Seizing offenders' property not a way to stop sex trade
Gwinnett County officials are seeking new laws to allow them to seize the property of those committing sex crimes. This new power could pose a huge problem for the citizens of Gwinnett County.
The legislation is currently unwritten and while it purports to target pimps and "houses of prostitution," many married and single people in the county are currently breaking sex crime laws that are on the books.
Today's sodomy laws, in their current form, could get virtually anyone convicted of a sex crime. While sodomy laws should be changed, it is more important to prevent more bad laws from being enacted. A law giving the police the right to take someone's property will do little, if anything, to curb the acts they are targeting.
Look at the drug war. Police can already confiscate cars and money, but these laws have done nothing to stop the drug trade. The fact that this new law will allow the police to take away a person's home for committing a misdemeanor, a "crime" not even worthy of jail time, is particularly appalling, especially when it should not be a crime at all.
Legislation to seize the property of someone operating a "house of prostitution" is also rather pointless since in many cases these are not run from privately owned properties, but rented space in strip malls and shopping centers. In March of 2010, a massage parlor inside the Mall of Georgia was closed and three employees arrested for "sexual acts for hire," but the county would not be able to seize their business, even under the new laws. Once released from jail, they could open another shop in another mall.
If Gwinnett County wants to put an end to the world's oldest profession, it should find another way. Better yet, it should take a step forward and instead of criminalizing two consenting adults trading cash for services, they should regulate the industry. Through regulation you can bring the sex trade out of the dark corners of our county, make it safer for the buyers and sellers, and help to end the exploitation of those who may be in the business against their will.
Stealing property from a person committing a misdemeanor offense, legally the same severity as a speeding ticket, should be avoided at all costs.
-- Nathan Horton