March 12th, 2008
01:41 PM ET

Eliot Spitzer's way to stop prostitution

Eliot Spitzer resigns

By now you've heard that Eliot Spitzer has stepped down as Governor of New York.  But he still could face serious criminal charges, and that got me thinking about prostitution.

I've tried a lot of those cases. And here's what you learn right away: as much as the sex trade is about sex, it’s also about trade. Business. Supply and demand.

Where I practiced law in California, the criminal code is gender neutral. It targets anyone engaged in the commercial sex trade. The girls, their johns, even the pimps when you can catch them.

Not so here in New York where the women involved in prostitution have long been treated more harshly than the men. But Eliot Spitzer changed all that, with a new law that increases penalties for the men who solicit sex.

The thinking?  Cut off demand and supply will dry up.  And that’s the tragic irony. Now, it seems, Governor Spitzer may be one of the very johns his new law seeks to punish. 

– Jami Floyd, “In Session” Anchor/360° Contributor

Read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session”

Filed under: Eliot Spitzer • In Session • Jami Floyd
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Alexandra Datig

    I am a college educated, 9 year sober, tax paying business owner. This was not always the case. I was a prostitute and turned in my madam because I saw the wrong that was being committed by me and those around me. I lived my life in shame, surrounded by scandal after scandal, even after I did "the right thing." People who seek a prostitute seek an abuse of power. Prostitutes, Pimps and Johns do the world nothing but harm. There is nothing good about it. No one wins and those who get involved are asking for a world of hurt. Eliot Spitzer knowingly committed these offenses and he is guilty as sin and is not someone who belongs in a leadership position. So many people will be hurt by his actions, forever. He is looking at a long road of recovery and therapy. The women who took the money for sex are just as guilty as he is, as is the person who procured the situation. If women focused on their education and the positive difference they can make in the world and thought about what they were doing before they take money for sex, the world would be better off. No one gains anything from this situation and one can never fully right the wrongs committed.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  2. J Hall

    When is America going to grow up? We are so obsessed with sex enjoyed by others: we are willing to be distracted by Machialvellian behind the scene manipulators-so that this issue makes us forget about a stupid war that is destroying our country's economy. How quickly forget the real contributions that Spitzer made. In fact a source on the internet claims that he was just beginning to probe into Larry Silverstein of 9/11 note and the Bush Family connected Carlyle Group. He was serving New York State with that probe, because according to that source Silverstein's withdrawal of $14 billion threatened the State's troubled Pension Fund.

    According to the same source, Mr Spitzer took on former NYS's Pension Comptroller, Hevesi a dual Israeli/American who was found dipping into the $100 billion fund for which he was responsible. It is said that Mr Hevesi pled guilty and only paid a $5000 fine.

    I regret that Mr. Spitzer resigned because I believe that his traits are what's needed to look into the real crimes. He is hated by Wall Street because he won Billions in judgements against wrongdoers among this group on behalf of the public.

    So we need to grow up. Look behind the smoke and mirrors politics. Further we need to decriminalize sex for sale. This policy can be compared to prohibition which criminalized the sale of liquor, making only criminals the beneficiaries. If this very lucrative business is made legal, we can set standards of safety and remove the danger of manipulation/blackmailing of our officials.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:34 am |
  3. david

    He needs some help, there was no reason for him to step down he could have explained that he was going through a phase. Anyways, everyone is a 'sinner'.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:11 am |

    My thoughts, on Mr. Splitzer are the he became too, too, powerful, and too, too, rich. I am not surprised at his actions, wrong as they were. It is part of his personally to be in the position that he is. He was financially, capable, and powerful enough to pass it off. It is the most selfish act, a father and a man could do to his family, not to mention his career. But, you must give it to him, if it is what he had to do, and I say, "He had too". Look at Bill Clinton, The President of the United State, and in the White House. It all has to do with Power, and reaching the top of their Pinnacle in life. The kind of sex he must have been having, in that world, was like his money and his power, and to the same extent. I am not trying to make it right, but you must give him some credit, it was suppose to be discreet, and non-VD, or AIDS. The lesson in this is, “What Goes Around, Comes Around.” He even in the end, tried to use out, to use his power, and probably money to get himself out of this mess. I feel most of all for his children. Their peers can be mean, and cruel, because they (peers) do not know any better. What kind of scars will be left on those children’s minds, and how will it affect them in life. That was a family unit. How can you make them understand what Daddy did? Some men do, sometime think, with something other than their brains

    Up All Nite Watcher

    March 12, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  5. Ratna, New York, NY

    Dear Jami Floyd,

    Spitzer has spend $80.000, which had been tracked over a course of 10 years (got it from your colleagues at NY1). In other words, so far FBI has not been tracing his activities until now. Why now?!!!

    Also I am questioning (not judging) Mrs Spitzer's disposition. I have a gut feeling that she knew all along. Besides, why would a man with a successful marriage and loving family seek sex from prostitutes for the last 10 years?!!! -unless we are talking about kinky type of sex with special demands his wife could not fulfill.

    Good he stepped down!

    March 12, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  6. Barbara Boyd

    Govonor Spitzer is going through male menopause. He is 53 year old man that is having a body image problem. we should be more supportived of our govonor and his family. may God bless all of New yorkers at this painful time. sex is not a crime.


    March 12, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  7. Anoynomous

    Define prostitution. This is sex for money. Should we hold the men and women who are married and have girlfriends,boyfriends, mistress and toy boys accountable.Those who receive job promotions, travel, gifts, housing, etc. is the same as taking money and therefore should be considered prostitutes. The bosses, politicians, Government Officals, Business Men and Women who are ingaged in affairs as Johns. The Secretaries and Employees who know of the affairs and make arrangements to transport these people across state lines as Federal Criminals. Start in Washington. Few political figures will remain.
    This might be the moral thing to do but how many prisons should be built and family's destroyed.
    I am sure the people involved were there on their own free will. I think we should spend more time going after the ones who force children and women into prostitution against their will.
    Mr. Spitzer most likely has morals greater than most of us. This is not to say he has not made a griveous mistake. But let us remenber many of the great men and women of this country have made similar ones.


    March 12, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  8. Zabrina

    To me this just raises the question "which other high profile people, like Eliot Spitzer , or higher, are supporting the prostitution ring?"

    March 12, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  9. PAB in PA

    "Oh what tangled webs we weave when we proffer to deceive!"

    March 12, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  10. Pamina

    Hi Jami,
    I think what Governor Spitzer did was disgraceful! However, from what I have observed about leaders over the years, power can be intoxicating and make a person feel like they can't get do anything wrong. What makes this so unbelievable is that he seemed to embody the "rights of the little guy", but as soon as he became Governor, he began alienating people in the government and in the public. Again, the power was intoxicating. I hope our next Governor has learned the lessons of this incident and can make better choices. In the meantime, I hope all the self-rightous politicians we have pay attention to what happened to what looked like an invincible man.

    March 12, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  11. Mark

    Prostitution should be legal in the U.S. as it is elsewhere. Since it will never go away, it needs to be regulated, like alcohol and cigarettes. Spitzer's real crime was apparently not using a condom and potentially exposing his wife to HIV.

    March 12, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  12. Cleveland

    He knew what he was doing and his primary thought is "I'll never get caught". Was he wrong. Someone was out to prove he wasn't Mr. Clean. Most men do these things for the thrilll of it and those in power feel they are above the law.

    March 12, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  13. Julie Hill

    I feel for him but this incident cannot go unscathed. He let down his family and his country and their should be consequences for someone in a leadership role like this. What kind of role model does our country deserve at a time when we need it most?

    March 12, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  14. John Logsdon

    I don't understand how Governor Spitzer can trade his position as the Governor of the State of New York for any consideration against potential criminal charges when that office actually belongs to the people of New York, not him. He was only hired (elected) to fill that position.

    March 12, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  15. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    Prostitution has always been around and always will. Since it will continue anyway, it should be legalized, cleaned up and taxed.

    But in this Elliot Spitzer case, his extreme hypocrisy warrants him being held accountable to the laws he himself put in place.

    March 12, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  16. Chas. Glass

    While media buzzards rip flesh from the bones of Spitzer’s self-destruction, and call him hypocrite, we need to examine the hypocrisy and motives of the buzzards, the legal pimps and prostitutes that populate the airwaves of self-righteous indignation. Spitzer brought himself down, but he was targeted by political enemies. Let's have the names of all the johns– equal treatment under the law.

    We ought not forget the good work Spitzer has done for the common investor by cleaning up Wall Street, we should reflect on his accomplishments and accept that he is merely human. Some day we will confront that truth when we learn that even Barack Obama is merely human and does not walk on water. Then maybe we will confront that truth in ourselves.

    March 12, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  17. Diana

    Re Spitzer: For an intelligent successful man to have not given more thought to what he was doing, not only personally but to put his wife, children, parents and other family through this torment, riducle, and embarassment, goes to show you that the higher they are the further they fall and in the end he sadly acted with his brains between his legs. I found it agonizing watching Mrs. Spitzer "stand by her man" , but now that he has resigned let him stand there all alone for he really was a very bad boy! My thoughts are with Mrs. Spitzer and the three girls.

    March 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  18. CJ Bonesteel

    Enuf already! This is news? Hmmm, another man in a position of power who succombs to his own ego. This is truly first page stuff? I'm sure NY citizens are very interested, but please spare the rest of the US. We don't care ... don't care ... don't care!!!

    The country and the world is full of important stories. Spitzer and his fall from grace is not one of them. He's getting the same kind of coverage that Bill Clinton did with his own set of problems. Difference, Spitzer is not our President.

    I'm turning off CNN until the Spitzer story is no longer "front page" news.

    March 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  19. Nd Nwakudu - Nigeria

    Its sad that such a shame that such a fine career would be truncated by such a stupid act. Having to patronise 8 women in 8 months says a lot about the man. He lost his dignity for 5 minutes of pleasure. I feel mostly sorry for his wife. Despite all, she still stnads by her man!

    March 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  20. Loretta

    I dont understand what took Spitzer so long to realize that he needed to step down. I feel for his wife and family. How humiliating it must be for Mrs. Spitzer to have to stand by her husband. I sure as heck wouldnt do it.

    March 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  21. Lilibeth

    The law should be fair for everybody. In this case, everybody involved: the women, the johns, the pimps should be prosecuted. The justice system won’t work unless it's fair, plain and simple. It's ironic in Mr. Spitzer's case, but the law is the law.

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 12, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  22. rod garland

    How come nobody is asking about, at least, the other's implicated (e.g. 1 through 8 and beyond). Perhaps there are more fish to be fried? He isn't the only one who has succumbed to a human weakness, the pleasure people get at another's downfall and the willingness to cast stones is the real story here, it seems we are all guilty of that.


    March 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  23. Jo Ann


    This is the ultimate in poetic justice. It almost seems as though Eliot Spitzer set himself up to get caught.

    I must say that I was impressed with the eloquent resignation speech Gov. Spitzer gave this morning. It is sad to realize that such an intelligent and professional man did not have the ability to control himself and fell prey to such primitive urges.

    Strangely enough, although everyone knows that prostitution is nothing more than a business transaction some men still patronize prostitutes in order to try to satisfy some unfulfilled emotional need.

    Spitzer was right; it is all about supply and demand. Unfortunately, he found out the hard way that some men will go to any lengths to try to satisfy that need.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    March 12, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  24. arlene vannest

    spitzer should be prosecuted and not given any deal because he resigned he really should be held accountable because he is an elected official thanks arlene

    March 12, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  25. Brendan Wehrung

    We’ll soon see whether the investigation that netted (about-to-be-former) Gov. Spitzer is a Republican-inspired hunting expedition. If he’s Client 9, who are Clients 8 and 10? If he’s prosecuted, will they be? Is Client 36 too famous (or rich) to feel the heat?

    I’m waiting for the New York Times to file a Freedom of Information Act request for the same little black book which has been quoted so extensively concerning Spitzer, to see who else is in it.

    I wonder if any names will be redacted in the name of National Security?

    March 12, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  26. Ram

    I feel extremely sorry for Elliot, his wife & children and NY. Such a brilliant mind will be wasted for a weakness most men have. Some get caught & most don't. Being a public servent he should have been very discrete in making his choices. It is a very sad thing for everybody.

    March 12, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  27. bob kelley

    The money trail was The Emperors Club and Spitzer's downfall. What about unreported income and unpaid taxes on this money? The IRS needs to step up and look into this money movement.

    March 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  28. Annie Kate

    Hi Jamie

    How ironic as you say – ensnared by a law that he himself got passed. He was the source of his own downfall in so many ways – I guess he can be the first test case for that new law.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 12, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  29. Alma Johnson

    I worry about the "Mr. Clean" title being thrown around about Ellitot Spitzer when just days ago I heard the same title being given to Obama's campaign. I think this will cause some to rethink Obama's campaign, that can not be good.

    March 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  30. Cindy

    I honestly think that it is quite befitting that the law he pushed through will now nail him. It seems what goes around comes around!! He was harsh on crime and now he is the criminal and hopefully the law will be harsh on him. He has to learn that he is not above the law...no one ever is. You always pay for your actions in the end.

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  31. Julia Hays from NJ

    Prostitution is generally consider a "victim-less crime". But the victims here are his family and the citizens he represents. Apologizing for misleading your citizens, family and friends is not enough. This man is a hypocrit and a criminal. If he were truly sorry, he wouldn't have waited until he got caught to come forward, and he would surrender himself to the authorities and admit his wrongdoings in order to be help accountable. That would be a good start toward redemption.

    March 12, 2008 at 1:49 pm |