Sep 10th 2009 By Nick Prueher
Lawmakers in Rhode Island have drafted new legislation that would criminalize prostitution
, the practice of which is permitted in the state as long as it takes place behind closed doors.
It's a move that has left many Rhode Islanders asking why the loophole wasn't closed earlier and left many out-of-state guys asking, "How can I find a cheap flight to Providence before the ban goes into effect?"
Officials estimate the state has at least 40 massage parlors and spas that operate as brothels. "Rhode Island is a great state with many wonderful things, but this is not one of them," Providence City Solicitor Joseph Fernandez said.
But others in the state, including members of the ACLU, defend legalized indoor prostitution, saying that the businesses provide an unobtrusive and safe way for the sex workers, most of whom are Asian immigrants, to support their families.
Perhaps of equal importance, some fear that closing the spas and parlors may leave the hardworking men of Rhode Island dangerously under-massaged.
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