Nothing makes a splash for an ambitious prosecutor like announcing a huge initiative to rid the streets of evil people, and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice is nothing if not ambitious. When she announced that was going to after “johns,” the men who patronize prostitutes, It was called “Operation Flush the Johns,” a nifty headline-grabbing name that was sure to put her loveliness in the public eye.
And there is was, 104 men arrested, and a huge chart with picture, suitable for framing.
See the small print at the bottom of the black box? “All are presumed innocent until proven guilty.” There are 104 pictures that prove that to be a lie. But they made for a fabulous press conference for an ambitious prosecutor. Her statement regarding Operation Flush the Johns extolled how she did this to save womanhood.
“Sex workers are often vulnerable victims of traffickers and pimps, yet they often remain the prime targets in prostitution investigations, while the johns who fuel the exploitation are treated as mere witnesses,” Rice said in a statement released just before the news conference. “My office and the police department are turning the tables on the illogical and immoral nature of that equation.”
Saving the victims of traffickers and pimps is certainly a cause that no right-minded person can oppose. But what if this is a trope, promoted by the forces of Puritanism who oppose sex work because it offends their squeamish ethic? What if sex workers choose sex work because that’s what they prefer to do with themselves, their bodies, their lives? It couldn’t be possible?