The IRS versus Pimps
The Senate Judiciary has approved a bill that would establish an office in the IRS for investigating pimps and prostitutes who haven’t paid income taxes.
The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning approved a bill sponsored by committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, authorizing at least $2 million toward the establishment of an office in the IRS criminal investigation unit to prosecute unlawful sex workers for violations of tax laws.
The bill’s approval gives the IRS harsh new criminal penalties for use against those in the underground criminal economy. According to Grassley’s office, the majority of the victims of sex trafficking — those who are often smuggled in from other counties and virtually imprisoned in a house set up for prostitution — are girls ages 13 to 17.
Can we say “overreach” anybody? What is the point of establishing a new program in the IRS for shutting down child sex rings (not that it will actually do much to them)? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on law enforcement agencies that actually have a prayer of shutting them down? This is pandering at its finest–a pretty bandage that does zero to solve the underlying problem.
If governments actually cared about the victims of sex trafficking, the logical thing to do would be to legalize and regulate prostitution. A legal, transparent system would make it much easier to ensure both the age and ability to consent of prostitutes. Abuse would go down, disease incidences would go down, and child trafficking would go down. Prostitution will always be with us, so why not ensure that any acts of prostitution occur solely between consenting adults?
(link via Matthew Yglesias)