As a feminist I have no doubt that many young women and men are forced into sex work because of a variety of personal and economic problems - or by "boyfriends" who are little more than pimps. Making sex work illegal just makes it harder to protect sex workers from abuse by clients and pimps. It also leaves them open to abuse by police and prosecutors. As a libertarian I believe those who freely choose sex work -- and those who pay for it - have a right to do so and should not be prosecuted. (Assuming no other real crimes are involved.)
But what about "law and order" prosecutors and attorney generals who have prosecuted sex workers (and occassionally clients)? What about elected governors of states overseeing thousands of police and prosectors who harrass arrest, prosecute, jail and imprison sex workers? What happens when such a prosecutor turned governor breaks both state and federal prostitution laws - crimes which do lead to 5 or more year sentences for others? Should libertarians support prosecution of such hypocritical bastards? It's so tempting to prosecute for the "crime" of hypocrisy. But I'll leave a discourse on this topic for another place and time.
Let me quote a Manhattan libertarian's blog - linked from the Libertarian Party of New York site on that topic:
Happy Days Are Here Again!
Eliot Spitzer caught with his pants down! I love it!! Expect the man who shall forever after be known as Client 9 to resign shortly.
That he was a patron of a prostitution ring with a name like The Emperors Club VIP makes it even more fitting. These guys really do think of themselves as emperors and the rest of us as serfs, above the laws they use to oppress the masses.
As attorney general, Spitzer prosecuted at least two prosecution rings — callously ruining dozens of lives over the quintessential victimless crime. Now he reaps what he sowed.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.