‘Show Me Your Genitals’ bill more glamorous than crimes against kids

Mar 21st, 2013 | By | Category: anti-discrimination, Featured Articles, LGBT, Main Article, sex crimes

“While the legislature’s leadership ignores efforts to target pimps who sell children for sex, Kavanagh is worried about bathroom etiquette.”

This was a quote on my Facebook page from retired Mesa police officer Bill Richardson after I expressed my dismay over Representative John Kavanagh’s bill, SB1432, which would criminalize using the wrong bathroom.

Kavanagh is attempting to undo the City of Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance that was recently expanded to include protections for the LGBT and disabled communities. Richardson speaks about the ridiculousness of Kavanagh’s bill while noting that the legislature has chosen to ignore valid public safety measures that would actually help children.

He speaks about one measure in detail in his column this week for the East Valley Tribune, saying:

Sex crimes captivate the audience, but why not the Arizona legislature? I find it interesting the number of Arizona folks who are captivated and fascinated with sex crimes. It’s like they can’t get enough of it.

I hear constant talk about the media-created, soap-opera-like atmosphere surrounding the Jodi Arias murder trial. People are fascinated with the sex talk and titillating tales of what Arias and Travis Alexander did before she admittedly murdered him.

No doubt the media loves it. Sex sells and — media-driven voyeurism sells really big in Arizona!

In an opinion piece in last Saturday’s Arizona Republic, Cindy McCain – wife to Sen. John McCain and a highly successful business executive and known global humanitarian — stated that “Phoenix is a major hub for this activity and is often listed as one of the top spots in the U.S. for child sex trafficking.”

Imagine that, Arizona as a top spot for child sex trafficking.

When you consider Arizona’s continued lack of a strategic statewide plan and effective state agency to take on the organized crime elements that sell kids for sex, Arizona is a great spot trafficking in children.

I wrote in my March 5 Tribune column (“Recent Valley freeway snarls only part of the issue with DPS”) that “Without a centralized and coordinated effort like was once the case with DPS taking the lead in organized crime investigations, the public suffers and the criminal’s profit. No wonder organized crime loves Arizona.”

While the public’s anti-crime focus is kept on the border and billions and billions of dollars are spent to intercept illegal aliens and drugs — to questionable success — organized criminal activities continue to flourish on our city streets. Human trafficking whether it is for sweatshops or the sex trade has always been a major profit center for organized crime.

In Arizona, it’s no secret among law enforcement officials that the streets are controlled by gangs with ties to the Mexican mafia prison gang and Mexico based organized crime groups.

For whatever reasons, Arizona’s policy and lawmakers continue to ignore the threat these groups present to Arizona’s sustainability and quality of life. The legislature’s neglect of statewide law enforcement efforts is legendary.

When you look at its recent performance, it’s easy to see how Arizona went from being one of the best in attacking organized crime to being a state that’s a major destination and transshipment hub in organized crime’s North American supply chain.

McCain pointed out in her op-ed piece the legislature’s latest gift to crime and criminals was House Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, refusing to schedule a hearing for a bill to help law enforcement target the growing problem of child prostitution. House Bill 2569 would have created “higher penalties for pimps and traffickers than for johns when the victim is 15, 16 or 17.

“This bill is relatively simple and straightforward, and just the start of legislation needed to address the larger problem of human trafficking in Arizona,” she added.

Kiddie pimps would be looking at up to 37 years in prison had this bill moved forward and become law.

McCain pointed out “Sex traffickers target children because of their vulnerability and gullibility, as well as the market ‘demand’ for young victims. Studies show pimps prey on victims as young as 12.”

Farnsworth’s refusal to hold a hearing killed anti-organized crime legislation that would help police and prosecutors attack Arizona’s flesh mongers.

But what else would you expect from our legislature’s leadership — a group that has made ignoring Arizona’s crime problems its usual way of doing business?

McCain is known for her courage. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty doing what’s right. It’s too bad our legislature doesn’t have the same commitment and courage to protect Arizona’s children and communities from organized crime and sexual predators.

People in Arizona need to understand that by prioritizing “bathroom ID” laws over things like child sex trafficking, our legislators are putting sensationalism above public safety. And it’s our children who pay the price for these legislators’ theatrics.

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4 Comments to “‘Show Me Your Genitals’ bill more glamorous than crimes against kids”

  1. Mike Durham says:

    I support Bill’s view and analysis of current conditions relevant to child sex crimes and the offenders. The upside-down priority lists of the current legislature are astounding and disregard the protection of children from sexual assault. Better prevention, deterrence, and enforcement for child sex crimes are not on the legislative list.

  2. Mike Slater says:

    So why aren’t the local police departments investigating and arresting these pimps?

  3. Mr. Slater:

    That’s a great question. I’ll try and give you an answer.

    I see it mostly as a matter of priorities established by the city elected officials, city management and the police chief and his or her command staff.

    Working pimps and organized crime is far more difficult than writing tickets for traffic violations and requires considerable more skill and risk taking. Unfortunately too many police executives have limited real police experience and they fail to understand or appreciate the danger present ed by organized crime groups like those that pimp children for sex. That lack of experience and understanding makes their willingness to go after the real bad guys somewhat slow if at all.

    Then there’s the whole issue of resources. That’s a couple page response by itself. Unfortunately police departments always seem to have the cash for toys and admin officers but they always cry poverty when resources are needed to fight real crime. Without the money pimps will continue to getaway with selling kids.

    It is my understanding that Phoenix PD works the problem as aggressively as they can but the effort in Maricopa County pretty much stops there. Without a statewide or at least a countywide effort the pimps and crime gangs know they’ll continue to prosper in metro Phoenix and Arizona.

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