Prostitution Should be Legal Referred to as the “oldest profession”, prostitution “. . . has long been a problem which has provoked and disturbed Americans” (Kinsie 3). “Prostitution [is] the performance of sexual acts, solely for the purpose of material gain” (James [NA]).
Prostitution remains, excepted and considered normal in some cultures. No gender specifics exist for prostitutes , but female prostitutes comprise the majority of prostitutes. A person male and married characterizing the majority of prostitutes clients, commonly referred to as a “John”. Surprisingly, but true, US prostitutes work legally in some areas. “Prostitution is currently illegal in all 50 states” (Flowers 8), with the exception of 12 rural counties in Nevada. A variety of different types of prostitutes exist: streetwalkers, call girls, massage parlor/brothel/in house prostitutes, madams, indentured sex slaves, escort service prostitutes, professional dominatrics, homeless, drug addicted and part time prostitutes (Flowers 18, 19).
In 1995, approximately 95,000 arrests were made (70% female prostitutes, 20% male prostitutes and 10% customers), mostly streetwalkers; a misdemeanor typically resulting in a fine, occasionally a 30-day jail term. More importantly than numbers, what motivates one to choose a career of prostitution? Perhaps persuasion, coercion, abuse, addiction or poor conditions/lifestyle and the financial lure. Legalizing prostitution ensures regulation and taxation, allowing the police to deal with more violent crimes and reduce the abuse of prostitutes by “Pimps”. There remain many reasons why one may favor the illegal status of prostitution. Some see the “profession” as exploitive to women, a “.
. . form of sexual slavery” (Abraham 1). Feminists claim that prostitution reinforces the status that women represent objects, undoing the prevails of women in the past. Yet still, many believe in neo-Victorism, a condescending belief that prostitutes are unaware of their action and need someone with more education to protect them (Abraham 1).
Much of the public describes the profession of prostitution as dirty, immoral and degrading. For many, prostitution results in a destructive, abusive “career” in which Pimps, those who “own” and distribute prostitutes for the benefit of financial gain, and Johns abuse and violate women. Prostitution also greatly affects the community and the public. Those who use prostitutes for their pleasure risk the contraction of diseases, thus spreading with each new sexual partner, endangering the lives of many. Although valid reasons justify why one would want to keep prostitution with an illegal status, the benefits far out way the negative aspects of prostitution. Legalizing the profession increases the quality of lives for those who partake in prostitution as a career and those who “use” the business they offer.
Legalization of prostitution allows regulation, requiring medical examination of prostitutes on a regular basis, helping to reduce the transfer of STDs and communicable diseases. According to the US Department of Health, 3% to 5% of STDs in the United States are linked to prostitutes (Prostitution in the US . . . [NA]). These relatively small numbers results in a “domino effect”.
If someone contracts a disease during an interlude with a prostitute, each sexual partner thereafter carries the potential risk of “contamination”. In addition, the health of prostitutes most likely increases. Early detection and treatment of STDs, diseases or illnesses, and drug addiction constitute likely results of prostitution legalization. These actions increase the likelihood of prostitutes good health, resulting in a safer environment for their clients as well. Exploitation from pimps eliminates with the legalization of prostitution.
Pimps usually take a large portion of the prostitutes profit, up to 50% and sometimes more. This exploitation includes abuse, both physical and mental, often leading to murder. A legal status of prostitution allows prostitutes to work for themselves, or in a safe, controlled environment, such as a licensed brothel. Legalization allows for taxation of prostitution wages, like any other employment. Taxation of prostitution results in increased taxes collected by cities, counties and states. By taxation, prostitutes enjoy the benefits of unemployment insurance, disability insurance and social security, thus ensuring prostitutes the choice of continuing or discontinuing their career in prostitution.
Cities, counties and states profit by taxation and legalizing prostitution results in a reduction of criminal prosecution costs. “Average arrest, court [and] incarceration costs amount to nearly $2000 per arrest. Cities spend an average of $7.5 million on prostitution control every year. Ranging from $1 million (Memphis) to $23 million (New York)” (Prostitution in the US. .
. [NA]). This extra money and time provides police more time to deal with and prosecute violent crimes. The elimination of the prosecution of prostitutes saves time and money for the justice system as well as freeing the courts to prosecute of crimes/criminals. Once police officers and prostitutes join “the same side”, the creation of a safer environment for prostitutes results.
Prostitutes recieve the rights of every other citizen, allowing them to ill behavior without the threat of being arrested. Legalization of prostitution eliminates one of the violent aspects of prostitution, the pimp. With the elimination of the Pimp, the prostitute looses the need for exorbitant charges of his/her services. The benefits of legalizing prostitution outweigh the reasons for keeping it a criminal activity. Many lives improve as a result, creating a better working environment for prostitutes and clients, provide taxes and save cities, counties, and states money and the elimination of exploitation by “pimps”, comprise a few of the benefits The practice of prostitution, morally and ethically wrong to many people, remains a choice made by two consenting adults. Keeping prostitution illegal results in few benefits and prostitution continues to thrive with all the negative aspects.
Making prostitution legal increases the probability of “safe” prostitution. Why continue to fight a losing battle that costs people in many ways. Bibliography Works Cited Abraham, Yvonne and Sarah McNaught. “Prostitution 101”. 27 Oct – 30 Oct 1997. The Boston Phoenix.
29 Nov. 1999. Flowers, R. Barri. “Defining Prostitutes and Prostitution”.
The Prostitution of Women and Girls. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1998 James, Jennifer. “Prostitution”. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000 : CD-ROM. 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp.
Kinsie, Paul and Charles Winick. “Views of Prostitution”. The Lively Commerce – Prostitution in the United States. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, Inc., 1971 “Prostitution in the United States – The Statistics”. 1980-present.
Prostitutes Education Network. 23 Nov. 1999. Works Consulted Abraham, Yvonne and Sarah McNaught. “Prostitution 101”.
27 Oct – 30 Oct 1997. The Boston Phoenix. 29 Nov. 1999. Bastow, Karen.
“Prostitution and HIV/AIDS”. HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Newsletter. 1995 Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. 23 Nov. 1999. Barry, Kathleen. “Unmasking Social Oppression”.
Female Sexual Slavery. New York: New York University Press, 1979. Flowers, R. Barri. “Defining Prostitutes and Prostitution”. The Prostitution of Women and Girls.
Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1998 James, Jennifer. “Prostitution”. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000 : CD-ROM. 1993-1999 Microsoft Corp. Kinsie, Paul and Charles Whick. “Views of Prostitution”.
The Lively Commerce – Prostitution in the United States. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, Inc., 1971. “Legalized Prostitution”. 30 Nov 1999. “Prostitution in the United States – The Statistics”.
1980-present. Prostitutes Education Network. 23 Nov. 1999. Sheehy, Gail. “The New Breed”. Hustling – Prostitution in Our Wide Open Society.
New York: Delecorte Press, 1971, 1972, 1973.