In 49 out of 50 states in America, prostitution is illegal. It is against the law for a person to provide sex for money. Likewise, it is against the law for any person to arrange for someone to have sex for money. However the tolerance for prostitution is so common that ads are available at the stroke of a key on the internet. Craig’s list is notorious for it’s advertisement of prostitution. Yet a prostitute is more likely to have sex with a police officer than to get arrested by one.
Undeniably, the prostitute, the john, and the pimp, are criminals. All three have broken the law, but the law is applied differently with regard to arrest of the three types of law-breakers. For example, in one year Honolulu police made more than 200 prostitution arrests, but only one involved a pimp, and he was never charged. In fact, court records show that even children working as prostitutes are more likely to be arrested than their pimp. In New York City, over twice as many people in prostitution are arrested than the pimps and johns who exploit them . Here are some important facts about prostitution:
1. Women in prostitution are 18 times more likely to be murdered than women of similar age and race.
2. Women and girls in prostitution are subjected to constant violence from pimps and “johns.”
• 80% sustained bruises;
• 35% sustained broken bones
• 47% sustained head injuries;
• 53% sustained mouth and teeth injuries
• 86% felt depressed;
• 41% felt hopeless
• 64% felt suicidal;
• 63% have hurt themselves or tried to commit suicide
• 68% of women in prostitution meet criteria for diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder
• 25% of the women in drug houses, hotels, and on the street were raped more than 10 times
• 21% of the women in escort services were raped more than 10 times
• “Johns” – men who purchase sex acts — were the most frequent perpetrators of violence
• 88% of the women want to escape prostitution
• Pimps make up less than 1% of prostitution related arrests
Pimps openly advertise their criminal activity in newspapers, tabloids, and on the Internet. In the case of Anchorage Police Department, Dave Parker explained that it would be uncommon for the police to pursue a pimp, or a john, even after an arrest of a prostitute was made. In the case of Shailey Tripp, no attempt was made by the Anchorage Police to identify her pimp or Johns, even though the APD confiscated a lap top computer, cell phones, and credit card machines that all may have had information on them that may have implicated Todd Palin and her customers. In Shailey Tripp’s book Boys Will Be Boys she identifies Officer Padgett by name as one of her customers.
To date, no arrest or charges have been filed against Officer Padgett. The culture of corruption was further demonstrated by Anchorage Police Chief Mew in the Officer Rollins serial rape case. Mew was shown to have tolerated consensual sex on the job, but he claimed that he drew the line at rape. The APD tolerated prostitution of blow jobs given on the job, under the officer’s desk. With regard to Todd Palin’s reported role as a pimp for Shailey Tripp, not only did the Anchorage Police fail to question Todd Palin, they went further and issued a press release vindicating Todd, at the request of Sarah Palin’s attorney. That press release was contrary to the APD’s own records. Those records expressly stated that William Fortier had called in the complaint about Shailey Tripp and it was William Fortier who said he had seen Todd Palin come and go from the house of prostitution.
It appears that the Secret Service is no different from the APD in covering up the use and abuse of prostitutes. The great irony is that for decades the Secret Service has protected presidents and senior officials from embarrassment as a result of sexual adventures. Sometimes it is the Secret Service that actually facilitated the encounters. Just a few examples include:
1. A Secret Service agent stood guard while President Harding and his mistress slipped into a coat closet in the White House.
2. Secret Service agents escorted FDR to wartime meetings with his former mistress Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd (her Secret Service code name was “Mrs. Johnson”).
3. According to Ronald Kessler’s “In the President’s Secret Service,” agents kept one eye out for Jackie Kennedy while her husband dallied with young women (with their comings and goings, the White House seems to have resembled a small bordello — not for nothing was “Lancer” the Secret Service code name for President Kennedy).
4. According to grand jury testimony, Secret Service agents bent the rules for frequent Oval Office visitor Monica Lewinsky.
5. Who could forget the September 1940 episode on the Presidential train of FDR when Sumner Welles, his chief foreign policy advisor was in the sleeping car next to the President’s. After drinking heavily, Wells, who had a history of bisexual encounters, called John Stone, the porter, at 4:00 am, and propositioned him. Wells offered to pay Stone for sex. When Stone declined the offer, Wells called other porters and made similar advances toward them. The porters reported this behavior to Dale Whiteside, the Secret Service agent in charge of the protection of the President. Mr. Whiteside protected the president by pretending that this incident never happened.
Many other male politicians have been caught in illicit affairs with prostitutes.
1. In 1990, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) admitted to paying for sex. The House of Representatives voted to reprimand him.
2. Randall L. Tobias, former Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator, resigned in 2007 after being accused of patronizing a Washington escort service.
3. In 2007 Louisiana Senator David Vitter acknowledged past transgressions after his name was listed as a client of “D.C. Madam” Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s prostitution service in Washington.
4. Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor of New York in 2008 amid threats of impeachment after news reports alleged he was a client of an international prostitution ring. Eliot Spitzer was never charged and went on to become a television celebrity. CNN described him as an honest voice that would help Americans uncover “the solutions America craves.”
It is not just that the Secret Service that promotes a culture of corruption. Powerful men in American politics seem to have the attitude that prostitutes should be available to them, and it is the job of the Secret Service to ensure they have a “happy ending.” America is still a male-dominated society. If a woman is a prostitute she is labeled a whore. She is treated like the scum of the earth. Nobody seems to care how or why she fell into a life of prostitution. If a man hires a prostitute or works as a pimp, his crimes are overlooked and he is thought to be a stud. It is no wonder that the Secret Service has evolved into a group of men who expect that the services of a prostitute are just some of the perks of the job.
Movies that have become part of American culture epitomize the problem. In the movie, Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts explains to Richard Gere that it’s easier to believe the bad things (explaining how she became so desperate that she resorted to a life of prostitution).
The reason women love this movie is because Julia Roberts wants the fairy tale, and gets it. While it is a fantasy, the ending is like the Cinderella story.
Who could forget the performance that launched the career of Tom Cruise in Risky Business? He was portrayed as a pimp, but he was young, hot, smart, and financially well off; not to mention his dancing ability.
In the recent movie, The Other Guys, we laughed at Will Ferrell in his role as a pimp. How could being a pimp be funny? How could we laugh at the notion of being a pimp, and then morphing into a police officer?
The clear message is that johns, pimps, politicians, and the men who work for them, are allowed to use and abuse women. If the women speak up and try to defend themselves they are called whores and liars. In the case of Shailey Tripp, nobody has ever shown she is a liar, but we have undisputedly established that Sarah Palin is a liar.
We don’t even demand that Todd Palin deny the allegations. He can get the APD to do that for him. Yet people listen to Palin when she speaks, and even vote for candidates she endorses. Todd Palin has begun endorsing candidates, even though he doesn’t have a college degree, he has never been a politician, and his claim to fame seems to be his prostitution business in Alaska. When Palin voices indignation that David Chaney (the Secret Service agent assigned to protect her) was “checking her out” Palin supporters cry “foul”. Yet when Shailey Tripp identifies David Chaney as the agent Todd introduced her to, so that she could provide services to him, people don’t believe her.
If the Senate subcommittee designated to consider the culture of corruption is interested in truth, the Homeland Security agents must believe the people most knowledgeable about the culture of corruption. It is the women like Shailey Tripp who have personal knowledge of the very acts that are the subject of the investigation that should be most persuasive. If women like Shailey Tripp are determined to be unreliable witness by the men investigating this culture, why would any other women in a similar situation come forward?
The prostitute who was mistreated in Colombia by Secret Service agents was able to gain the attention and protection of the Colombian police. Colombia is “The most dangerous country in the world.” It is infamous for its guerrillas, illegal cocaine “industry” and corrupt government. Terrorism is a “way of life.” Yet a prostitute in Colombia was treated with more respect, and received more protection than Shailey Tripp. The culture of corruption in America extends from the White House to the Anchorage Police Department. The secret service agents are part of the problem, not the solution. The services they provide are “secret” in part because they are charged with protecting the image of each President, and we know about the secrets of many past Presidents. It’s time that we as a country face the truth if we are ever to be successful in bringing an end to this culture of corruption. At a minimum, prostitutes in America should be treated with the same respect and protection as prostitutes in Colombia.