Police, Prostitutes, and Perpetrators: Putting the Sting On

Mary Dodge, University of Colorado - Denver

Law enforcement agencies rarely view prostitution as a victimless crime. In fact, they often associate the fact with a variety of street crimes that contribute to and perpetuate the victimization of the community and family. Police prostitution stings primarily target the "johns" by using female decoys. Although the arrest results in a misdemeanor charge, authorities use nuisance abatement laws to further punish the so-called offenders. This paper presents participant observation research involving police sting operations that, while attempting to control crime, may actually create and exacerbate problems for those involved; including, for example, female police officers, family members, and illegal immigrants.

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Updated 05/20/2006