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Miller’s Mission- 21st-century abolitionism
DATE:
1-24-3005

SOURCE:
National Review

BY: Rich Lowry

Ambassador John Miller is head of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. But he has a simpler word for what he is combating: "slavery." Trafficking, or "modern-day slavery," as Miller calls it, is fast becoming one of the early 21st century's foremost human-rights issues.

The U.S. intelligence community's most recent estimate is that 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. Estimates of the number held against their will within individual countries run much higher. "There are probably millions of victims worldwide," says Miller, a former Republican congressman who bounces with energy and leads the U.S. anti-trafficking effort from a nondescript office a few blocks from the White House.

People are trafficked and coerced into prostitution (probably the largest category), domestic servitude, factory or farm labor, or even bizarre niche categories, such as child camel jockeys in the Persian Gulf states. The FBI estimates that trafficking in drugs, arms, and people makes billions of dollars a year for organized crime.

But the forces of decency have begun to fight back. An extraordinary cross-ideological coalition, spanning from Christian-right groups to feminist organizations, pushed the 2000 anti-trafficking legislation that created Miller's office. The coalition is still strong. Referring to the feminist writer and the evangelical Christian activist respectively, Hudson Institute scholar and anti-trafficking stalwart Michael Horowitz says, "Within the same week, I had Catharine MacKinnon and Richard Land call me and say, 'I love John Miller.'"

The Bush administration has energetically led on the issue. The president's critics tend to dismiss the moral content of his foreign policy as mostly an ex-post-facto justification for the Iraq War, i.e., "No WMD? Let's spread democracy instead." But the moral fiber of President Bush's foreign policy runs deep. He devoted several paragraphs in his September 2003 U.N. General Assembly speech to denouncing sex trafficking.

Miller's impassioned advocacy in particular has helped push the issue near the top of U.S. diplomatic priorities. His office releases an annual report. "Tier 3 countries" are those nations not even making a minimal effort to combat trafficking. Mere inclusion in that list can be enough to shame countries into action. Ten nations labeled Tier 3 immediately took steps in 2003 against trafficking. When his country was included on the list in 2004, the president of Guyana flew to the United States to talk to Miller about what he could improve.

The United States urges countries to get serious about prosecuting traffickers, to provide shelters for victims and to crack down on prostitution. Sweden and Korea have instituted legislation imposing stiff penalties on pimps and johns. Japan is cracking down on the abuse of "entertainer visas," which have long been an excuse to import women into the country to work in brothels. And a bipartisan coalition is forming in Congress to foster tough "demand side" enforcement of U.S. anti-prostitution laws by ensuring that male perpetrators such as johns and pimps are as systematically prosecuted as are female victims.

An obstacle to the anti-trafficking cause is the fact that the cultural image of prostitution in the United States is generally a gauzy one — think of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But prostitutes around the world — and even here in the United States — are frequently forced into it against their will. Poor, often very young women are tricked by traffickers into leaving home, and then forced into brothels. If they are in a foreign country, their passports will probably be stolen, and they won't know where to turn for help. They will likely be threatened, beaten or raped, or perhaps all three — all in the cause of coercing them into selling their bodies.

It is an intolerable affront to human dignity. "The methods are the same as from the slave trade — kidnappings, deception, beatings, sexual exploitation," says Miller. "You talk to these faith-based groups, and they think they are following in the footsteps of their ancestors in this country who led the abolition movement." Twenty-first-century slavery calls for 21st-century abolitionism.
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Who Will Rescue Us from Those Who Wish to Rescue Us Against Our Will?
The “rescue and reformation” of prostitutes has always been a big business. In the late 19th century, “fallen women” (prostitutes) had literally hundreds of Rescue Organizations vying for their souls and the money that went with their “salvation.” Most of those prostitutes unlucky enough to be so rescued could count on a life of slavery as inmates in the laundries, asylums and penitentiaries built by “faith based” organizations who raised thousands of dollars from the church-going public, horrified by the stories of the “poor, betrayed and fallen women” of the streets. It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s when an inadvertent act of greed uncovered the scandal in Ireland of the Magdalen laundresses -“Maggies” as they were called- whose slave labor in the laundries had enriched the coffers of the local Catholic Churches there for well over 100 years.

In the later part of the twentieth century, a curious phenomenon occurred: the far left radical feminists, who had been for many years preaching the gospel of prostitution as a violation of human rights and sexual exploitation- got in bed with religious conservatives who were all too happy to accept the new wording for their age-old moral crusade against prostitution. The religious conservatives had, for the most part, lost the public’s sympathy with their crusade against personal moral choices such as homosexuality and abortion, and needed a new holy war to inspire their congregations. But to reach the general populace, the wording needed to be altered so as not to be perceived as just another “moral” campaign. The radical feminists had the jargon already constructed- “anti- trafficking” was a fight against the sexual degradation of women and children- not a fight against immoral behavior, and thus could the public be persuaded it was imperative to pass new laws and spend of millions of dollars to “rescue” the “sexually exploited.” Whose heart strings wouldn’t be stirred at the thought of young children and women forced to perform sex acts upon evil, lust-filled men? Who wouldn’t be justifiably disturbed at the thought of greedy pimps making billions of dollars off the sale of those poor, exploited persons?

There was only one problem: prostitutes had begun fighting for their rights in the early 1970’s and had become vocal about wanting to decriminalize consenting adult prostitution. Around the world, prostitutes’ rights organizations were started by young, articulate, politically savvy women and men who believed the original feminist creed of self-determination. We had the audacity to think that the mantra “my body, my choice” for abortion rights also applied to us and our bodies. Can you imagine our surprise when we were told that there is no such thing as “choice” to engage in commercial sex?

“Sexual exploitation” is a subjective concept and requires the use of other inflammatory and deceitful words to reinforce it. So radical feminists and religious conservatives adopted a take no prisoners approach, and simply disallowed from being heard the voices of us activists who favor decriminalization of all private, consenting adult commercial sex.

Radical feminists and religious conservatives insist that no distinction be made between consenting adult commercial sex and true sexual slavery. Using skewed law enforcement statistics- which also do not differentiate between consenting adult prostitutes and those persons of any age who are coerced into sex slavery- the global community is duped into believing that there are possibly millions of trafficked victims worldwide who are nothing short of “modern day slaves.” Without clarification, these statistics are truly alarming and shocking- and certainly when there is force, fraud and underage persons involved, it is without a doubt a very serious problem.

I should point out that domestic violence is also a very serious problem within marriages and other non-commercial relationships. Anyone who visits a battered woman’s shelter without knowing that domestic violence is an aberration and not the norm, would no doubt be inclined to want to criminalize marriage in order to protect women from such violence.

Imagine if our laws did not make a distinction between an act of rape or child sexual abuse and consenting adult sex; how would the victims of rape and child sexual abuse be helped by the arrest of every adult person who engaged in consensual sex? Would the victims of rape be helped if we arrested them? Does anyone believe that arresting a prostitute “for her own good” is of any value whatsoever? If prostitution is inherently exploitative, why are prostitutes considered criminals?

It is time to change the laws so that police and international agencies can truly assist those who are forced into sexual or any other type of slavery. Decriminalize all private, consenting adult prostitution- and allow adult men and women to determine when and if we are victims of exploitation. When we need rescuing, we will call you, we promise.


Police chief charged with promoting prostitution
DATE:
1/28/2004

SOURCE:
Associated Press
Published in the Asbury Park Press

Maple Shade, New Jersey

MAPLE SHADE -- Longtime Runnemede Police Chief James M. Leason was charged with misconduct in office after authorities raided an apartment where a prostitution ring was allegedly operating.

Leason, 56, also was charged with promoting prostitution after being arrested Monday, Burlington County authorities said. He was later freed after posting $5,000 bail and could face 15 years in prison if convicted on both charges.

Runnemede Mayor Frank C. Hartman Sr. announced yesterday that Leason, who was off-duty when he was arrested, would be suspended without pay.

"The safety of the residents will not be affected by this incident," Hartman said in a written statement.

Investigators said Leason -- a former president of the Camden County Police Chiefs Association who has led the Runnemede force for many years -- was a frequent visitor to the Maple Shade apartment, which had been under surveillance since July. Leason and Dolores Crozier, 66, who allegedly ran the prostitution ring, were among six people charged in the case.

© copyright 2004 The Associated Press

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Police: Ex-chief wanted to set up prostitution business
DATE:
4/15/2004

SOURCE:
Peggy Wright Asbury Park Press

In an undercover sting, former Chatham Township Police Chief Thomas E. Ramsey was caught trying to set up a prostitution business with a female convict in Mount Olive, promising her he could bring security and unique qualifications to the enterprise, authorities said yesterday.

News of Ramsey's arrest Tuesday morning in Mount Olive on a charge of promoting prostitution floored friends and neighbors, who know the married, 54-year-old Long Valley resident as a pillar of the law enforcement community in Morris County, though he had a brush with trouble last year.

Morris County authorities, including Prosecutor Michael M. Rubbinaccio and his Chief of Investigations Joseph Devine, said Ramsey met with Hopatcong resident Debbra Allyn Koeppel, 41, at least twice, including the day of his arrest, to discuss a prostitution enterprise. Ramsey allegedly outlined a business plan to Koeppel, including hours of service, and told her he could provide protection and experience, and had law enforcement connections that would ward off discovery of their scheme, authorities said.

He said he was uniquely qualified to provide this for her, Devine said. Office Capt. Joseph Cannatella added, "He said he had the ability to protect her racket."

Rubbinaccio said an investigation is continuing into the alleged plans between the two and comments Ramsey made about particular experience.

Ramsey, a father of three -- including a son who is a Denville police officer and a son serving with the Army's 101 Airborne Division -- left Chatham Township in 1998 after 26 years.

© 2004 Gannett New Jersey Group
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PAI00005
Detective demoted as case is dropped
Undercover cop compromised massage business investigation
DATE:
Saturday, March 12, 2005

SOURCE:
By Becky Pallack / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

The state will not prosecute a suspected Tucson prostitution and fraud case because an undercover detective compromised the investigation by having sex with a woman involved in the case, police records show.

During the investigation of Angel's Heaven - a massage business police said was a front for prostitution - Detective Michael Moser, 53, began a sexual relationship with a woman who had worked there, Sgt. Bernadette Eichenberger wrote in police internal affairs reports released Friday.

Eichenberger wrote that Moser was trying to get the woman to become an informant for him.

Moser, who was suspended and demoted and has since retired, told investigators he used his police vehicle to meet the woman after work and had sex with her, according to police reports.

But the woman denied the relationship was sexual, according to the reports.

The woman told investigators she felt intimidated by Moser but didn't want to make him angry, the reports said. The woman's name was not released.

During the police investigation of the business, the detective's partners learned from some of the women at Angel's Heaven that a police officer was trying to get close to them and have sex with them, Eichenberger wrote.

That's when Moser tearfully reported his sexual relationship with the woman to his sergeant, reports say.

"It is a short step from gratifying one's passions in this type of situation to being forced by the circumstances into illegal and corrupt activity," police Capt. Kevin Mayhew wrote in the reports.

Moser should have known his conduct would jeopardize the case, discredit himself and his agency, and potentially endanger his fellow officers, wrote Lt. Kevin Lane in an internal affairs report.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office declined to prosecute the Angel's Heaven case, in part because Moser's actions compromised the investigation, according to police reports. A spokeswoman for the agency confirmed that the office declined to prosecute, but wouldn't say why.

The Pima County Attorney's Office also declined to file charges against Moser or the owner of Angel's Heaven, John LaVoie.

The investigation, which took more than a year, culminated in the October 2004 raid on the businesses in the 1700 block of East Lester Street, near North Campbell Avenue.

LaVoie, 49, was arrested on suspicion of operating a massage parlor without a license and employing unlicensed massage therapists. He was charged with fraud, knowingly failing to pay Arizona personal income tax with intent to evade, knowingly failing to file tax returns and illegally conducting a business.

LaVoie said Friday he was stunned by the raid and denied the allegations that the business was a front for prostitution.

Angel's Heaven was advertised as a relaxation spa. LaVoie said Angel's Heaven was an auxiliary business of the Church of Liberty, a charitable outreach he operates.

But police said some of the women at the business, who were employed as independent contractors, also accepted money for sex.

The Police Department suspended Moser for 40 hours without pay and demoted him to the rank of officer.

Moser could not be reached for comment but his attorney, Mike Piccarreta, said Moser's actions should not have affected the state's decision on whether to prosecute Angel's Heaven.

"When you look at Detective Moser's long, successful career, it's unfair for him to be held responsible for a case that likely would not have been filed in any event," Piccarreta said.

Moser retired several months ago after nearly 20 years with the Tucson Police Department. He had worked in special investigations with Tucson police and its partner federal agencies for more than a decade. Much of his work was undercover.

For more Arizona news, visit www.azstarnet.com or www.azfamily.com.

© The Arizona Daily Star, 2005
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EXP00001

Jury sees sex-sting video of police officer- Middlesex cop denies rape, admits having sex with 2 women

DATE:
Thursday, March 10, 2005

SOURCE:
BY MATT MILLER The Patriot News

(Middlesex, PA)

CARLISLE - Tracey Clements was doing something beyond her normal job as a Dauphin County probation officer in the early morning of Nov. 5, 2003.

She was posing as a prostitute at a Middlesex Twp. motel.

Clements was the bait in a sting operation aimed at township police Cpl. Kenny Johnson, who was suspected of misusing his authority to coerce women into having sex with him.

The results of that sting, which led to Johnson's arrest, were shown to a Cumberland County jury yesterday as Johnson's trial on 22 charges, including rape, sexual assault and obstruction of justice, entered its third day.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jaime Keating played a 40-minute videotape of the encounter between Johnson and Clements.

Clements was shown emphatically telling Johnson -- more than 60 times -- that she would "do anything" to avoid arrest and making thinly veiled offers of sexual favors.

The tape ends with Johnson, at Clements' suggestion, removing his belt.

Keating showed the tape just before Johnson took the witness stand, and with the confident, precise manner of a cop, he told the jury he never forced women into having sex with him.

Johnson, 43, of North Middleton Twp., is accused of coercing three women to have sex by threatening to arrest them on drug or prostitution charges.

He denied raping one of the women, but admitted to having what he claimed was consensual sex with the other two.

"I would never make threats to anybody," he said.

Johnson, who is suspended from the Middlesex force without pay, is expected to address the videotape of the sting when his testimony resumes today.

The sting was staged in a room at the Holiday Inn in Middlesex Twp. An alarm clock by the bed held a hidden camera. Clements' cell phone was rigged as a radio transmitter.

Johnson went to the motel for a bogus radio dispatch about a woman running around in her underwear.

He found Clements and a Harrisburg police vice officer who posed as her client. Johnson let the man go and Clements begged emphatically for at least 20 minutes not to be arrested.

She told him she was a prostitute and said she needed money to support her 3-year-old son.

Johnson remained silent as Clements repeatedly asked, "How can we work this out?"

"I'm at your mercy here," she said at one point.

Johnson left her alone for several minutes. County Detective Les Freehling said Johnson told police dispatchers to call his pager if they needed him and then parked his cruiser behind the motel.

Johnson returned and promised Clements he wouldn't arrest her. When she asked how she could thank him, he told her, "I'd just like to be with you tonight."

He asked to date her, she offered him oral sex and Johnson replied, "Actually, I want a little bit more."

Clements then suggested Johnson remove his belt. As he unsnapped it, other officers swooped in to arrest him.

Questioned by defense attorney Gregory Abeln, Johnson denied a Pittsburgh woman's claim that he raped her on a couch at the police station in 2002. He said he arrested the woman for suspected prostitution, but "decided to give her a break" and let her go.

"I know the evidence will show that what I did was proper," Johnson said. "I have never had sex with [her], ever."

He said he had consensual sex once at his home in 1998 with a cocaine-addicted Newville-area woman who admitted being a prostitute. He said he ended the relationship when she kept plying the sex trade.

That woman testified Monday that she had a three-year affair with Johnson and had sex with him in his patrol car and at the station. She claimed he regularly drove her to a truck stop where she sold herself.

Johnson also said he had consensual sex with a Carlisle woman in 2002 after she was found with two men and some cocaine in a motel room.

He said he and the woman "hit it off" when he took her home. He came back at her invitation when he went off duty, he said, and she initiated sex.

That woman testified on Tuesday that Johnson threatened to file drug charges unless she had sex with him.

The case is to go to the jury this afternoon.

The jurors will have fewer charges to weigh because Judge Edward E. Guido yesterday dismissed one count each of prostitution, bribery and obstruction of justice after deciding Keating had not proven the offenses.

MATT MILLER: 249-2006 or mmiller@patriot-news.com
Copyright 2005 PennLive.com. All Rights Reserved.

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Jury deliberates fate of police corporal caught in sting
SEE ABOVE STORY
DATE:
March 11, 2005

SOURCE:
By Tiffany Pakkala
The Sentinel News

A Cumberland County Court jury began deliberations Thursday in the case against a Middlesex Township Police corporal accused of coercing female suspects to have sex with him.

The 10 men and two women deliberated for five hours, and were expected to continue today.

Kenny Ray Johnson, 43, of the 300 block of Forge Road, Boiling Springs faces 20 charges, including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, bribery, tampering with evidence, obstruction of the law, oppression and offenses related to prostitution,

Three women testified in the four-day trial that Johnson forced them to have sex with him in order to avoid criminal charges.

Johnson also allegedly agreed not to press charges against a fourth woman, an undercover agent who posed as a prostitute, and was willing to accept a sexual favor as a "thank you."

Johnson was arrested following that Nov. 5, 2003, sting, which was videotaped and shown to the jurors.

During their deliberations, the jury twice reconvened in the courtroom to ask questions.

Once, they asked Judge Edward Guido to reread his charge to them on the definitions of rape, sexual assault and tampering with evidence. Later, they requested to see evidence not sent to the jury room, such as written documents and the sting video, but Guido told them he could not release those materials.

Surprise witness

Thursday morning, the jury listened to final testimonies and closing arguments. A surprise witness was the last to testify.

Mary Justh, the secretary-treasurer for Middlesex Township, was called to verify there were no long-distance phone calls on the township's records from April 22, 2003, a night Johnson had testified he took a woman into a conference room so she could make a call to Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh woman, who described the room in detail, testified Johnson raped her there.

‘Red herring'

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jaime Keating said it was proof Johnson lied about his actions with the woman. Johnson's attorney, Greg Abeln — who had not seen the records previously — suggested they were a "red herring," adding the woman could have gotten a busy signal or made a local call, which would not have appeared on the records.

But Johnson had testified she was on the telephone for "a few minutes."

The corporal, a member of the Middlesex force for 12 years, is suspended without pay.

Two patrolmen in the township provoked the investigation into Johnson's behavior after he failed to show up to a crash scene and was later seen in a hotel parking lot with two prostitutes.

Johnson testified he stayed away from crash because he "already knew (a teen entrapped in a vehicle) was being taken care of" because fire personnel were at the scene.

He said he took the two prostitutes to the hotel on the night of Dec. 11 and bought them a room so they would not be working the truck stops. The weather was bad, he added, and "I wasn't going to leave them stranded out there."

When Keating questioned him about the undercover sting, Johnson admitted he was attracted to the undercover agent and lied to her when he claimed he "had to" arrest her.

‘Ruse' used

"The word is called a ‘ruse.' We use it all the time," he said. "I wanted her to set there and get upset and think she was being arrested so she wouldn't come back."

In the video, the agent asks Johnson what she can do to make sure the charges are taken care of, though he already has told her she won't be arrested. He eventually answers, "I think I'd like to be with you for tonight."

Keating asked Johnson what he meant when he said that, and the corporal answered, "I wanted a relationship."

"You didn't want sex from her?" the attorney asked.

"Probably by that time, yeah," Johnson testified. "I was getting into it because she was a very nice-looking girl."

When Keating quoted Johnson telling the agent on the tape, "I think that (sex act) would be nice," Johnson retorted from the witness stand, "And you think it wouldn't be?"

He added, "I still never traded her sex to let her away from arrest."

About ‘abuse of power'

In his closing arguments, Keating said Johnson's case "is really about the abuse of power. ... He used his badge as a weapon, not as a shield."

He noted the similarities in the women's stories, and said that, if the women were lying, they wouldn't have been so honest about their own problems and they wouldn't have been so "angry" and "bitter" toward Johnson.

"It doesn't matter if you're a prostitute or a cokehead — you're a human being," he added. "They have a right to fair and equal protection under the law."

Abeln closed by reminding the jury the prosecution had no "forensic" evidence or eye witnesses in the case.

He characterized Johnson's accusers as a "jilted girlfriend," a "bad actress," and a "consensual" sex partner.

He said Johnson was guilty of "bad judgement" and "wanting a relationship," but had not committed a crime.
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Judge sets $1M bond in prostitution case
Attorney enters not guilty plea on Preble woman's behalf
DATE:
March 11, 2005

SOURCE:
Dayton Daily News Dayton Ohio
By Mandy Zatynski

COLUMBUS | Tamera Sue Flory, the Preble County woman charged with promoting prostitution and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, was "in a state of shock" after a judge set bond at $1 million in Flory's first court appearance Friday, her defense attorney said.

Magistrate Pamela Browning of Franklin County Municipal Court set the bond at the request of county Assistant Prosecutor Greg Peterson. Flory, 40, of Somers Twp. remained in the county jail.

"She simply doesn't have access to that kind of money right now," said her attorney, Jim Andrioff, who entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf.

"If you were to go and look at the other cases where there's been a $1 million bond posted, my guess is there's probably been a death involved somewhere, like a murder."

He said he will work to get Flory released this weekend.

Andrioff said he anticipates a judge will be appointed to the case next week and that judge will schedule a trial to occur within two months.

Flory, who was arrested Feb. 25, faces a maximum of 18 months on each of the 142 counts of promoting prostitution, as well as eight years on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. She posted bail of $45,000 the day of her arrest. She turned herself in to authorities on Wednesday after a county grand jury indicted her on those same charges.

She closed her business 10 days before her arrest, Peterson said, noting that police think one of the women who worked for Flory tipped her about the investigation.

Columbus police continue to investigate a brothel they said Flory operated for 12 years in a nameless brick building on West Third Avenue, blocks from the upscale suburb of Grandview Heights.

"At this point, our focus is on the owners and the operators of this business, in order to shut it down and make sure it doesn't reappear anywhere else," Peterson told reporters outside the courtroom.

He said police estimate the business was profiting "in excess of $1 million" a year.

"We have spoken to several (clients), and we've identified a lot more," he said, including one customer who charged more than $100,000 to Flory's company, D.E.I. Inc., over four years.

Investigators found $99,300 in credit card charges to D.E.I. Inc. from 2003, but prostitutes that police interviewed said credit cards only account for 10 percent to 15 percent of business, Peterson said.

"This is simply the tip of the iceberg," he told the magistrate during the bond hearing.

Investigators also found 142 checks written by Flory to "known prostitutes" in 2003 and 2004, Peterson said.

Flory wrote herself checks that Peterson alleged were for services she provided men.

A total of $173,000 was deposited and quickly withdrawn from Flory's personal checking account in 2003-04, Peterson said her financial records show. She reported on her tax records that her personal income was about $30,000, he said.

Police have seized Flory's four rental properties, time-share properties in the Virgin Islands and Arizona and two ATVs bought recently for $4,000 to $5,000 in cash, Peterson said. She also owns a farm in Somers Twp., which police have searched, he said.

Contact Mandy Zatynski at (614) 224-1625.
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Police disrobe to catch prostitutes in act
DATE:
1/25/05

SOURCE:
The Daily Texan - State & Local
Issue:
By The Associated Press

HOUSTON - Some suspects in prostitution investigations are confronting naked justice.

A prosecutor says police are now allowed to undress in an effort to persuade suspected prostitutes to negotiate sex acts.

During a four-month sting operation that ended with 56 arrests in November, some undercover vice officers dropped their covers altogether.

"Someone had to do something to shut these places down," said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Ted Wilson. "It was just so widespread. It had almost gotten in your face."

Wilson said Police Chief Harold Hurtt has changed a long-standing, unwritten department policy to allow undercover vice officers to disrobe in such cases.

However, Hurtt and other Houston police officials declined to discuss the new policy.

"I'm not going to comment about the strategies and tactics that we use," said Hurtt last week.

The Houston Police Department has stepped up efforts to crack down on the local "spa scene." Besides the new policy, authorities are using organized-crime charges to prosecute owners and operators of prostitution businesses.

In exchange for testimony against the owners of the Wildflower Group and Escape in Houston, authorities agreed to drop prostitution charges against all but one of the 50 women arrested during the Nov. 16 raids.

The businesses, said police, are among some 200 across Houston that advertise themselves as "day spas," "stress relief clinics," "massage parlors" and "modeling studios" but are really fronts for prostitution.

William Henry Costa and Mary Elizabeth Johnston, the Wildflower Group owners, were scheduled to be arraigned in a state district court Monday morning.

Former golf teacher Randall Jones, Escape in Houston owner, was scheduled to appear in court later this month with three co-owners and operators.

Recently, growth of so-called "day spas" and "stress clinics" has caused a surge in residents' complaints about prostitution.

It had become almost impossible for vice officers to make arrests in such businesses because the workers, aware of prohibitions on police getting undressed, will not negotiate sex acts for money unless a man removes his clothes, Wilson said.

"The old street prostitution cases are easy, but the people running these massage parlors are sophisticated," he said.

Prostitutes' tactics are forcing police to the limits of acceptable practices to make arrests, said Charlie Fuller, executive director of the Clarkrange, Tenn.-based International Association of Undercover Officers.

"I can assure you that these undercover officers don't want to get naked, but they don't have a choice," he said, adding that many large-city police departments allow officers to get nude to make arrests.

But Robyn Few, an ex-prostitute who directs Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, said vice officers are fighting a losing battle.

"People need to recognize prostitution as a profession," she said.
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