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Holiday Time

Many people, unlike this writer, keep a pet of some kind.

Holidays are problematic; do you take the pet with you?

What about your prostitute? Do you take her?

In the U.S. it is a crime to transport prostitutes, in certain circumstances, across State lines.

This law has obvious opportunity to cause a lot of unhappiness; it interferes with the natural ease with which a prostitute might have HER holidays.

In MORTENSEN v. U. S., 322 U.S. 369 (1944) the US Sepreme Court reversed the convictions by a jury, (affirmed on appeal) of Mr. and Mrs. Mortensen exactly on this principle.

The Court recited:

Petitioners were charged in two counts with violating Section 2 of the Mann Act in that they transported and caused to be transported, and aided and assisted in obtaining transportation for and in transporting, two girls in interstate commerce from Salt Lake City to Grand Island for the purpose of prostitution and debauchery, and with intent to induce, entice and compel the girls to give themselves up to debauchery and to engage in immoral practices.”

(It is amusing to reflect that J. Edgar Hoover was the principal person charged with implementing this law.)

The Court further recited:

The petitioners, man and wife, operated a house of prostitution in Grand Island, Nebraska. In 1940 they planned an automobile trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, in order to visit Mrs. Mortensen’s parents. Two girls who were employed by petitioners as prostitutes asked to be taken along for a vacation and the Mortensens agreed to their request. They motored to Yellowstone National Park and then on to Salt Lake City, where they all stayed at a tourist camp for four or five days. They visited Mrs. Mortensen’s parents and, in addition, the girls ‘went to shows and around in the parks’ and saw various other parts of the city. The four then returned in petitioners’ automobile to Grand Island; on arrival they drove immediately to petitioners’ house of ill fame and retired to their respective rooms. The following day one of the girls resumed her activities as a prostitute in petitioners’ employ, while the other did not resume such activities for a week or ten days because of illness. Both girls continued to act as prostitutes for petitioners for a year or more after their return from Salt Lake City.”

The prosecutor did not contend that the trip to Yellowstone etc. had been a crime; it was the return trip that was in issue.

The Court found: – “The sole purpose of the journey from beginning to end was to provide innocent recreation and a holiday for petitioners and the two girls.”

The Court noted the absence of any evidence directed to the purpose of the return and cited a statement from another case:

‘People not of good moral character, like others, travel from place to place and change their residence. But to say that because they indulge in illegal or immoral acts, they travel for that purpose, is to emphasize that which is incidental and ignore what is of primary significance.’

Pack your sun cream girls!