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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- It Could Save The Country A Lot Of Money.
In countries, where prostitution is illegal, billions of dollars are spent on dealing with it. In the U.S., law enforcement agencies spend at least $2,000 for each arrest of a sex worker – that includes the arrest, court, and imprisonment costs. And with the vast number of sex workers in the country, it costs the government more than $120 million a year on prostitution control.
And that amount, as we all know, is tax dollar, which is the money we pay in order to fund government programs. Do you think it’s worth it? Of course, it’s not, because after the police try their best to arrest sex workers and waste our money for the expense of court and hearings, these sex workers will just pay fines or stay in jail for a couple of days, and then get released to go back to their business. It’s a never-ending cycle. No matter how much we spend to eliminate prostitution, it doesn’t just work.
So as what advocates of decriminalization suggest, legalizing prostitution is much better than keeping it illegal. Technically speaking, prostitution can have positive effects if it is legalized and properly implemented. When prostitution is legalized, the government will no longer have to spend cost for hiring additional law officials to hunt down sex workers, enforcing laws against prostitution, and caring for sex workers in jail. After all, don’t we have more pressing matters to spend tax money on?
- Legalization Could Benefit A Government Through Taxes.
Just like in any other industry, legalization of prostitution could lead to a chain effect that would significantly benefit a country – primarily through tax revenue. Once the sex workers and brothel owners obtained a license, they may participate in the business and enjoy their legal income that is taxable. As we already know, prostitution is a lucrative business. According to reports, each sex worker in Nevada earns as much as $3,000 per week. And let’s not forget the fact that there are others who earn more. If all sex workers are licensed and required to pay taxes in the U.S., just imagine how much tax revenue will the country get by this industry.
Furthermore, a government could also charge an annual fee to the license they provide for sex workers, brothel owners, and clients so they can continuously operate their business legally, which is also an additional income. Of course, when prostitution is properly regulated, people who patronize this industry will feel safer and thus, the demand for it will increase, which can also be an added benefit to the economy. More tourists will then visit the country to pay for sex service, which can significantly increased foreign exchange earnings.
- It Would Give The Sex Workers Employment Rights.
Everyone, who is legally employed, has minimum rights and entitlements given by law, such as safety rights, minimum wage, health benefits, vacation pay, and protection against unlawful discrimination. And since sex workers don’t work legally, especially in countries that do not consider prostitution as a legitimate work, they don’t get any of these rights.
So, if an illegal sex worker is abused by her pimp or client and not paid accordingly, she can’t complain to the law officials because she is excluded from federal employment standard legislation. And even if she is forced to conduct the sexual activity in an unsafe place and the client demands an unprotected sex, she can’t afford to resist. And worse, sex workers with HIV/AIDS are denied to get health treatment, which they terribly need in order to survive.
If prostitution will be legalized, sex workers will be able to get access to the rights and services that they deserve. If a sex worker is raped or abused, she can complain to the police and even file lawsuit. Furthermore, she can get access to basic education and health services, just like anyone else.
Everyone deserves to be protected by law no matter of type of work people do, and that includes the sex workers.
- Prostitution Can’t Be Prevented.
There’s an obvious reason why prostitution has been called “the world’s oldest profession”. It’s been around since almost the beginning of time, and it will always be. Even if all the nations around the world will unite to abolish it, they will never succeed.
No matter what we do, there will always be people, who will pay money to get sex for pleasure, and there will always be women or even men who will offer their body for money. Prostitution has been a part of the many cultures all over the world, and it will not be easily eradicated. So rather than wasting time and money in regulating ineffective solutions, the best thing to do is to just legalize it. If we can legalize other controversial things, like gambling, tobacco, and alcohol, why can’t we do it on prostitution?
- Sex Workers Have The Right To Their Body.
Every human being has the right to use their body according to their will. If a sex worker would want to rent out her body in exchange of money, then fine. That’s her right. And no one has the right to tell anyone what to do with her own body and life, especially just because it doesn’t adhere to other people’s moral principles or beliefs.
No matter what reasons of sex workers for involving in such activity, whether it’s for the money or pleasure, we don’t have the right to question or stop them. It’s their choice, and according to law, everyone has free choice of employment. They have the right to decide for themselves whether they want to participate in sex work in exchange of money. After all, aren’t we all using our bodies to earn?
But of course, it would only be a lot better if the government will legalize prostitution because it will give the sex workers rights and protection on their job.
Criminalization of prostitution, including other things that surround sex work, is not the real solution. Sex trade is here to stay, and by recognizing it as a legitimate form of work, all involved parties can receive guaranteed benefits. It would effectively lessen the burden on the government in terms of executing anti-prostitution laws and paying additional law enforcement. In addition, countries would increase their revenue through taxes, foreign exchange, and increased employment rate. Countries would also ensure safety environment for their people because sex workers will be required to undergo medical tests and receive adequate medical care. More importantly, legalization of prostitution would protect the rights of sex workers and give these people a chance to live a normal life they deserve.
What do you think? Check out the opposite take in another great ListLand article here: Top 10 Reasons Prostitution Should Be Illegal