Debaters argue death, torture for sex traffickers


Financial District, NEW YORK– More than 50 people attended the King’s Debate Society’s public debate on the topic of capital punishment for sex traffickers on Friday. Debate teams from Adelphi University and St. John’s University joined two King’s teams for a controversial dialogue on how to best distribute justice to traffickers.

Wearing matching Churchill bowties, Joshua Craddock (’14) and Noah Heinz (’14) took the first government team position for capital punishment, arguing that the punishment is deserved for such graphic crimes against humanity and is the most efficacious solution.

“It would not be unreasonable that this punishment should apply to men who buy prostitutes as well,” Craddock said after the debate.

The second government team from Adelphi, Yevgeniy Kvashnin and Colleen Fasone, pushed strongly that capital punishment would provide the one necessary break in the global chain, therefore collapsing the system.

“Less minions means less girls taken,” Fasone said in a speech regarding strategic take-downs for small players and ringleaders alike.

“We will not pay taxes to jail these people. We will eliminate them as the moral filth that they are,” Kvashnin said.

St. John’s focused on rebuttal in its opening opposition without providing a clear solution to the motion. It claimed the impracticality of capital punishment for traffickers: “when it becomes a number game it doesn’t become about the women anymore,” as one debater said.

King’s debaters Sarah Hicks (’14) and Jacob Cooper (’15) shocked the room with the suggestion in closing opposition that torture is the only adequate retribution.

“Victims describe rape as a living death, so we believe that traffickers deserve continual punishment,” Hicks argued, putting the room into an uproar.

“I want them to live death,” Cooper said. “And I’m okay with taking the moral burden of that. Let’s actually stop trafficking.”

The debate ended in a more informal Q&A moderated by society president Greg Dubois (’13) to clear up questions and push the debaters in their research and expertise.

Among the attendees were faculty and staff like David Leedy and a supporting crowd from St. John’s University.

The conversation continued far after the debate ended; some were surprised that rehabilitation was not discussed more. Catherine Ratcliffe (’14) summarized the general conclusion of the evening: “It was shocking. But I love the focus on the weight of the problem.”