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Madison County liquor stores shouldn't promote prostitution

01.11.06 01:29 PM – Andy McDonald
Recently while paying for a cabernet at a Richmond Road spirits store, I spotted a stack of business cards piled neatly on the counter. The cards advertised the services of, to put it mildly, female companionship. All you had to do was call the contact person, a male, or visit the company's website.

I won't mention the name of the service for risk of inadvertently sending business their way, but their website touts it as being "central Kentucky's #1 escort service," promising to pamper male clients. It also offers interested females an opportunity for employment that will allow them to "work" their own hours, be their own boss (well, sort of) and "earn a fantastic income and retire early." It didn’t say whether the company provided vision or dental.

According to the rate schedule, which is actually listed on the website, one hour of a "companion's" time costs $250 - slightly less than I’ve paid per hour for some plumbers in this town, but still significant. For an "over-nighter," clients can expect to pay the tidy sum of $2,400. That fee does not, I presume, include breakfast.

Normally, I wouldn't see anything wrong with one business giving aid to another in an attempt to promote local commerce. And surely at least some of the liquor store's customers are utterly delighted that the establishment has endeavored to offer one-stop shopping, offering customers the chance to procure some hoochies to go along with their hooch.

But the last time I checked, prostitution is illegal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and what seems like an otherwise reputable business appears to be promoting an activity that is patently unlawful. That's not only bad for the community, it's also bad for the liquor business.

A few years back, there was a battle in Berea over whether the sale of alcohol by the drink should be allowed in local restaurants. Opponents of the measure made what I thought was an unconvincing argument: Allow alcohol sales into town and the community will have to deal with some undesirable side-effects that go with it.

Berea City Councilman Truman Fields, in opposing alcohol sales, went so far as to say, "If we open the door for alcohol, why not open the door for gambling and prostitution?" I thought Field’s "slippery slope" argument might have been a stretch back then – an oversimplification of what is a very complex issue. But the appearance of the business cards seems to give credence to Fields’ position. Alcohol came first in one part of the community and has since been followed, at least indirectly, by prostitution.

Selling spirits is one thing. But selling something that is at once unlawful and potentially harmful to vulnerable young women in Madison County is something else. It shouldn’t be tolerated, especially by consumers who believe that alcohol sales can and should be offered in a way that doesn't bring harm to the community. In the future, proprietors of these stores should be put on notice: If you go too far in trying to make a buck at the expense of the community, the community will take its business elsewhere.
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