Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tracking the Experience of Decriminalizing Prostitution in Rhode Island

Donna Hughes & Melanie Shapiro, Bibliography of Sources on Prostitution Decriminalization in Rhode Island

A bibliography of sources on the research we did on prostitution and sex trafficking and the advocacy work we did to end decriminalized prostitution. For 29 years prostitution was decriminalized in Rhode Island (if it occurred indoors). Sexual exploitation and violence against women and girls were integrated into economic development. The number of sex businesses grew rapidly and organized crime groups operated brothels and extorted money from adult entertainment businesses. Rhode Island became a destination for pimps, sex traffickers, and other violent criminals. The lack of laws impeded police from investigating serious crimes, including sex trafficking


Human trafficking | Permalink


This is interesting reading - but I think it's important to note that there research out there that suggests that there were some positive effects of decriminalization in the public health arena - e.g. the National Bureau of Economic Research did a study that had interesting findings. From the abstract: We exploit the fact that a Rhode Island District Court judge unexpectedly decriminalized indoor prostitution in 2003 to provide the first causal estimates of the impact of decriminalization on the composition of the sex market, rape offenses, and sexually transmitted infection outcomes. Not surprisingly, we find that decriminalization increased the size of the indoor market. However, we also find that decriminalization caused both forcible rape offenses and gonorrhea incidence to decline for the overall population. Our synthetic control model finds 824 fewer reported rape offenses (31 percent decrease) and 1,035 fewer cases of female gonorrhea (39 percent decrease) from 2004 to 2009.


Posted by: Brian | Feb 22, 2017 10:20:36 AM

Hello Professor Thomas. I just noticed your post. In response to Brian, prostitution was actually decriminalized in RI in 1980 via legislation. The 2003 court case explicitly noted that but the 1980 decision in Coyote v. Roberts addressed the effect on the legislative change. Here is a recent article we wrote addressing a study done regarding decriminalized prostitution and health. https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol4/iss3/6/. Here is a recent law review article we published on the history of decriminalized prostitution in Rhode Island. https://www.academia.edu/34557153/Decriminalized_Prostitution_Impunity_for_Violence_and_Exploitation

Posted by: Melanie Shapiro | Jan 18, 2020 8:00:41 AM

Post a comment