National Review, August 10, 2009, with Donna Hughes.
iny Rhode Island prides itself on its history and charm. But since it decriminalized prostitution in 1980, it has become a haven for something decidedly uncharming: the trafficking of girls and young women into the commercial sex industry. There is a lesson in this for the nation. Last month, a missing 16-year-old girl from Boston was found bleeding and incoherent in an apartment in South Providence. She was being held captive by an escaped convict who had her stripping in one of Providence’s many sex clubs. In April, the so-called Craigslist killer allegedly assaulted a prostitute in a Warwick hotel. A federal investigation has linked some of Rhode Island’s “Asian spa” brothels to organized crime rings. Late last year, an Asian woman ran from a brothel and burst into a nearby shop to plead for help, gesturing to indicate that she was being forced to engage in sex acts. The intersection of highways I-95 and I-195 makes Providence an ideal location for the sex trade. Strip clubs and other sex establishments are flourishing there….