The legal right to be free from torture and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment is recognized by most nations and is internationally guaranteed. Women and children working in the sex industry are repeatedly subject to rape, violence, and sexually transmitted diseases. The current system of prosecuting and jailing these women has been ineffective in reducing the illegal activities. These issues can be addressed by legalizing and regulating the prostitution industry. By using Nevada where brothels are legal as a model for the rest of the country enforcing strict regulations can better protect those victimized by the industry.
Legalization of Prostitution
Prostitution is often referred to as the world’s oldest profession. According to a survey conducted by ABC News Prime time 15% of all American men have paid for sex and 30% of single men over the age of 30 have paid for sex ("POLL: American Sex Survey - ABC News", 2004). The sex industry is one that affects many American citizens. The National Task Force on Prostitution suggests that over one million people in the US have worked as prostitutes in the United States, or about 1% of American women" (Prostitution in The United States - The Statistics, 2007). Currently prostitution is illegal by Federal law Title 18 Part I Ch.117 Sec. 2422 under “Coercion and Enticement” and can carry up to a 20 year prison sentence ("Title 18 United States Code Crimes and Criminal Procedure", n.d.). There are several arguments as to why prostitution should remain illegal. The three most prominent being that sex work increases violence and crime, spreads communicable diseases like STDs and AIDs, and that sex for money is immoral. However, by legalizing and regulating this taboo industry it can ultimately help the women involved in it. The most common reason for opposition to sex work is that it increases violence and crime. For example Melissa Farley author of “Prostitutes are regularly Victims of Violence” states that of 854 people in prostitution in nine countries 71% experienced physical assaults and 62% reported rapes (2006, p. 27). It is staggering to think that two out of every three people in the sex industry are physically assaulted and/or raped. While the customers are a source of danger for these women pimps can also be the cause of violence and crime against sex workers. Kathleen Barry, the author of The Prostitution of Sexuality stated that “Pimps ultimately keep prostituted women in virtual captivity by verbal abuse - making a woman feel that she is utterly worthless: a toilet, a piece of trash; and by physical coercion - beatings and the threat of torture. Eighty to ninety five percent of all prostitution is pimp-controlled” (1996, p. 81). It appears that only the prostitutes themselves are the victims of violence. “In 1994, women in the sex industry were identified as one of three populations most in need of specialized services, primarily as a result of the violence inflicted upon them as a result of their work” (Farley, 2000). It is clear from the evidence and expert testimonies that being a prostitute is a dangerous job where they can commonly expect to be beaten and raped. While violence is an issue that directly affects the prostitutes themselves society faces a larger problem with the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases. Gail Pheterson summarized the “health problems of women in prostitution: exhaustion, frequent viral illness, STDs, vaginal infections, back aches, sleeplessness, depression, headaches, stomachaches, and eating disorders” (1996, p. 12). While it is difficult to know the exact number of sex workers that have or are passing on STDs and AIDs it is a common belief that there is a greater likelihood a prostitute will have these diseases. It makes sense, Janice Raymond PhD, the former Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, says “In one of CATW's studies, U.S. women in...
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Title 18 United States Code ? Crimes and Criminal Procedure
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