This cracks me up:
Under current (Rhode Island) state law, prostitution is legal in Rhode Island as long as it takes place indoors. Only streetwalkers, their pimps and the customers flagging them down can be charged.[….]
University of Rhode Island women’s studies Prof. Donna M. Hughes said that if prostitution remains legal indoors, “Rhode Island will soon be the sex industry capital of the United States.”[….]
“It’s really a travesty it’s allowed indoors,” state police Lt. Col. Steven G. O’Donnell said. “Make no mistake about it, people take advantage of that, including the strip clubs.” And some spas and massage parlors are brothels, he said. The “loophole” in state law “puts a stamp of legitimacy” on groups of people we don’t want joining our economy, he said.
If you’re at all familiar with Rhode Island government, this doesn’t surprise you at all. One mayor of Providence was put back into office by the voters after pleading no contest to having tortured a man he thought was his wife’s lover (yes, he was a Republican).
Update: I don’t know whether this is a good thing or not, but I bet that it’s a result of strip club owners having paid somebody off. That’s all I mean about Rhode Island government.
Prostitution! In strip clubs! Le gaspe!
As a dogged opponent of all vice crimes, I say cheers to Rhode Island. Given that I can hop on craigslist and have a full brothel in my apartment by the end of the night, I’m going to go out on a limb and say who gives a crap? Really make it illegal in Rhode Island and see if the "crime" rate drops? Or whether the DA’s budget and the prison bill just spikes now that you’ve got cops busting down more doors.
Maybe spend a little more money fighting domestic violence, sexual abuse, and poverty and a little less money locking up people desperate enough to sell their bodies to make a buck and you won’t need a law to begin with.
Hey… Pimpin’ ain’t easy.
I guess it’s a little easier in RI tho…
I haven’t yet seen a good justification for infringing adults’ native Liberty to buy or sell sex, particularly since we can buy or sell cigarettes, handguns, and even GOP propaganda.
If it’s going on between consenting adults, it should be presumptively legal, and interfered with only for the most pressing of reasons. Anything else is subjugation to the State.
I can’t decide whether Professor Hughes hasn’t traveled enough, or whether she’s never been to RI.
This doesn’t have to do with tolerating felons a la Buddy Cianci. It has to do with the legislature not wanting to screw up our state economy even worse than is already the case.
Both my parents are from Rhode Island. My grandmother worked for 40+ years on Federal Hill. You cannot underestimate how much the people of Providence loved Buddy Cianci. He never lost a single election. The only way to get him out of office was to arrest him.
And the pisser is that this corrupt doofus did more for Providence than any other mayor.
My friend in Providence makes it sound like the mob controls the city and that its a very fine line between the mob and the government. I’m not sure if his opinion holds state-wide as well or not, but its not like R.I. is all that much bigger than just Providence.
Can anyone confirm or clarify that?
What’s the over/under on Lt. Col. O’Donnell getting caught with a pro within the next 6 months?
For a long time, the saying went that the government controlled one side of Federal Hill and the mob controlled the other.
Back went Patriarca was controlling the N.E. Mob, he swung a lot of clout in Providence and with the city (and state) government. But I would say those stories are firmly set in the past. There is nowhere near the amount of mob-related corruption now in Providence that there was back in the day.
Um, the sex capital of the United States is Nevada, and Rhode Island isn’t going to change that. It’s safe and legal, plus warm in most Nevada counties, whereas it’s unregulated in RI, which makes it incredibly dangerous.
I’m all for legalizing prostitution, but with stringent regulations to ensure public health and the safety of the worker. That doesn’t appear to be the case up North, but it is in Nevada.
Why don’t we want them joining our economy? It will happen anyway, and we can tax that shit!
Nylund, I grew up in MA, so I have no direct experience with Rhode Island politics. However, I will note that the house in which the American Mafia was founded is being carefully kept on a street in Providence that has the center line on that block painted in the colors of the Italian flag.
And people refuse to believe that the Mafia was founded in Rhode Island. It’s as if it can’t possibly exist outside of New York and New Jersey.
The Tim Channel
Selling is legal.
Sex is legal.
Why isn’t selling sex legal?
as a longtime RI resident, i remember that massage parlors used to get busted. either they changed the law or there is some miscommunication somewhere.
@Nylund: He’s right except that the "mob" is now the Judiciary (lawyers) and the Legislature (lawyers).
Cianci was unbelievably popular and still is, even after he sat in jail (losing his toupee) and was out of the public eye for what, 6 years, he’s a fixture on talk radio and tv.
Fuckin’ guy shits teflon. And he did do more for the city of Providence than any other mayor in memory. And for the record in this case "tortured" means beating his wife’s boyfriend, a contractor I believe, with a fireplace log while a Providence Cop stood watch.
In this state, with all the Italo-Americans (like me) and the suck-ass thieving contractors he’d have been run out of office if he didn’t fuck his wife’s boyfriend’s shit up. On principal. His pasta sauce isn’t bad, I’ll admit. They sell it everywhere.
Maybe massages are illegal.
I have never understood why prostitution should be illegal.
Uh, Sweetie, have you heard of a little place called Nevada.
I can understand if you missed it, it being a state that only joined the union 145 years ago, but the word on the street is they allow gambling, fine dining, and some entertaining shows, and horrors! Prostitution.
Now, as hard as it is to understand, folks that want to hire hookers will do so regardless of legality, and the ones that are worried about Johnny Law will probably opt for the place where you can get free drinks while going all in on pocket aces over say Providence. And the ones that don’t want to travel that far, will just get it the old fashioned way with roses and lies instead of money.
To sum up, the children will survive, it’s none of your business, and the sun will shine another day.
Me neither. I think it should be legal, and heavily regulated so that the workers are protected from abuse and exploitation. But other than that, if a woman wants to receive money in exchange for access to her hoo-ha, really, what business is it of the state’s?
Rhode Island: watch for late-night ads from The Velvet Jones School of Technology.
Prof. Hughes lives at the wrong end of the state (such as it is) to understand these things. Why, I bet they don’t even have hot weiners in N. Kingston. ("T’ree all da way!")
I love my state.
Fulcanelli: Not just a fireplace log — he also put out cigarettes on the guy’s face.
I’m going to add to the "As a Rhode Islander, here’s what I heard" rumors…
I’m not sure if what Cianci did qualifies as "torture" or just a mafia style roughing up of somebody he didn’t like (I heard the guy was porking Cianci’s at-the-time wife), but a Providence trooper restrained him while Cianci put a cigar out on his cheek, took a log from the fireplace, and beat him with it.
Cianci also was a Republican, but turned independent sometime in the 1980s. He regularly handed Republicans and Democrats their asses in the mayoral elections.
People say he did a lot for Providence. He did a lot for downcity, but if you goto Olneyville, or parts of south Providence near Broad and Cranston streets, you’ll wonder just where the hell all these improvements to the city are. Of course, I’m a youngster and people tell me that ALL of Providence was a complete shithole back in the 1970s; so I can’t deny that Cianci did some improvements.
As for prostitution being legal indoors and happening at strip clubs and spas — all true. Look up ads for the Metroplex in Providence if you have doubts.
There were also reports that the wife’s name was Nancy Ann Cianci, but that seems like a bit of an urban legend. (the linked wiki article refers to a wife named Sheila)
On edit: Every time I hear something about Rhode Island I do the Peter Griffin laugh.
Mike in NC
Lived in Newport for a few years in the late 1980s and loved it. Kinda steered clear of the weirdness and corruption in Providence…
I’m sure there’s a Quagmire joke in here somewhere but my brain’s too fried right now to think of one.
As my fellow Houstonians will attest to, it doesn’t have to be illegal for brothels to thrive. Up until recently, there were dozens operating right out in the open. There’s still plenty of "massage parlors", "executive retreats", and "relaxation centers", but some make their payments more regularly than others.
Prostitution was legal and extremely common in the united states until WCTU got itself into a snit and axed it along with alcohol and pot.
So in response to "Why is prostitution illegal?": It makes baby Jesus cry.
kommrade reproductive vigor
Translation: "Ya’ll come back now, y’heah?"
Oh …. well, okay then.
I am soooo happy you have stopped talking about ILLINOIS,
I have seen the hair on the Portugese and Italian pols…Blago would be proud
Actually, Buddy had the cop kidnap him and hold him prisoner while he tortured him. Burnt him with a cigarette and hit him with a fireplace log. It was the use of the cop in this sordid incient that got him booted from office the first time, in 1984.
Incidentally this little incident changed history. The lawyer called in to end this situation was the odds on favorite to be the next GOP candidate for Governor. This association destroyed his candidacy. Too bad, the next governor, a Republican, ended up being the first RI Governor to end up in jail.
He did little for the city. He ran the place like it was 16th century Florence. He was an obvious crook and didn’t spend a number of years as a federal inmate for nothing.
And despite the mythology, he did lose a race. When he ran for governor he lost in a titanic landslide.
Under Buddy we became the strip club capital of Southern New England. There is the Foxy Lady, with convenient interstate access on Douglas Ave. There is the Satin Doll–a hop skip and a jump from the Central Library and the Big Rep Company.
There’s the Cadilac Lounge. There’s the two joints on the waterfront, one of which promises "Nude" and the other promises "Topless". There’s the "adult bookstore/accessories" shop right at the end of the Allens Ave off ramp–with mannequins modeling the goods helpfully placed in the display windows.
And then there is the adult bookstore, helpfully placed across the street from the central Post Office.
We won’t even get into the Sportsman’s Inn, a couple of blocks from the Civic Center, long regarded as one of those places where prostitution is legally placed indoors.
Col. O’Donnell is on the level, but I don’t find men and women turning tricks indoors for money to be a real big priority.
The Silent Fiddle of Nero
That’s a very strange law.
We already have a place in the US to go for legal prostitution, it’s called Nevada.
The Silent Fiddle of Nero
Really, especially considering sometimes all a man wants is a pair of hands anyway, I shouldn’t be allowed to type on a keyboard for money in that case.
It looks like they want to have their cake and eat it too. Keep the trade off the streets, so that they can look like they are being "moral," and letting it be legal behind close doors.
Which doesn’t really sound all that goofy to me. I mean, why shouldn’t this be the law everywhere? I have no vested interest, I just figure it would be the most practical approach.
The Silent Fiddle of Nero
I guess you could be right, it would remove the hooker on the street displays and move that activity to a place where we wouldn’t have to see it.
I have nothing against prostitution, personally. I just thought the "indoors" restriction sounded strange.
The two parties in RI state politics are the Mobbed Up Party and the More Mobbed Up Party. Which is represented with a D or an R varies, but that’s essentially what you’re voting for. Once in a great while the Only Slightly Mobbed Up party runs a candidate, but, if elected he ends up being useless, cuz the mob keeps sabotaging him. Sadly, it’s the only to get anything done in the state.
the guy who made the difference for PVD was Joey Paolino who was mayor when cianci was convicted the first time. Cianci got back in and benefited from paolino’s work.
Cianci never did anything for providence except rob it.
Are roses free where you live? ; )
Wile E. Quixote
Why is that bad? People would finally have a reason to go to Rhode Island, a ridiculous little state that is only 2/3rds the size of the county I live in.
The mob is pretty much done in RI, but ‘back in the day…’
David Chase, Sopranos producer, has Rhode Island roots.
Currently, this is the route to power in RI; LaSalle Academy (Catholic high school), Providence College (Catholic college), Suffolk Law School (don’t know its ranking, but c’mon), RI legislature, as a Dem. Pay your dues and keep your mouth shut.
2 highlights of RI political color: 1) Chief Justice of RI Supreme Court (and septuagenarian) Joseph Bevilacqua photographed by the ProJo leaving a motel zipping up his pants after a rendezvous with a 40 year old woman.
2) Governor Ed DiPrete dumpster diving in back of an Arby’s Roast Beef after accidentally throwing out an envelope containing a $10,000 payoff. Or was it Walt’s R.B.?
Best. Law. Ever. Although I think it should be regulated and taxed.
This development has exciting implications.
Ahh Civic Center, it’s good to hear those words. Ever since it was renamed to the "Dunkin Donuts Center," the beer-stained carpets haven’t felt the same. And Sportsman’s Inn is still down the road, and should be noted for a gun murder that happened there in either 2007 or 2008. Somehow, it hasn’t been closed yet.
For those reading who have never been to Providence, you know how cities will have red light districts? Providence has that, but there are so many strip clubs that some are in prime downtown locations, too. Sportman’s Inn, a strip club/hotel (wink wink), is one of those.
And a third (there’s many shades of color in RI politics): Former Governor Sundlin shooting raccoons off his friend’s backporch in Newport.
All that has me thinking is "d’jeet?"
Amen. Leave it to Providence to sell the naming rights to kefiya promoting Dunkin’ Donuts. And Sportsman’s Inn – well, the enforcers there are cops in civvies. Perhaps "off duty," but I doubt it. You pays your money and takes your chances. I know a couple of guys that came out on the losing end of that deal, and as McCain likes to say, have the scars to prove it.
But damn, I miss the old Living Room/Lupo’s alcoholic confluence of the late 70s. A great music scene that doesn’t exist anywhere on the planet anymore. And the food. Also.
Isn’t that more like enhanced interrogation than torture?
They were indoors, so if Buddy was having sex with a hooker while he was administering the beating, wouldn’t it be legal?
The indoor prostitution is via escort services and ‘oriental massage’ parlors. Or as a friend calls them, ‘rub-and-tugs’. Relatively little in strip clubs because management frowns on it; it may be legal, but the ‘sophisticated man’s entertainment’ industry is too profitable to want to deal with the bad p.r. and legal hassles. Anyway, that’s what I hear, since I of course would never frequent these institutions.
postscript: Had a coworker who ran an escort service on the side. Had occasion to overhear several of his over-the-phone job interviews. Whew…
Would anyone notice if Rhode Island just disappeared one day?
Very interesting, however the Satin Doll website says that if you want a job but dont want to be an "entertainer" you can get a job as a "massage girl" and don’t have to go on stage. Doesn’t that mean prostitution?
Not all the shitty little states with less population than Greenwich Village can get a sweetheart corporate whoring gig like Delaware.
Actually the route to power in RI is Bishop Hendricken High, Providence College and BC Law.
I was a freshman at PC in 1982 and Buddy showed up at one of our keggers. He tried to register us to vote even though we lived in dorms!
Oh yea, Providence was a complete shithole back then. Now, at least downtown is pretty.
Population of Manhattan ~ 1.6 million.
Population of RI ~ 1 million.
Population of RI > population of the Village.
This does illustrate how NYC gets shafted in terms of federal electoral representation, but I just thought I’d point out that there significantly more RIers than Greenwich Villagers.
(data from Wikipedia)
I’m pretty sure Harry Reid would notice if Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed stopped showing up for work all of a sudden.
It goes back to the gilded age.
I believe that Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 – September 13, 1881) had something to do with it.
These days when massage parlors get shut down it is usually because they don’t have an actual masseuse on staff, or the have rooms with beds and no way out.
there is a good documentary
My problem is that there is no testing