Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Prostitution a Federal Crime?

First let me say that I am not justifying Governor Spitzer’s actions. My biggest issue however is not that he got caught doing business with a prostitute but rather his hypocrisy in doing so. He was active in prosecuting others for prostitution thus engaging in the activity itself is the very definition of hypocrisy. This follows a similar test that I applied to Bill Clinton. I couldn’t have cared less what he did with an intern yet the fact he lied about it not only to the American people but under oath, was what I had an issue with.

Regardless of my opinion of Spitzer’s actions, my concern is why is the FBI investigating this and why is this a Federal Crime. There is no evidence whatsoever that the prostitute in this case was a victim in any way. Once again we have the government enforcing morals upon apparently two consenting adults. Face it prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, it is not going away. I believe that it should not be illegal at all. But for the federal government to be involved in prosecuting such a case is a travesty.

Reports are that the Feds are involved because of the Mann act. Which prevents the transporting of others for an “immoral” act. The Mann act was passed in 1910. Since 1910 this interpretation of this law has become even more concerning. In 1917 the Court ruled that this law applied not only to prostitution but also to other “consensual sexual liaisons.” This defined consensual extramarital sex as an “immoral liaison,” thus covered under this law. As recently as 1946 the court ruled that the Mann act applies even when married to the person transported if the marriage was polygamous.

A number of people have been prosecuted under the Mann act, including; Charlie Chaplin, Frank Lloyd Wright and Chuck Berry. This is clearly a morals law that gives the federal government power over its citizens that is clearly not intended by the constitution. The Mann act should be repealed.

With that being said, the one positive use of the Mann act has been in fighting human trafficing and non-consentual prostitution. There should be laws to fight this ongoing crime as there are very definitly victims.

I was always taught as a child that living in a “free country” means that you can do whatever you want as long as your not harming anyone else. That remains my belief as an adult.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act

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