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XXX Coffee Shops Are A Thing, But Maybe Not For Long

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Drive-thrus with bikini-clad baristas are prostitution fronts, Washington state legislators claim.

In the Pacifc Northwest, there are coffee shops where the baristas wear almost nothing (which is maybe the most Pacific Northwestern thing that has ever existed). If tipped well enough, some of them flash patrons. And, allegedly, some of them go further than that.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

An affidavit for a search warrant filed last June with the Superior Court of Washington for Snohomish County describes instances of baristas allegedly asking undercover detectives if they "wanted a show" after a $20 bill was proffered for a $7 cup of coffee—apparently a signal customers had devised to solicit lewd behavior. The "show," detectives wrote, was a quick exposure of body parts.

After Federal Bureau of Investigation agents installed surveillance equipment, Everett police say they witnessed explicit acts of prostitution. Detectives wrote they observed one 23-year-old barista leave to meet a motorist in a pickup truck that had just left the kiosk. When the barista exited from the truck, they said, "The driver gave [her] what appeared to be cash."

Charges of misconduct have been leveled against XXX coffee shops for some time. Last year, a bikini-barista stand owner and an Everett, Washington police sargeant were arrested and charged with conspiracy to promote prostitution. But the first step to combating the existence of the stands themselves has been the outlawing of pasties, which were used during "topless days," which are probably Tuesdays. Topless Tuesdays.

On one hand, sex sells, and there's nothing wrong with exploiting that fact, even to sell coffee. On the other hand, if women are being exploited, then this has to stop. As Elie Mystal put it on Above The Law Redline, "Passing dress code laws to reflect a sense of public morality is always a dicey question…But the law can make sure that the product is 'coffee' and not 'sexual intercourse.' It can try to make sure that the half-naked women selling coffee are not also being pressured to sell themselves."

Also of concern: exposed flesh this close to hot coffee. Seems dangerous.

Image via Java Girls Inc.