That was the flippant question asked yesterday by many news organizations as they covered the fallout from Spitzergate. And hey, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been curious. Last night, the New York Times posted as near to an answer as we’re likely to get: A profile, complete with pictures, of Ashley Alexandra Dupré, the 22-year old sometimes-prostitute who visited with the Governor at the Mayflower hotel last month. After reading the piece and following the Times‘ link to Dupré’s MySpace page, I just felt sad. Far from the fantasy of a college-educated sex-fiend who chooses prostitution out of many career options, Dupré left North Carolina at the age of 17 to move to New York City, where she aspired to become an R&B singer. On her MySpace page, Dupré writes about surviving abuse, using drugs, and being homeless. In short, she hews far more closely to the typical profile of a woman who chooses prostitution than you’d assume from the price the Emperor’s Club commanded on her behalf.
I don’t have a larger point here about the benefits or risks of legalizing prostitution; I’d encourage you to read Scott on that score. Rather, I’m struck by the pedestrian — yet heartbreaking — quality of Dupré’s personal history. And lest you think Dupré got rich off her travails, note that she told the Times she’s so strapped for cash she’s considering moving back home with her mom.
cross-posted at TAPPED