Sex for sale Should Prostitution be legalized?
Prostitution!! What comes to mind when one hears this word? Cheap, degrading, trashy, offensive, any other adjectives come to mind? What about accepted? Shocking as it may seem, but research has shown that in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, prostitution was accepted. Prostitution is known as the oldest profession in the world; however, many states in the U.S. outlaw it. For some, prostitution is a victimless crime while others fight hard in the hopes of one day abolishing prostitution forever. The topic of prostitution remains a greatly debated issue even after so many years of existence. The textbook definition of prostitution is the "act or practice of engaging in sexual acts for money" ("Prostitution," Macmillan 805). Prostitution existed as far back in time as ancient Athens and ancient Rome. In Rome, prostitutes were licensed by the state and taxed. When the colonists were running around slaughtering the natives, they also were enjoying the pleasures of local prostitutes. In fourth century, Athenian orator Apollodoros stated "we have courtesans for pleasure, and concubines for the daily service of our bodies, but wives for the production of legitimate offspring and to have reliable guardians of our household property." Prostitution continued to flourish through out Europe until the High Middle Ages with the outbreak of the syphilis epidemic and Reformation morality (Academic American Encyclopedia 91).
One of the most common views on prostitution is towards the perception of prostitutes being considered as shallow scum of the society due to the immoral services they offer. Moreover, many people feel that prostitution should stay illegal in order to preserve morality. Parents do not want their children to grow up thinking that prostitution is acceptable. Worse yet, parents do not want to hear their children say, "When I grow up, I want to be a prostitute." This belief and perception kept governments from all around the world from legalizing prostitution. However, if one were to look deeper into this matter, they would realize that by prohibiting prostitution, the government won't be able to protect the moral and physical health of their citizens. Instead laws prohibiting prostitution may well be the oldest example of sexual discrimination by the government (Armentano). The government and the society have to realize that prostitution had already been present in societies for thousands of years and that it will still exists despite futile efforts to eradicate it. Therefore, government should pass legislation that makes prostitution safer, rather than persist with the traditional futile and dangerous prohibition (Hornes). Although the long-term effects of legalized prostitution are uncertain, the short-term effects have been economically beneficial. Prostitution should be legalized because not only could it financially benefit the country, but it could also reduce crime.
The few countries that proceeded with the legalization of prostitution have over time reaped benefits from it. According to a survey, Netherlands's statistics for crime showed that it had the least numbers of murder and rape despite being known internationally for its red-light district (McElroy, 1999). In contrast critics vote for the prohibition of prostitution and blame the black market for the existence of prostitution and believe that by prohibiting prostitution, the number of prostitutes on the streets would reduce and thereby cut out the supply of sexual services they have to offer. However, what many people don't realize is the fact that the demand for population along with the prohibition of prostitution is what has led to the creation of the black market. Also even if the legal system did decide to penalize prostitutes and their customers, money would still be spent on law enforcement efforts to catch prostitutes and their customers. Once caught, justice departments would have to...
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