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A Victimless Crime: Prostitution Should Be Free from Government Interference

Essay by   •  July 19, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,547 Words (7 Pages)  •  3,266 Views

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Proof of prostitution in ancient societies has been unearthed all around the globe. Assuming that prostitution is one of the oldest professions would probably be a logically embraced assumption. We can say with some certainty that wherever there has been money, goods, or services to be bartered, somebody has bartered them for sex. Though in most societies prostitution was discouraged, and in some cases illegal, the laws were rarely enforced. Prostitution went from being mainly accepted as a fact of life to being denied, it once was fashionable up until strong religious influences began disgracing the act and pushing for legal punishment now it's disgraceful.

There has been a lot of controversy regarding prostitution, which is largely considered a victimless crime, and whether or not it deserves to have any government interference. Some people feel there is no such thing as a victimless crime. Any crime or situation under the right circumstances can result with an unintended victim. This is true with any crime whether considered victimless or not. The circumstances then change and become more prosecution worthy. Victimless crimes are then put into perspective of whether the behavior produces a harmful consequence for innocent people. It is difficult to reach a conclusive consensus on these behaviors because every single detail varies by situation and individual.

What is considered moral and ethically correct should differ from what is criminally offensive and deserving of legal punishment. Some victimless crimes create no legally justifiable offense to any persons outside of the participating parties, therefore should not be seen in the context regarding any legal wrongfulness of these acts or be susceptible to any consequences from criminal law. An illustration of a crime that should go untouched by government is prostitution. Though prostitution may be frowned upon by many, it entails no ill intent towards any person and should be left alone by any form of legal prosecution.

Opposition

The act of prostituting, by its very nature, characteristically degrades and demeans women. '"The United States government takes a firm stance against proposals to legalize prostitution because prostitution directly contributes to the modern-day slave trade and is inherently demeaning"' (Bazelon). Whether the prostitute is of legal age and a consenting participant, there is a firm belief that the prostitute is in fact the victim in all cases. Melissa Farley, PhD of Prostitution Research and education states:

Whether it is being sold by one's family to a brothel, or whether it is being sexually abused in one's family, running away from home, and then being pimped by one's boyfriend, or whether one is in college and needs to pay for next semester's tuition and one works at a strip club behind glass where men never actually touch you - all these forms of prostitution hurt the women in it. (qtd. in Montaldo)

The most important defining element of how demeaning prostitution is, apart from the fact that a sexual relationship is entered with an expectation of a monetary or material benefit, is that sexual services are provided indiscriminately (to anybody who is willing to pay an agreed upon price).

Another major reason people want to enforce prostitution laws is the fear of disease. High rates of HIV have been found amongst individuals who sell sex in many different and diverse countries. "...transactional sex is a factor involved in the spread of HIV and Aids in Africa" (Falls). Sex workers usually have a high number of sexual partners, meaning if they do become infected with HIV, they can possibly pass it on to multiple clients. "HIV infection rates tend to be stratospheric among the nation's streetwalkers" (Bovard). With the terror of an epidemic outbreak, people have accepted that prostitution contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS and have been determined to assist with allaying that fear by criminalizing and disgracing the act.

Many people believe the laws against prostitution are too lenient and require revisions. With the incidental connections with drug trading, violence against non-participating persons and the emotional distress to the spouses of the Johns, prostitution is looked at as a doorway for organized crime. Whether it is that drugs are the sole purpose for the sexual conduct or used to attract potential Johns, drugs play an eminent role in the act of prostitution. "Prostitution follows addiction in 48% of the subjects, precedes it in 38%, and is simultaneous in 14%" (Potterat et al). Legalizing prostitution could be viewed as a way to make it easier to obtain and publicly embrace drug use, not to mention society's tolerance for immoral behavior.

By legalizing prostitution, women in the industry would be empowered. Prostitution is an unfortunate career choice for anyone who feels it's her only option; however it does not require legal interference if all involved parties are consenting adults. All women have the right to choose the lifestyle they associate themselves with. The criminalization of sex for money means that hookers who are subject to abuse from their

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