Street Prostitution makes Life Difficult for Families on those same Streets

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

It’s the world’s oldest profession.  And a crime in most parts of the world.  But a victimless crime.  When it’s between two consenting adults.  Of course that is open to debate as a lot of the women in the industry may have entered it in less than voluntary ways.  But for the sake of the argument let’s say that it is a victimless crime and that it is always between two consenting adults.  Between unmarried and otherwise unattached consenting adults.  Then of course it would be a victimless crime.  Prostitution.  For whose business is it what two consenting adults do in private (see New Zealand sex workers, community ‘poles’ apart by Christine Roberts posted 7/17/2012 on the Daily News)?

Prostitutes have allegedly destroyed over 40 parking-sign poles in South Auckland in the last 18 months by dancing on them to solicit clients, according to a booklet endorsed by the Auckland city council and obtained by the New Zealand Herald.

The Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board of the Auckland city council published the booklet, which contains personal accounts from locals about their interactions with street prostitutes, as part of its fight to ban sex workers from soliticiting clients in areas near homes, schools and sports grounds.

“Prostitutes use these [street signs] as dancing poles,” Donna Lee, a manager of two local business districts in South Auckland told Fairfax NZ News…

New Zealand has boasted some of the most liberal sex-working laws in the world since it decriminalized the sex trade in 2003.

Lee said that business owners in her neighborhood have become so resigned to the situation that they no longer report it to local authorities and clean up their properties — which are often littered with condom, drugs and human waste — on their own…

Local John Lee said he decided to move from Papatoetoe, a suburb northwest of Manukau, when he found two people having sex on his property.

“A couple against the fence were copulating and my ten-year-old daughter was awake and screamed out at them and that’s when we decided we have to go,” he said,” John Lee told TVNZ.

Apparently that’s the problem.  These consenting adults aren’t doing their business in private.  They don’t appear to be very mindful of property, either.  Public or private.  And they’re not very clean.  Or care about the environment.  Littering the pristine planet with soiled condoms.  Which aren’t very biodegradable.

It’s easy to say you support liberal sex-working laws.  To say that you’re enlightened and liberal on social issues.  Unless it’s happening around your house.  In front of your daughter.  Then it’s a different matter.  When people are not considerate of those around them.  Because we want our children to be able to enjoy being children.  And not step on soiled condoms.  Human waste.  Or drug paraphernalia.  When they step out of their home.

Everything changes when you become a parent.  It’s why parents tend to be conservative on social issues.  Because they have to protect their children.  And it’s a whole lot easier to do when street prostitution is illegal.  As well as drugs.  It’s why many liberals become conservatives as they grow up.  Because they become parents.  And once they do their world changes.  They see it’s not all about them anymore.  That life isn’t just about the here and now.  It’s about the future.  Their children’s future.  And all that stuff they rebelled about against their parents?  Well, they eventually understand why their parents did what they did.  And find themselves doing the same.  Continuing the good fight.  For their children.


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Wells, Cesspools, Night Soil, 1854 Broad Street Cholera Outbreak, Fresh Water, Sanitation, 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 10th, 2012

History 101

Overflowing Cesspools in 1854 London led to a Cholera Outbreak along Broad Street

People eat and drink.  And, as a consequence, they poop and pee.  This made moving into cities a little more complicated than living in the country.  Or on a farm.  Where you drilled a well for your drinking water.  And built an outhouse (or privy) to do your business in.  Basically a small structure over a hole in the ground to provide a little privacy while you contemplated world affairs.  You kept the two separated so your business didn’t seep into the water table that fed your well.  As people moved into cities they brought their poop and pee with them.  Obviously.  And before plumbing and sanitary sewer systems people used chamber pots and dumped them out of their windows after using them.  Or built cesspits (or cesspools) to store their human waste.  Under their houses.  Where the liquid would leach into the ground.  While the solids broke down.  As the pile of the remaining solid waste grew men came around at night to remove this ‘night soil’.  Which they turned into fertilizer.

There were drawbacks with this, though.  For human waste is full of disease-causing pathogens.  Which made it a little risky to use as fertilizer.  Worse were these disease-causing pathogens leaching into our drinking water.  Which it did in London.  In 1854.  In the Soho district of London.  Where the new sanitary sewers did not yet reach.  On Broad Street.  That ran along the River Thames.  Where the water table is relatively high.  So when you drill a well you don’t have to go too deep.  Or you could get your water directly from the River Thames.  As the city’s population grew more and more people packed into houses.  Greatly increasing the production of human waste.  Quickly filling the cesspools beneath their homes.  And as they filled to capacity they overflowed.  And leached into that high water table.  And into the River Thames.   Which took in this burgeoning growth of disease-causing pathogens.

But then people start getting sick.  A lot of them even dying.  From a nasty outbreak of cholera.  Spread by disease-causing pathogens.  Back then people thought ‘bad air’ caused cholera to spread.  As well as other diseases.  Something John Snow refused to believe.  So he studied the pattern of deaths.  And he found a common factor.  The people who were dying drew their water from the public pump on Broad Street.  Determining that the source of the cholera outbreak wasn’t ‘bad air’.  But bad water.  Coming from that pump.  Contaminated from those overflowing cesspools.  Such that people were drinking their own waste.  This marked a new beginning in public health.  And public sanitation.  Perhaps the greatest of public goods that allows people to live in crowded cities.

The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami took out the Systems that kept Wastewater from Contaminating Fresh Drinking Water 

As cities and regions became more populated this balancing act of fresh water and sanitation became more critical.  Where fresh water flowed into our homes and wastewater flowed out and into the sanitary sewer system.  And on to the wastewater treatment plant.  Where treatment made the water safe to reenter the ecosystem.  And our drinking water supplies.  If all the pieces worked well the water flowed in only one direction.  Towards the wastewater treatment plant.  But if something should happen to interrupt or reverse that flow the wastewater would contaminate our drinking water.  And, sadly, something often happens.  Events that damage the infrastructure that manages that flow.  Such as war.  Earthquakes.  And tsunamis.

An earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, December 26, 2004, created a massive tsunami.  Sending walls of water as high as 50 feet crashing into Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and other coastal regions surrounding the Indian Ocean.  The damage these waves caused was devastating.   The advancing water just swept away communities on the shore.  After the waves receded more than 150,000 were dead or missing.  Millions were homeless.  In a hot and humid climate.  Where corpses everywhere began to decompose.  And injured people with open wounds invited infection.  As bad as the horror of that day was there might be worse yet to come.  For the conditions were perfect for pandemic disease.  For included in that destruction was the infrastructure that managed that water flow to wastewater treatment plants.

This was the greatest fear.  The tsunami waves wiped out the electrical grids that powered the pumps that maintained that water flow.  So the wastewater backed up into the drinking water.  Dense populations in tropical conditions with no fresh drinking water available to drink and with raw sewage backing up into the streets spelled a world of trouble.  Because people need to eat and drink.  And, as a consequence, they poop and pee.  But when the infrastructure is gone that separates the one from the other humans can’t live for long.  Because their waste is full of disease-causing pathogens.  Especially when the prevailing weather conditions create a natural incubator for these diseases.

In America’s most Populated Cities you can Turn On Any Water Tap and Drink the Water without Worrying about Cholera

Thankfully those areas hit by the 2004 tsunami did not suffer greater population losses due to outbreaks of cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, typhoid or hepatitis A and B.  Thanks to a fast-acting international community.  Providing some $14 billion in humanitarian aid.  Delivered in large part by the U.S. Navy and other military forces.  Who possessed the resources to move that aid inland to where the people needed it.  Chief among that aid was fresh drinking water.  And sanitation facilities.  To prevent the spread of disease.

It took some time to understand the connection between clean drinking water and public health.  But people did have some understanding.  Which is why a lot of people drank beer in early communities.  Because the brewing process killed the pathogens in the water.  Perhaps our first water treatment process.  They may not have known this.  They may just have correlated drinking beer to healthier living.  A good a reason as any to drink and be merry.  For those who drank beer did not suffer some of the same diseases that befell others.  As in the cholera outbreak in 1854 London.  Where the monks in a monastery adjacent to the outbreak area escaped the pandemic.  Why?  Because they only drank the beer they brewed.

Americans travelling to Mexico are careful about what they drink.  Drinking only bottled water.  Or beer and liquor.  To escape an unpleasant condition that can result from drinking the local water which is not as ‘treated’ as it is in the U.S.  Emphasizing a point few appreciate in America’s most populated cities.  Where you can turn on any water tap and drink the water that comes out of it without ever worrying about cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, typhoid or hepatitis A and B.  Which we’ve only been able to do for about a century or so in America.  While poor and developing countries are still struggling to do this even to this day.


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