Those who have been keeping up to date with prostitution news recently will have seen the absolutely awful idea coming out of Washington last week, where a live prostitution sting was due to be tweeted out for all the world to see.
‘Punters On Notice’
No, this isn’t some sort of joke; it’s all very true sadly. It was advertised as follows.
“From the ads to the arrests, we’ll show you how the PGPD is battling the oldest profession,” police said in a press release. “Suspect photos and information will be tweeted. We’re using this progressive, and what we believe unprecedented, social media tactic to warn any potential participants that this type of criminal behavior is not welcome in Prince George’s County.”
Well, it didn’t take long for the inevitable, and justified kick off to occur. How in gods name is putting the identity of prostitutes and punters on Twitter OK? Talk about an invasion of privacy being used to feed trolls on the internet.
Well, it seems the whole thing turned into a damp squib, and unsurprisingly, the Twitter operation was cancelled. This was mainly due to the fact that the officers felt THEIR identities would be compromised.
Funnily enough, not one arrest was made either. This was put down to the massive publicity the event had gained.
“I’ve participated in hundreds of stings, and I’ve never seen what happened today. By advertising this days ago, we wanted to put johns on notice to not come to Prince George’s County. That message was heard loud and clear. We just put a dent in the human trafficking business without making one arrest,” said Sgt. Dave Coleman, of the Vice Intelligence Unit, in a statement.
Real, Or a Publicity Stunt?
Now this is a really interesting one. Has the police department bent to public pressure, or was this the biggest publicity stunt in living memory?
The romantic in me would like to think that common sense has prevailed, but the cynic in me says this was a big publicity grab to get attention, and to keep only the most stupid punter away from the streets that day, and in doing so, letting the police claim some sort of victory.
What can’t be argued is that the whole situation has shown the massive concerns over the public degradation of punters and sex workers alike. I shudder to think what the reaction would be like if the local police tried to pull this with any Belfast escorts and their clients.
Whatever the reasons this Twitter live event didn’t go through, we are happy it didn’t. It certainly isn’t the way to deal with important issues such as trafficking.