Should Prostitution Be Legalized?

Topics: Prostitution, Human trafficking, Sex industry Pages: 5 (1795 words) Published: February 19, 2013
Should Prostitution be legalized?

Legalizing prostitution, defined as the act of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for money, has been widely debated since its time of recognition in our society. Some characterize prostitution through violence and oppression against women and girls, while others express their opinions about its fulfillment and empowerment. Prostitution laws vary among countries, and in the United States prostitution is illegal in every state except for Nevada. Despite the strict prostitution laws that the United States government stands behind, it is evident that the laws have not succeeded in stopping prostitution. It is important to distinguish that prostitution is not sex trafficking, those opposing the legalization of prostitution view the two as mutually exclusive and believe that it would only institutionalize exploitation and abuse (Weitzer 2011). Sex trafficking involves non-consenting adults and children forced into selling sex, those individuals deserve the full protection of the law. Conversely, prostitution involves consenting adults who wish to negotiate payment in exchange for sexual services, it is a service industry like any other (Kempadoo 1998). Prostitution laws violate every citizen’s human and civil right to choose their trade and occupation.

To understand why prostitution should be legalized it is first important to consider why people choose to prostitute. To put it plainly, the number one reason people choose to prostitute is to make money (Ditmore 2011). It is an extremely liquid business, and because of that it is very appealing to many individuals who are struggling just to put food on the table. It may not be the most desirable idea of work, but for many prostitutes it is the best alternative available. According to Veronica Monet, sex work is a better alternative to being president of someone else’s corporation or someone’s secretary. She chose to be a prostitute after experimenting with various other occupations that she hated. Many other prostitutes view their work in the same way that Veronica does, sex workers often get to set their prices and choose their hours, making it all the more appealing.

Opponents to legalizing prostitution feel that it is demeaning, and that it would only further exploit women (Hughes 2004). What they don’t understand is that women prostitute because they feel that it is empowering and a woman’s choice to choose what they do with their bodies, if they want to sell sex in exchange for money that is their prerogative. Prostitution is an extremely lucrative business that allows women to control how to budget, who they want to see, who to be polite to, and who to decline (Stryker 2012). Legalizing prostitution would allow women to be appreciated in ways that they would not regularly be appreciated in an office setting. The strict prostitution laws that exist in the United States promote the criminality of sex work, creating a setting where prostitutes are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and trafficking against their free will (Macy 1996). Whether or not a law to legalize prostitution is passed, it will always exist because there is an endless demand for sex services. Recognizing it as a legal institution would allow for women to gain legal and social rights through choosing prostitution as an occupation, and allow the government and police to punish those who were abusing and exploiting non consenting individuals (Hughes 2004).

There are many injustices that exist in the sex industry because of the strict prostitution laws. If society could understand what prostitution was really like rather than seeing it as a delinquency, legalization would be the obvious choice. Prostitution is when consenting adults decide to exchange various sexual services in return for financial gain, yet prostitution as a career choice is about much more. Like any other industry, prostitutes must work hard in order to achieve the monetary gains they are...
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