When one hears about prostitution they usually turn away in disgust or try to laugh off the subject since it is considered ‘taboo’ to even talk about. To try and argue the point of legalizing prostitution seems like it would be difficult, but there is plenty of evidence in support of it. Some of the resources that are mentioned give insight on why prostitution should be decriminalized and made legal. Some of the points made mention different elements that go into the sex-industry. Prostitution should be legalized because it is a personal choice, it is no different than the other sex industries out today, and it affects the economy in a positive way. To understand this topic fully, it is important to examine both points of view, as they each address very different issues regarding the topic.
To understand why prostitution should be legalized one must learn about prostitution and it’s background. Prostitution first began in America in 1699 and it wasn’t until 1917, in Massachusetts, that a prostitute could be punished. Up until then, it was legal and it was a job for women and some men, to gain money. Although it was still a taboo subject, it took over one hundred years for it to be against the law. Prostitution is labeled under sex work, as part of the sex industry, which means it is one of the rare jobs, in its position, which is illegal. In Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business, Ronald John Weitzer explains what sex work is and what falls into the category. Sex work involves the exchange of sexual services for material compensation as well as the selling of erotic performances or products (3). Which means that a stripper is part of the sex industry. Not only that but many other jobs also fall under the category. These include: acts of direct physical contact between buyers and sellers (prostitution, lap dancing) as well as indirect sexual stimulation (pornography, stripping, telephone sex, live sex shows, erotic webcam performances) (3).Prostitution has been around for a very long time and is becoming legal all around the world. Even parts of Nevada have made brothels legal. It is only the beginning. Prostitution laws are starting to change, and not just in the United States, but around the world. With knowing a little bit of the history of prostitution and when it began, we can now talk about the reasons on why it should be legalized.
Prostitution is one of those prime examples where one could point out that it is a personal choice. Personal decisions are made in everyone’s daily lives, so why is this any different? Prostitution is actually a common topic around the world and is a real job. If it is considered an actual job in other countries, then ours should be no different. As a country that is based on freedom, we sure do make some things illegal based on religion and opinions. Most things that were made illegal or being fought to stay illegal were made so based on the fact that they were morally wrong or that God said it was wrong. There are many people that are affected by sexual intercourse and how it is received. Even the english military was affected by prostitution. Some men in the military have even participated in this ‘disgraceful’ act because, according to this information, that option was offered and given to the soldiers so they could ‘relieve’ themselves. This being said, when participating in a sexual act it is a personal matter. It is a choice to be a part of a sexual act. However, this is a moment where it all boils down to personal decisions and choices. Considering pornography and other sexwork is legal, why can’t prostitution be?
Another factor to think about is the other sex industries that are available in today’s society. As mentioned before in the paragraph about how prostitution began and what it is, author Ronald John Weitzer mentions the other jobs in the sex industry. He mentions pornography, strippers and more. -direct physical contact between buyers and sellers (prostitution, lap dancing) as well as indirect sexual stimulation (pornography, stripping, telephone sex, live sex shows, erotic webcam performances) (3). If direct contact is allowed, such as people who work in the porn industry and a strip club, then why can’t prostitution be legal?
A third reason is how the sex industry affects the economy. Author of Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business, Weitzer mentions the money that was gained in these industries. In 2006 alone, Americans spent $13.3 billion on X-rated magazines, videos and DVDs, live sex shows, strip clubs, adult cable television films, computer pornography, and commercial telephone sex (3). The text also states: The General Social Survey reports figures on the number of men who that they had ever paid for sex–between 15-18 percent in ten polls from 1991 to 2008 (4). For those who had admitted to have paid for sex,(3-4 percent saying that they had done so in the past year), show that it is something that happens in today’s society. Besides sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other diseases being spread, there is nothing else that causes a real problem in prostitution. Although there has been mention of violence, that can also happen in actual sexual active relationships. Prostitution can bring in an abundant amount of money for the economy. Considering pornography and strip clubs do, this would be another door opener people who need jobs.
In conclusion, prostitution should be made legal. With the main factors bringing up choice, other legal sex industries, and the economy. Prostitution has been a part of American society since 1699 and 1910 when the ‘White Slave Traffic Act’, or otherwise known as the ‘Mann Act’, was created. With the fact that pornography and strip clubs are legal, shouldn’t prostitution be as well? All three fall under the category of direct contact for sex work. Legalizing prostitution could also bring in an abundant amount of money for the economy and offer job opportunities for people in need. However, we can not just legalize prostitution because some want it to be. It needs to be fought for and have people answering the question, Why should it be legalized?. There is plenty of evidence on the pro side of legalizing and decriminalizing prostitution, which is why it is easy to argue for. Sex is a personal decision, whether if it is with a random stranger, a partner, or for money. At the end of the day it is a personal matter and is up to the humans who have decided on it. So I ask the question, should prostitution be legalized? With all the evidence pointing to, Yes, it should be, it is up for you to decide.
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