HOUSTON — A 14 year old girl suspected of prostitution told police that her mother and grandmother forced her into the activity in order to pay the trio’s living expenses. While checking on the girl’s story, Houston Police found the mother performing prostitution and the grandmother in possession of a small amount of heroin.
The police arrested the mother Alicia Melchor, 33, and grandmother Elizabeth Buford, 55. Both are charged with the second-degree felony of compelling prostitution, the maximum punishment for which is 20 years. Buford is additionally charged with heroin possession. Buford and Melchor both have extensive criminal backgrounds, including prostitution, and are currently in police custody. The girl is not.
Underage prostitution? Suck. Prostitution as the family business? DoubleSuck. I’ve heard before that the Houston Police Department (patrol and Vice both) have an unofficial policy of attempting to not arrest underage prostitutes, of attempting to get them into social services or back with separated family members or responsible adult family friends. I applaud this line of thought and hope that it continues, but I have to wonder how it will affect this particular girl.
With members of the the two preceding generations of her family being the ones who pimped her out as a part of the family business, to whom could she possibly be turned over for support and psychological help? If anyone in her extended family gave a rat’s ass about her or her situation, it wouldn’t have progressed to the police catching her in the act of prostitution. My hopes and dreams are with her.
In general, I don’t care what anyone knowing puts into or does with her body. As long as everyone is over age and consenting, I think we have larger things to worry about than intoxicants or prostitution (you know, like crumbling infrastructure, vaccination rates, and unemployment). Drugs and prostitution should both be legal. Both are survival methods, and if they purveyors of such stay low-key, keep it away from schools, and have some respect for their neighbors, the rest of us should just look the other way.
If someone thinks her most marketable skill is best suited to a jackshack or selling controlled substances, or if, God forbid, she has nothing else at her disposal to survive, the very last thing she needs is legal complications. For those in such situations (by choice or desperation), changing their lives and income situation is well nigh impossible with arrest and/or conviction records.
The wage of sin may be eventual death, but the wage of survival is often sin. Sin is in the eye of the beholder, and in the beholder’s god.
This liberty line of thought, though, screeches to a halt at the doorstep of the underage and/or the coerced. Coerced sex is rape. People involved in sexual coercion need to be imprisoned for life (no parole!), and the desperate underaged should continued to be rescued because, after all, they’re not all that different from the animals at the ASPCA in that they were born but not properly loved or raised. If we can do it for animals, why not humans?