Friday, May 04, 2007


The Deborah Palfrey case, is raising anxiety levels in D.C. I wait to see who will be outed next.

Is breaching confidentiality the only strategy if you are criminalised?

I think in some cases if too many heads will roll, an arrangement can be made. It does not seem to be the case with Deborah Palfrey, at the moment.

Now those rules of secrecy and survival are in the national spotlight as a woman accused of running a Washington prostitution ring fights back with her own weapon of mass destruction: a list that reportedly contains as many as 15,000 phone numbers of former clients, including high-level military officers and government officials.

The case has opened a debate among sex workers throughout the country about confidentiality, said Carol Leigh, director of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network in California.

"It does impact the trust that is important between clients and sex workers," Leigh said.
Palfrey's claims that her business was legal are given little credence among sex worker advocates, but many of them wholeheartedly support her fight. With the potential to drag many power brokers into the spotlight, Palfrey's revelations could serve as a turning point in the effort to decriminalize prostitution, said Robyn Few, founder and director of Sex Workers Outreach Project U.S.A.

"It's a wakeup call," Few said.

Few said she served six months of home arrest several years ago after pleading guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit prostitution. She did not reveal the names of any clients, but said she supports Palfrey's actions.

"I think the woman is alone," Few said. "This is a very lonely occupation. We deal in a very isolated business and we have very little support, and now her finances have been cut off and she is facing total ruin.

"All I have to say to Deborah Palfrey is, `Go for it, girl,'" Few said. "If you can help me decriminalize prostitution in this country, then go for it."

Veronica Monet - who worked as a prostitute for 15 years and said she had sex for money with 1,869 clients - said she sympathized with Palfrey. Monet, now a California-based sex educator and author, noted that Palfrey served 18 months in prison on another prostitution charge about 15 years ago and never told any secrets.

Secrecy, Monet said, is important. But Monet said the federal government has pushed Palfrey to the edge.

"If somebody is out to destroy you, you have to fight back," she said.

Others disagree. Heidi Fleiss, the infamous "Hollywood madam" who served two years in federal prison on prostitution-related charges, said recently that Palfrey should have remained silent.

"I know she's probably being swallowed up alive, and a lot of people can't take that weight on their shoulders," Fleiss was quoted as saying Tuesday on the website, "but she's naming names, and that goes against my principles. I realized I'd sunk my ship, but I wasn't taking anyone with me."

ABC's website says Palfrey's potential witness list includes "a Bush administration economist, the head of a conservative think tank, a prominent CEO, several lobbyists, and a handful of military officials."

Quote from Tricky Tactics When Escorts Name Names by Jesse Leavenworth of Fox 61 News.

Have a good weekend.

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Cover up might occur at the beginning if she call up somebody and put pressure at the guys in charge of the case. At any stage, it's the usual balance of terror - whether to go down with her if any arrangement fails, or just do one's job and risk future reprisals. It's better to have a dead end job for a little longer than have no job.

Few's "turning point" isn't going to happen. There's no public sympathy with those guys. Nobody in power is coming out to say give them a break. I'm happy the big guys are subject to the same risks as little guys. Ordinary john's aren't coming out to show support, and they are too small a crowd.
It doesn't sound as if the people on her list are all that interesting.

Now if she had a candidate for the presidency, or a cabinet member that would be interesting.

I can't see that confidentiality is very important, except from the point of view that men are less likely to use escort services, (even apparently "legal" ones), is they think that they might get shopped or blackmailed.

But the same men, evn those in high places, who want their confidentiality maintained are not prepared to do anything to defend the girls who have been their rental lovers or to campaign for legalization of prostitution. If anything the reverse is the case.

Either it is legal or it is not legal, and clearly what we are talking about here is not legal. "I got hard, but I didn't come" is about as convincing as "I smoked, but I didn't inhale."

Name 'em all, baby.

Thank you for your comments.

I think it is a shame if a turning point does not happen. The conservatives have to keep things above board, I guess.

James B,

Thank you for your comments. You make an important point about no men, who are willing to defend their girls. Everyone needs to cover their own backs.
"But the same men, evn those in high places, who want their confidentiality maintained are not prepared to do anything to defend the girls who have been their rental lovers or to campaign for legalization of prostitution."

I think there is a distinction, though. The men may not be actively helping the ladies, but neither are they taking steps to put them more at risk. Consider it a sin of omission, if that. Palfrey, on the other hand, is taking specific actions to put the clients at risk.

If a client maintained detailed records that fell into law enforcement's hands and could be used to prosecute escorts . . . or were busted and to improve their personal situation freely offered such records/information . . . then you would have an apt comparison.

Yes, what they were doing was illegal. That doesn't mean Palfrey's actions in breaking confidentiality (yes, it is important) about them are not objectionable.

This plane appears to be going down in flames. All the way down. I do not see the government dropping its case now.

There are some serious lessons to be learned by ladies on this case. Palfrey had her financial assets seized long before any criminal charges were filed. Even though she had payed taxes on her illicit income, the US Internal Revenue Service (our tax man) decided to pursue an asset forfeiture case against her because her earnings were illegally earned. They seized her money and two of her homes, stating all had been acquired through the prostitution enterprise. And Palfrey has very little chance of gettingthat money back even if she is acquitted of the criminal charges. the standard of proof for asset forfeiture is far less than the standard for putting one in prison.

The lesson to be learned is that if the government really wants to come after you for running an escorting business, they will. Even if you think you are avoiding prosecution by paying taxes on the are not...The government just hasn't gotten to you yet.

I think Palfrey is simply stunned that the governemt chose to go after her. So many ladies get away with this for decades and never get caught.

I think had palfrey just pled guilty, her problems would be almost over. But i think Palfrey really wants her millions of dollars BACK again.
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