Law Enforcement Agencies Are Wasting Money by Harassing Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels may be one of the most high-profile sex workers in America, thanks to her allegations that she was sexually involved with the president. The outspoken entertainer landed in hot water in Ohio last week†after uncover officers claimed†Daniels broke the law when she allowed them to touch her while she performed at a strip club.

Daniels has been touring the country, performing at various adult-oriented clubs along the way. In Ohio, state laws prohibit touching customers at such establishments, and detectives claim she did just that at Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in Columbus. They†say that in addition to dancing,†Daniels had physical contact with both men and women in the audience while partially nude.

The charges against Daniels and two other women who were arrested at the same time were ultimately dropped on a technicality: Daniels was a guest performer, not a “regular employee” as described in the law. But the entire affair stinks from top to bottom — not least because the Community Defense Act, the law cited in the complaint, has almost never been enforced.

The case highlights the ongoing war on legal sex work in the United States, and some people — including her attorney — argue this was a setup designed to smear Daniels in particular, punishing her for refusing to back down. If that was the plan, it backfired spectacularly: Daniels returned to the club the very next night to dance and hold a voter registration drive, and she plans to return to Ohio in August.

Law enforcement officers†maintain†that this sting was not politically motivated, and that it was simply a coincidence that multiple vice officers “happened” to visit the club where Daniels was performing as part of an ongoing investigation into suspected trafficking, prostitution and related crimes.

Whether or not the arrest†had political†intentions, it falls into a larger pattern of harassing sex workers who are just doing their jobs. Across the country, conservative groups push for arcane, bizarre and byzantine legislation designed to make it difficult to work in the sex industry†–†including laws targeting strippers with weirdly specific restrictions on what they can and can’t do at work. Depending on what they’re wearing, where they’re dancing and what kinds of food and drinks are served, strippers may be barred from a variety of activities.

Regulations may prevent†performers from being fully nude, for example, but they can also restrict contact with customers, require dancers to keep one foot on the ground at all times, prohibit lap or private dances, require adult clubs to dedicate a certain amount of floor space to non-adult activities or even force performers to wear their businesses licenses at all times. The goal of these laws isn’t to protect adult entertainers or their customers. It’s to create an atmosphere of shame, leaving people traumatized when their places of business are raided, slapped with fines and forced out of business.

But sex workers are just people going about their daily lives. These services†have been popular for thousands of years, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Moral panic around their work, however, endangers them on a regular basis, and can ironically make it easier for criminal enterprises to thrive.

Human trafficking and exploitation†is serious business: Legitimate sex workers are as opposed to trafficking as everyone else, especially for those who have intimate personal experience with trafficking survivors. But most agree that legislation and law enforcement activity ostensibly carried out to prevent trafficking can actually make the situation worse, as with SESTA and FOSTA earlier this year. These laws limiting online activities drove many legitimate sex workers deeper underground, putting them at risk of harassment, abuse — and, yes, also trafficking.

Wasting resources on hassling strippers means that law enforcement isn’t dedicating those resources to actual crimes. And that’s bad news for the people who are being exploited in the sex industry, as well as for those dealing with other kinds of crimes. That includes crimes like rape and physical assault committed against sex workers, who are often viewed as easy targets by predators who think they won’t report, or know that law enforcement are less inclined to believe them when reporting such crimes.

Undercover vice officers may have gotten a free show with the hottest talent in town, but was it the best use of their law enforcement training, experience and time?

Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue/Creative Commons

52 comments

Paulo R
Paulo Reeson18 days ago

petition signed, ty

SEND
Dot A
Dot A18 days ago

From all appearances, Stormy Daniels is more virtuous than the POTUS. Truth means a lot to her, and she speaks sincerely. Love means a lot to her, and when she felt her family member being threatened, she sought legal help for their safety. And beauty is a quality that is inward and personal. With all the hate, selfishness, and lack of moral courage coming from this POTUS, his ugliness is all the way to the core, and rots on his face, and spews from his larynx. Stormy Daniels is a better human being. & nobody gives a rat'sA$$ if the president is gettin' sum~ That's not the issue* It's the intimidation and threat, and the pay-off to get rid of his 'doings,' that is the wrongful act. His supporters don't care, obviously, however, more and more of the people below the 0.1% of the population are gleaning just how damn much he DOES NOT CARE FOR US.

SEND
Karen H
Karen H20 days ago

Edward Vaughn, yes Trump had sex. Who can't get over it? The GOP, who keep reminding everybody what Bill Clinton did. Wonder if Melania made him get checked for STDs when he got home. Past Member and Clare O’Beara, gotta ask - if there were no legitimate sex workers, what would men do? Stopping the legitimate sex trade would not stop sex trafficking or rape or threatening and brutalizing and forced drug addiction. Eric Lees has a point. Legalize, tax, and regulate like any other business. Look at Prohibition. Crime actually increased when alcohol was illegal. Prohibition removed a significant source of tax revenue and greatly increased government spending. Many drinkers switched to opium, cocaine, and other dangerous substances that they would have been unlikely to use in the absence of Prohibition. As for a man imagining his daughter working in a sex club - I'll bet Trump has had this fantasy many times.

SEND
Deborah W
Deborah W24 days ago

INTENT IS AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF EVERY LAWSUIT FILED. More to this one than meets the eye.

SEND
Danii P
Past Member 26 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Danii P
Past Member 26 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Lesa D
Lesa D26 days ago

#19299 petition signed...

SEND
Lesa D
Lesa D26 days ago

thank you s.e. ...

SEND
Roberto M
Roberto M27 days ago

thanks for this article

SEND
silja salonen
silja salonen27 days ago

insanity !

SEND