A recent article in the Dallas Morning News proudly announced that Dallas Vice is arresting street prostitutes and their customers in record numbers. Let’s take a look at some of the points in the article.

You have the customers that take home diseases to their significant other.

Never mind that customers would have far less risk of disease if they insisted on proper condom usage instead of making arguments against  condom usage.1 I’d also like to point out that if they were truly concerned about the health of their significant other, they’d keep it in their pants. But, in the interest of keeping it simple, let’s blame hookers for giving married women diseased, cheating husbands.

There are other consequences to prostitution. You have drugs involved, robberies, other kinds of petty crimes… It’s a far-reaching issue.

As we all know, prostitutes are a scourge. Never mind that some or all of these crimes may not actually be committed by the prostitutes themselves (or that according to one study, over 80% of prostitutes have had violence done to them2). It’s believed that with enough prostitutes, one could bring down the entire US.

Occasionally, we get a complaint from a relative of someone. They want our assistance with getting them out of the business.

I’m sure that all psychologists would agree the most effective way to assist someone in changing their life is to have them arrested and sent to jail. That will give sinners time to reflect on the error of their ways! Having the added debt of court costs and fines when they get out of jail will only motivate them to quickly find honest work to pay back the legal system. Given the rising rates of re-arrests, who could question the effectiveness of arrest as a sign from a caring family to get another job?

The vice squad decided to arrest customers as well. Female police officers got the chance to play hooker and get paid for dressing sexy. Being serious about their work, they wanted to appear like prostitutes and not undercover officers.

To prepare for their roles, some of the decoys tried to simulate bruises by rubbing their legs on the tires of the police command RV. The most experienced of the bunch, “Eliza,” a 30-year-old vice officer in a denim miniskirt and a revealing T-shirt for her undercover assignment, had real bruises from a recent mountain biking expedition.

Without a doubt, bruises are what make a prostitute a prostitute. Otherwise she’s just a slut trying to earn some money. Men – if you don’t see bruises on her then she’s not really a prostitute. (The article included two or three detailed descriptions of what the female vice officers wore while on assignment.)

Starting last year, in lieu of jail, customers of prostitutes could take an all-day class that details the risk of disease and other social ills of paying for sex with strangers.

Okay, let me get this straight: free sex with strangers is perfectly safe and without emotional consequences? Money doesn’t cause diseases (nor does it protect against emotional fallout). Too bad such classes aren’t offered to the largest population of sexual-disease transmitters in the country – teenagers and young adults.3

Too bad prostitutes don’t get to choose a day in class in lieu of jail. They could be kept up-to-date on safer-sex guidelines, learn what resources they have if they want to leave prostitution and how to deal with customers who don’t want to use condoms.

Dallas police also post photos of customers and others charged with indecency on the Internet as a deterrent.

Shame is the perfect emotion to foster open and honest discussion about sexual issues. After all, that strategy’s worked since the beginning of time. Prostitution barely exists nowadays where once it flourished in every city in the world!

After four convictions, defendants can be tried on a felony charge and spend up to two years in a state jail…”Filings have been going up,” said Kim Judin, head of the misdemeanor division, adding that the enhanced cases consist almost exclusively of prostitutes. “I doubt there are many customers picking up enough cases to get state jail felonies.”

Prostitutes, who depend on prostitution for their livelihood, have to continue working in order to pay court costs and other fees. Their customers can find another outlet or can continue seeing them, safe in the knowledge that about 90% of all prostitution arrests are prostitutes,4 not their customers (even though a prostitute can’t really be a prostitute without a customer).

Even the FBI agrees that customers don’t really matter; it’s that damn hooker’s fault:

The FBI defines prostitution as: “to unlawfully engage in or promote sexual activities for profit.” Customers are not included in FBI statistics for prostitution arrests.5

Apparently, the only one who counts is the one who ends up with the money (and a profit!), not the one spending the money on the service. Somehow the FBI missed Economics 101, in which one learns that a business cannot survive without customers. But it should give customers of prostitutes a little legal reassurance that what they’re doing really isn’t wrong, it’s that damn hooker’s fault!


What are we to learn from all this? I don’t have all the answers nor have I done extensive research into street prostitution. Common sense tells us that arresting prostitutes and their customers is not an effective way to deal with all the problems surrounding prostitution. Most of these problems – such as a lack of educational opportunities for the poor, childcare, family planning, childhood abuse, social sexual stigmas, care for ailing parents, gender inequalities in the workplace, deadbeat dads, lack of health insurance, pimps and more – are “women’s issues” and don’t receive a lot of popular support to begin with. This attitude does half the population a disservice, not just prostitutes. 

I would’ve had no problem with this article if it had been a straight reporting piece on the DPD’s recent arrests of prostitutes and their customers. But the reporter’s ill-conceived biases, lack of objectivity and obvious disregard for research (since he seems to believe this is a story with only one side), hit a nerve. Nor do I care for the unsympathetic views of various members of the legal system (but their remarks are predictable). The big picture seems to be escaping everyone involved.

What is the big picture? I’ve turned this issue over in my mind since I was a teenager (back then I wanted legalization of prostitution, now I simply want decriminalization). The big picture is that women who work the streets do so for a reason and in most cases, that reason is not because they want to, but because they feel it’s their best option. Creating an environment of fear and separation from society does not help these women in the least. I can’t think of a single way that decriminalization of prostitution would harm prostitutes and I can think of a whole lot of ways it would actually help society.

I could go on, but then this post would turn into something more political than I intend for it to be. I don’t plan to become an activist soon, if ever. I feel that my role is to try and change perceptions as much as I can in the way that I can. I leave more informed people to be policy-makers.

But this article was just too much and I had to say something.

1 Visiting any number of public discussion and review boards that include “street” action makes it very clear that male customers have decided they would rather have various kinds of condomless sex. Escort review boards have also made it clear that the males prefer various kinds of condomless sex and they actively trade tips on how to make that happen.

2, 5 From an ICASA report – here.

3 This answers the question from a young woman’s perspective and this is a more detailed answer mainly concerned with HIV/AIDS transmission (but the concepts about HIV/AIDS transmission works for other STDs as well).

4 Typical arrest percentages are: 70% female prostitutes, 20% male prostitutes, 10% customers of both. Although this stat is old, it echoes what I’ve read in more recent books. The arrest averages have held very steady.

16 thoughts on “prostitution arrests in dallas

  1. JW,

    That’s VERY true. I’m sure that they’re raiding the strip clubs as well.

    But election year or not, the basic attitudes don’t seem to change.


  2. Regarding your footnote #1 — perhaps that should be qualified as “some” males? I don’t doubt that this perspective exists, but hopefully a minority of the client population. Of course, it’s very difficult to assess how high the percentage is, as posters on the review boards who do this (A) are a subset of posters on the review boards (B) who are a subset of members of the review boards (C) who are a subset of the client population. Plus, I imagine at least some of the discussion of unprotected sex, and tips on how to accomplish it, are conducted in private rather than openly where we see it. *shrug* Might be a high percentage, might be a low percentage. I really hope it’s the latter, but I may be overly optimistic.

  3. Bob,

    Based on the personal experiences that men have shared with me, plus the fact that such a topic is openly and frequently discussed online, I’d say the percentage is significant and growing instead of shrinking.

    It does depend on the client population to an extent. If we’re talking about men who only see street prostitutes, then I would say it’s the majority (also based on experiences of the prostitutes themselves in studies and documentaries). If we’re talking about clients who pay several hundrend dollars per hour for company, the percentage is lower, but still significant.

    Of course, I’m referring to men who bribe, trick or manipulate their way into condomless sex. I’m not talking about men who simply complain that it feels better. I think everyone knows that already!

    I would love to see studies conducted on this issue. In a couple personal experiences that I know of, the woman was the one who propositioned condom removal. In the majority of the cases it was the man.

    Men are at a much lower risk of disease transmission through hetersexual sex than women are. This might explain a lot of the cavalier attitude toward condoms. It is scary and depressing at the same time.

    It also seems like a growing trend among the general population as well. I’ve read articles about gay men who are having extremely risky sex, as well as articles about teenage sex. Maybe this is a hedonistic backlash against disease education? Maybe this is just warning-fatigue? I don’t know.

    At any rate, I believe the percentages are higher than anyone knows. I came into this business believing no one would be so stupid as to have condomless sex. When I retired, my eyes were open and my illusion shattered.


  4. I also was thinking of “men who bribe, trick or manipulate their way into condomless sex.” It *would* be interesting to see a study on it, although I’m not sure how you would go about gathering reliable data. Not to mention the likely variation not only in different “market niches” (as you describe) but also geographically.

    I would be interested in your thoughts on *why* it is “significant and growing” to the extent the reasons might be unique to this industry. A few thoughts have occurred to me. For example, if the “prostitution economy” weakens, clients might think it’s a “buyer’s market” and they can push harder for unprotected sex without facing consequences. For that matter, the rise of the Internet in the industry, particularly with discussion groups/review sites, may be fostering more of a “Consumer Reports” attitude. Sadly, I’ve seen comments to the effect that a particular woman offers unprotected sex to her clients and — while many men will avoid her as a result — undoubtedly many others will seek her out. On the other hand, the Internet is also fostering more sharing of alerts by prostitutes concerning clients who engage in inappropriate behavior, and I would expect that to have a dampening effect. Well, just a few thoughts off-hand; I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on what is leading to it.

  5. Bob,

    A reliable study WOULD be hard to do. I think it would be very worthwhile. Right now, the best data I have to go on is stories that I’ve been told by people who had nothing to gain by telling me (and a couple of my own experiences at attempts). The number of these stories, and the casualness with which these events happened, makes me think the issue is very widespread. (As well as what little data has been gathered by interviewing street prostitutes.)

    As to why it’s a growing problem — I have to agree with you. You’ve mentioned the major points of why I feel it’s a problem. I’m not a fan of review boards because I think they foster some very unhealthy ideas/behaviors that are almost always detrimental to the providers and can often be bad for the clients as well. (The IDEA of a review board is fine — it’s the behaviors that go along with it that I have a problem with.) And risky behavior is a growing trend in the non-adult world as well.

    Can’t stop humans being humans, though. What is left to do? Education. I can’t think of anything else that would really solve the problem. Regulation would only make risky sex even more of an underground taboo than it already is (which makes it more appealing). Clients and providers enter this business without doing much research or asking questions. A source for education would be a big help (insert plug for my book here).

    I feel it is the responsiblity of the provider to insist on safe sex. I realize that won’t make me very popular with some people. But responsibility has to start somewhere. As with most businesses, it should start with the business owner/operator. Having some sort of business practice standards would help a lot of things.

    Providers reporting risky clients is good, as long as it can be done in an atmosphere where she doesn’t have to worry about backlash, which is hard to provide right now. (And what of the client’s concerns about privacy? Where is line between public health and personal privacy drawn?)

    As I’ve said, I don’t have many answers at all. These are seriously tangled issues. I bet I haven’t even come up with all the questions.

    Clients who remove condoms without the consent of the provider are one problem. The majority seem to be the type who manipulate or bribe the provider into consent. These type are only successful because they’re allowed to be.

    A lot of potential problems would be solved if every provider, no matter what, used condoms 100% of the time in the proper manner. However, not every girl feels her business would survive (which is a bad sign) nor does every girl believe she needs protection (lack of education). And we’re back at square one.

    I’ve been thinking about these issues for a very long time and haven’t come up with very definitive answers except for the one I stated above. And I have a feeling it won’t be a popular one although I feel it’s the best option right now.


  6. If a man can have unprotected anal sex with another man and then put his penis right after anal sex without a condom in that same mans mouth or a woman can have unprotected sex with 3 men without condoms and thats legal well how come it is illegal if a woman has sex with a man with condoms (no bare back anything)? Is it a moral issue? Naaahhhh come on now morals have nothing to do with it. It is because of the MONEY! However women who are strung out on crack and heroin who don’t use condoms or any prostitute or john who tries to commit a commercial sex act without a condom should be given a big fine and a AIDS awareness class. When money is exchanged there is a tendancy for some girls to perform for numerous clients so condom use must be mandatory for commerciaI sex I believe just like Nevada brothels. All this bareback bj’s and deep french kissing is ruining the industry I believe and giving the lawmakers ammunition to make it a felony. Let’s keep it safe and decriminalize it. Give them the equivilent of a traffic ticket occasionally, no arrest, no jail, no record! Also give the girls who turn down a $1000 from a undecover cop to do a condomless act a praise and a pat on the back for passing a condom test to see if she is practicing safe sex. That is the best way to use vice cops to make sure everything is safe sex!

  7. correction: it is illegal if a woman has sex with a man with condoms (no bare back anything) FOR MONEY(CORRECTION)

  8. Shannon,

    Decriminalize — yes. A lot of arrests apparently use condoms as evidence, another motivation for girls to not have condoms on them.

    Undercover stings to check for condom use? I like the idea, though I’m betting girls wouldn’t. But it would make the point. Very original!

    I still believe in widespread, honest and open education as the best tool. Decriminalization would give us the full power of free speech for honest discussion about sex for money — making education so much easier.

    And no, condom usage is not a moral issue — though I do believe it’s an ethical one.

    Are you aware of the decriminalization effort in San Francisco?


  9. Amanda, this blog-entry has been reprinted twice now by a new escort in dallas who gives no credit to you or your blog. Are you escorting in dallas now and throwing this blog entry around, or is someone else claiming credit for your writing?
    Just curious,;
    if it’s you that’s cool,
    but if it’s not, then plaigiarism (sp?)ain’t so cool.

  10. ps: just respond by email if you want to know where it’s being re-printed,
    or just ignore if you’re the one re-printing (or re-posting).

  11. OOH,

    Thanks for letting me know. I am indeed escorting (not in Dallas) and I assure you I do NOT reprint anything that I’ve written as Amanda under my work identity. Ain’t smart to do!

    I will write you.

    Thank you so much for telling me.


  12. The author is a typical person who knows NOTHING about prostitution. I have been a prostitute for 13 years. I live very normal life. If you saw me, you’d have no idea that’s what I do for a living. I’ve done it on the streets and off of the internet. Your 1st LIE is that johns are the ones who insist on wearing the condoms. That’s bull. I NEVER EVER EVER would participate in unsafe sex with these nasty tricks. EVERY SINGLE DAY these idiots try and pay me more money to take the condom off. I would never. I usually give them a lecture about safe sex and they usually hang up on me. The author of this is a damn idiot.

  13. Just returned from Mexico where prostitution is legal. Citizens there laugh at the hyprocites in the USA who involve themselves with other people sex lives. SEX SEX SEX if you closed your eyes and went screaming from the room to find your bible your the fool I am talking about. Try minding your own business. Wish I was running things for awhile. You would be arrested for violating the constitutional freedoms we take for granted everyday. Your bible does not give you the right to stick your nose up my ass.

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