Prostitution is a complex issue that has been the subject of intense debates in many countries for many years now. To a large extent, the focus of these debates has been upon the legalization of this what they called “the world’s oldest profession”.
Majority of countries in Africa and Asia legally prohibit prostitution and any activities associated with it, including running of brothels and pimping. Prostitution is also illegal in the United States, except in some parts of Nevada. The spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, and increased risk of sexual exploitation, violence, and trafficking are the most disconcerting issues why some countries choose to keep it illegal. However, countries, like Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Canada, legally accept the exchange of money for sex. Countries, like Mexico, Argentina, Austria, France, and Italy also allow prostitution, but do not allow pimping and running of brothels. Some people believe that legalizing prostitution brings a lot of benefits not only for the workers, but for the entire economy as well.
Here are ten reasons why countries that prohibit prostitution should legalize it, just like in Germany and New Zealand, among others.
10. It Would Make Sex Workers Healthier.
According to a new study presented at the International AIDS Conference in Australia, the transmission of HIV among sex workers could significantly be reduced by around 33-46 percent if prostitution were decriminalized. It may sound contradictory to other people’s opinions, but the study looks pretty sensible.
In places, where prostitution is illegal, sex workers are, in fact, more susceptible to sexually transmitted disease (STD) because of lack of access to healthcare and other social services. This is not to mention that sex workers face discrimination, stigma, and harassment, which drive them more to less likely practice safe sex. Furthermore, sex workers usually experience panicky situations, wherein they are forced to forgo wearing protection, such as the pressure from their pimps and clients, and the fear of using their condoms as evidence against them when law officials caught them.
If the government of the United States and other countries will legalize the sale and purchase of sexual services, it would substantially reduce the number of cases regarding STDs and more importantly, make all sex workers healthier. Once legalized, we can require every sex worker to use condoms and be medically examined regularly for HIV and other related diseases to protect them and avoid causing of widespread health problems. This will not be hard to execute because what sex workers want is money and not disease. In Nevada, sex workers are required to get monthly blood test for HIV, syphilis, as well as weekly blood test for gonorrhea and Chlamydia trachomatis. Furthermore, the use of condom there is mandatory.
9. Legal Prostitution Would Reduce Violence And Sex Crimes.
There have already been lots of studies performed and evidence gathered proving that legal prostitution reduces rape, sex violence, and other sex crimes. One study that shows the correlation between legalizing prostitution and declining rape cases comes from Rhode Island, wherein they accidentally legalized prostitution. In 1980, lawmakers accidentally removed the section that defined prostitution as a crime, and it went unnoticed until 2003. Technically, it had been in effect for almost 3 decades, from 1980-2009. During those years, the number of women involved in prostitution and size of the indoor sex market largely increased. But surprisingly, rape cases have declined by 31 percent. Researchers have also found a 39 percent decrease in the incidence of gonorrhea.
We can think of a lot of reasons that might prove how decriminalization could reduce sex-related crimes. Once legalized, sex workers would be empowered to approach a police if they are in danger or having a problem with their clients and pimps. Furthermore, sex workers would also be given an opportunity to conduct their business on their own without the control of an abusive pimp, which reduces the possibility of violence and abuse.
And when prostitution is already legal, people, who wish to satisfy their sexual urges, would have their option readily available for them. So rather committing rape, they could just hire a prostitute to satisfy their sexual need. Well, this idea may sound repulsive, but if you think it over, you will find it also sensible. The late Indian novelist and journalist, Khushwant Singh, said that, “The more you try to put down prostitution, the higher will be the incidence of crime against innocent women.”
8. It Would Protect Minors.
Child prostitution is a significant global problem, both in developed and undeveloped countries. According to research, there may be at least 10 million children victimized through prostitution. In United States, more than 100,000 children are enslaved as child prostitutes, and it’s continuously rising each year.
Sexual exploitation is profitable because its illegality brings legal risks that encourage pimps to demand higher cost. In most developed countries, particularly in the United States, the average profit per forced sex worker is nearly $70,000 a year. This is the very reason why sex exploitation is so rampant all over the world that despite the actions that the government do to stop it, children are still continually exploited.
Aside from the profit, another primary reason why the market for child sex slaves exists is due to the criminalization of adult prostitution. When a man cannot find an adult sex worker, he would definitely turn to pimps, who mostly use underage sex workers, to satisfy his sexual urges. A lot of pro-decriminalization of prostitution believe that if people can legally buy sex from women 18 years or older, it will significantly reduce child exploitation. Since no one would want to be prosecuted and pay fines, those who are in the commercial sex market will only legally employ willing adults, rather than struggle to operate in secrecy. By legalizing prostitution and implementing more strict laws regarding it, we can abolish child sex slavery.
7. It Could Help Us Fight Against Human-Trafficking.
Another important reason why prostitution should be legalized is because it could be a potential solution to fight human trafficking. While prohibitionists claim that decriminalizing prostitution and related activities – including pimping and maintaining of brothels – encourages the growth of human trafficking, recent reports and studies don’t support them. In fact, they oppose them. In Germany, when they legalized prostitution, cases of human trafficking significantly decreased by 10 percent from 2001 to 2011. But what’s better than this is the fact that only a few numbers of children are involved in sex trades because young ones are not forced to join sex trade there. The average age of sex workers in Germany is 31.
They key benefit of legalizing the buying and selling of sex is it can create an effective relationship between the law enforcement officials and sex workers. If there’s a good relation between them, law officials can use sex workers as key information sources to uncover human trafficking. Contrary to what many people believe, prohibition of prostitution only provide cover to human traffickers because it gives them the power to use the law to threaten women victims, particularly the young ones. Women and children, who are being forced against their will into prostitution, are afraid to go to police because they think that, they too, will be punished and arrested.
If legal, women and children victims will become more willing to come forward and report traffickers, abusive clients, and greedy pimps to the law officials.
6. Prostitution Is A Victimless Crime.
Sure, some women in prostitution, particularly those who are kidnapped and held against their will, are victims, but I believe that for the most part, prostitution is a victimless crime. Just like what other people are saying, some women, who are in the business, chose to offer their service willingly and no one forced them to.
Let’s all remember that every woman is different. While there are women who see sex as a sacred thing that should only be given to the person they love and they will marry, there are also women who view sex as an ordinary activity that you can do with anyone. In fact, there are women who would rather have sex for an hour with someone they have just met, than work in a restaurant taking orders and cleaning toilets for 10 hours. But there are also women who would rather be in poverty than give their body to someone unworthy. Not all women are the same.
Just like gambling and drug use, prostitution is an activity that is participated in by adults voluntarily. As what Sherry F. Colb of Rutgers Law School said, “What makes prostitution a ‘victimless crime’ in the sense that no one is necessarily harmed by it is that there are consenting adults involved.”