This job's not for everyone

First Posted: 1/15/2009

There are thousands of Robesonians who are in need of a job and, we feel safe in saying, the overwhelming majority have not plunged into prostitution as a way to pay the bills.
Those who haven't need not apply for two jobs that the Health Department is creating under a program called My Fair Lady, which is being paid for with a $90,000 state grant. The plan is to hire two prostitutes - hopefully at least one with the HIV virus - and rehabilitate and educate them so they can counsel the county's other prostitutes, estimated at about 100 strong.
Before we lambaste this program, we will take the local Health Department off the hook - at least somewhat. Officials there are merely taking advantage of this first-in-the-state grant opportunity, hoping that they can help save the lives of two prostitutes while also taking two people off the street who are likely to be spreading sexually transmitted diseases.
The program is another example of the government trying to do something that isn't in its domain - protect people from their own demons.
That aside, we see plenty of other problems. How does a person “qualify” as a prostitute, by number of arrests? Is limiting the search discriminatory? Is the Health Department assuming any potential liability by knowingly going out and hiring someone without an education or any real skills to counsel prostitutes? Are there not more qualified people to counsel prostitutes, people with an education and expertise, albeit not the experience?
Simply giving a prostitute a job isn't an answer to anything. Their problems are likely to be too deeply rooted to be fixed with the wave of a wand.
We could be wrong. And this is the rare instance that we would be so happily.

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