1) Zumba, 2) Prostitution, 3) Profit!

A Zumba instructor in Kennebunk, Maine took the exercise / art form to its logical next level and apparently offered sex for money as part of the deal. (source) The Zumba instructor pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution.

What makes the story really interesting is the public access to records issue. The police initially released 21 names out of a presumed 150 name customer list, and intend to release more names as summonses are issued. This release reportedly “created havoc for some innocent men who shared names with the accused.”

Addresses, ages and other identifying information of the alleged clients were withheld after a judge ruled that state law required them to be kept confidential because the alleged videotapes of the sexual encounters may make the men potential victims of privacy invasion.

But Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren reversed course on Tuesday, ruling in favor of a request from The Portland Press Herald newspaper which argued that releasing only partial information was unfair to people not on the list.

“The fact is that by releasing names only, you’re getting a lot of false positives. You’re implicating people who may be completely innocent and simply share the same or similar names with people charged, and that’s a real harm,” Press Herald attorney Sigmund Schutz told The Associated Press. (source)

For most of human history, prostitution has been an accepted way of life. I find it disturbing that police resources are used, anywhere, to crack down on consensual prostitution. If this woman was a willing participant, and her customers were willing participants, what the hell do the rest of us care?

19 Responses to 1) Zumba, 2) Prostitution, 3) Profit!

  1. It’s days like this when I feel like we’re living in the 1800s. They are all moral heathens who broke God’s will! They should be punished, shamed, and forced to read the Bible for their lack of morality. She should be put in a nunnery!

    Maybe I’m crazy, but doesn’t the government have better things to worry about than who is having sex with who?

  2. Charles Platt says:

    In England, where I grew up, a transaction of money-for-sex is legal, although solicitation is not (this law was intended to discourage pimping). The legalization of prostitution has now existed in the UK for decades. (The rule against solicitation was circumvented by charming little advertisements written on file cards and displayed on a bulletin board outside my local newspaper store, such as “Large Chest for Sale,” with a phone number.) The moral fiber of society was not degraded. Prostitution did not sweep the nation, destroying marriages and undermining the fabric of decent society.

    Many concerns of godfearing Americans might be alleviated if they would travel a little more widely.

  3. Matt Sanchez says:

    Clearly you aren’t familiar with the “sanctity of Zumba” argument.

  4. @Charles Platt – I heard a (possibly apocryphal) story surrounding the legalization of prostitution; I wonder whether you’ve heard it (and of course whether it has a shred of truth to it, or is just a good story.)

    As I heard it, the bill to to legalize had made its way through the Commons and was due to be rubber-stamped in the Lords, when some peer or another with too much time on his hands said “Halt! How can we legalize when we don’t know the correct plural term?” And apparently there followed a discussion on whether the proper term of venery is “a jam of tarts”, “an anthology of pros”, “an essay of trollops”, etc. Eventually, a suitable term was decided upon, and the bill was passed as an afterthought.

    Well, that’s the way _I_ heard it, anyway.

    • Charles Platt says:

      Plausible. My uncle was a life peer, in the House of Lords, and I used to drink sherry there with him, back in the day. Unfortunately he’s dead, now; otherwise, I could get him to check the back issues of Hansard to find out of your tale is true.

  5. Ancel De Lambert says:

    I have one vital question upon which this whole issue turns. What the flying hell is Zumba?

  6. Matt says:

    I think that this appears to be one of the better cases for legalizing prostitution. Unfortunately, there are far more cases that would probably make you think twice. Prostitution is, more often than not, tied very closely with drug addiction, childhood sexual trauma, and sex trafficking that it is hard to draw the line sometimes.

    Take a look at these photo sets (most of which span approximately two years, taken by the same officer), and decide for yourself whether prostitution is harmless:

    http://s147851.gridserver.com/faces-of-prostitution-photos/

    • I don’t think that the website you link to is all that honest. Many of those particular prostitutes seem to be, also, drug addicts. So, is it the prostitution or the drugs?

      Yeah, women with drug issues and childhood trauma might be more inclined to become hookers, but that doesn’t mean that hooking is any worse for you than working in a factory.

      • Matt says:

        That is true, they indeed appear to be drug addicts. Or at least they do by the end of the photo spread. That is one of the big questions, is it the prostitution or the drugs? Or do they go hand-in-hand?

        I am not arguing that prostitution is bad no matter the circumstances. I am certainly not a puritan, and I disagree with how our system deals with prostitution. I’m sure there are countries where it works, the transactions are knowing and voluntary, and everyone wins. That very well could be the UK, as Mr. Platt mentions. I would only argue that in America, as it currently stands (and Thailand, Nepal, Russia, etc.) prostitution is closely tied to drug use, human trafficking, and sexual abuse. In other words, in some places, it is not a victimless crime. That is the only problem I have with it.

        • G Thompson says:

          Could it be that in all those places you state that have ties with prostitution, drugs, trafficking, and abuse it is that the underlying reason this causation appears is that prostitution is considered a criminal act and where this causation doesn’t occur ie: UK, New Zealand, Australia (where a brothel is actually on the stock exchange) is due to it actually being legal and highly regulated by both workplace OH&S laws and also statutes.

          This would imply even a higher reason to make prostitution a legal and regulated business.

    • Charles Platt says:

      Have you perhaps ever met any prostitutes? Ever visited the UK where it is legal for women to trade sex for money? Canada? The Netherlands? Maybe even Pahrump, Nevada? You might notice that if the legal stigma and fears are removed, women benefit greatly. In any case, if you are arguing that maintaining the illegality of prostitution prevents it from occurring, that isn’t working so well, is it? Maybe it’s time to try something else instead of the usual combination of punishing and stigmatizing a victimless crime. The US laws are just an invitation for abuse of police powers, and forcing an activity underground makes it far more likely to become associated with the problems you list.

      • Charles Platt says:

        (Reply above was intended for “Matt.”)

      • Melody says:

        Those pictures are of “street” prosititutes where pimps absolutely abuse and use drugs to force these women into a life of prostitution.

        Living in Nevada, where prostitution is legal in some counties, many women actually choose to live that life. They use safe sex, they are tested regularly for drugs, aids, STD’s, etc. They have bouncers if the guy gets rough. None of them are forced into it.

        Further, how is trading sex for money any different than a woman who chooses to be a mistress? Or even the “trophy” wife who gives it up for a bonus in the end through the pre-nup?

      • Matt says:

        Yes, I have met prostitutes. No, I’m not necessarily arguing for maintaining the illegality of prostitution, at least the way it is now. I agree, we should try something else.

  7. [...] Crimes Yes, a zumba instructor got busted for being a prostitute. But…why can’t consenting adults exchange sex for money? Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

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