Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Re Oscar Corral: Is Prostitution a "Victimless Crime?"

In response to Oscar Corral's arrest for propositioning a teenaged prostitute for sex, some bloggers have contended that prostitution is a "victimless crime." I suppose that this is how these losers show that they are sophisticated men of the world.

If they mean that both parties are degraded in the transaction and that their mutual degradation equates the parties and erases all distinctions between them, they are wrong. If they claim it's a consensual act, then they are wrong also: one party contracts for his own degradation and the other "consents" to it because she has no other choice (or at least thinks so). Never, unless you believe in nymphomania, as Castro does, do women sell themselves because they "like sex."

Whether prostitution is a "victimless crime" is a question that can be tackled in many different ways: as an ethical question, as a moral question, as a theological question, as a sociological question, as a human rights question, as a feminist question, as a psychological question, indeed, the lines of inquiry are almost limitless.

But I think that a concrete case is more effective than any learned speculation. The following story appeared in the New York Daily News on July 24th, in a very small box at the bottom of p. 7, which shows also how immuned Americans (and certainly New Yorkers) have become to such stories:

Ma Let Kids Be Raped
by Scott Shifrel

A QUEENS MOM who pimped her 10- and 11-year-old daughters to feed a drug habit pleaded guilty yesterday to allowing the girls to be raped.

The woman, whose name the Daily News is withholding to protect the identity of the children, admitted in Queens Supreme Court that she helped prostitute the girls beginning in 2001. She had earlier told prosecutors that she did it for the drug money.

The case was a family secret for years until one of the girls told a social worker earlier this year.

The plea was in exchange for an 11-year prison sentence.

If the girls are now 10- and 11 years of age and have been prostituted since 2001 (for six years), their hellish ordeal started when they were 4 and 5 respectively.

So much for prostitution being a "victimless crime."


Steve ("Klotz" As In "Blood") said...

I got this off Wikipedia:

In criminology public order crime is defined by Siegel (2004) as "...crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently", i.e. it is behaviour that has been labelled criminal because it is contrary to shared norms, social values, and customs. Robertson (1989:123) maintains that a crime is nothing more than " act that contravenes a law." Generally speaking, deviancy is criminalized when it is too disruptive and has proved uncontrollable through informal sanctions.

All of which boils down to, the term "victimless crime" is a technical one, not one that describes how we might feel about something.

The NY Post story's horror is the forced prostitution by the children's mother as much as the age of the child prostitutes themselves. All for drugs, too -- another "victimless crime."

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Of course, there is no such thing as a "victimless crime." If it's a "crime" then it's not "victimless;" and if it's "victimless" then it's not a "crime."

Vana said...

Your article of the two little girls subjected to prostitution by their own mother, filled me with rage, victimless crime my ass.

Also how can prostitution be a victimless crime, when you have a pimp to deal with, who abuses and beats these girls into submission, makes them sell their bodies for his own gain, women don't sell their bodies for pleasure, they do it out of need.