CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, May 19, 2008

Prostitution: Never A Victimless Crime?

Eliot Spitzer’s downfall spotlights a recurring question of crime policy: whether prostitution, the simple agreement to exchange compensation for sex, is a victimless crime that does not merit prosecution.

In two columns this week, Nicholas Kristof assures us that Spitzer’s date, Kristen, is “dangerously unrepresentative” of American prostitutes. Surely at $1,000 per hour, Kristen is in the elite company of high end sex providers, but she is not alone in that league, as an article in today’s local section of Kristof’s newspaper demonstrates. Perhaps it would be dangerous to think of Kristen as “representing” any other prostitute, but it equally dangerous to logic to dismiss Kristen and other sex workers who freely choose their work, simply because they belie the belief that an act of prostitution always has a victim. [Mark Godsey]

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