Ashley Dupre: Slave?


Over at the L.A. Times, E. Benjamin Skinner tries to explain the difference between being a high priced American hooker and a slave. It's not very difficult.

One hot june day in 2006, I saw what slavery really meant. In a rundown mansion in a slum of Bucharest, Romania, a pimp offered to sell me a young woman he described as "a blond." She had bleached hair, hastily applied makeup, and she apparently suffered from Down syndrome. On her right arm were at least 10 angry, fresh slashes where, I can only assume, she had attempted suicide. The pimp claimed that he made 200 euros per night renting her out to local clients. He offered to sell her outright to me in exchange for a used car..

"It is a vicious myth that women and children who work as prostitutes have voluntarily chosen such a life for themselves," asserted a 2005 State Department fact sheet. Thus the victimization of Ashley Alexandra Dupre, the high-priced call girl frequented by Eliot Spitzer, who until Monday was New York's governor, is equated to the slavery of the young woman in the Bucharest brothel.

Over the objections of a few anti-slavery stalwarts in the Justice Department, the House of Representatives passed a bill in December that expands the current anti-trafficking legislation to cover most forms of prostitution, coerced or not. If approved in its current form by the Senate and signed by the president, the law will no longer address slavery exclusively and will instead become a federal mandate to fight prostitution on a broad scale.

Is it also a "vicious myth" that women offered $1 million for spreads in Hustler might accept voluntarily? Discuss.

In the current issue of reason, Joanne McNeil traces the "white slavery" panic back a century.

NEXT: Rough Trade in Foreign Sausage

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  1. I see it as part of the nasty trend where vice activity is federalized and the criminal code becomes so Byzantine the prosecutors have dozens of creative options to go after those they want to target. Why go after someone with a specific charge when you can use unlimited resources to blanket them in a myriad of claims against them?

  2. I don’t claim any insight on the prevalence of slavery among sex workers, but I do think it would be good if Dupre accepted a White House internship.

    It may be that she is our only hope for impeaching Bush and Cheney.

  3. Use of the overworked word “myth” should be banned…

  4. bah, you know I think H&R readers being divided on alot of issues, sex-trade is not one of them, I predict the shortest thread ever

  5. Ashley’s a slave, but it’s to her own daddy issues and not to sex work.

  6. Coercion is coercion, choice is choice. egardless of how distasteful it might seem, people make choices every day that we might not.

    The vast majority of prostitution that takes place in the open is not coerced. There is no reason to coerce when there are so many volunteers.

    Even in places I might have thought would be troubling, this has been the case. During a time when a friend and I became enamored of Thai body massage, we entered a place in Bangkok that looked promising and were promptly DENIED by the women inside. We were clean, 25ish, traditionally attractive white guys, but the girls were not interested in the stigma of having serviced farangs like us. Fairly empowered for slaves.

    I don’t know where you’d find true ‘sex slaves’, but I imagine it would most times be in places where sex work is illegal and corrupt authorities keep them in the dark with threats of imprisonment or worse.

  7. All prostitution is a form of slavery. No woman would freely choose such a life. Because the patriarchy limits a womans career options, women make 73 cent to the dollar for the same work in the same profession, they are forced to do this to support themselves. It is unfair that they are punished because they are victims. Sweden has the right idea, there only the johns are punished because they are victimizing these slaves. I think wee need tougth new laws to eliminate prostitution once and for all, arrest the men and put them away for good and put them on the registry.

  8. Only our supreme overloads can save us from our gonads. Hooray Congress!

  9. Of course Ashley is a slave. She’s the kind of slave that gets a lot of money for her work and is free to leave at any time.

  10. Good for Ashley. I hope she takes Larry Flint for every dime she can. There is some pretty disgusting things in the world as the example in Bucharest shows. I doubt much of that kind of stuff goes on in the US. I am sure some of it does, but not much.

  11. This raises the question of how much Larry Flynt would pay Harriet Tubman for a tasteful layout.

  12. There is some pretty disgusting things in the world as the example in Bucharest shows. I doubt much of that kind of stuff goes on in the US. I am sure some of it does, but not much.

    Yeah, passing a brunette off as a blonde! We have laws against fraud in this country, Romanian pimp-scum.

  13. …humming the chorus from Steely Dan’s “Cousin Dupree”…

  14. Nice satire Maria.

  15. I wonder if Hustler will do a plantation style photo layout just to prove that she’s a slave…

  16. As someone who works for an organization that helps the Intellectually Challenged*, the Bucharest story made me think of all the ways that retarded people are exploited, not that sex work in itself is the problem.

    I’ve seen staff here get fired when it turned out that they were taking the people they were supposed to be looking after home so they could cut their lawn and clean their house. That kind of thing goes on all the time unfortunately.

    *I realize, of course, that many people’s place of work could be described this way

  17. …humming the chorus(?) from Frank Zappa’s “Dupree’s Paradise”…

  18. This might explain everything.

  19. It is a vicious myth that women and children West Virginians who work as prostitutes coal miners have voluntarily chosen such a life for themselves. Just look at mining conditions in China for proof.

    Fuckin’ state department idiots.

  20. We really don’t know anything about Ashley’s side of the story yet. From what the media reports and given the numerous photos of her that have surfaced, especially the ones from Girls Gone Wild, she is a girl who enjoys sex and has a body that men find attractive and sexually appealing. She found a way to get paid handsomely for her efforts in a career that doesn’t require a college education and allows her the freedom to pursue her musical career and a penchant for partying in clubs in New York City and around the world (St. Tropez). There is a lot about her lifestyle over the past few years that is fascinating including her involvement with two other New York prostitution rings.

    It’s very difficult to think that Ashley can be thought of as a slave in any sense of the word. She is in no way comparable to Romanian or Eastern European sex slaves. About the only slave she can be compared to is a slave to fashion and high living with wealthy men like wealthy investor James Chanos and Elliot Spitzer.

    There are hundreds of wealthy men in New York city and elsewhere that have slept with Ashley over the past few years. This was hardly an isolated incident for her or Spitzer. There is an enormous underground economy in sex around the world from sex slaves in less prosperous countries to high end prostitution in New York City. She was a victim of circumstances and shameful that she was outed by the New York Times. I am sure there are many dozens of girls and hundreds of wealthy businessmen clients of Emperor’s club who are shaking in their boots hoping they are not outed as customers or employees of the service. It’s for certain that the Feds know exactly who they are especially sine they were tapping their calls for some time.

    It will be interesting to see what Ashley does next and when she decides to talk to the media. She has a lot of opportunities in front of her, but no one knows yet what she will do with these lucrative offers.

    Having a wealthy businessman fly you on an all-expenses trip to Europe or spending a $1000 an hour at the Mayflower hotel is definitely not slavery in the traditional sense of the word.

    Plain and simple, Ashley merely became a slave to the lifestyle that high end hooking can provide.

  21. Maria
    Is it true that female prostitutes make only $.73 to the dollar that male prostitues make? And where do you get your data? What’s that song from West Side Story? Maria, I just met a dope named Maria…”

  22. Scott66 | March 24, 2008, 11:57am | #

    Nice satire Maria.

    I actually can’t tell if she’s serious or not.

  23. BTW, her name is Ashley Youmans. If we’re going to use made up names for her, we might as well call her Kristen.

  24. I actually can’t tell if she’s serious or not.

    That’s the best kind of satire.

  25. “I doubt much of that kind of stuff goes on in the US. I am sure some of it does, but not much.”

    I worked with a young boy who had an uncle that passed him around at sex parties. It’s actually pretty common.

  26. I once posed naked for beer.

    [to the tune of, “Dont wanna be your, Slaaaaveee”]

    I was fuckin HOT too, man.

  27. DADIODADDY | March 24, 2008, 2:29pm | #

    Is it true that female prostitutes make only $.73 to the dollar that male prostitues make?

    Are you saying i should be making like $1270 a trick??

    That Spitzer bastard owes me, like, $1220!!

  28. “A prostitute is a woman who wil love you,
    no matter who you are,
    or what you look like.”

  29. If this passes, you just know the only thing the federal government will do to stop “slavery” is to target the porn industry and the legal brothels in Nevada.

  30. I, for one, am looking forward to the War On Prostitution, WOP!

  31. Hey!!


    Check out the pic in his comments OF THEM SUCKING FACE LIKE PROS!!!!!…

    Wrote a song about their breakup…..mystery bf???? =)

    THEN CHECK ASHLEYS PAGE AND READ HIS COMMENTS….im sure someone already got this 2 u but hey…Im a fan!!!

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