Honolulu Police Department Asks State Legislature To Allow Officers To Have Sex With Prostitutes

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Honolulu Police Department ShieldIn what is proffered to be helpful in the combat of prostitution and the underlying organized crime that often promotes this, members of the Honolulu, Hawaii police department have requested legislative authority to engage in sexual relations with prostitutes in order to further infiltrate the illegal profession.

This was an amendment to a bill that would expand the enforcement and prosecution of sex industry players that has passed the state House and is coming before a Senate committee.

Authorities say they need the legal protection to catch lawbreakers in the act, and strict internal controls prohibit misconduct. But is this a novel idea to break up the sex traffic industry or one that may lead to exploitation of its vulnerable members?

 
[For full disclosure your author has a family member who is a Honolulu Police Officer.]

“The procedures and conduct of the undercover officers are regulated by department rules, which by nature have to be confidential,” Honolulu Police Maj. Jerry Inouye recently told the House Judiciary Committee. “Because if prostitution suspects, pimps and other people are privy to that information, they’re going to know exactly how far the undercover officer can and cannot go.” The bill aims to ratchet up penalties on johns and pimps while leaving the punishment for selling sex as a petty misdemeanor.

chinamans-hat-hawaii

Partaking in criminal activities is an expected reality of undercover assignments. Many states have laws that permit law enforcement officers to use illegal drugs while on duty to help gain acceptance into the criminal enterprise and infiltrate it as well as arresting those who sell controlled substances. In fact, many criminal organizations have required “pledges” to engage in illegal activity in order to help screen out police officers. When this is done, it is incumbent to report these otherwise illegal activities to their agency as soon as permissible.

Doing so, especially with regard to controlled substances has caused several officers over the years to become addicted and had to take medical retirements. The risks certainly would be present with prostitution from sexually transmitted diseases and other hazards.

But critics, including human trafficking experts and other police, say it’s unnecessary and can further victimize sex workers, many of whom have been forced into the trade.

Expert Derek Marsh says the exemption is “antiquated at best” and that police can easily do their jobs without it.

Honolulu Chief Louis Kealoha
Chief Louis Kealoha

“It doesn’t help your case, and at worst you further traumatize someone. And do you think he or she is going to trust a cop again?” asked Marsh, who trains California police in best practices on human trafficking cases and twice has testified to Congress about the issue.

It’s not immediately clear whether there are similar provisions in place elsewhere either at the state law or department policy level. But advocates were shocked that Hawaii provides an exemption to prostitution laws for police, suggesting it’s an invitation for misconduct.

“Police abuse is part of the life of prostitution,” said Melissa Farley, the executive director of the San Francisco-based group Prostitution Research and Education. Farley said that in places without such police protections “women who have escaped prostitution” commonly report being coerced into giving police sexual favors to keep from being arrested or harassed.

There have been instances of police being accused of victimizing sex workers across the nation. In Philadelphia, a former officer is on trial facing charges of raping two prostitutes after forcing them at gunpoint to take narcotics. A former West Sacramento, Calif., officer is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of raping prostitutes in his police cruiser while on patrol. And last year in Massachusetts, a former police officer pleaded guilty to extorting sex from prostitutes he threatened with arrest.

There are many nuances and novelties on this approach to prostitution. What do you think?

By Darren Smith

Sources:

Honolulu Police Department
Fox News

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

31 thoughts on “Honolulu Police Department Asks State Legislature To Allow Officers To Have Sex With Prostitutes”

  1. Don de Drain:

    you are right, pimps should be the focus. And there should be serious punishment.

  2. The proposal under consideration is a very bad one, for many reasons. While I agree that the optimal solution is to make prostitution legal and regulate it, that is not going to happen politically. Rather than “going undercover” to target the prostitutes, target and prosecute those who recruit and control the women (pimps, etc.). For an interesting discussion of prostitution in the US, read A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell.

  3. I can see the purpose of the legislation, but I don’t agree with it. Where I live we had a series of cases thrown out when the police admitted they had been having sex with the prostitutes and then arresting them for soliciting.

    I come from a town that had recognized houses of prostitution. They were on my paper route and I delivered to them 6 days a week. The girls went to the doctor to be checked once a week and more often if something cropped up. During WWII, when food rationing was a big problem, it was “the” place to eat since they were bartering sex for food. You had to get a reservation months in advance to eat with ‘the girls.’ I have no problem legalizing prostitution.

  4. just legalize drugs and prostitution. Everyone is trying to hard to “nuance” and control something that is shown by history to be uncontrollable unless draconian measures are taken.

    A legislative body cannot conceive of all of the variables necessary for control by law enforcement.

    Legalize both, have some minimal regulations and quality control and some small amount of tax or not.

    We have spent too much money and energy controlling adult decisions.

    I dont understand addiction and I certainly cant understand why people pay for sex when it is so abundant.

    I cant even understand why someone would alter their mind with drugs, most must be miserable human beings trying to escape reality. Well the last 6 years of liberal thought in action has probably created some new addicts so my apologies, I can understand that.

    And what sort of person uses a prostitute? Are you so emotionally fuked up you cant have a normal relationship?

  5. I just wish they would haul all the prostitutes off the streets and make sure they are given alternative means to earn a living… if they actually like the “job” they can go back to it…otherwise they have been given freedom…and of course throw the pimps in jail for a long, long time. Maybe education of our men folk, when teens, to respect women. Do we have to issue ‘dollies’ to every male to make sure they don’t have to stick that thing into a real live female.?..after all when it’s prostitution it’s not exactly ‘love’ anyway..just an itch that needs scratching….please just scratch your itches in private and stop using live women as scapegoats – do you not ever think about what the recipient of your actions actually feels about this activity ????? Makes me want to puke to think about it – don’t you care that she actually LOATHES YOU and would really like to kill you herself a little piece at a time ?

  6. Let me see…they are going to take advantage of the illegal service and then they are going to arrest the person who just provided it. What a crock. If the legislators buy this they are both corrupt and crazy but then we probably already knew that.

  7. This is a ridiculous attempt to allow the police to engage in an illegal act, under the guise of law enforcement.
    Giovanna,
    $60,000 a year of welfare benefits??? as rcampbell requested, Please give us a citation to that claim.

  8. Giovanna

    Consider:

    A) “…It has been reported that welfare recipients receive a whopping 60,000 per year….” This might be, and quite likely is, incorrect information.

    “…It has been reported…”. By whom?

    B) “…I also wonder why there is any prostitution in Hawaii…”. Hawaii is a very expensive place to live.

    C) And most importantly——male tourists and conventioneers from around the world with desire and money to spend. From the prostitutes’ standpoint, it’s pure capitalist entrepreneurism. I guess I don’t see any rational justification for even mentioning Hawaii’s social safety net.

  9. There was a story about this on NPR in the past day or so. This proposal stinks. What if the prostitute is an under age minor? And would somebody please explain how the risks outweigh the benefit. There is a high risk of taking something home that you can’t get rid of. Also, how is going through with a sex act going to improve the chances of catching the real bad guy, the pimp?

    Anyone bother to ask spouses and significant others what they think about this?

    Sex workers, both male and female, are often more victim than perpetrators. As has been written, it is “the oldest profession.” The Honolulu PD is not going to eliminate or even slow down the sex trade. The best they could hope for is to reduce the victimization of sex workers. Prostitutes are fungible. Arrest one and the pimp will just find more.

  10. Its is a bad idea. Sex trafficking is a serious issue that all semi descent human beings should find abhorrent. But this is not the way to combat this problem. The moral police need to get off their podium and let people live. Where harm comes to other people, by all means take action to help. But a blanket ban on selling sex is not the answer (see “drug war”). If a ban were effective, then it wouldn’t be so easy to find prostitutes (see “drug war”).

  11. I see more trouble brewing in the future, if law enforcement is allowed to have sex for “law enforcement purposes.
    I also wonder why there is any prostitution in Hawaii, which has the highest welfare benefits of all the 50 states in the union. It has been reported that welfare recipients receive a whopping 60,000 per year.

  12. No wonder Chief Kealoha has a smile on his face. The job doesn’t pay much but the benefits… !!!

  13. Where is the unambiguous boundary between reducing crime and increasing crime enhancement, in terms of public safety, law, and law enforcement?

    Does, or does not, doing what are labeled as criminal acts, done by law enforcement persons, decrease or increase the number of criminal acts that occur?

    For me, committing criminal acts, regardless of supposed intent, simply adds to the number of criminal acts that happen, if only because so doing may model the unconsicous/preconscious lesson that it is okay for some people to commit criminal acts.

    Is it really only those persons who actually commits criminal acts who commit actual criminal acts?

    Will having police officers commit criminal acts in pursuit of crime reduction only actually work after it is well established through trial and error, that such a method simply does not work?

  14. 25 years ago, this bill would’ve convinced me to become a policer officer! Lol!

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