The Emperor's Club VIP, an international prostitution ring, markets so-called high-class call girls in cities around the world. The escort agency claims that the girls are well-educated, sophisticated and able to carry on intelligent conversations. The pictures are typical cleavage and legs, but the advertising text includes vague references to the girls' successful careers and great personalities.
The reality, though, turns out to be just a bit different.
Ashley Dupre, the 22-year-old assigned to Client 9, New York's now ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer, was called "Kristin." Instead of being well-educated, she is a high school drop-out who ran away from an abusive home situation at the end of her sophomore year in high school. Rather than being sophisticated and having impressive career credentials, Ashley speaks of herself as someone who knows what it is to be "broke and homeless." Her clients, of course, don't know the real Ashley, nor do they care to know her problems. Ashley claims that she is a prostitute because her dream of a singing career hasn't gotten off the ground. She and her latest boyfriend split up when she discovered that he had two kids. She finances the perks of a big city lifestyle by being a prostitute. While $1,000 an hour sounds like a lot of money, at least half of it goes to the prostitution ring, plus it takes a lot of money to keep up appearances - not to mention supporting a drug habit. She worries that without the connections of the Emperor's Club she won't be able to pay the rent on her expensive apartment in Manhattan.
The marketing pitch to clients from the booking agency promises girls like Kristin, who are younger, bustier, sexier, and wrinkle-free versions of the powerful man's wife (who shows the effects of having had his children and shouldering her share of the family responsibilities); it all sounds like high-octane fun with no demands and no strings attached - all this, wrapped in the illusion of no consequences. The john pays his money and takes what he wants without giving anything but the money that he can easily spare and won't even miss - just the ticket for the self-centered, power-tripping, irresponsible, overgrown adolescent.
In reality, the john risks his health, his reputation, his family and his soul for a few hours of pretending that he is footloose and responsibility-free … all the while being conned by the notion that he's sexually irresistible. He sacrifices his honor and his character, forsakes his moral duty and violates ethical standards of behavior by cheating on his wife and exploiting a foolish, self-centered and reckless young woman who has emotional and psychological needs buried far below the surface confidence. There are ample reasons why so many prostitutes abuse drugs and alcohol, high-end call girls and streetwalkers alike.
For every Kristin who chooses prostitution over positive and productive ways of making a living, there are thousands of girls who are lured or forced into the worst kinds of sexual exploitation - modern-day slavery. Most of the American victims enter prostitution at an average age of 12-14. Many people see a big difference between high-class call girls and prostitutes in a brothel, but beneath their glossy exteriors, the high-priced call girls have more in common with the girls in the brothels than with the women who are wife material for the wealthy and powerful. Sadly, after spending their physical beauty plying the sex trade for a few years, the glamorous call girls end up just like the more ordinary and less glamorous whores, their dreams of a modeling, singing or acting career forever out of reach.
One of the often neglected facts about prostitution is that the call girl's beauty and gorgeous body won't last "in the business." It won't take long before she joins the 85 percent of prostitutes who want out. But she will continue to be sold - in increasingly less prestigious venues; she'll probably be in an ordinary brothel before she's 30 and being pimped in a sleazy dive by 35.
A booking agent's recent exposé revealed that a john had offered one of her call girls $40,000 for condom-free sex. With that kind of drive for unfettered sexual intercourse, and with the power imbalance in promiscuous couplings, what chance does the girl have when the jerks want to throw away the condom? Also, why should we be surprised at the recent news that one-in-four teenage girls has an STD?
That same booking agent described the "common story" of her girls. Around age 25 they develop "that knowing, experienced look" that repels high-powered clients, and their options become very limited. Most of the girls "sort of fade away" into "loneliness and poverty."
While the public is mesmerized by the implosion of Eliot Spitzer's political ambitions, we should take time to mourn his wife's blatant pain and lament the sordid quagmire of Ashley Dupre's sad circumstances and poor choices.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse is a Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute. She writes about contemporary issues that affect women, family, religion and culture in her regular column "Dot.Commentary."