Mayoral candidate Kaufman proposes establishing red-light district in city

May 18, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

City Wide Coalition mayoral candidate A. Robert Kaufman said yesterday that if elected he would introduce a bill to create a red-light district for prostitution in Baltimore.

Kaufman, 68, a perennial candidate and community activist, railed against the city's futile attempts to combat prostitution by repeatedly arresting prostitutes and their johns. In a statement that he issued yesterday outside the Central Booking and Intake Center on East Madison Street, Kaufman said making prostitution legal in a section of the city would also help reduce Baltimore's high rate of venereal disease.

"Punishment for prostitution hasn't worked for 5,000 years," Kaufman said of the arrests.

Baltimore recently gained attention as the venereal disease capital of the nation. A study released in December by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that Baltimore's syphilis rate was more than 30 times the national average, and the gonorrhea rate more than nine times the average.

City health officials blamed the infection rates on a thriving sex-for-drugs trade.The health department estimates that one in eight Baltimore adults is a drug addict.

Kaufman pointed to Europe, saying red-light districts there have kept venereal disease and AIDS rates low.

In his bid to be mayor, Kaufman is also calling for the federal government to create clinics to supply drugs to addicts. The plan would eliminate the illegal drug market -- and its related violence -- while allowing the government to track addicts through rehabilitation, Kaufman has said.

Pub Date: 5/18/99

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