Normally at the start of any Gloria Allred press conference, I roll my eyes. They all start the same way, she stands there next to a pretty, young, vulnerable woman claiming to be the victim of whatever celebrity male is embroiled in that week’s headlining scandal. She’s represented women suing Herman Cain, Anthony Weiner, Tiger Woods, the list goes on and on.
Yet, this time, as she took the stage Monday with Christina Fierro, the 18-year-old woman suing famed NFL player and Dancing with the Stars champ Lawrence Taylor, things were different. Yes, the press conference played out the exact same way, with Allred taking the reigns claiming to champion women’s rights, but if you look beyond her motives at the legal precedent Allred is attempting to set, I have to applaud her.
Fierro was just 16 years old when she was allegedly raped by Taylor on May 6th 2010. Fierro claims she was brought to Taylor’s motel doorstep in New York by her pimp, where Taylor then raped her against her will. Taylor later plead guilty to purchasing a prostitute and received probation.
Yet, there is a major difference between a prostitute and Fierro. Fierro was underage and forced against her will and should clearly be labeled as a child sex trafficking victim, not a prostitute.
The reason why I applaud Allred here is even if she did take the case for the fame, even if it turns out the case has no merit, she is calling for a major legal precedent to be set: that buyers of child sex trafficking victims should be prosecuted along with pimps. According to Allred, she was unable to find a single case where the buyer had been prosecuted.
As Fierro’s pimp sits in jail on a seven-year sentence of sex trafficking, Taylor is living in Florida on probation. I agree with Allred that not just the pimps should be penalized for sex trafficking, but the buyers should be too.
According to Allred, if buyers were penalized then the demand for sex trafficking would decrease. Right now, these buyers can walk away or, in Taylor’s case, be penalized for a lesser crime of purchasing a prostitute. With no threat of penalty, the underground market of child sex trafficking will continue and thousands of children each year will continue to be forced into the market.
Even if Fierro loses her case, the idea that buyers of sex trafficking should be prosecuted will remain and that is a major step in the right direction for women’s rights and children’s rights.