Short Take: The List of Shame

The argument, spurious as it may be, is that the Sex Offender Registry is justified as a means of alerting people to the child molester or rapist next door. Not “fair enough,” but still, that’s the rationalization. So Florida has taken the “sex” part, ignored the rest of the reasoning, and run with it.

Florida lawmakers just voted to create a public registry of people caught paying or attempting to pay for sex.

After an initial defeat in the Florida House of Representatives, the registry—arguably the worst part of a new Florida crime bill capitalizing on human-trafficking propaganda—was revived and reinserted before the measure’s passage in the Florida Senate. The final version, approved last week, creates a database of convicted prostitution customers, targets strip clubs, and mandates that a slew of state workers and businesses jump through new hoops to accommodate a few politicians’ latest attempt to get their names in the press.

Whoever came up with the phrase “human trafficking” to apply to any sex work was brilliant, recognizing that stupid people would have a visceral reaction without ever laboring to consider whether there was anything, anything at all, that connected the conduct complained of with actual human trafficking.

But this list? On the one hand, it’s a hat tip to those pols who want to pretend to be woke about the rights of sex workers, women who choose to earn their living by having sex for a fee, while simultaneously shaming their customers by putting their names on a list. Human trafficking is the mantra to fill the gap, because people are still as susceptible to mindless visceral belief when the phrase is uttered as before. Whether this is particularly true in Florida isn’t yet clear.

This is a shame list. It’s not the first time some media-whore politicians played that game, as now-congresswoman, then district attorney, Kathleen Rice tried it. Shaming men who patronize prostitutes doesn’t distinguish between women who are kidnapped, held against their will, forced into prostitution, as the “human trafficking” cries suggest. It’s just about shaming men for sex, while pretending that women who elect to exercise their agency and engage in sex work shouldn’t be criminals.

Do we fear that these men who patronize prostitutes are going to break into your house and offer to pay for sex from your wife, your daughter? Do they cruise around in white vans, asking random god-fearing women with strollers whether they want to go on a “date”?

But what about men who are dangerous and abusive to prostitutes? No, this isn’t the list of them either.

“This isn’t creating a list of bad or dangerous clients; it’s just a list of clients who got caught by the police,” Kaytlin Bailey of Decriminalize Sex Work told Filter. “It’s impossible to tell the good guys from the bad if you lump them all together. Men who pay for sex aren’t predators. Predators who pose as clients are. When you make potential clients scared of giving sex workers the information they need to screen, you make it impossible to tell the difference between men who are scared and men who are scary.”

It’s almost as if there’s a stealth war on men and sex happening all around us. If volitional sex work is fine, why would their customers deserve to be shamed? Because they can and we remain every bit as susceptible to the vapid rationalizations for why men are the problem, even when they pay for sex from women who exercise their free will to sell it. For shame.

22 thoughts on “Short Take: The List of Shame

    1. SHG Post author

      I’m waiting for the day when you and Dave post the same vid independently. It’s got to happen eventually.

      1. Guitardave

        It already happened. I forget now what tune, but the edit function allowed me to delete it. I didn’t know what to think, as i’m not a ‘coincidence theorist’. Although the subject of the post narrows the possible choices, with the number of songs out there the odds seem high it wouldn’t happen…then again, musician brains do have a commonality in their weirdness.

          1. Howl

            Don’t be sad. It could happen again. Sometimes the appropriate tune is so obvious it jumps right out. And remember, the weirdness factor is always there.

            1. Guitardave

              The weirdness is a physiological reality…google “Muscian’s brains”…

              As Dr. Oliver Sacks writes in his book Musicophilia, “Anatomists would be hard put to identify the brain of a visual artist, a writer, or a mathematician – but they could recognize the brain of a professional musician without a moment’s hesitation.”

  1. Dan

    When did “volitional sex work” become “fine”? Prostitution is still illegal in the vast majority of the country (portions of Nevada notwithstanding), which (at least notionally) reflects society’s judgment that it isn’t “fine”. And I suspect (though of course it can’t readily be proven either way) if it were put to a local-level popular vote, there wouldn’t be much change.

    1. SHG Post author

      Much like the legalization of weed, the decrim and/or legalization of prostitution has been gaining strong support. You’re right that it’s not “fine” legally, as yet, and my characterization is, ahem, premature.

    2. spodula

      Considering the things you americans put people on various sex offences register for, i’m surprised its not already. After all, if having a drunken wazz in an alleyway suddenly makes you a dangerous sexual predetor, I’m sure doing something actually sexually related would certainly count…

  2. Skink

    The bill analysis:

    The crime bill was more than 300 pages. Until the end, when it was submitted to the Senate, the bill didn’t include sex trafficking and prostitution linked together as though the same thing, but it did have a section devoted to the sale of horse meat. How did it find a sponsor at the last minute?

    Footnote 44—Bob Kraft’s arrest. The human trafficking cops raided day spas in the guise of finding trafficking violators. For several years Florida AUSAs were hot on the idea to capture bad guys running illegals into the state. The epicenter, somehow, was my little piece of the Swamp. That business dried up about three years ago, but the AUSAs weren’t willing to give up all that went along with a special and visible division devoted to the task. So prostitution equals human trafficking.

    Kraft’s arrest, completely unlinked to trafficking except that it was made by the trafficking cops, made this shit saleable.

    1. SHG Post author

      It’s understandable, given Tom Brady’s threat to the legacy of the ’72 Dolphins. And it’s great to learn that federal prosecutors in Florida no longer have narcotics to keep them busy, so they have time to face the blight of day spas.

  3. B. McLeod

    It is but a matter of time and Karma until half of these morons will be on the list themselves.

      1. Pedantic Grammar Police

        They didn’t have to, but they wanted to! It is difficult to get a politician to remember something, when pandering to idiots depends…

  4. Black Bellamy

    I need to get on this list right now! There’s all this back and forth when you’re arranging sex for money online. They want your picture, your ID, it’s tiresome. I can just send them a link, here you go I’m on the approved buyers list right there, certified by the government.

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