Prostitution Cases, With Immigration-Link, Pose Challenges
Posted by familydynamics on March 8, 2008
Although prostitution crosses ethnic and racial lines, immigration-related cases raise complex questions about the interplay of local and federal law and are likely to pose special challenges for Prince William County police in the push against illegal immigration. The police department has said it will treat illegal immigrants who are criminals differently from those who are crime victims. But in prostitution cases, the women involved might be both.
Before county police began the illegal-immigration initiative, they tried to prepare for every scenario. But a closer look at the rings reveals that the line between the local crime of prostitution and the federal crime of sex trafficking is often blurred in subtle details. Did the women knowingly choose to work as prostitutes? Or were they pushed into it by force, fraud or coercion?
Under county policy, officers are ordered to check the immigration status of crime suspects when they have probable cause to think they are in the country illegally. Victims and witnesses of crimes will not be subject to those checks.