I like to believe that a previous age existed where due process was value. If such an age existed it is obvious long since gone. More and more people seem willing to toss due process aside whenever it negatively impacts their ideological opposites. Throwing out due process is done in many ways. Some of those ways are as blatant as denying people rights based on where they were born. Other ways are more subtle, such as creating a new permit in order to punish an unreleased action:
As it stands, cops who suspect someone of prostitution must actually prove it before arresting them. But that’s a lot of work. So Eau Claire, Wisconsin, officials have a new plan: make non-sexual commercial companionship illegal without the proper paperwork.
To this end, the Eau Claire City Council is considering an ordinance that would require anyone advertising as an escort to get an occupational license from the government.
But because being an escort does not necessarily mean one is engaged in prostitution, police can’t just go around arresting anyone who advertises as an escort. Not yet, anyway. Ostensibly, cops must still interact with the individual and get them to agree to some sort of sexual activity for a fee. As Eau Claire Assistant City Attorney Douglas Hoffer put it, police are forced to do “intensive investigations” and get their targets to use “explicit language” in order to make charges stick.
Now city officials want to change that. Under their proposed legislation, escorts and escort businesses would have to be licensed by the city and subject to extensive regulations. Any escort operating without a license would be subject to a fine of up to $5,000.
But that’s not all: the proposed law would also punish customers who contract with unlicensed escorts. Hoffner said the idea is to end “demand” for prostitution. Anyone attempting to hire an unlicensed escort could also be charged up to $5,000, as well.
As the article notes, police cannot go after any escort business because many aren’t offering illegal services. This means the police have to effectively create a case with a sting operation or find evidence that a law was broken (but not evidence of a crime being committed since crimes require victims and voluntary prostration involves no victims). When situations like this arise it’s common for the local authorities to create some kind of permit requirement.
With permit requirements in place a police officer can arrest an escort and their customer on the grounds of the escort not having the proper paperwork. It’s a much easier violation to prove than prostitution. In fact the Eau Claire City Attorney admitted to exactly that:
Said Eau Claire City Attorney Stephen Nick: “This is another means, as opposed to actually having evidence of an act of prostitution, pandering, or offering a sexual act for money, so we can follow up” on sex-work suspects.
Cases like this should receive more publicity. It’s not enough for people to only get up in arms over overt violations of due process. People must learn about the more subtle methods as well.