And the johns? Off scot-free. Once again.
Some interesting details:
The investigation and subsequent raid by the LCE and the police Citywide Vice Unit had been prompted by community complaints, including those from the spouses of men who'd blown their family's grocery money at the club, said Sgt. Bill LaTorre of LCE.
At the Penthouse Club, on Castor Avenue near Delaware, men would pay $300 for 30 minutes in the champagne room or $250 for a skybox, police said. There, guys could partake in any number of sexual acts with the dancers, including "the front door, the back door and the upstairs," LaTorre said.
State Police did not immediately identify those arrested. LaTorre said the seven female dancers and one male manager were charged because they soliticted undercover officers, but he suggested more people could have been involved in prostitution.
I'm going to go ahead and say the men who blew their family's grocery money on sex at the Penthouse Club were involved in prostitution. None of them were arrested. Again.
Again, I'm not sure that prostitution should be a crime—and if it should be, the women who engage in prostitution are often its victims, not merely the perpetrators. But we should all be able to agree that you can't sell sex if nobody's buying. In case after Philadelphia case, though, the official stance is that it doesn't take two to criminally tango. It makes no sense.
I get the police perspective: It's harder to make the cases against the johns—undercover officers aren't necessarily privy to the transactions in which men buy the sex. But the pattern of enforcement in these big stings is that the men whose appetites create the crime are allowed to walk away free, while the women who are the objects of those appetites are burdened with arrests, criminal records, and social opprobrium.
It's unfair. More than that, it's obscenely wrong.
LaTorre told the Daily News that police will probably doing a lot more of these strip club prostitution busts. If we continue to see these kinds of the stories in the news—where lots of women are arrested, but the johns never, ever are—there will be only one realistic conclusion: That Philadelphia police and prosecutors are happy to engage plainly sexist methods of enforcing the law.