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JUPITER, Fla. – Back when the news first broke that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft had been snagged in a prostitution sting at a tacky little strip-mall rub and tug in Florida, I must admit my first response was to chuckle, just a bit.

I didn’t chuckle out of disapproval because Kraft had allegedly sought the services of a prostitute masquerading as a masseuse; I believe there’s nothing shameful about sex work. I believe sex work should be legal and regulated, with the focus of the regulations being assuring the safety and well-being of sex workers and their clients, to the extent possible. I chuckled because the fabulously wealthy owner of a football team I loathe (in the “sports hate” sense, I mean) had just begun the process of being publicly humiliated in a way which was likely take him down a peg or two, and I’m not above feeling a little schadenfreude from time to time.

Then I got to the part of the article which reported the claim from prosecutors that there was actual human trafficking involved in this case, and I stopped chuckling. There’s nothing funny to me about people being forced or coerced into sex work, in any context.

While the human trafficking claims surrounding this case do give me pause, I’m a skeptic at heart. I believe the numbers which get kicked around when discussing how many people are trafficked within the American sex trade are often enormously inflated. I believe the largest of those estimates include many adult sex workers of sound mind who have chosen to be sex workers – and I believe it’s absolute nonsense to think of such people as ‘trafficking’ themselves.


Gene Zorkin has been covering legal and political issues for various adult publications (and under a variety of different pen names) since 2002.