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St. Louis Prostitution: Alderman Jeffrey Boyd Raises Question of Legalized Brothels

Categories: News

prostitue-1.jpg
Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department
What can St. Louis do to curb the wide range of problems associated with prostitution? One idea that's getting a lot of attention in recent weeks is to legalize it, which would mean permitting lawful, regulated brothels that the city could actually tax.

The concept was brought forward by Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, who says a constituent made the suggestion to him.

"It took me by surprise," he tells Daily RFT. "But I thought I'd put it out there and start some conversation and see what happens."

So he fired off some tweets, which has, in turn, sparked a lively debate and now some media attention:

"These ladies are out there putting themselves in harm's way with prostitution," he tells us. "It's all over the street. And it looks bad."

Boyd says that legalizing prostitution in any form is not something that he himself would promote or even support at this point -- but he thought it was good idea to at least raise the question.

The constituent who first discussed it with him is a retired woman named Joyce Glasby, 55, who lives near Martin Luther King Drive in north St. Louis.

Glasby says the problem of prostitution has only gotten worse and that it may be time for a more radical solution.

jeffrey-boyd-1.jpg
via jefferyboyd.com / YouTube
Alderman Jeffrey Boyd.

"Every time you lock them up, that doesn't do anything," she says. "You move them from one corner to another corner."

If it were legal, "You would keep them healthy, keep them from getting murdered, get them off the streets," she continues.

Glasby, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than twenty years, says she would like to see some sort of safe, regulated brothel for adult women.

"Just like a job," she says. "Pay taxes like everybody else pays taxes."

"I know what they are doing is not right -- but at least it would be safe and off the street," she adds, noting that if women were still prostituting on the street when there was a legal alternative, then it would be appropriate to arrest them.

De_Wallen.JPG
Rungbachduong photo via
Red-light district in Amsterdam where prostitution is legal.

None of the current efforts are working, she argues.

"It seems like they can't find an answer to the problem," she says, adding, "These are human beings. I'm looking out for the women, not just my neighborhood."

She wants an elected official to take up the cause -- but Boyd says he's not interested.

"You don't have to agree with somebody to allow their voices to be heard," he tells us. "As an elected official, I have an opportunity to amplify their voice."

He adds of prostitution, "I'm interested in finding a solution to this problem."

Boyd thinks stronger mental-health resources and substance abuse treatment programs could go a long way.

For the safety of the neighborhood and the women, it is important that officials consider potential remedies, he adds.

"We need to get more creative about reaching out to these individuals," he says. "It's a dangerous business."

Here are some more of the alderman's tweets on the matter, noting that prostitution is in fact illegal in the state of Missouri:


Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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79 comments
Katherine Law
Katherine Law

People who want to sell/buy sex are going to do it regardless of laws. Legalize any victimless crimes, regulate and at least keep disease from spreading so quickly.

Don Lanier
Don Lanier

These girls arent wanting any one taxing or checking there health, neither are the yopung gang members who beat and force these gals into this lifestyle, given a choice they might want it to be legal but I doubt any of them could pass the health exam as junkies and crack heads, and the gang boys would be still trying to force underage girls to walk the street corners...youve got to stop the traffickers, the Gangs, or youll never end this...

A Robert Jacques
A Robert Jacques

"Sink so low," "lose self worth"? Gads, slut shame much? It's totally unthinkable that a girl might pay for her education via prostitution, is it? Maybe she should get a respectable job as a bartender, right? Oops… cleavage=tips, nevermind. Manual labor? Fast food? Explain to me how that's not selling one's body. I've got a degree and it's doing me zero good right now. If I thought I could make a living as a gigolo, you'd better believe I'd do it.

Michael Ketcher
Michael Ketcher

The main issue is this: Does a woman (or a man -- there are male prostitutes) own her own body? If not, then who owns it? The state? Unfortunately, the state of MO thinks it owns people's bodies, in that it prohibits prostitution. But if that is the case, then the state should also have to right to tell you what to eat, what to drink, etc. It was pointed out that prostitution is illegal under state law, so St. Louis could not legalize it. However, San Francisco faced this same situation. So, the city just stopped enforcing the prostitution laws, particularly in certain adult-oriented establishments, thus, in effect, legalizing brothels. Not sure if that policy still exists in SF.

Bill Hughes
Bill Hughes

"The Stroll" has offended St. L's YuppieGencia? Why? Got a case of VD? Deal with it! I'm not paying for your HIV test, honey!

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

If it is well regulated, employees are required to be provided with decent pay/benefits and the establishment's income is highly taxed YES!!!

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

If minimum wage was higher, McDonalds might be a legitimate option.

Sade Donovan
Sade Donovan

Tell them mcdonals is hiring and not to sell their asses..seriously ..I mean come on..as a woman aand a mother its disturbing that they are considering allowing it ..theres always places hiring..they might not b the best jobs..but its legit..and zhows young girls and women..that they dont need to sink so low..and lose their self worth....not to be legal whore for the man..I hope they overrule it.and lock up all the junkies out there doing it..teach girls and women there are always alternatives

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

I think it's funny how people who live in IL. drive into MO. For fireworks while people who lives in MO. Go to IL. for Strip clubs. Now that IL. has legalized medical marijuana I'm already seeing people pack their stuff and flee the state. If STL is not careful it's going to end up like Detroit.

Alexandria Faye
Alexandria Faye

Ah yes, EXACTLY what this city needs for a nationwide image improvement. "Come for the burgeoning start-up scene. When that fails, stay for the back-up employment."

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Missouri is a very closed minded right wing state. Sex education? NO! Medical Marijuana? NO! Strip clubs? NO!

Christine Gonzalez
Christine Gonzalez

Get it off the street so kids don't see all this going on. If your a woman you can hardly walk outside in those areas without some guy trying to stop you.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Oh and I find it really funny that RFT is bothering to ask this question knowing how full frontal nudity has been outlawed in the state of Missouri ha ha ha ha Will Missouri legalize prostitution? Ha ha ha ha ha Missouri is too stuck up for real strip clubs. What would give anyone the idea that Missouri would ever legalize prostitution? Get real!

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

baby factories need side jobs too

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

In Australia the legalization and regulation of prostitution has dropped the spread of STD's dramatically. If we want to clean up our streets and reduce crime we would legalize, tax and regulate prostitution right out of the black market and into controlled environments.

Kenneth Lee M
Kenneth Lee M

quarterly health checks? you can spread A LOT of STDs in 4 months ... especially if you are banging 10-15 guys a day

Gail Nagel Brown
Gail Nagel Brown

Who cares if someone wants to pay for sex? That's their business.

Tina Thayer
Tina Thayer

Legalize it and tax it more heavily than liquor or cigarettes are taxed. Tax the clients heavily, the brothel owners and girls as you would any other profession. Mandatory health checks for the prostitutes would be good, too. Quarterly, maybe.

Erin Kathleen Quinn
Erin Kathleen Quinn

Legalize, regulate so everyone is safe & healthy, and tax it (because the government has to screw you too!). :)

billj598
billj598 topcommenter

The Courts rationalize women's rights to kill their unborn babies so why not rationalize allowing women to rent their snatch out for a few bucks ?   

Lynne Hart Herrera
Lynne Hart Herrera

Make it safe. It should be ones choice what they do with thier own body and providing a safe and regulated means of doing that could not only generate tax money, it can reduce governent related expenses associated with resulting diseases and other mrdical care.

Kayler Adams
Kayler Adams

Meh. Sounds like a decent second job lolz.

Don Lanier
Don Lanier

If you legalize it the bums who pay the crack hos 10 bucks for services wont be able to afford it any more....this is abuse, these women are sick, most are drug addicts...Legalized it might be safer but none of these women would be allowed to do it, most are HIV positive , junkies and have other issues that losers dont mind paying 20 bucks for...if you legalize its going to mean clinically moderated women, licenses, permits...the punk pimps will be out and they wont be able to traffic in young gals forced into streetwalking....

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

People are sick and dying as a result of illegal, unregulated and undocumented prostitution and human trafficking that could be reduced through the legalization of prostitution.

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

By the time Missouri gets pot, everyone else will have it and the state will not generate as much revenue as we would have if we had at one time been the only ones with it. If we wait for all of the other states to legalize prostitution than it will be the same story. Legalize prostitution now and the state will generate a ton of revenue having no competition in exception to a few locations in Nevada. Or even just in Saint Louis, that would be just as well since we have the air port. Not to mention that it would take a huge jab at illegal prostitution and human trafficking which is incredibly dangerous and generates no legal income for the state or law abiding citizens.

Eric Holley
Eric Holley

goes well with the pot their gonna legalize soon

Aaron Bradley Carroll
Aaron Bradley Carroll

doesn't seem controversial to me. Like most things proper regulation seems to work better than outright bans, black markets will always spring up when there is a demand and no legal supply. Black markets which deprive people of safety and freedom.

Angelo Olegna
Angelo Olegna

The state would stamp it out almost immediately.

Bridget Aholt Blair
Bridget Aholt Blair

Was just responding to Matt Schaeffer's comment re: another war. Just a bit irritating when people post before researching.

Karyn Hernandez
Karyn Hernandez

lol take it easy wow is just another conversation about other things beside" the very important things !!!!!" lol

amymooney66
amymooney66

Think about LEGALIZING MARIJUANA FIRST!!!! This is the last thing we should be discussing in St. Louis!

feenster14
feenster14

Prostitution SHOULD be legal in this country, and states can do no worse than to follow the Nevada model, revised and tailored to fit their own needs.  

Colin Feeney
Colin Feeney

Prostitution SHOULD be legal in this country, and states could do no worse that follow the Nevada model, revising and tailoring it to fit their own needs.

Kevin Chau
Kevin Chau

With the STI rates in STL. This is actually a good question

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Can we legalize weed first, please?

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Reasons to legalize and regulate prostitution. 1. Australia has proven that legalizing and regulating prostitution decreases the spread of STD's 2. It is much safer for people when this kind of activity takes place in a controlled environment. 3. There is no way to stop people from doing something that has been going on since the beginning of time. Legalizing and regulating it will lessen the work load for the police. 4. The legalization and regulation of prostitution decrease the demand for sex trafficking since once there is a legal alternative people will no longer risk being arrested or even worse by going to the black market.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Don't forget where it can be taxed and regulated. Australia proved that legalizing and regulating prostitution decreases the spread the STD's

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