News of the Secret Service scandal has popped up all over the internet, with many claiming that the scandal threatens to overshadow the Summit of the Americas that President Obama is attending in Columbia. News broke that 11 Secret Service agents, and five U.S. military service members, may have brought prostitutes back to their hotel. All of the Secret Service agents involved are now on leave, and the military members confined to their quarters pending a full investigation.
Several news agencies are calling the incident an embarrassment to America. President Obama has even expressed regret over the incident, but should America really be as embarrassed as the media says it should? There is an investigation pending, which means all details are not fully known. What is known is that 11 Secret Service agents returned to their rooms with women. All of the women left by 7 a.m., except for one. Hotel policy stated that all guests had to leave by 7 a.m., and when the manager confronted the agent who still had his guest, the police ended up being called. The woman claimed that the agent owed her money, and this is when the U.S. embassy got involved.
Even with little known about the incident, if everything reported was true, and the Americans did have prostitutes, should America really be embarrassed, or the Summit even overshadowed? Looking at the statistics of prostitution in America versus foreign countries, ie. Columbia, America doesn’t seem as bad. When looking at child prostitution in the two countries, America has around 100,000 child prostitutes, meaning .0003% of America’s population are child prostitutes. Columbia has 35,000 child prostitutes, or .0007% of their population. While this may not seem like much of a difference, mathematically if America had Columbia’s child prostitution rate, there would be more than 118,000 more child prostitutes in America.
Another important factor to consider is prostitution legality. In America, there is only one state where prostitution is legal, and it isn’t even legal in that entire state. In Columbia, designated “tolerance zones” exist throughout the entire country where prostitution is legal, but even enforcing this law is difficult in the country. Rates such as these exist in many countries when compared to America, yet America should feel embarrassed that 16 of their government employees may have drunk and kept company with prostitutes?
There is no denying that what the Secret Service agents did was wrong, but that is no reason for a country that diligently fights human trafficking to be embarrassed. The Secret Service scandal will get handled in a proper way, in-house in America. It is important to remember that these agents and soldiers spend their lives protecting other people, and sometimes when you work hard, you play hard.