The paradoxes between prostitution and pornography in the US

 Prostitution is illegal in 49 of the 50 US states. Nevada is the exception. The state officially allows some forms of prostitution in some counties, all of them far from Las Vegas, the city of splendor hotels, where a lot of money is moved around in gambling halls and also behind closed doors, unofficially. Hiring the services of prostitutes is also illegal. 

Unsuspecting citizens often approach female police officers on the streets, dressed as prostitutes, and end up in prison. In New York, many important people haven’t slept well since February, when Madame Anna Gristina was arrested. The prosecution tries to negotiate his freedom in exchange for the names of society’s “biggests” who frequented his brothel. Like prostitution, promoting prostitution in the US is a crime against public order. Unless that happens in a territory that is still almost lawless: the virtual. operate aProstitution website is not illegal, a federal judge in the state of New Mexico ruled. 

It’s outdated legislation to blame, federal judge Stan Whitaker said, recognizing the difficulties prosecutors are having in getting the conviction of two university professors in court, accused of operating an interstate Internet prostitution ring. It’s not good for tackling digital-age phenomena, he explained. The judge ruled that the website , an online messaging space and the defendants’ computers, did not constitute a “house of prostitution,” CBS reported (with the Associated Press). “Most state laws are only about street prostitution and brothels, and they’re so blunt that they make it virtually impossible to get convictions in cases like this,” says Baylor University professor Scott Cunningham.

According to New Mexico’s Albuquerque Journal , the lawsuit was brought against former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia, retired Santa Fe physics professor David Flory, and five others for “promotion and facilitation of prostitution”. All the defendants were indicted for operating the Southwest Companions website , which, according to police investigators, had 14,000 members, including 200 prostitutes. According to investigators, members paid $200 for a sexual act and up to $1,000 for an hour of professional services. 

The prostitutes were paid in cash, not through the website , police said. 

The university professors were arrested in June 2011, but the charges were initially dropped, the paper says. After his arrest, Garcia, 71, a professor emeritus of political science, a distinguished expert on New Mexico politics and author of 11 books, lost his post as university president. In his office, there were more than books. The police found pornographic videos and sex toys (erotic accessories). But pornography is not a crime either. 

Therefore, The Legal Satyricon asks: “Why is prostitution illegal, but pornography is not?”, and amends Andrew Sullivan’s explanation: “It is illegal for me to pay a prostitute for sex, but not It’s illegal for a filmmaker to pay two people to have sex on camera and then make money from selling DVDs or downloading the video.” And he gives another example: “If you hire a couple to have sex in your bed while you look at it, it’s prostitution

The United States Supreme Court explained the difference, in the case “People v Freeman”. Filmmaker Harold Freeman was convicted in the first instance because, in order to make his film “Caught from Behind, Part II”, he hired actors who “engaged in various overt sexual acts, such as sexual intercourse, oral copulation and sodomy”. The director was accused of “hiring people for the purpose of prostitution”. The Supreme Court disagreed: “Since the payment for the actors to act was the only payment, there is no evidence that any payment was made for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.” 

Before overturning the conviction, the Supreme Court tried to make the decision even clearer, explaining that even if there was a law in which the director and actors could be framed, they would be protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which refers to the inalienable rights of the citizen, including the right to expression. Therefore, the law would be unconstitutional. 

In other words, the US Supreme Court has clearly established, for puzzled Americans, the distinction between “sex workers” (can go to jail) and “sex actors” (can be publicly acclaimed).

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