funny though.. you see in many areas of the country.. enforcement of said laws is completely driven by local citizens objections to the practices. Most dont care about prostituion, pot or speeding and therefore there is lax enforcement.

    The main objection to prostitution is street walkers and disease. Make it legal, they all go to one area where they can be and people can go. Regulate it and disease is kept to bare minimum or non-existant. Then tax it.. make money to fund schools, build infrastructure and local projects.
    • Agree

      Your suggestion takes care of Sex and Drugs. As far as Rock and Roll, we still need to kick the RIAA'a behind on that.

      • Erotic Services

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    • Bacause it makes TOO much sense.

      Any time society outlaws a product or service we create an opportunity for (organized) crime and create victims of same. Please give me an historical example where that has NOT been the case, if you can.

      War on drugs? How is that going? Close to winning yet?

      I guess when half the population believes the earth is about 6-8000 years old, expecting a bit of common sense is just too much.
      • And.....

        It would be included in the GDP and maybe even the CPI. How about creating some economic growth and maybe distributing some coupons/discounts during the recession?
      • It does create a black market which encourages organized crime

        However, there is still an aspect of the prostitution market that has zero chance of being legalized.

        The the use of minors in prostitution will never be legalized because it is too objectionable, and it always involves an innocent victim. Legalizing the abuse of people to prevent the abuses created by organized crime is not a solution.

        Furthermore, there are those that would argue that even adult prostitution constitutes abuse as those who choose such career's often do so because sexual abuse in their childhood or out of financial desperation.
        • Re: It does create a black market ...

          In what way was anybody talking about children? This is a discussion about adult prostitutes and adult 'johns'.

          Nobody thus far has even mentioned children. That is a common retort though. "You can't legalize this. Think about the children"

          As far as your final post, if you were completely destitute, with no options except prostitution, would you rather it be legal or illegal? I mean, if there is no other option, wouldn't it be nice if it were legal and at least relatively safe?
          • The other option is education and hard legitmate work

            Prostitution presents the illusion of an easy out, and when the money comes people forget what they are giving up for it. Of course they don't completely forget which is why other addictions usually follow. It is only a cycle of pain.
          • Beg to differ

            I have friends who became prostitutes to pay for their mistakes in drug addiction. I have never had anyone I know go the other way.

            Once clean, they rarely decided to continue prostitution, except for a couple. It was a choice made out of desperation, but for at least a few, one that they didn't mind continuing.

            If what you are claiming that they are giving up is some sense of dignity, then you have yet to realise that that is an internal decision, and that no act, large or small, can take it from you. You must give it up yourself.

            If you choose to be dignified, and retain your self worth, while selling sex to the desperate and lonely then you can, as one friend well put it, "Serve and help humanity, all of it, not just the good looking ones."

            So while I realise that most pious Puritanistic fellow Americans would cringe at such a thought, there is more than one way to help someone. And if the service you supply is sex instead of Prozac, is it helping any less?
          • * * * BS ALERT * * *

            Education is NOT a viable option.

            If you want the education necessary to pull in the kind of money a prostitute can make, you almost have to turn to prostitution to have enough to afford the education. School isn't free, it isn't cheap, and there isn't really anyone, private or governmental, providing funding that's usable by the numbers of women who are engaged in prostitution.


            If it existed, and it was cost effective, these women (and men) would be doing it. They looked at their options and chose prostitution as best meeting their needs.

            It's really a shame so many people are incapable of the empathy and intelligence necessary to realistically put themselves in another's shoes. Far easier to ignorantly claim other acceptable options exist.
          • If an immigrant with no money and no friends can do it

            then all these people who claim prostitution is the only way are slackers. The world is full of people who are unwilling to go through the hard work, pain, and dedication necessary to truly change one's self.

            You say that hard work isn't option, but if you believe that then you don't know what hard work is.

            I know immigrants who came here with no money and no friends now they have both in abundance and they didn't have to sell their bodies to get it.
          • re:* * * BS ALERT * * *

            Absolutely well stated!
          • An intelligent person uses everything at their disposal

            In a capitalistic society the name of the game is to use every resource you can to be better than the next guy. Smart people will always use every asset they have available. If a woman is attractive, why should she not use that for gain? It's perfectly acceptable when they're in magazines, TV and movies. But to use the direct result of that attractiveness, aka sex, for financial gain is illegal? If that same woman uses it to get someone to buy her a drink, or dinner, or anything else it's okay. Just no direct financial compensation?

            Don't go on about "what a terrible environment it will create". In [b]every[/b] instance of legalized prostitution or drug use there is a substantial decrease in crime. It undercuts the money made by organized crime. Which means it not only eliminates the people from the system who are being arrested for those reasons, it removes the revenue streams for the truly bad people out there.

            Of course, there's 2 types of people in the country who are afraid of legalized prostitution. People who want to shove their religous beliefs down other people's throats and people who are afraid if it were legal, they wouldn't have the willpower to stay away. If you don't like prostitution, don't partake of the service. The worst thing is, as a smoker, I feel the government has more of a right to decide I can't smoke in indoor public places than they do deciding if prostitution is illegal.

            My vote? Legalize all of it, tax it like crazy and eliminate income tax and the IRS. Let people pay for taxes on their vices. Like we do now with cigarettes.
          • You say it is only religion

            but there are people who engage in sexual activity primarily due to a low self esteem and a feeling of worthlessness. These people are only going to get hurt more when they are given prostitution as an answer.

            You don't feed the addiction, you treat it. You don't feed the vice, you treat it. Their suffering should not be overlooked.
          • And some people

            just like to have sex! Why should your opinion on it matter more than mine? Or anyone else's for that matter?

            Your posts in other topics make you seem a somewhat educated individual, but you've done an excellent job of throwing that right out the Window here. Now you sound like a closed minded religous zealot.
          • You are simplifying human behavior and psychology

            Sex is not basket ball, golf, or tic tac toe. It has a complex psychological component that even the most apathetic of individuals are subject too.

            I don't have to quote a religious text that you find so offensive to demonstrate that.
          • What about Fornication?

            If you want to use the bible to justify keeping prostitution illegal... why aren't you out fussing against fornication? Why not use the laws to lock up everyone who is or has fornicated? Do you realize the problems fornication is causing this country? Incest? pre-teen prgnancy? unwed mothers? men who seduce then leave the no longer a virgin woman with prgnancy or AIDS or SIDS to deal with this alone or put it off on her parents? This country is going to hell and as you can see Fornication is the major cause of our problems... financial, physically and emothionally!!!
            You Are So Wrong
          • I'm not using the Bible to justify anything

            I have only mentioned the Bible to respond to a very specific question about the Bible. That is all.
          • Also, about the kids

            That is where the largest black market is.
          • re:Also, about the kids

            Then law enforcement needs to find a way of protecting kids and not worry about victimless consulting adult activity.