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Prostitution Should Not Be Legalized

Essay by   •  October 5, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,379 Words (6 Pages)  •  3,885 Views

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Some argue that prostitution should be legalized because legalizing it will reduce crime, guarantee the safety of those that practice it and it will help decrease the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases. Studies in Europeans countries where prostitution is legal have consistently demonstrated that areas where prostitution is permitted, crime rates are relatively low. Other studies have shown that by regulating prostitution and implementing a health check up system, the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases had diminished considerably.

Another argument in favor of the legalization of prostitution is that as a legitimate business, it could be regulated. By regulating prostitution, revenue will be generated as it will be taxed just as any other business. Prostitution is considered a highly profitable business, although there is no way to measure how much money prostitution generates (some estimates put that number at $20 billion a year in the U.S.), pornography considered to be a form of prostitution by many, is a $12 billion a year business in the United States alone. Prostitution is sometimes referred to as the recession proof career. Hughes, D. (2000, spring). p. 1.

In the state of Nevada, prostitution is legal in 11 of its 17 counties. The argument there is that is a great business that creates tax money for the local government. Since counties began legalizing prostitution in the early 1970s, they have been reaping an economic benefit from a variety of brothel related revenue sources, including licensing fees, property tax, work card fees and liquor licenses. In total these combined sources pump more than $10 million into county coffers annually, according to one state study. Gormley, L. (1998, December). p. 1.

Groups in favor of legalizing and regulating prostitution argue that laws against prostitution are unconstitutional, highly discriminatory and they say these laws simply don't work. The majority of prostitutes arrested are prosecuted, jailed and fined, but the men that solicit their services are less likely to be prosecuted or are given light sentences or small fines. Only until recently have laws been implemented to give customers harsher, more severe sentences. Carmen & Moody (1985). p.8.

Furthermore, those in favor of legalizing prostitution argue that those that opposed it do so simply because they believed prostitution is immoral, and against their religious beliefs. They disagree, stating that women should be allowed to do with their bodies as they wish. Limiting these rights, they argue, violates the individual constitutional rights.

But are these perceived benefits about legal prostitution enough to support the legalization of what is considered the world's oldest profession? My answer to that question is no. Prostitution whether legalized or illegal is a crime that violates the rights of those that practice it. Those that favor its legalization see the financial benefits but failed to address other more serious ramifications of prostitution. These ramifications ranged from the abuse of children and women at the hands of those that forced them into prostitution, to human trafficking with the intention of sexual exploitation.

Human trafficking for example is a very lucrative business. Every year, 12.3 million adults (mostly women) and children are forced into labor and prostitution. For those that engage in human trafficking with the intention of prostituting their victims, prostitution is far more profitable because the person could be sold many times over thus increasing their profit.

The U.S. government official position is against prostitution which it categorizes as harmful and dehumanizing. In 2006 during the introduction of H.R. 972 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, President Bush stated: Human trafficking is an offense against human dignity, a crime in which human beings, many of them teenagers and young children, are bought and sold and often sexually abused by violent criminals. Our nation is determined to fight and end this modern form of slavery, President George W. Bush (2006, January). p.1.

But is this effort by the U.S. government enough to stop the abuse towards prostitutes here in the United States? Groups that oppose that legalization of prostitution argue that legalizing it will simply make prostitutes more vulnerable to abuse at the hands of their pimps and customers. Most prostitutes have been victimized, at some point in their lives, by sexual violence. More than 90% suffered childhood sexual abuse, often incest. Many others have been sexually assaulted in



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