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Police To Live-Tweet Prostitution Sting: What Do You Think?

Police are facing criticism for the new way they devised to fight the oldest profession.

Photos of prior prostitution sting from Prince George's County Police Department.
Photos of prior prostitution sting from Prince George's County Police Department.
When police in this Maryland community decided to live Tweet an upcoming prostitution sting, they advertised their plans as if promoting a soon-to-be-released movie.

"From the ads to the arrests,' stated the teaser on the blog of the Prince George's County Police Department, "we'll show you how the PGPD is battling the oldest profession."

Reaction has been swift and far from favorable. "Public shaming and violence against sex workers. Absolutely disgusting," came one Tweeted response. Others complained that women and girls already victimized in sex-trafficking will be victimized further, this time by police.

The department sent out a statement that it's going ahead with the operation, and made clear that it's targeting johns and not the women they hire.

Which raises some questions:
  • Is it right to Tweet arrests before convictions? And does a public account of a sex sting further victimize women, or is it a valid way to rid an area of prostitution and the crimes that come with it? Tell us in comments below.
Terri Thal May 05, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Most of Patch now comprises stuff from elsewhere and blogs, which Patch often features as news. Pity the owners have abandoned the quaint old newspaper tradition of reporting.
Stewie May 05, 2014 at 11:52 AM
The reason I started reading The Patch is because of the simplicity to view local news, now it is full of distractions.
NoName May 06, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Im not so sure I think its great to put out live tweets without the faces obscured. If they are wrong, someone's life could be ruined forever. Though it would serve as a deterent I imagine. A woman is allowed to claim Rape and the accused is identified, etc. and its publicized but, she remains nameless. This is regardless of whether the accusation is true or contrived as revenge, etc. And yes, that does happen. Its a slippery slope when you start outing everyone as a criminal without a trial or guilty plea. I would say after the case is closed it is OK. But, minor arrests without a proven conviction or guilty plea is not fair in my opinion. I am not talking a murderer, street robber, burglar, serial Rapist who is arrested for probable cause. Rather, a he said she said where there is a possibility of a motive of revenge? You wouldnt want to be on the end of that one and truely be innocent.
Rick Langley May 14, 2014 at 02:47 PM
Although a rare insight into the work of police, I think this practice of tweeting endangers the suspects right to "innocent until proven guilty".
Steve Green May 15, 2014 at 01:34 PM
I say again: Decriminalize, Regulate, and tax the profession. Get the barbaric human traffickers out of it. If a man or woman is in the profession of his/her free will, with no coercion, and he/she is of sound mind, then let the free market operate. Through regulation, you can reduce the danger of STDs. Through taxation, we can get some infrastructure repaired. Don't we all provide a service for a fee? Keep it safe and as clean as possible. Most of Europe and Canada have legalized the oldest profession.

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