Senator Kelly Ayotte’s (Rep. New Hampshire) state director, David Wihby, was arrested Friday in Nashua for prostitution-related charges along with nine other men. Wihby and the others had responded to an ad placed online by women seeking sex in exchange for money. The police were working with a “confidential informant” (a snitch who often is working with the police in exchange for receiving favorable treatment in one of their cases) who was likely trained to get the men to talk about paying money for a sexual act specifically. Under the law in most states, once an “agreement” has been made between the unsuspecting customer and the pretend hooker, a prostitution-related crime has been committed, and the man is arrested; there does not have to be a completed sexual act- only the agreement. The Nashua police listed the names of all the men charged. However, we find no value in listing them here. Senator Ayotte said she was a “friend [of Mr. Wihby] for many years” but accepted his resignation saying, “This is a tough time, and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.”
COMMENT: Prostitution “stings,” as the police like to call them, are commonplace across the country. Sometimes, such operations invite expensive claims of entrapment and other lawsuits against the police and cities (taxpayers). The nature of a prostitution-related arrest is often not newsworthy until a person of fame or power is snagged into the plight- that is what happened in this case. But mainly, cases of prostitution do not make the dinner table talks of families afar and abreast in the country- the arrests, often of the same person, go on and on without much notice, the staggering costs associated with arresting prostitutes and “Johns” being hidden in the bursting budgets routinely being approved by a largely frightened society. There is no real benefit in arresting prostitutes- they only hide from the police and take dangerous chances with men they do not know in isolated spots. They end up dead. Given the number of homicides connected to prostitution (see Hayes/Tichelman case), the enormous cost and ineffective policing efforts, the costs associated with controlling disease and assistance in mental health arenas, and a woman’s basic right to choose what to do with her body, the argument for legalizing prostitution is more than compelling- it is the prudent thing to do. The recidivism rate for convicted prostitutes is very high for a variety of reasons; many suffer from some form of mental illness or addiction- problems that are not adequately being addressed and certainly being ignored by “arrest-happy” police officers only concerned with arrest statistics and increased budgets. Regulating the business would substantially decrease our social costs and reduce crime.
UPDATE: David Wihby, arrested in Nashua on April 3 for alleged solicitation of a prostitute, has brokered a plea deal to a lesser charge of “attempted lewdness.” It will cost him $1,000 and no jail time.