Bucks County DA Matthew Weintraub is warning the public of possible health risks following the arrest of a man who was allegedly selling sex while knowingly infected with HIV out of his home in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
The 57-year-old man was arrested on January 30, 2019, and has been charged with possession with intent to deliver and intentionally possessing a controlled substance by a person not registered, criminal use of communication facility, promoting prostitution – inmate of a house of prostitution and promoting prostitution – provide place for prostitution.
While the CSE Institute recognizes the need for the public to be aware of a potential health risk, it does not mean that the man should be vilified across news sites. While it is of course important to ensure those who may have been infected with HIV are notified, most people who are diagnosed with HIV do not have their names and pictures publicized. DA Weintraub made sure to mention that if anyone “feels victimized” by the man’s actions, they should contact the police. The people who DA Weintraub is referring to are the people who purchased sex from the man — meaning that they also broke the law — and yet they are not being targeted by law enforcement.
We encourage Bucks County to utilize a more demand driven approach to policing the commercial sex industry. Contrasting with historical methods of policing prostitution which target already-marginalized sellers of sex, a demand driven approach targets the people who buy sex and follows the basic economic theory that supply follows demand thereby offering a more effective means to battle human trafficking and curb commercial sex, overall. The Nordic Model also puts prostituted persons in touch with vital resources and strategies to exit the commercial sex industry.
All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or Villanova University.