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January 13, 2006

No more Hookers for the military?

There was an article on Military.com yesterday entitled Troops Get 'No Paying For Sex Order'. My present command sent out an email to everyone saying that the Navy JAGs are looking into that order to see if the Navy falls under its cognizance. Leave it to sea lawyers to try and find a loophole!

I had mixed feelings about this order and I read the comments left by readers of the article. The responses ranged from the typical arguments against the order on ground of Naval tradition to arguments against falling under the morality/readiness issues.

although buying prostitutes because "That's what sailors do overseas" is a weak argument, the fact that hookers, or 'buy-me drinkie girls' (BMDG) in the Pacific Fleet, are everywhere in Thailand, Korea, Philippines, etc., cannot be ignored. Prostitution is a part of their culture and lifestyle.

The Navy recently issued a mandatory training session on trafficking in Persons (TIP) in response to a sting operation on some San Diego sailors who were marrying "Mail-order" brides for $5000 a pop just to give them U.S. citizenship. The TIP training explained how these women are sold as sex slaves or exploited by assuring them travel to the U.S. and subsequent marriage is part of the deal.

This is a major problem in countries around the world but not every BMDG is a sex slave just as every prostitute in the U.S. is not forced into the business. Yes, I know, some/many are but not all are.

I guess the issue I have with the military telling its people to not buy hookers is that it is very intrusive and affects one's personal life. The DoD's argument is that buying hookers is risky and when a military member catches an STD then his time off for treatment affects the readiness of the unit. I agree with that. But what is the difference between buying a hooker for the night and a one-night-stand with some hose beast tourist picked up in Waikiki?

An interesting but ironic footnote to some of the comments on the Miltary.com article were some of the religious posters who condemned the buying of prostitutes but encouraged people to whack off into a sock or to find something to help the person whack off: "There are many new devices on the market to help you out on your long deployments, just get on the web and start surfing." These are the same people who flip a quarter to the homeless and feel good about themselves that they are really making a difference.

So, my feelings on the topic, again, are mixed. In the end, enforcement will be the key issue. I have a feeling that it won't be enforced unless absolutely necessary- like when a married guy fucks around on his wife and catches the clap then give it to his wife who then divorces for infidelity and strongarms the command to write the guy up on the UCMJ Article for adultery. Coincidentally, a guy on my last boat was written up and busted to a lower paygrade as a result of the above scenario.

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