I grew up drooling to “Cops,” so my classiness expectations for TLC’s new Thursday night show, “Police Women Of Broward County,” were low. But, actually, “Police Women” is way less trashy than you’d expect. The lady cops bust heads and take names, and they deliver monologues about single motherhood and how hard it is to balance their jobs and their families.
But one of Broward County’s prostitution-busting moves rubbed me the wrong way. Lady cop Julie pulled on her short skirt and strutted back and forth on a desolate street corner. As soon as some sketchy dude pulled over, she asked him how much he was willing to pay for “the whole thing” (usually $40 or $50). Once the potential john agreed to a price, she said to wait a minute while she went to get her purse.
That’s when her colleagues turned their squad car’s siren on and wailed around the corner to arrest the poor schmuck.
Prostitution is illegal in Florida, so the Broward County Police Department’s actions are fair game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not unethical to trick men into getting arrested.
In my personal opinion, sex work between consenting adults should be completely legal and regulated up the wazoo by the government. There are certainly very good arguments for and against legalizing sex work, but, ultimately, prostitution has always existed, will always exist, and won’t be thwarted by police women like Julie. I know Julie and her colleagues mean well, but criminalizing sex workers and the johns who visit them only push sex work underground, making it less safe for everyone involved. Whether we’re talking about stripping or prostitution, it’s better when regulations require that protection is used, the payment is fair, and age restrictions make it harder for pimps to hire teens.
True, Julie’s actions could have hypothetically prevented diseases from being spread to innocent victims that night, but sex work regulations like the ones in Nevada could also accomplish that. Her prostitution sting did nail an alleged drunk driver, but that could have been accomplished by a DUI checkpoint. All I think Julie and her colleagues accomplished with their sting operation was to scare sex workers and johns, driving prostitution further underground.
While I’m no legal scholar, it sounds to me like these men could invoke the entrapment defense, which JacksonvilleCriminalLawyerBlog.com said “applies when a defendant is induced to commit a crime that he/she would not normally commit.” It continues to say that invoking the entrapment defense isn’t usually successful, unless the defendant can prove the police used “excessive means” to get him in trouble. A police woman pretending to be a sex worker sounds pretty excessive to me.
Do you agree? Or do you think it’s good for society when female cops pose as prostitutes and arrest men who are potential johns?