Currently in the U.S Prostitution is illegal and the debate about the morality and saftey of these workers are still active today. Nevada there are currently 8 counties with 21 a total of legal brothels. These brothels have their work regularly checked for sexually transmitted diseases and provide a safe work environment for those who choose to be sex workers. Those who are for in the legalization of prostitution believe it would reduce crime, help those in poverty, increase amount collected in taxes, and allow consenting adults to choose what they do with their bodies. Social support for anyone involved in this trade is crucial for each individual’s health. The push for legalization would make this step much easier. For those who oppose this idea say that legalization of prostitution would increase the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, violent crime such as rape and homicide would increase, and human trafficing in the U.S. would spur out of control. They also say that it would promote the stigma against prostitution and exploitation of men and women along with it being immoral. Prostitution is should be legalized in the U.S. because of many beneficial outcomes such as making it safe regulatable profession along with allowing it to be profitable by collecting revenue through taxes from brothels. So should prostitution be legalized?
To give some background history on what prostitution exactly is, prostitution according to Britannica is, “the practice of engaging in relatively indiscriminate sexual activity, in general with someone who is not a spouse or a friend, in exchange for immediate payment in more or other valuables.”Although many individuals may specualte that the first instances of prostitution were in brothels, this is certainly not the case. The first recorded instances where women would sell their body was actually in a temple. The Phoecians did sell their bodies, but not for personal gain but as a religious ritual . During the civil war was one of the time that the idea of legalizing prostitution was brough up and some juristictions even used. .Nowadays sex work is more of a source of income than it is a sacred practice. These sex workers may be male, female, or transgender a majority are females with most clients being men. Most of these workers are often just victims of bad circumstances and put in a bad situation.
Now for those opposing the idea of legalizing prostitution or brothels believe that the idea of legal prostitution is not only a betrayal to women but also a way to normalize the exploitation on women and children. Recently there has been a vastly increasing amount of awareness surrounding child exploitation through the use of prostitution, not only Internationally but in the U.S. The human trafficking of women and children is constantly a problem and is believe by the opposers of the legalization of prostitution to only make the matters worse by promoting the sex trade. It is believed that, by not allowing the legalization of prostitution the risk of being targeted for sexual exploitation will go down. Sex workers are not only affected physically but emotionally too. “Prostitution and trafficking are experiences of being hunted down, dominated, sexually harassed and assaulted. There is a lack of awareness among clinicians regarding the systematic methods of brainwashing, indoctrination and physical control that are used against women in prostitution.”What Farley is trying to say here is that the problem is not only the prostitution itself but there is not enough awareness to the subject. People need to be more educated on the topic and younger individuals need to be informed about the risks and dangers of sexual exploitation.
Currently in the US, prostitutiton is a punishable crime. Sex workers who speak out could theoretically be persecuted for their crimes for even speaking out against their personal experiences. Just like anything that is taboo and illegal there will always be a market for it. It’s just a matter of legalizing it in order to make it safe and regulatable. Many sex workers cannot speak out against not only due to legal prosecution but in fear of threats made by their pimps. Yvette, a sex worker who was recruited for the trade at a very young age when she was very desperate for money. Yvette was watched over by her pimp who would regularly would brainwash and threaten her in case she ever had thoughts of speaking out or running away. In fear of her own safety and the safety of her family she was afraid telling authorities of her situation therefore sat in a courtroom awaiting her sentencing. Situations like these put these people in the situation of the double edged sword making it hard for them to help themselves out. “To prevent victims from being charged as criminals, the Texas legislature, like many other state lawmaking bodies, has enacted aggressive legislation targeting pimps”(Campbell). This new legislation will allow for sex workers to free themselves of their troubled past but also making its one step safer for them to make a living.
This falls into the second perspective of the argument for those who believe that prostitution should be legalized. Individual in support of this say that sex workers should not be criminalized for the sale of sex. Keeping this illegal makes it not only unregulatable but also makes it more difficult for sex workers to outreach for help in any case of a harsh situation due to legal boundaries like prosecution. These individuals would like to see rather than persecuting those practice the sale of sex, regualting the this act and any activities surround the sale of sex acts. “ Section 212 of the Criminal Code lists various offences, under the general heading of “procuring” including enticing a person to enter into prostitution, and exercising control or force over a person who has been compelled into the sex trade. This can also cause trouble for anyone that the sex workers hire even if they technically are soliciting sex. These people could be anyone from drivers to security and could be sentenced for up to ten years for “pimping”. Other arguments for the support of legalizing prostitution is the ability to help these workers through social outreach. Legalizing sex work makes it easier to provide social support to those individuals that are involved. Many of these workers are very young, some even starting their careers at age 14. One of these support programs is called the first offender prostitute program, which allows for rather than the legal system prosecuting them and throw them in jail, they provide education and treated need by those who were affected by sexual exploitation and violence. This allows them not only saves them of any legal issues but can also effective push these people in the right direction.
This is the better long term goal because it allows for better support of those who need it rather than them being taken into the legal system. Over time the streets would clean up. Other countries have shown examples of this, like Amsterdam with the red light district. The goal of this was to have a section of the city for the sex trade so that minors wouldn’t be as exposed to sexual behavior at a younger age. Not only this but the court systems would not be a conjested with people who are being jail for a non-violent crime like prostitution and sex buying. “A conviction for a sex work related offence had far-reaching effects on a range of important areas of life. These included future employment prospects, the custody of children, the ability to obtain insurance, and to travel internationally”. Due to prostitution being a criminal offence, lives of those who have already been convicted of this crime now have another problem on top of their other many problems in life. Our system is flawed and counter productive because those who were jailed for prostitution will go right back to what they were doing without a second thought. If we just go on and legalize it we Legalizing it would allow not only a safe work environment, clean streets but would allow for it to be a more open discussion with a more sexually comfortable society.