Prosecuting an international sex tourism business based in Queens in 2004, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer listened to women's advocates long frustrated by state laws that fell short of dealing with a sex trade expanding rapidly across borders, says the New York Times. He embraced their push for legislation to go after the men who seek out prostitutes. Early in his term as governor last year, Spitzer signed a bill raising the maxumum penalty for patronizing a prostitute to a year in jail from a maximum of three months.
Now the organizations that credit him with what they call the toughest and most comprehensive anti-sex-trade law in the nation, are in shock because Spitzer, who announced his resignation today, stands accused of being one of the very men his law was designed to catch and punish. “It leaves those of us who worked with his office absolutely feeling betrayed,” said Dorchen Leidholdt of of Sanctuary for Families Legal Services, one of the leaders of the coalition that drafted the legislation. The law, which went into effect Nov. 1, mainly deals with redefining and prosecuting forms of human trafficking. crackdown on demand, by increasing the penalty for patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor, to up to a year in jail, from a maximum of three months.