[thoughts on] the secret service prostitution scandal

hotel caribe, columbia, secret service

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

April 18, 2012

hotel caribe, columbia, secret service


It makes my stomach turn.

By now, I hope you’ve heard something about the Secret Service’ s little sex scandal in Columbia. In case you haven’t, let me give you the quick version…

A team of Secret Service agents and other military personnel arrive in Cartagena, Columbia in preparation for a President Obama‘s visit to meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to talk about trade and other pressing matters. Before the POTUS arrives, a dispute breaks out in the hotel where the agents and servicemen are staying. The result… 11 Secret Service agents and 10 military members (5 from the Army Special Forces, 2 Marines, 2 Navy bomb removal specialists, and 1 Air Force member) caught in the middle of a sex scandal with 20 or 21 women (many of whom are prostitutes).

Yeah, bad move.

Everyone is talking about the potential security issues, and a few are even talking about the morality of it all (thinking about how many of these men are likely married).

Even fewer are talking about the possibility of some of these (prostitute) women being victims of human trafficking, forced into this lifestyle by someone else.

But to me the biggest problem is how widespread this problem really is. The investigation and news cameras will focus on what happened at the Hotel Caribe as if it were an isolated incident.

But I’m not buying it.

I have a hard time believing that a handful of otherwise saintly government employees decided to do something that’s never been done before, and somehow found themselves in the middle of this unexpected mess.

I know this because before I was a Christian, I served overseas in the military. I know what that life is like. I’ve walked down Whisper Alley in Okinawa. I know how a big part of the prostitution market in other countries where we have military bases caters to the American servicemen deployed there.

Human trafficking isn’t a problem unless there are customers there to pay for the services these women are forced provide.

And what’s happening in Columbia is the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

I have a crazy feeling that the meeting between President Obama and President Santos had a strange cloud hanging over it. I’m sure there was an elephant in the room that may have hindered the conversations. Why is that?


Or lack thereof.

That’s our biggest problem with this whole thing. This one is the one that blew up and created an international scandal. But right now, all around the world, there are other agents and servicemen who are disrespecting their host nations by supporting the human trafficking sex industry.

I’m sure that the men involved with this incident in Columbia will be appropriately punished. But the silence about prostitution activity everywhere else is deafening.

THAT is what makes me sick.

“I can speak for myself and … my fellow chiefs, we’re embarrassed by what occurred in Colombia,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a news conference. “Several of our members distracted the issue from what was a very important regional engagement for our president.”

“We let the boss down,” Dempsey said. (Source: FoxNews.com)

You got that right Gen. Dempsey. Now what are you going to do to make sure that it doesn’t ever happen again… anywhere?


Sign the petition at Change.org to ask the State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff to stop military use of prostitutes in foreign countries.

“Modern slavery – be it bonded labor, involuntary servitude, or sexual slavery – is a crime and cannot be tolerated in any culture, community, or country … [It] is an affront to our values and our commitment to human rights.”

– Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton


  1. alwaysalleluia

    Thanks for this, Dude. It is horrifying what goes on and that the moral issue of both infidelity and slavery are brushed aside. They should be embarrassed. But even more than being embarrassed a level of outrage is missing. I appreciate your rant, and I agree with you. Enough is enough!

    • @bibledude

      i can’t say it enough… the #humantrafficking implications of this whole secret service scandal makes me sick. i wonder if the servicemen were assigned to sting operations to rescue trafficking victims whether they would see the women differently…

  2. Crystal Rowe

    What strikes me is how there is very little being said about prostitution at all in this whole ordeal. In the articles I’ve read, there is very little mention of prostitution … they refer to 20 or 21 women. And anytime I hear about prostitution, I automatically think of human trafficking … very few women choose prostitution out of anything but despair and destitution. It’s good that the secret service men who were caught will be reprimanded and punished for their actions, but what about the root cause of the prostitution in the first place? Shouldn’t someone take this incidence as a cue to investigate further into what’s going on??

    • @bibledude

      i’m with you on this crystal! i figured that this one would hit some hot-buttons for you… we definitely need to keep talking about it, and trying to keep the conversation front-of-mind…


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[thoughts on] the secret service prostitution scandal

by Dan King time to read: 3 min