We could do something about prostitution. But we won't.
Published 17/02/2014 | 02:30
So 160 men have been lifted in the last three years by cops as part of 'Operation Kerb', the Bridewell's operation aimed at breaking the cycle of kerbcrawling and street prostitution in Dublin's north inner city, such as that infamous red light spot, Benburb Street.
And to that news, most people will say... bravo.
Apart from anything else, street walking brings its own anti-social problems that range from the mild to the severe. I've lost count of the number of female friends who have been propositioned by some sleaze in a car when they were walking home along the canal at the wrong time, for example. And on a much less threatening but still irritating level, it's not much fun walking through a prostitution hot spot when you're just trying to get from A to B – there's the real fear that you'll be lifted by the cops during a periodic sweep, or you'll be battered by one of the heavies who act as unofficial muscle for the girls and it just makes for an awkward social situation.
Such open levels of prostitution are bad for any community – used condoms and syringes become detritus that pollute the streets and surrounding laneways. And wherever street prostitution is openly practised there will be an increase in crime and general disorder as people protect their own patch and business from rival and interloper alike.
Then of primary and, ultimately, the only real concern, is the welfare of the prostitutes themselves.
After all, the first thing we teach kids is that they must never get in a car with a strange man but here we have an occupation that sees vulnerable women do exactly that – several times a night.
Therefore 160 of those weirdos being given a short, sharp shock and facing the prospect of their lives being ruined when they're named in the papers is a good thing, I'm sure you'll agree. After all, these sick bastards are obviously getting their kicks not from the actual sex but from the domination and exploitation of vulnerable females.
Or maybe they're just men looking to get off with some no-strings-attached sex.
Denise Charlton of the Immigrant Council chirped: "The fact that prostitution had been removed from the area and pimps and traffickers had moved on, showed that by taking on demand, prostitution simply shut down."
In one fell swoop, the Immigrant Council discovered a way to shut down the world's oldest profession. It turns out that all you have to do is spook the punters.
So, did 'prostitution simply shut down' in the area? Well, that's certainly a possibility. But more likely it just moved to a new location. And, once the cops discover that, they will just move on to a new place. And so on, ad infinitum. To quote the great David Byrne: "Same as it ever was."
I doubt any of us have a moral objection to prostitution and, frankly, if you do then the answer is simple – don't use them. It's not my bag but it's not my place to judge and we need to accept that there will always be people prepared to pay for sex and there will always be people prepared to charge for it.
Surely the most efficient, secure and health-conscious approach for both parties in this transaction is to properly legalise brothels, place them on a register and license them, the way you would any other adult activity.
Not all prostitutes are victims and not all customers are freaks.
And I've yet to hear a compelling reason why it is preferable to force women to work on the street when they are at the mercy of any passing nutter, when they could have the relative safety of a properly monitored, legal and registered operation.
Or, on the other hand, we could always stick our head in the sand and continue to criminalise people for doing what comes naturally to them.
Actually, let's do that last one – shure it's the Irish way.
IT'S ALL ABOUT EQUALITY, HONESTLY
In its apparently faltering efforts to stay relevant, Facebook has decided to move away from that old-fashioned habit of people calling themselves simply a 'man' or a 'woman' on their gender settings.
Showing just how progressive they are, they have added 50 different gender choices for people to pick, from the common or garden transgender to such exotic creatures as those who identify themselves as "Two Spirit: Indigenous North Americans who fulfil one of many mixed-gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations indigenous groups."
50 new genders?
Maybe, or maybe just 50 new demographics that they can directly target with ads.
Not that Facebook would ever be so cynical...
HOW COULD THEY POSSIBLY BE OFFENDED?
A festival due to take place in Germany at the end of the month has run into some rather predictable and, I must admit, rather understandable resistance from some people who are objecting to some of the costumes people are being urged to wear.
The 'Karneval' has a history of mockery, but their tradition of using black-face costumes has come under scrutiny.
In fairness, you can't really blame people for complaining about an ad for something called: "Gaylord Blackface – Wet look For Men."
Maybe it sounds better in German. But I doubt it.