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by: Annemarie Beran and Allison Cooley 1st Period 31 arrested in Richmond prostitution stings Chris I. Young – Richmond Times Dispatch, April 21, 2010 THESIS Putting aside morals and sexual issues, are there social and economic reasons for prostitution in Richmond, Virginia? WHAT IS PROSTITUTION - THE LAW Any person who, for money or its equivalent, commits adultery, fornication or any act in violation of § 18.2-361, or offers to commit adultery, fornication or any act in violation of § 18.2-361 and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof, shall be guilty of being a prostitute, or prostitution, which shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any person who offers money or its equivalent to another for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts as enumerated above and thereafter does any substantial act in furtherance thereof shall be guilty of solicitation of prostitution. THE PROLIFERATION OF PROSTITUTION The average female prostitute enters her job when she is only 16 or 17 years of age. 58% of American prostitutes reported violent assault at the hands of clients. 92% of women engaged in prostitution said they wanted to leave prostitution, but couldn't because they lack basic human services such as a home, job training, health care, counseling and treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. 16.9 is the average age female Americans that enter into the business of prostitution. Approximately 50% of prostitutes have contracted the HIV virus THE PROLIFERATION OF PROSTITUTION In Chesterfield, Virginia, the focus is usually on the Johns who solicit sex rather than the prostitutes who provide the sexual acts. While in Richmond, Virginia, they often target the prostitutes. Because of jail overcrowding, many prostitutes and Johns receive $100 fines and 30-day suspended jail sentences in result of the Class 1 misdemeanor. THE INTERVIEWEE - PROFESSOR JULIE MCCONNEL Assistant Clinical Professor and the Director of the Delinquency Clinic at the University of Richmond Law School - Currently Supervising Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Richmond, Va. - (2006-2011) Assistant Public Defender Richmond Public Defender's Office, Richmond, Va.- (20002005) J.D., University of Richmond School of Law 1999 (cum laude) B.A., Agnes Scott Women's College 1988 THE INTERVIEWEE - PROFESSOR JULIE MCCONNEL Given her educational and professional background, Professor McConnell possesses diverse perspectives and experiences from prosecution, defense and counseling of individuals involved in and/or impacted by prostitution. THE INTERVIEW Question: In your opinion, what is the cause of the rise of prostitution in the Richmond area? Answer: There are multiple issues that contribute to this problem. Poverty, the economic downturn, drug addiction, homelessness and a lack of safe, affordable housing. As a Public Defender, I represented many women who supported either their own or a boyfriend's addiction to crack cocaine with prostitution. It becomes a vicious cycle. They can't stop using, they don't have money for the drugs, so they trade sex for the drugs. THE INTERVIEW Answer continued: I also think sex-trafficking is a factor. Young girls and women are sometimes forced into prostitution by unscrupulous people who take advantage of their desire to find a better life in the United States. They are also sometimes brought here against their will and then drugged to the point that they become addicted and then cannot leave because of their need for the drugs. My sense is that is a very hidden problem, but there nonetheless. I believe that there are places in the Hispanic community where it goes on in secret and those cases rarely, if ever, result in police involvement. The women and girls are scared to come forward because they don't trust the police and the Johns certainly aren't telling. THE INTERVIEW Question: Is there a typical profile of prostitutes in the Richmond area? If so, what is that profile? Answer: It has been awhile, but my sense is poor, crack-addicted and often young women are the most common. There are some male prostitutes. They are often either in a relationship with the John or some other person who is profiting off of their prostitution. They sometimes have children. THE INTERVIEW Question: Have you ever counseled or advised a prostitute? Answer: Yes, many times. THE INTERVIEW Question: Have you ever talked to a prostitute about why they are involved in the illegal activity? If so, what are the primary reasons for her involvement in this illegal industry? Answer: Yes, and they usually say it is because they would be homeless otherwise and because they are addicted to drugs. They also cite a lack of education and/or marketable skills. THE INTERVIEW Question: Do prostitutes ever talk about their family? What aspects of their personal lives have prostitutes shared with you? Answer: Very little. They sometimes ask the Court to consider not giving them active jail time because there is no one else to take care of their kids. THE INTERVIEW Question: What, if anything, do you think could be done to reduce the demand for prostitutes in the Richmond area? Answer: A big problem in Richmond is that people from the Counties come into the City for prostitutes. It is not difficult to find out where to find a prostitute. You can do it online. There are areas in town where you can always find them, just like drugs. It might help to break up these locations, but they would likely just move to a new one. I think finding another way to address the drug problem would help. Most prostitutes are slaves to drug addiction in one way or another, so that is where I would start. STATISTICAL STEREOTYPES 75 to 95% of all prostitutes were sexually abused as children, are high school dropouts, come from poor and abusive homes, move from place to place, and are alcoholics or drug addicts. Women involved in prostitution have been arrested on average of 2.26 times. 40% of street prostitutes are women of color. REFLECTION We tried to incorporate the knowledgeable IB learner profile by explore a sometimes controversial issue that has a local and national significance. In do so we tried to acquire an in-depth knowledge about the topic. By exploring social and economic aspects of prostitution in Richmond, Virginia we obtained a better understanding of the real dilemma. While we all may giggle at the mention of sex, prostitution is not a laughing matter. Motivations are not always sexual or ugly. In certain instances, it is merely greed resulting in the selling of one’s self in a sexual manner. However, more often than not, it is a means to address another issue/problem such as poverty due to the economic down turn or drug addictions. While laws regulating prostitution are necessary to protect society, they are not the sole answer to solving the problem. As residents of Virginia and citizen of the United States, we all must also focus on the underlying reasons for prostitution and try to make a difference through things such as compassion and community service. CITATIONS DePompa, Rachel. "Prostitution Stings Bring 31 Arrests in Richmond - NBC12 News, Weather Sports, Traffic, and Programming Guide for Richmond, VA." NBC12 News, Weather Sports, Traffic, and Programming Guide for Richmond, VA | - Home. A Raycom Media Station, 31 Aug. 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2011. Dutton, Nick. "Crackdown Leads to Solicitation, Prostitution Arrests in Henrico - Wtvr." CBS 6 News WTVR, Richmond News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | WTVR.com | Richmond News | CBS 6 WTVR TV - Wtvr. WTVR, 19 Oct. 2011. Web. 23 Nov. 2011. CITATIONS Martz, Michael. "Targeting of Johns or Prostitutes Varies among Jurisdictions | Richmond TimesDispatch." Richmond, VA - News, Classifieds, Business News, Civil War, Virginia Politics, Opinion, Sports, Flying Squirrels Baseball, Entertainment, Obituaries and Weather | Richmond Times-Dispatch. 22 June 2009. Web. 23 Nov. 2011. McConnell, Julie. "Be In Touch Interview Project." E-mail interview. 1 Dec. 2011. "Prostitution Statistics." Sex Crime –Guide to Sex Crime Laws. Laws.com, 2011. Web. 23 Nov. 2011. CITATIONS Young, Chris I. "31 Arrested in Richmond Prostitution Stings | Richmond Times-Dispatch." Richmond, VA - News, Classifieds, Business News, Civil War, Virginia Politics, Opinion, Sports, Flying Squirrels Baseball, Entertainment, Obituaries and Weather | Richmond Times-Dispatch. 21 Apr. 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2011.