Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Edited: The Eliot Spitzer Prostitution Scandal

(Since it appears that my post has come to the attention of The Erotic Review, owing to the spike in visitors who found this site from one of their bulleting boards, I am redacting the portions of the reviews from this post in order to avoid any potential problems.)

Even though he lives on the other side of the country in Oregon, my friend Gordo at Appletree was on this before I could get around to addressing the scandal that has befallen the governor of my state of New York.

As this Associated Press article on Yahoo reveals, Eliot Spitzer may have spent upwards of $80,000 on his extracurricular activities. According to the article, "Spitzer's vast personal wealth would have made it easy for him to spend thousands of dollars on prostitutes. The scion of a wealthy Manhattan real estate developer, Spitzer reported $1.9 million in income to the IRS in 2006."

The enemies that Spitzer made throughout his political career are certainly experiencing a sense of schadenfreude over his troubles. "On Wall Street, where Spitzer built his reputation as a crusader against shady practices and overly generous compensation, cheers and laughter erupted Monday from the trading floor when news broke of his potential ruin."

The Spitzer scandal has also shined a light on the prostitution business itself, as reported in this companion article. Indeed, the Internet has revolutionized the world's oldest profession. To give you an idea, here is a link to Eros New York, an escort advertising site. Interested persons can review a host of ads for women to find what they like, whether it be a blonde or redhead, or an Asian or Latina. Many of the ads even provide links to web sites for the particular escort of interest, where you can view additional photos, get detailed information on rates, as well as some biographical info. For example, here is the web site for Monica L., one of the escorts who advertises on Eros. Monica clearly aspires to be a more high class escort. If you click on her Rates page, you will see that she charges $600 per hour incall and $700 per hour outcall. It brings to mind an old joke by Chris Rock wherein he asks a prostitute how much she charges. When she quotes him a high rate, he asks her what will she do for him. "Whatever you want," she replies, to which Rock quips, "Paint my house, bitch!"

Not only can prospective customers troll escort directories like Eros to look for escorts that appeal to them, there are also web sites where they can read reviews of escorts written by their previous customers. One such site is The Erotic Review (subscription required to access the raunchy stuff). At such sites, one can find out whether the photos of the escort are accurate, what kind of services she provides, as well as her attitude and level of performance. For example, a customer (or "hobbyist" as they refer to themselves) who patronizes a new escort who turns out to be unattractive or a lousy performer writes it off as "taking one for the team."

With all the media attention being given to Governor Spitzer's peccadilloes, it seems inevitable that there will be discussions about the morality of prostitution and whether or not it should be legal. While he might be wishing he wrote this post this week rather than four months ago, Ebonmuse at Daylight Atheism did a good job weighing the pros and cons of legalization in this post that is highly worth reading. Then there is the simplistic view, as enunciated by George Carlin below in a little over half a minute.

Whether or not prostitution should be legal, Eliot Spitzer knowingly and repeatedly engaged in activity that was illegal. As Gordo wrote in the comments section to the post I linked to at the top, we cannot have elected officials breaking the law. I agree with Gordo that Spitzer should resign as governor of the state of New York.

As for whether prostitution should be legal or not, I will not get into my own opinion on the subject in this post, though I invite others to do so. I plan to do another post on this topic later this week where I will state my opinion, which has been shaped by my own personal experience.


tina FCD said...

Interesting reviews by the customers. But are they true? Couldn't the prostitution service make these comments? Just a thought. I know there was the one where the guy was unhappy with the service but, maybe that was thrown in there.
In my opinion, seeing the crack hookers in my neighborhood, including the crack cross dressers, I think it should be legalized. Wouldn't they have to be tested for diseases and such? Be taxed like the rest of the working people?
It is sad to think that the one girl might have been forced to do what she does.
I didn't like the thought of the guy comparing the woman to a car either. What does that say about that guy. :(
I'm for being monogamous in my relationship. What happens when these men decide to marry? Do they keep going back to these hookers?

Tommykey said...

Hi Tina!

What happens when these men decide to marry? Well, as the experience of Governor Spitzer shows, a lot of the men who patronize escorts are married. Perhaps they are looking for wild, unfettered experiences that they feel they can't get from their wives.

There probably are instances where providers will put up glowing reviews from fake customers in order to drum up business. However, for escorts who have been in the business for a while, if the reviews are consistently 7 or above, they are likely to be legit.

As for testing for diseases under a legalization scheme, it would not be enough to test the providers. The customers should have to be tested as well.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that those reviews are the property of The Erotic Review right? You are currently violating the law by reprinting them without permission. Even the women that they were written about or the guys that wrote them are not allowed to do that.

LOL, since one needs VIP membership to access the reviews I guess we have a pretty good idea on where you stand on the issue.

Good Show! But you may want to delete the reprinted reviews. TER already knows about your blog entry...

Anonymous said...

I'm sure tommy is shaking in his
boots in regard to TER's copyright.

As far as legitimacy of reviews,
is it classic crowd sourcing. You
look at the statistical snapshot to
guide you.

But there is fraud - by providers
(to boost business), by clients (to
boost fav providers business, to
get free VIP access), and of course
by the owner of the site to get
freebies from the providers.

Hope that helps,
Mister Info

Tommykey said...

Thanks Anonymous. If a representative from TER leaves a message in the comments here asking me to remove the reviews, I will do so. Until then...

It would be pretty funny though if this post inadvertently ended up providing more customers for Monica and Kayla.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you for printing my review of Kayla.

Tommykey said...

Anonymous, as mentioned in the edited post, I have deleted the reviews from the post.

To be honest, I had figured my blog was so obscure that no one would notice. I only did it to try and inform what I hoped would be a debate about the legalization of the biz. I was careful not to post the names of the guys who wrote the reviews that I copied, so I didn't violate their privacy. Anyone who wanted to know who they were would have had to have gone through the trouble of purchasing a membership with TER and I really don't think anyone would have.

Anyway, as it has come to my attention that my post has become a forum topic at TER, including a link to this post, I decided it wasn't worth any potential trouble and edited the post. Ironically, the post seems to be smoother and more on point without them.

tina FCD said...

As for testing for diseases under a legalization scheme, it would not be enough to test the providers. The customers should have to be tested as well.

Well, I never thought of that. Yes, you are absolutely right. weird....now I have to think some more on my stance. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of people insinuating that these workers are all "crack whores".

Not all workers are drug addicted, human slave trafficked, strung out, pimped out, hookers.

People have no problem shelling out $300, $500, $1000/hr for an attorney. Hmmph, with a worker you're getting tangible satisfaction...

Face some real facts; some women who provide have *GASP* college degrees, some have families, have responsibilities, and yes, some do it just to see if they can and if they would like to make 6 figures in a years time at their own risk, LET THEM DO IT! Mind you're own business; if you don't need the service don't look them up.

Why do men see other Women? Because they can! Sometimes it's about having relations, sometimes it isn't.

Example #1: Married couple together for 15+ years; man has needs, respectfully; wife disregards her husbands feelings for the flesh. Hubby finds relief outside the home.

Example #2: Single male enjoys dating, some he dates aren't into certain things he IS into. He calls a professional to satisfy his needs.

Example #3: Man is lonely, has disposable income, time and no buyers remorse. He does his homework, books and appointment and goes on with his week.

It's not rocket science people; it's a cliche saying, so say it with me...
"This isn't the oldest profession in the world for nothing..."

With the economy turning the way it has been there's been a FLOOD of housewives and the like, turning to Eros, Craigslist, Roomservice2000, Heaven-or-Hell, and more. What? Gas is up to an arm and leg and a kidney now? That soccer mom money has to come from somewhere...

Oh and one more thing, it's 2008; most workers are called providers. If if makes you feel so much better to say it with that edge on it let's just all say it together so the shock factor will wear off. Okay? Here we go: hooker, Hooker, HOOKER! whore, Whore, WHORE! prostitute, Prostitute, PROSTITUTE!

The women who are smart actually get into that line of work before they actually even need extra funds or because they like the idea of keeping the company of men/women for profit.

You'd be surprised of how many of your neighbors are hobbying or providing and you'd never even know it. Those are the smart ones. I know, I know, "not MY neighbors."

Yeah, right. Let me know when you wake up and reality sets in...

Tommykey said...

Thank you for your comments Veronica.

Tori said...

With the additional of the internet into the world of prostitution, many of the views and impressions of "hookers" and escorts has now been redefined. So has the description of the men who support them. There isn't a race, religion, state of wealth or profession that doesn't have someone who supports the industry. Sorry to bring reality into the situation but some times the truth needs to be pointed out- as opposed to the headlines which just attract attention.

The facts in America are, anyone you come in contact with could be part of the adult world of entertainment. Women in the business now span the globe and can be traced to any neighborhood and any sector of American society. Another fact of the business is that since the addition of the Internet into the world's oldest profession, many highly intelligent women are utilizing the advantage that marketing themselves effectively into the sex industry can lead to. Instead of the age old impression that society has had of a poor exploited woman being victimized and taken advantage of; society needs to realize that many aggressive woman now work in the industry and walk away after attaining the specific goals they set out to achieve. The business is no longer owned and controlled by men who invoke drug dependency and violence to keep women performing in a state of fear.

Rarely do you find sex workers who intentionally enter the business at the mercy of a controlling man. Now most women who are in the business are there by choice, enjoy what they do and have a well through plan as to what they want to accomplish and how they plan to get there. In many cases, the time in the business and the expose a woman has is just a spring board for other goals and objectives that the woman might not have had the opportunity to achieve had she not entered the business. I was in the business as a path to attaining what I wanted in the professional world and enjoyed my time spent as a sex worker. My involvement also afforded me the opportunity to achieve many things that I would have never been capable of without the social connections and the financial resources that I gained by my involvement in the business.

I personally had very limited contact with women who were addicted to drugs or under someone else's control. In today's age of computers, it is almost impossible for a woman to work as an Escort and be addicted to drugs. A provider has too many details that she must address to be successful to have a drug dependence. So, that shoots down all of the speculation of drug addiction. In regards to the male controlled or pimp exploitation, this too is a thing of the past. Most escorts now form intimate relationships with their clients and the need and use of a pimp/manager/agency owner just doesn't make sense to women who control their own destiny. Most successful, established escorts are independent which means they market themselves they set their work schedule and they control everything about their involvement in the business.

My comments on the statement of "legalizing"- I would think that de-criminalization might help to end the unnecessary waste of tax payers money in prosecuting individuals who meet with each other behind closed doors. But, legalizing tax evasion and social violations of sexual behavior involving minors shouldn't ever be condoned. There are counties in this country that have decriminalized aspects of prostitution and all that we see in those areas are taxes being collected, physical health being monitored and the amount of money exchanged being regulated. Obviously this isn't something any woman working in the business would advocate. Throughout America, there have been laws adopted by a few select counties, which decriminalize many aspects of prostitution. In these areas, there are no attention grabbing headlines and no one has the advantage of pointing at prostitution and saying how terrible it is. We know America needs something to gauge our social standards by, so it is highly unlikely that any other communities have the insight to pass legislation that will benefit the community.

Forget the fact that collecting taxes on a multi-billion dollar business could help fund education and health carte. Forget the fact that aiding sex workers to have regular health check ups could serve to contain many social diseases that spread through the population and forget the fact that legislation imposing restrictions on the business could help eliminate human trafficking and underage abuse. Forget all that and you can easily argue that Prostitution should never be legalized. When you consider the potential gains that government intervention could have on the business and society as a whole, America seems light years behind the rest of the globe.

Many need to just open their eyes and take a logical look at the money involved in prosecuting the business with the laws that are presently enforced and what a few changes could mean to the general public in regards to money being gained from laws associated with the business. Millions are wasted every year prosecuting the few who break the laws, on the books at present, but little is gained. My suggestion of decriminalizing and thereby taxing the sex trade would be a much more logic answer than sticking your head into the sand and running shocking headlines in newspapers. Any adult who tries to act as if they are shocked that prostitution isn't a reality in their community is either attempting to deceive those around them or this individual is completely out of touch with reality. The sex trade is alive and well in every community and throughout society. If the US government chooses not to take advantage of the financial opportunity associated with a business, that is not going away, then it is a sad state of what our law makers believe is best for this country.

Tommykey said...

Wow, that was quite a lot Tori! Thank you for your valuable insight.

bullet said...

"...it's 2008; most workers are called providers."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. People with mental illness are supposed to be called "consumers" now. We're still just as fucked up, but it looks prettier on paper.

Get the enormous fucking chip off your shoulder. If you wanted mainstream acceptance then you would have gotten a mainstream job. It doesn't matter how many times you slice it, you're having sex for money and that makes you a prostitute.

tina FCD said...

Where I live, they are crack addicted hookers, you can see them everywhere. I agree it should be legalized and the hookers should be tested for diseases.

Tommykey said...

Well, the thing is, Tina, sex workers, or "providers" as one of the commenters wrote above, cover a broad spectrum. There are your crack addicted hookers in poor neighborhoods. Then there are high priced escorts who work for agencies that cater to wealthy clientele like Eliot Spitzer. Then you have a range in between that. Some work either independently or for less pricey agencies. Then you have the unfortunate ones who are smuggled here illegally and then are forced to work in brothels until their debts are paid off. This tends to happen a lot in immigrant communities. In Flushing, Queens, for example, a lot of girls are brought in from Korea and China, and the brothels they are forced to work in only cater to Korean and Chinese men, so it is hard to get inside to bust them. And the girls themselves, not knowing the language, and afraid for their lives, are often reluctant to seek help.

I am planning to do a post soon looking that the pros and cons of legalization as I see it. One thing, legalization itself is not likely to make a dent in the sex trafficking trade, because a Korean man is not likely to patronize legal providers that are regulated when he can go to a Korean brothel where the girls are basically easy to exploit and he can do things to them that he wouldn't likely be able to do in a legal environment.

Joe said...

Vice is damn near impossible to control with the rule of law. I'm for legalization and taxation of prostitution. The counties in Nevada that have legalized brothels don't have an illegal prostitution issue. Granted, they're all rural counties, but still.
It should be like any other business.