Read a thread on ats about prostitution, so I decided to post my proposal essay for my Comp 2 class about the issue. Please tell me your views on the
matter and why it should or should not be legal. You could also review my essay if you would like!
Prostitution may be the world's oldest profession, and laws prohibiting prostitution may well be the oldest example of government regulation and
government sex discrimination. In a free society, however, all such laws are inappropriate because they violate the basic rights and liberties of the
individuals involved. Recent research indicates that “over one million women in the United States earn their living by full-time prostitution.
Furthermore, roughly one in every six American men has been a willing client of a prostitute within the past five years (cite1).” This shows that
many people, buyers and sellers, are a part of the prostitution profession, so for the United States government to ban prostitution for only a moral
reason, and spend millions of tax payers’ dollars on trying to fight a never ending battle with prostitution seems ludicrous. In a free society in
which we live in, it makes no sense for the government to be telling people that they cannot charge a fee for harmless services they otherwise are at
liberty to give away. This is why Prostitution should be legal.
Instead of spending billions on illegalizing prostitution, “the city of Los Angeles alone spends close to 100 million dollars annually dealing with
illegal prostitution (cite4)”; the United States government should legalize prostitution. For more reasons than one, prostitution thrives in areas
that have a very high crime rate, because of this, police officers and courtrooms are overburdened with these cases, having little or no impact on
prostitution. The prostitutes and their customers pay their fines and are back to the streets in no time in a revolving door process. Since the local
law enforcement is constantly busy, adding prostitution to the list of things to protect us from, the real crimes go unchecked and unchallenged;
enabling a better chance of crime success for criminals. However if prostitution were legal, police personnel would have less work trying to eliminate
prostitution and more time protecting the populace from real crimes such as, murder, rape, and robbery. "It is estimated that if prostitution were
legalized in the United States, the rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% for a decrease of approximately 25,000 rapes per year. The analysis seems
to support the hypothesis that the rape rate could be lowered if prostitution was more readily available. This would be accomplished in most countries
by its legalization (cite4)."
If prostitution should become legal, it must be regulated for the safety of the prostitute and client. Since prostitution is illegal it has been
forced into the streets, this greatly increases danger for prostitutes. Prostitutes whose jobs involve working at night and getting into cars with
strangers can be, and often have been, easy pickings for serial killers and other sociopaths. James Alan Fox, a criminal justice professor at
Northeastern University, says “prostitutes are the most frequent targets for serial killers (cite3).” A sensible solution to these problems would
be to follow the example of some European cities, where prostitution is allowed in certain designated areas, such as brothels and red-light districts.
People who are interested in the activity go to places where it's permitted, and they leave alone the neighborhoods that don't wish to be associated
with it. Therefore, the prostitutes can work in safer environments. According to current evidence, “roughly half of the street prostitutes in
Washington, D.C., and New York City are HIV-positive. In Newark, New Jersey, the estimate is that close to 60% of all prostitutes carry the AIDS
virus. Yet, in the relatively "free market" of Nevada, where prostitution is legal, not one (as of 1989) of the state-licensed prostitutes has ever
tested positive for AIDS (cite3).” Because Nevada’s brothels are regulated, the prostitutes are required to give monthly blood tests, but such
precautions would likely occur in the absence of state regulation. The reason is simple and economic: the brothels compete with each other, and the
prostitutes have strong incentives to ensure that the service that their customers receive is safe. Clearly, the spread of AIDS would be reduced by
the regulation of prostitution services. Currently, “since prostitution is illegal outside of Nevada, most prostitutes are in a ‘no-man's-land’
as far as physical protection is concerned. They are often beaten and brutalized, with no real legal recourse (cite3)”. In a free market for
prostitution services, suppliers of labor services that are physically harmed would have the same rights to police protection and to legal recourse as
the rest of us.
Of course, the most important argument for the legalization of prostitution services is that such prohibitions violate one's most basic and inherent
rights. Prostitution is the voluntary sale or rental of a labor service. Individuals own their own bodies and their own labor services and have the
absolute right to decide how those labor services should be used. As long as the prostitution is voluntary, there is no justification for governmental
interference; such interference constitutes a violation of the privacy and personal liberty of the individuals involved. However, the government does
have a legitimate role to play in the prostitution market. As with all markets, it should ensure that all exchanges are truly voluntary. In short, it
should protect individual rights to property, especially the right not to be forced.
According to Cecilia Hoffman, Secretary of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, "Prostitution violates the right to physical and moral
integrity by the alienation of women’s sexuality that is appropriated, debased and reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold (cite2).” Even
though Cecilia might have her own ‘morals and integrity’, that does not mean everyone else shares in her beliefs. Prostitution is just another way
to create business through sex. We don’t illegalize pornography. Cecilia is just trying to get her belief across without stating the facts. The
facts are that the war on prostitution is a wasteful way to spend the national budget because there is no way for a government to stop someone from
selling their own body, if regulated prostitutes would be in a safer and ‘cleaner’ environment, and if prostitution were taxed the government
could receive billions of dollars annually from legalizing prostitution.
The case for the legalization of prostitution is overwhelming. Government prohibition and regulation obviously violate the rights of the individual
and are economically expensive. Therefore, America's views and strategies on the topic of prostitution must undergo an immediate and radical change.
The time has come to abandon the nation's outdated attempts to legislate personal morality and face up to the facts that to implement a policy that
can truly make a positive difference. The time has come for the legalization of prostitution.