That Mini-Skirt Might Keep You From Getting A Cab, Thanks To Dumb New NYC Bill
9:45 am, June 15th | by Amy Tennery
Mayor Bloomberg is set to sign off on a new set of penalties to stop cabbies from picking up would-be prostitutes and getting a royalties for the alleged nefarious ferrying. It’s an aggressive — albeit bogglingly difficult to enforce — initiative to curb the traffic that’s trafficking.
The new bill will strip an offending cab driver’s license and fine him or her $10,000 for a repeat incident. In other words, delivering sex workers to and fro could financially ruin a person.
But while the bill is all but a done deal, that didn’t stop New York City’s other nocturnal pros (bartenders, waitresses, et al) from protesting en masse — and en little else. A crowd of scantily dressed ladies met at City Hall this morning according to the New York Post, to prove that sexy clothes are de rigueur in any number of careers. And they make a very valid point.
Of course, the debate is more complex than what meets the eye. At first blush, it’s tough to see what the big issue here is: A cop pulls over a cabbie on suspicion of sex trafficking, the woman in the backseat says, “hi, yep, not a prostitute!” and everything’s tea and crumpets. Beyond that, it’s not as though this is introducing any new regulations — it’s merely imposing harsher penalties for an existing crime.
But let’s backtrack for a second. At what point is it okay for a cop to pull a cab over because he thinks the passenger inside might be a prostitute? Is it an issue of fishnet stockings versus tights? Strapless versus v-neck? This could easily spiral into an exercise in morality imposing (if it hasn’t already) — as opposed to, you know, actual police work. And while it would seem easy enough to prove you’re not actually a sex worker (right?) the new penalty is harsh enough that I’d imagine a lot of cab drivers wouldn’t be willing to take the risk.
I’m not saying it’s not important to stop sex trafficking. But this penalty feels unfair; and it is.
Mini-skirt profiling: Coming to a street corner near you.