Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Prosecuting Johns
Why allowing Eliot Spitzer to break the law is a mistake.

This is a good opinion piece in Newsweek on the former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer. The former 'sheriff of Wall Street' and persecutor of pro-life centers was exposed buying sex with a prostitute but for some strange reason not prosecuted for this crime.

"Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in March 2008 after it was discovered that he had used women in prostitution, a violation of New York's comprehensive anti-trafficking law. Last week, we learned that the former prosecutor will not be prosecuted for breaking the law."

"U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia's decision not to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Spitzer for buying women in prostitution is a stunning betrayal of the public trust. Citing precedent, Mr. Garcia indicated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) does not typically prosecute johns who buy women from pimps, except in cases of prostitution of children. ("In light of the policy of the Department of Justice with respect to prostitution offenses and the longstanding practice of this Office, as well as Mr. Spitzer's acceptance of responsibility for his conduct, we have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter," he said in a statement.) The DOJ also chose not to charge Mr. Spitzer for transporting a woman across state lines for the purpose of prostitution—a violation of the Mann Act. Congress might be interested to learn that its laws are being effectively nullified by DOJ policy."

"Even when the pimps are alleged to be running a high-end, high-class call-girl service, they still sell women for sexual use and still take their cut. And those in it, like Ashley Dupré—a young woman whom Mr. Spitzer bought for sex—more often than not, have entered prostitution as a result of long-term abuse, neglect, and economic desperation; a situation that worsens disproportionately for women as the economy declines. Ms. Dupré ran away from what she has described as an abusive home, and her lawyers have confirmed she was filmed by "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis, who pleaded no contest to child abuse and prostitution charges stemming from his work, when she was 17. Ms. Dupré later met up with the pimps and johns at Emperor's Club VIP in New York, a prostitution ring that sometimes moved women from the United States to Europe on what they called "travel dates" rather than human trafficking."

The authors of this good piece are:

Melissa Farley is founder and executive director of the nonprofit group Prostitution Research and Education in San Francisco.
Norma Ramos is the coexecutive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in New York.

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