Prostitution. It’s a hush-hush profession that people seem to be appalled to talk about. It’s almost as if people are afraid of men and women selling their bodies for the lustful desires of others. It’s nothing you’d hope to come from the mouth of a child, but should it be a crime? Presently the issue of prostitution has major effects in and outside of the United States. As a society, prostitution is frowned upon, but it should be legalized.
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In order to make my stance clear, I’d like to clarify the difference in the way I define decriminalization and legalization. Decriminalization would effectively eliminate laws against prostitution and other forms of sex work. Furthermore, it disallows authorities from intervening in activities that have any relation to prostitution. Legalization, on the other hand, would allow a regulation of prostitution. We would be able to create laws to control what happened in the prostitution world. There would be licenses and police intervene in malpractice. It’s important to know the difference because legalizing prostitution could save the lives of many girls in this industry.
Prostitution is an incredibly broad term referring to a practice that is conducted in a variety of ways. The one most people think of is street prostitutes, the girls who walk around public areas attempting to solicit customers in alleyways, vehicles, and motels. Street workers are usually under control by a pimp, who widens their clientele while also taking some of their profit. However, there are other forms of prostitution which exist, unchecked.
Furthermore, it is debatable as to whether or not adult film actors, escorts and sugar babies are prostitutes. At first, it doesn’t seem so but when you think about it, porn stars are engaging in prostitution. If the dictionary definition of prostitution is the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment., then it’s clear that that is exactly the job that porn stars partake in. This is the same for both escorts and sugar babies, though they have worked their way around the law. An escort is generally a beautiful girl you pay for her time. The escort is required to go out with you,and more often than not, it is understood between both parties that intercourse will happen. A sugarbaby on the other hand tends to be like a consistent prostitute. Sugar babies are given money by their sugar daddies under the guise of being for the baby’s rent,self care, or simply as gifts. Although these jobs have different names, at their core, it’s simply prostitution. What makes these more legitimate than streetwalker prostitutes?
Prostitution has been a punishable crime from as far back as 1075 BC. According to Assyrian law, clean and pure women had to be veiled when they walked the streets. But, prostitutes and other women of lesser stature had to be unveiled. If these harlots were caught with a veil, then they were punished with 50 hits and tar poured on their heads. In the year 525 Byzantine Emperor, Justinian the Great, married a woman named Theodora who was allegedly a former prostitute. Together, they created laws that disallowed prostitutes and owners of brothels from the capital and banned sexual intercourse in public bathhouses. In terms of prostitution being a crime in the United States? On March 3, 1875, the United States Congress passed the Page Act of 1875. This would outlaw the importation of women into the United States for the purposes of prostitution.
Prostitution being unchecked by the government means that girls who are willing participants in the sex trade, can not turn to a police officer when things go awry. It even happens that sometimes when these women do not want to have sex with someone, that they are beaten, raped, and abused. The claim that these women are asking for it because of their career choice and what they wear is not only ludicrous, it’s inhumane.No one is ever asking to be raped, no matter their occupation, clothing style, or anything else for that matter.There are a number of reasons to think that making prostitution legal might improve working conditions for prostitutes. If they were having a problem with a client, they could threaten to call the police.(Ehrenfreund). It’s also not uncommon for these women to be assaulted. One of the most famous cases of this being the case of Christy Mack. Christy is a former pornographic actress, and advocate for sex workers in all forms. In 2014 Mack was physically abused and raped by her ex-boyfriend who was an MMA star.
The unfortunate truth is that for many prostitutes, there is no real safe space to conduct their practices when both they and their clients are consensual participants in. Sometimes they must resort to alleyways, low-grade motels, and in some cases their own homes. Simply decriminalizing prostitution were legalized, it might mean that street workers might be able to get away from pimps and be allowed access to work in a controlled environment. There could be better screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, for both the workers and the clientele. In the Netherlands, both brothels and pimping are legally allowed.It is… legal to run a business where men or women over the age of consent are voluntarily employed as prostitutes. The person running the business must satisfy certain conditions and obtain a license from the local authorities. This solution is a great step that may help benefit the workers. There will be rules set in place so that prostitutes can avoid being hurt.
Continuing to criminalize prostitution may end up doing more harm than good. …decriminalizing prostitution prevented 824 rapes that would have been otherwise reported to police – and presumably many more that otherwise would not have been reported in any case. (Ehrenfreund)It is possible that rapists may turn to buying sex if they are desperate rather than attacking women without consent. There is no guarantee that rape would never happen again as a result of the decriminalization of prostitution but it is undeniable that it would significantly reduce the issue. Clearly prostitution brings benefits when legalized.
Those on the other side of the issue may say that prostitution is that humiliating profession. I think that this may be true in some cases. For example, if you go homeless and you need to sell your body to make ends meet, you may find the trade embarrassing.According to Barry Kathleen Prostitution laws in the United States, as elsewhere in the world, reflect the sexual double standard of misogyny, which honors women as wives and condemns them as whores, making sure that the market always supplies men with prostitutes. (Barry, Prostitution) There are some people who are in the profession who are not so opposed to being involved in sex acts, to make it illegal furthers the belief that prostitutes should be condemned as whores. Perhaps they aren’t interested in committed relationships and simply, enjoy having sex. It could be possible that they find it more humiliating to be on a porn site, and would much rather keep their profession discreet. The sex-workers’ rights movement was founded on three general tenets, all of which are based on the right to self-determination. First, members of the movement do not believe that all sex work is forced, and, in fact, believe that many women freely choose this work. Second, they believe that sex work should be viewed and respected as legitimate work. And third, they believe it is a violation of a woman’s civil rights to be denied the opportunity to work as a sex worker.(Sloan) This is proof that sex-workers aren’t all there because they are forced or because they feel the need to conform in a patriarchal society. If a movement of women are practically begging to have rights in their jobs, why should they be denied? As previously mentioned, prostitute and porn star are not professions that belong at an elementary school career day, but that doesn’t mean that people who participate in the practice should not be protected.To make the job illegal, furthers the belief that women have sex with whoever they want is a bad thing.
Others who believe prostitution should not be legalized argue that prostitution is in close ties with drug use and sexual assault.Unfortunately, this is sometimes the case. Cleaning up the profession and allowing them access to work off the streets and inside monitored buildings may remove the presence of drugs. In Cyril Doll’s argument opposing the legalization, she mentions:
Typically such jurisdictions place sex workers into brothels after they’ve paid thousands of dollars for licenses and police checks–and then they’re at the mercy of brothel managers, says [Valerie] Scott. “At the brothel, you’re regularly forced to have free sex with the manager and any of his friends, and you don’t have the right of refusal. If your client demands a particular type of sex you’re not comfortable with, you have to do it anyway. In my mind, that’s sexual assault,” she says. (Doll)
There is no argument that what is happening in these brothels is sexual assault, however, rather than turning our backs to it, it may prove beneficial to have enforced security in these brothels. People who the prostitutes may run to when things like this happen, to prevent such assault. Security like this exists inside of most strip clubs, so that the women working rule breakers may be removed. It would be ignorant to deny that in rare and unfortunate cases the security guard is in on the brothel owner’s malpractice, but in most cases, this is not true. It is impossible to come to a conclusion about the job, based on rare situations. These women should not expect rape as part of their job and if the brothel owner is abusing his job and his privileges, he should be serving time in prison.Legalizing the trade may require that brothel owners need license and brothels will need required security cameras. This will help keep people who want an easy job becoming a pimp away because it’s become more difficult. It will also prevent rapes because the camera footage can be used in a court of law to defend the prostitute.
Prostitution is constantly berated as being the influence on global sex trafficking. Women and girls who had been trafficked from poor countries were propelled into a competition with Western-born women for local prostitution customers and a growing number of sex tourists.(Leidholt). Sex trafficking is an illegal activity that should have no correlation with what goes on in the world of prostitution. A lot of the time, sex trafficking involves kidnap of underage children who are sold for the sole purpose of being raped for pay. However, sex traffickers are not unfamiliar with the system of mail order brides and similar practices. Prostitutes in the United States who are willing to give their bodies for money are in no way responsible for the sex trafficking that exists.They are not trafficking people from overseas, this is once again the work of malpractice by the pimps or brothel owners. Legalizing prostitution would increase the number of women who wanted to be in the trade, and might decrease the sex trafficking rates as a result.
Women who wish to engage in prostitution do exist, and what they want to do should not be restricted from them. Rather than turning a blind eye to the wrongs of the trade, it would make sense to make rules to prevent reoccurring malpractice. Screenings of clients and employees in one set location would help improve the cleanliness of the service and effectively eliminate arguments that prostitution leads to the spreads of sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Though debatable, it’s believed that legalizing prostitution may reduce incidents of sexual abuse and rape. Criminalizing prostitution is coping out of accepting the problems that are really going on in this trade. Though it may be impossible to eliminate all of the bad things that happen, it could still prove useful to look into making it better.
Prostitution Legalization. (2019, Aug 07).
Retrieved March 20, 2023 , from
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