Ventura supports

FOREST LAKE, Minn. (AP) — Pointing to Amsterdam’s infamous red-light district as a model, Reform Party gubernatorial candidate Jesse Ventura said Wednesday that Minnesota should consider legalizing prostitution.
“It’s a lot easier to control something when it’s legal than when it’s illegal,” Ventura said.
“Nevada doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, do they?”
The former professional wrestler and ex-Brooklyn Park mayor briefly mentioned prostitution in a luncheon speech to business owners and later elaborated to reporters.
“I think it’s something that we certainly should look at in the interest of getting it out of the (residential) neighborhoods,” he said. “We need to look at solving these social problems in a different way.”
Ventura surprised the political establishment when a recent poll taken for the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and KMSP-TV showed 21 percent of likely voters intended to vote for him. That still puts him in third place, but he appears to be responsible for dropping DFL Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III into a virtual dead heat with Republican St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman. Both candidates denounced Ventura’s latest idea.
“This is in line with his earlier comments about moving toward legalization of drugs. It’s terrible public policy. It puts our public safety and Minnesota values at risk and it moves Minnesota in the wrong direction,” Humphrey spokeswoman Tammy Lee said.
Coleman said Minnesotans should be outraged and frightened by the idea.
“To think you’re going to solve these problems by opening up the floodgates is absolutely absurd,” Coleman said.
Evelina Giobbe, an ex-prostitute who runs a Minneapolis agency aimed at helping women leave prostitution, was aghast.
“I’d be appalled to go downtown Minneapolis and have naked women sitting in a window like puppies for sale,” she said, referring to a typical scene in Amsterdam’s red-light district.
Giobbe said legalizing prostitution would do nothing to alleviate the exploitation of women and children and it would send the message that “women and children are for sale.”
“Nothing changes the predatory nature of this industry,” she said.
She disagreed strongly with Ventura’s characterizing prostitution as a crime prostitutes commit against themselves.
“This is a crime that’s committed against women and children by men who have the economic and or social power to use their money to get poor women and children to submit to their sexual demands,” she said.
She said most prostitutes are fleeing abusive homes and can see no other way of supporting themselves.