News Articles

Not a victimless crime

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Of all the sad and pathetic aspects of the fall of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, when his almost decade-long use of prostitutes was uncovered, the most pathetic was Prof. Alan Dershowitz’s assertion that prostitution is a “victimless crime.”

A vicious and destructive “myth” is the foundation of such a wrong-headed assertion — the myth of the “happy hooker.”

The vast majority of women in prostitution have been sexually abused as children or adolescents. The overwhelming number of them would vastly prefer to not to be in the “business” — a business that systematically and ruthlessly exploits them and then, when they are “damaged goods,” shoves them ever further down the ladder to seamier and seamier levels of the business.

The Emperor’s Club, the escort service of choice for Spitzer, is still just a bunch of glorified pimps who take a 50 percent cut off the top from the fee paid by johns for sexually exploiting young women.

The women are subjected to devastating psychological and physical harm. Almost all the women in prostitution, at whatever level, if they are not prostituting themselves in order to support a drug habit, become drug addicts to anesthetize themselves emotionally in order to keep on selling their bodies.

This is a gruesome business, and the young woman is the first, but not the only, victim in a sad and tragic parade of victims. Who can look at the shattered faith of a brokenhearted spouse whose trust has been so horribly betrayed and not see her as a victim? Additionally, if press reports are to be believed, Gov. Spitzer was willing to pay “extra” for unprotected sex, thus potentially exposing his wife to the more than 20 sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at epidemic stage in our society. Just this week a study was released reporting that one in four young women in this country currently have at least one STD. How many of them were given their disease by a partner who got it from a prostitute?

Lastly, what about the children of fathers who are known to have frequented prostitutes? Are we not to see former Gov. Spitzer’s three teenage daughters and their shattered trust in their father as victims?

A “victimless crime”? I don’t think so.
Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. This column first appeared at Casting Stones, a Beliefnet blog. You may view it here.

    About the Author

  • Richard Land

    Richard Land, D. Phil, is the Executive Editor of the Christian Post, having previously served as president of the ERLC (1988-2013) and president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (2013-2021). He also serves as the chairman of the advisory board at the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Read All by Richard Land ›