A ‘Victimless’ Crime?

by Diane Dimond on March 7, 2009

Horror in the Desert

Horror in the Desert

How many times have you heard that prostitution is a “victimless” crime?

As the argument usually goes: So what if people choose to engage in sex for money? It’s between two consenting adults. The woman volunteers, the man pays. No one gets hurt.

Really?

Tell that to the families of the young women being unearthed from a stretch of mesa southwest of  Albuquerque, New Mexico. As I write this the remains of at least 13 women and one unborn child have been discovered in a gruesome mass grave, the handiwork of at least one, and maybe more, serial killers. All the dead women are believed to have been prostitutes and/or addicted to drugs.

APD CSI Digging For Victims

APD CSI Digging For Victims

Because the bodies seem to have been discarded years ago Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz, seeking to calm the public’s fear, says everyone “Can be reassured that there’s not an active serial killer … killing and preying on people.” I’m not so sure.

Wichita’s BTK Killer, Dennis Rader, was active from 1974 to 1991, killing 10 people, sending the police taunting letters about his crimes. After years of inactivity, suddenly in 2004, Rader wanted to play with police again and began sending more notes. Thankfully, before he could kill again he was caught.

My point is, serial killers are diabolical and no one knows for sure if the New Mexico killer is dead or alive and contemplating more murders.

But back to my point about prostitution and its status as a “victimless” crime. It depends on what your definition of victimhood is. Is it what a person has endured in life that makes them a victim or what they are currently going through?

Studies show that most prostitutes report they were victims of childhood sexual abuse, violent rape or assault with weapons. Many say they turned to the sex trade because they were victims of hunger and homelessness. Most have little formal education, lot of them are fighting drug or alcohol addictions. They believe they are victims of their circumstances and I’m not sure I have a good argument to convince them they are not. I’m the first one to advocate people pulling themselves up by the bootstraps but overcoming multiple handicaps in life is a very tough business.

Authorities have been able to offer a positive ID on only two of the bodies pulled from the desolate Albuquerque

Gina Valdez

Gina Valdez

grave. Preliminary information on Victoria Chavez and Gina Valdez, both young mothers in their 20’s, reveals their lives were full of the challenges listed above plus Valdez was pregnant with her third child when she died. Simply put, these women lived lives of poverty and desperation. They made bad choices. They paid the ultimate price.

Now the focus needs to stay on who carried out this evil and tried to bury it in the desert, even if the killer or killers are dead. Someone got away with murder and we need to know who and if he’s still out there.

Victoria Chavez

Victoria Chavez

We may never know exactly what happened to New Mexico’s unlucky 13. Reportedly, there were no visible signs of attack on any of the bodies, no bullet holes or knife marks. Tissue decomposition surely destroyed evidence of strangulation or poisoning. Perhaps they were buried alive.

I suppose at this point the death of a group of prostitutes shouldn’t shock us. It’s been going on since the days of Jack the Ripper (suspected in the deaths of as many as 18 women.) Historically ‘Ladies of the Evening’ have been murdered at a much higher rate than those who work in other risky professions. Since Jack’s day others with names like The Skid Row Killer, The Hillside Stranger and The Green River Killer, have admitted to murdering multiple dozens of prostitutes. They looked at women as disposable and they chose targets no one would miss, people who authorities wouldn’t bother spending much time looking for. And consider this – the FBI figures there are between 30 and 50 active serial killers roaming America right now.

As handicapped by life as they might be prostitutes learn early how dangerous their lifestyle is, yet they continue.

Risky Business

Risky Business

While I have genuine sympathy for their plight let’s remember they and their clients engage in criminal activity every time they sell themselves for sex. That’s why everywhere in America, except in parts of Nevada, prostitution is illegal. Laws are made to keep people safe, like laws against drunk driving. If an adult makes a conscious decision to break a law, are we then responsible for what happens to them? Of course not. The saddest part is often neither families nor society can help them discover a better way to live.

Still I, for one, will never refer to prostitution as a “victimless” crime. The weight of the evidence tells us that just isn’t so.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

DianeDimond March 7, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Alan O. writes:

"You point out the dangers of illegal prostitution as well as the typical psychosocial history that leads to many women turning to these activities.
You devote 1 line to the legal prostitution field in some parts of Nevada. As you know, prostitution is legal in some parts of Europe as well. In these times of financial stress and high unemployment, do you have objections to well regulated, highly taxed legal prostitution operations. From all I have seen, these legal activities appear to be safe, clean, and profitable business activities.

I would be interested in your opinions/comments."

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DianeDimond March 7, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader (and attorney) Ousama R. writes:

"I once represented a man being charged with patronizing a prostitute. After work, at Sandia Labs, he picked up "a known prostitute" on central who was being staked out by APD's vice unit. They drove around and found a "suitable" place. They were busted in the act with the cash on the dashboard.

Apd had announced the sting in the paper, which he didn't see. His arrest was reported the next day in the Journal. Unfortunately, his prostitute, also reported, was identified in the article as "Michael" something.

His embarrassment was secure once TV news couldn't resist the urge to cover the story as well.

Now comes the moral of the story and an angle not covered in your story of the "victimless crime." his WIFE came with him to our initial meeting. I was shocked, to say the least.

If there truly is a victim in these cases, it is usually the unsuspecting spouse who is presumably then exposed in their marital relations to what ever STD's their spouse may have been exposed to in their consensual business transaction. Not to mention the emotional damage from the media coverage to their social standing in the community.

All people who participate in the "oldest profession" are knowing participants to the encounter and the dangers thereof. The loyal wife at home or work, however, excluded."

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DianeDimond March 7, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Alan:
No. Personally I wouldn't have any objection to prostitution becoming a legalized, regulated business. As such prostitution would be "elevated" to a true business status and therefore subject to regulations to keep it, as you put it, "safe, clean and profitable." I'm not sure I would agree with you that it should be "highly taxed" – as that would probably keep a lot of it in the shadows. Who wants to share a big chunk with Uncle Sam when you can keep it all for yourself, right? However, yes – as in Nevada, I think it should be taxed.

I think legalizing it, as they do in many parts of the world, would go a long way to lift the shameful stigma attached. However, lets not kid ourselves "private prostitution" would continue anyway. ~ DD

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DianeDimond March 7, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Harry H writes:

" Easy to write about the hapless females walking "Main Street USA" by quoting government statistics or a news article or two but "prostitution" works in Nevada precisely because it is monitored, regulated, and policed!
As for "victimless crime" it's only a crime, (outside of Nevada), when these 'poor souls' get caught. killed, or abused, which is a horrendous consequence for all dragged into this tragic life style…
Then again there are those "Hollywood ladies" that sell their favors to the pornographic Film Industry for healthy wages or 'da well kept ladies that sell their favors to big industry types and government "movers and shakers" for mega bucks!!" ~DD

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DianeDimond March 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Harry – why does the last part of your e-mail remind me of one Ms. Anna Nicole Smith?

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DianeDimond March 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader WB writes:

" I usually enjoy and.or are informed or entertained by your pieced in the ABQ Journal, but your recent column on prostituton was way off the mark.

You oviously are not very knowledgable about modern prostitution or simpy choose to present all the facts. Your article seems to be about prostitution 50 years ago and focuses on a very small aspect of the modern escort business.
You are writng about the bottom of the bucket, the dark and very small underside of the business.

The vast majority of modern day prostituton/escorting bears little resemblance to what you have wirtten about as it is truly a victimless crime between consenting adults. There is no white slavery, pimping, child expoitation, drug involvement, etc. in 90% of modern day prostiution. The women are usually in their 20s-40s; many are college-educated, sometimes even with advance degrees. They often have other respectable jobs. They enjoy their escorting activities, as they enjoy sex, are selective in their clients and make a great deal of money dong what they enjoy. They are selective in their screening of adult only clients and have regular health check-ups and employ safety measures. They charge from $200.hr on up. There is no coercion of any sort.

We are talking about modern day prostitution, which most advanced countries, such as those in Europe or even our neighbor to the north, Canada, allow and regulate.

You are writing about the bottom of the barrel activities, which are found in any business, and are certainly horrible and shoud be prevented. But I assure you that empirical research will show that these cases are a small percentage of modern escorting practices.

In 90% of escorting activities, they truly are victimless and between consenting adults with none of the terrible features which you equate with all of prostitution. The US has a Victorian attitude and laws towards this, which you seem to share,

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Lyn March 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Hey Diane, great column as always. Not only am I thinking back to Jack the Ripper but also the Yorkshire Ripper in the mid 70's who was obsessed with killing prostitutes! In the days of Jack the prostitutes were referred to as "unfortunates", not only because of their "profession" but because of their life-style. They were destitute, had nowhere to sleep but many of them drank their earnings. It is a far cry from the situations of this day but still, some women are destitute and have no idea where to turn. As with most other things, the US is way way behind in some of the "laws" they have here. I suggest a visit to Amsterdam. That place really opens your eyes because anything goes and nobody gives a toss about what people are up to….the thing is….you hardly hear of any crime there at all. This country amazes me really about many things going on….that other countries do not partake in. However, yes it is legal in parts Europe but believe me…..if the police are about in England in the red light districts, they arrest the guys that are driving around there looking for paid sex. I wonder if things will change here?

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DianeDimond March 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm

WB: Well, my hat is off to you!

If you and/or women you know make a great living selling sex (disguised under the label "escort") and you don't go home later and feel sad and degraded – good for you.

Naturally, there is a big difference between the women who were the subject of this column – women who found themselves mired in poverty, murdered and tossed into the dusty ground with other unfortunates – and what you describe as the glittering escort life.

For my money if I were a woman who was "college-educated … with an advance degree….with another respectable job" I think I'd want to put my education and experience to work in a more socially constructive way, but that's just me. And I beleive that no matter how much "they enjoy their escorting activities, as they enjoy sex and are selective in their clients" it is still a dangerous and, to me, somewhat pathetic way to live.

Maybe someday I'll write about the escort business in particular but this column was about how prostitutes are routinely murdered in much higher rates than other "working girls." ~ DD

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Lady Litigator March 8, 2009 at 6:43 pm

It's funny that we both had this thought, although varied in opinion, on International Women's Day. I do think prostitution should be legalized. The very notion/profession is thousands of years old. Politics has endured. Why not its back-door vice? (no pun intended)
In various locations throughout the world where it is legal, the criminal element has been taken out of it. The hookers are AIDS-free because they are monitored and they even pay taxes, in places. Sex is a commodity. Each of us buy and sell things we value. If you think about it, the trophy wives of wealthy men are no different – we are just talking price here.

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DianeDimond March 8, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Albuquerque Journal reader Brandon C. writes:

" Under the current laws, yes, it does often go beyond a victimless crime. But, that
is because of the near Draconian laws on prostitution.

Because it is illegal, many prostitutes are beaten, robbed, raped and murdered by
pimps, clients and others. They often will not report such crimes to police
for fear of arrest and incarceration.

The sheer cost of mainaining illegality is enormous. Los Angeles spent a total
of $100 million annually in the 1990s (Congressional Quarterly: Street Cleaning: 1991).
From 1994-96, the city of San Francisco spent nearly $8 million on a unit devoted
to vice. In 2008, an article in Zimbio estimated that $11 million was
spent by the city of San Francisco on combating prostitution; diverting
resources from combating true violent crime-murders, robberies, aggravated
assaults, etc.

I believe the Nevada model has been a model of both efficiency and actually has
REDUCED crime with respect to prostitution. Other than Clark and Washoe County,
prostitution is legal, regulated and taxed. The state also requires health
checks; requires the use of various contraceptives and barriers when
conducting business and all brothels are subject to state and local
sales and income taxes as are all workers, who most likely are
independent contractors who file their own taxes.

…The women who were found in the West Mesa cemetery are there because of
the illegality of the trade … If it was legal, patrons would have to go through the process of identification, proper payment and compliance with state and local laws and rules. This
means patrons could be arrested; not for solicitation but for non-compliance.
They also could be sued civilly for breach of contract.

…With no framework in place to control and contain the spread of diseases and reduce pregnancy, the current system has created an unintended burden upon society. Since prostitutes working illegally are not likely to visit a doctor or health facility, the chances
of STDs spreading are actually higher than if they were regulated by law
and the state or locality conducted health checks.

My only hope now is that the police find whomever is or was responsible for the
murders on the West Mesa. But, I hope that in this day and age, New Mexico
takes a page from Nevada and many European countries and moves towards
legalization…"

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DianeDimond March 8, 2009 at 8:57 pm

FaceBook Friend and Crime Author Suzy Spencer (who's been researching a book about American's sex habits writes:

"Thank you for your column on prostitution. Strangely enough, I've been trying to figure out a way to write about it too. Last summer I became friends with a 40-year-old stripper who used to "escort" and occasionally still did, but only with men she knew well.

All the while, she talked about how escorting destroyed her soul and her respect for men and she was discouraging others from doing it.

Just after Christmas, she emailed me telling me she was meeting a new man for paid sex. She'd be in room such in such at the Sheraton and she'd email me the next morning to let me know she was safe.

One, I couldn't believe she was pulling me into her illegal activity. Two, I couldn't believe she'd gone back to "whoring" — her word, not mine — after telling me for months how adversely it affected her and I couldn't believe she was doing it with complete strangers. My gosh, the danger she was putting herself into … as well as me, because I'm the type who would have gone knocking on that hotel room door if I hadn't heard from her.

When I insisted we discuss this, she denied that "escorting" adversely affected her soul, despite her previous statements to the contrary…

There are times that I think prostitutes can be angels of mercy, which I won't bother going into in this overly long email. But I just hate the damage it does to their minds, bodies and souls. And no matter how strongly prostitutes say it doesn't — even those who write books about it (and I'm not talking about my friend) — when they let down their guard, they admit that it does."

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DianeDimond March 8, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Thanks for sharing some of your research with us, Suzy! And Readers, check out Suzy's website here for more on her books and activities: http://www.suzyspencer.com ~ DD

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DianeDimond March 9, 2009 at 3:30 am

FaceBook Friend D.C. Hughes writes:

quoting the column:
">>That’s why everywhere in America, except in parts of Nevada, prostitution is illegal. Laws are made to keep people safe, like laws against drunk driving. If an adult makes a conscious decision to break a law, are we then responsible for what happens to them? Of course not.<<

Bit circular/chicken-n-egg: the counter-argument goes that by addressing it punitively as a "criminal" matter one 1) creates "criminals" and 2) consigns them to the underground economy and life off-the-grid thus creating "prey" and 3) continue the cycle…

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."
–Ayn Rand

"It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws."
–Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

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DianeDimond March 9, 2009 at 3:32 am

FaceBook Friend Jeannine V. writes:

"Prostitution should be legalized so that things like this would not happen. I don't think anyone has been murdered at the Bunny Ranch in NV. Women have been taken advantage of for years in this profession. It is very easy to do so when they are forced to work out on the streets in alleys, and other disgusting hovels, where no one can see them or protect them.

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WBD March 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm

). Where is your statistical, research-based evidence that all of the prostitution-escort business involves victims? Again, your column's main point is that prostitution is not a victimless crime. Some of it, such as the seamy underside you write about, is not, but probably 80-90 percent of modern day escort activities only involve consenting adults and have no "victims" other than those arrested because of our antiquated and usually ineffective laws. We are not talking here about the sorry streetwalkers or druggies or those with pimps or who are underage or under coercion. Current, internet-based escort sevice comprises much, if not most, of the activities these days. (Check some of these sites out). Before making such overstated claims, it is recommended that you do some actual social research, or at least read some, on the topic before making such exaggerated assertions. Welcome to the twenty-first century! ( I do realize that journalists are entitled to expose their opinions to the public, no matter how little based on facts).

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DianeDimond March 9, 2009 at 8:34 pm

WBD (writing as WB previously):
First, nowhere did I write that "all of the prostitution-escort business involves victims." No where.
Second, you insist on the dubious assumption that most of the prostitution in this country is conducted through organized, fancy, careful and clean escort services. Sorry. I just don't buy it. Yes, it goes on – there are escort businesses in every city and state – but I maintain there's a lot more baseline prostitution that goes on every day, in every burb and village in America.
You also insist on calling me to task for refusing your version of reality. I simply do not beleive that "80-90% of modern day escort activities …have no 'victims'" Really? Tell that to suicide victim/Madame Jean Palfrey and her escort friend who also killed herself over the Washington DC call girl ring.
Just because YOU say it is so doesn't make it the truth.

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Paul Bates March 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

We do not know if there are more bodies somewhere else. In rehearsed sexual homicides, the perp always takes the victim to a remote scene, but that scene can change. With experience these individuals get better at their crimes.

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DianeDimond March 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Chaplin Mary writes:

" Diane, this story tore at my heartstrings and sense of love and compassion like no other story I've read. You see, in my earlier training as a chaplain at the Presbyterian Hospital, I was assigned as the chaplain for one of those young women whose picture was shown among other victims of abandonment and/or murder.

Her name was Anselma Guerra; young, petite and pretty, 'Marie' was mentally challenged. She lost a baby that night, and I was called upon to baptize the glob of humanity that was somehow determined to be a girl. Later, Marie requested that I perform a funeral service for her lifeless infant. And so began a friendship between us–my part being obsessed with trying to help her turn her life around; hers, I would imagine, was the need for some adult figure in her life. But she couldn't break the urge to seek out men for sex, then have baby after baby.

I lost track of Anselma but continued to look for her and pray for her until last week when my world fell apart. I feel that I, along with others, let her down."

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maryellen April 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

marie i mean anselma was pictured in the journal as missing since 2004, well,after doing some checking with distant family members that didnt know about alll this,,why didnt the media know she has been lying in sunset gardens since 2008, from where she was found dead at east mountains…i have never nor anyone else seen any thing in the media about, tho she was living at arca,,,what can they tell us,did the family identify her body,,,public needs more info here!!!!!!

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mmmarimoose April 5, 2009 at 11:16 am

more on that story too about the baby,,,why did she lose it

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Elisiana Montoya March 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm

The baby died because of a drug overdose. Anselma was my mom and my adoptive mother was there when this happened. I would also like to know more about Anselma. If anyone can help that would be great.

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DianeDimond March 9, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Chaplain Mary:

Your comment moved me to tears. And, you know you did all you could for her. You cared and you prayed and she made terrible choices. Thank you so much for writing. ~ DD

Note to readers: At this time only two of the dead have been identified and, while Anselma's family fears the worst, she is not been identified as one of the 13 found in that mass grave outside Albuquerque. She is still listed as "missing".

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lisa baca April 5, 2009 at 11:12 am

she is at sunset gardens off menaul,,,,arca were her living quarters ask themm

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WBD March 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm

OK, Ms.Dimond. You win. Our realities are indeed different. And if citing some specific cases of murder or suicide are sufficeint to confirm your stance, instead of some empirical, social science studies, you most certainly win. No, I did not make the attributed statement about escort services. In fact, most escorts today are found as free-lance independents on the internet. (Besides, I don't know what "baseline prostitution" is.What is it?). It is obvious that you know little about escort services in 2009. You should at least check out some web sites.

No,of course what I say does not make the truth. We all know that what JOURNALISTS say make the truth; in fact they seem to have an exclusive on the truth. The saying is correct–never argue with the person who owns barrels full of ink (or in this day and age, who owns the website). And never argue with a person who is convinced that they have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (even if there is much evidence to the contrary).

You win…I give up….

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DianeDimond March 9, 2009 at 11:25 pm

WBD:
This is why there is chocolate and vanilla in the world. It's okay to disagree.
You can blast all JOURNALISTS on your way out the door, WBD….but the fact is – this is an Opinion column (as in Op-Ed) and that's what I do – I give my opinion.
By the way, I happen to know lots about the escort business….Heidi Fleiss mentions me in her book. I spent 10 years in Hollywood and spent considerable time with many a Madame, the girls and their customers.
I think there's been enough said on this. ~ DD

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DianeDimond March 10, 2009 at 1:47 am

FaceBook Friend Donald K. writes:

"It's already legal in Washington D.C. and all fifty state capitols. Oops, wrong title, same profession. But they both begin with a "P".
Of course prostitutes might justly be insulted by being compared to politicians. At least sex workers are trading value for value. Politicians just point a gun at your head and impose the will of their politically expedient clients: the majority, the nation, the race, the fatherland, the proletariat, the medically uninsured, campaign donors, etc., etc., etc., …"

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jeff liddell March 10, 2009 at 2:43 am

As I stated in a previous post, the era of prohibition taught Americans that when the public wanted a particular vice, they would pay to get it, illegal or not. Cigarettes are going up in price and a black market is already developing to sell them at a cheaper price through illegal means. The act of prostitution is perhaps the oldest vice in the country and men and women are going to participate regardless of the legality, at least Nevada had the sense to legalize it and make their part of the profit as well. If my information is correct, perhaps you can verify, Nevada has the lowest incident of sexual related crimes, at least that is what I have been told. If that is correct I would strongly suggest the legal act of prostitution is a large part of those lower stats. This is a nation of laws, many badly written and many randomly enforced, I recall my time living in Houston, every 3 or 4 months for news media coverage and political correctness, the police would break up the location of the street prostitutes and they would simply move to another location, but everyone knew where to find them if you wanted one. Why not legalize the vices we know people are going to utilize, let the government do their part to regulate for safety and enjoy the resulting taxes that would be more than modest. Those of us that don't condone such vices can choose to avoid them.

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maryellen martinez April 4, 2009 at 5:51 pm

anselma is at sunset memorial her ashes they will not give much information lets see what you can find out,,,she was cremated,,july 2008 her ashes lefta there,,,why doesnt the media know,,,they will not say whi identified her in order to cremate her nor who payed for services,,,,we all need info on this….this story too bazaar………follow up on it the public would be surprised,,,,as i that no media information on this!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Dave Maclay . March 10, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Prostitution certainly can be victimless, which sets it apart from other always-a-victim crimes.

How often there could be misunderstandings involving prostitution could be influenced by how close to the black market (and other illegal operations) any illegal activity could have to be.

If prostitution were legalized, this would set it apart in lawful status as well, and it could increase the accuracy of the *victimless* label.

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DianeDimond March 10, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Dave – Hope you voted in my poll ! Thanks for writing. ~ DD

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Lyn March 11, 2009 at 2:23 am

I did your poll Diane. I am still trying to figure out exactly what WB and/or WBD is actually talking about. I am confused. Nothing new there then!! Your comments are very um…"defensive" for want of a better word but like the rest of us, you are entitled to your opinion. However, Dave…your comments make total sense.

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DianeDimond March 11, 2009 at 3:51 am

Thanks for voting, Lyn. I too am wondering if WB/WBD is, perhaps, connected to the professional "escort" business. I guessing yes.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just think its a dangerous profession. ~DD

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Janet Turner March 13, 2009 at 12:53 am

Hi Diane……This has been an interesting column to say the least…..my husband and I see it from different points. My husband says that it already is…..it's called marriage(!)….I know! Me on the other hand… I feel…. and this is just my opinion……that women have struggled too hard to prove themselves through the years as equals to become sex objects no matter what the money says. Legalized prostitution just gives the government something else to tax and then it goes on public record and alot of people don't want that so it will still be the girl or guy on the corner. Will the people who owns these businesses be willing to put up the money for the insurance if something should happen… or will these people…prostitutes/escorts be left to fend for themselves. Would there be a workmans comp of sorts? I know that they say that these girls are put through medical exams and all that but it takes just one instance, whether violence or disease and these girls lives are ruined.
Again my opinion only…..I think it is degrading to women or men who are used for sex purposes only…no matter the money. I am just having a hard time seeing that just because it is legal there is no victim.

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DianeDimond March 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Web site reader and author Tony Davis writes:

" …Your article, A ‘Victimless’ Crime? Your article was very well done and it shows how unfortunately, people seem to kill with impunity. It brought back a memory from many years ago when I lived in Louisiana in the 80’s. My boss told me to take his car and pick up a day worker at a local hospital. He apparently had been in a fight the previous night at a local bar.

Once he entered the car, my skin began to crawl. I don’t remember ever feeling this uncomfortable around anyone before or since. Yet, I didn’t know why. No words were spoken other than the token “hello’s” expected of an initial meeting. This ten-minute ride just couldn’t seem to end fast enough. I dropped him off and got out of the car. Shortly afterward, he left the work site never to be seen again. That evening the bar and adjoining apartment burned down killing three people. A few days later, a young mother was outside with her young child in a playpen near Covington, LA. Her husband came home and the child was alone in the pen; the mother missing. She was found murdered in the woods nearby.

The suspect: the same guy I took to work – Henry Lee Lucas, a self proposed serial killer who killed his Mother.

I realize that my experience is somewhat different than the focus of your story, but it shows how some will kill without a second thought. I’ve often wondered why Lucas didn’t take me out and steal the car. I’ve not thought about this incident for many years but thinking about your article made me revisit it. Perhaps it’s because of the current book project I’m doing addressing Human Trafficking. Every day I read of some new aspect of this horrible crime and I’ve become somewhat sensitized to the actions of folks without their thinking twice. With this project I feel as though I opened Pandora’s box."

Anthony "Tony" M. Davis
Bestselling Author: “Terrorism and the Maritime Transportation System”
Anthony M. Davis – Stock Photography Site: http://www.anthonymdavis.com

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DianeDimond March 17, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Albuquerque Journal Reader Rich L. writes:

"I enjoy reading your column even though I don't always agree with it but I feel the need to point out that your recent 'Victimless Crime' column was exceedingly poor. You completely ignore the fact that the vast majority of the "casualties" associated with prostitution stem from its illegality, not the practice itself. If our society could be more reasonable and less concerned with imposing certain morals on the entire population prostitution could be made much safer by making it legal. You deliberately ignore the fact that prostitutes are vulnerable because they do not seek aid from the police or receive protection from them because their profession is illegal. You ignore the fact that while laws may be intended to keep people safe, they sometimes have the opposite effect.

The second to last paragraph in your column is particularly poor. You essentially say that because prostitution is illegal, it is illegal. You are apparently biased towards condemning prostitution on moral grounds instead of taking all of the facts into account."

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DianeDimond March 17, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Rich L:

Prostitution IS illegal …everywhere in America except parts of Nevada. Surely, you can't fault me for pointing that out in an Op-Ed column about prostitution?! And if you read through the comments here, and my replies, you'll see I believe it should be made legal in America as it is in other countries. Regulating the sex trade would go a long way to taking the profit, the stigma and the danger out of it.
We likely agree on lots about this topic . That my 800 word limit didn't allow me to explain the obvious – people who break the law usually don't voluntarily have anything to do with the police – is sort of beside to point to my mind.
Thanks for your comments. ~ DD

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Violet Connick September 22, 2010 at 3:31 am

Hello,
My name is violet and i am Ancelmas 2nd oldest child. She was a good person she was just going threw a lot. She had a rough chilhood and sadly keep the chain of substance abuse going and i broke it. I do forgive her for what she did i will not for get but i do love her i mean after all if it wasn’t for her i wouldn’t even be here. I am 18 years old and have a one year old daughter and i am married. I broke the abuse i broke the drugs and i broke prostitution. Yes i got pregnant at six-teen but i have learned a lot because of the blessing of my daughter and by the things my mother went threw. So anyone one here that has anything bad to say about my mom please save it for your self. She had people who loved(and still does) her. She has family out there that cares.

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