Prostitution was the first profession in history and it is legal in just about as many places as it is illegal. It is a controversial topic when it comes down to whether prostitution should be legalized or not. The problem with where prostitution is illegal, most of the time the prostitutes are badly beaten, stabbed, or shot and can be murdered. People tend to not look much at this issue, or at least care about it, as if prostitutes were not human beings with families and lives of their own. Their lives deserve to be valued regardless of how they make a living. If prostitution was to be legalized where it is not already, it could save the lives of more human beings and help catch more criminals. Legalizing prostitution would also save the city money that they could instead spend on arresting people for crimes containing victims rather than victimless crimes, such as prostitution. It would also actually help with decreasing sexually transmitted disease rates since prostitutes would be tested monthly and the economy would increase since they would pay taxes. In most of Europe, Central America, South America, Caribbean and Oceania areas prostitution is legal. While prostitution is legal in many places, groups to keep prostitutes safe are not always regulated and can lead to sex trafficking which needs to be fixed as well.
A study published by the University of California’s Hastings Law Journal in April, concludes that arrests for prostitution, which is a misdemeanor, causes a disproportionately high toll on law enforcement resources to the point that agencies can no longer afford to keep the crime illegal (Becklund). “Law enforcement agencies in America’s biggest cities spend on average about $2,000 for each arrest of a prostitute, which is more than $120 million a year in costs nationwide, according to a new study that describes itself as the country’s first cost-benefit analysis of prostitution laws” (Becklund). A study points out, police officers arrested 74,550 people for prostitution in America’s 16 largest cities in one year. That means that the average big-city police department spent 213 man-hours a day enforcing prostitution laws (Becklund). One may wonder why police departments devote so much of their resources to enforcing prostitution laws while being faced with far more threatening crimes (Becklund).
“In the first pan-India survey of 3,000 sex workers, about 71 percent said they had entered sex work willingly. Many of these women, who are not organized, said they left other occupations because of low pay or the absence of regular work. Those coming to sex work from other labour markets, they have often experienced equally harsh or worse conditions of highly labour-intensive work for much lower incomes” (Datta and Post). It is from these background cases that the significance of sex work as a site of higher incomes or livelihoods emerges (Khasanova).
The adult sex workers say it is difficult and terrifying to work alone. Sometimes the police conduct raids, taking them to police stations even though they cannot be prosecuted. When the women have problems on the street or with clients, they do not turn to the police, they say. “If we’re in trouble, we can’t ask police for help,” Zhenya says. “If we reported it to the police, they’d ask who we are and what we want. We have no rights.” The women say they would prefer to pay taxes than to pay a pimp (Khasanova). The director of the Women’s Rights Center, Vera Sergunina, echoes the women’s concerns about their rights and safety. “The situation becomes complicated since commercial sex workers are afraid to defend their rights, they’re afraid that pimps will take revenge on them, they’re afraid of the police.” Sergunina said no prostitute has ever made a statement to the police complaining that a client beat her or refused to pay for her services (Khasanova).
On the other hand, in New Zealand/Aotearoa adult sex work is decriminalized. Removing this label makes it possible for a sex worker to complain to the police if she is raped or assaulted. It makes it possible to get health services, like any other citizen (Datta and Post). “Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. The women are government inspected for health problems every month. The Netherlands has fewer cases of venereal disease than almost any country in the world” (Landers).
The following is an article by Mao McClelland, it is about Chelsea Lane who is a sex worker speaking about her experience. “The more she learned, the more appealing sex work became. She had visions of going to grad school and liked the idea of having wealthy men fund her education. Later in her freshman year, she posted a personal ad on a sugar-daddy website. She met her first client at a hotel. “The sex was really bad,” she says, “but he was a decent guy. He was in his mid-40s. He told me that I was the second person he’d ever slept with, other than his wife. He put the money in my purse. As soon as I got in my car, I counted and was like, ‘Holy shit, that’s $300!’ At this point, I’m 18 and working at Sears. I was excited. “From there, sex quickly became a side job. She’d meet about ten clients a week, making $1,000 to $1,500. “The first several months of me escorting was like, ‘I relish their worshipping my body.’ It’s amazing. There have been two clients throughout my entire time that made me feel dirty, and that’s because it was obvious they didn’t see me as a person. But that was two out of hundreds.” And anyway, she says, “I can think of personal partners who treated me like that.” She has her own Tumblr now. On her first anniversary of escorting, in February 2015, she wrote that, at 20 years old, she is less isolated, better paid, in contact with wonderful people, and getting laid on the regular. Her story has been added to the body of personal accounts that changed her own perception of sex workers years before. “They’re people,” she says she realized then. “Not sad drug addicts walking on the street.”’
On the other hand, the opposing side says, “Prostitution is often described as a victimless crime, because in theory, no one present at the crime is unwilling. In reality, this is a myth. Prostitution of women is a particularly lethal form of violence against women, and a violation of a woman’s most basic human rights. For the vast majority of prostituted women, prostitution is the experience of being hunted, dominated, harassed, assaulted and battered” (Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments). First of all, a victimless crime means “a legal offense to which all parties consent and no party is injured” (Dictionary). Prostitutes are not injuring anyone and they have consent beforehand since a client approached them wanting sex, therefore the act of prostitution itself is a victimless crime. What is not a victimless crime is when some of the prostitute’s clients injure them, which they can not report since their job is illegal in certain areas. Therefore, prostitution being a non victimless crime is wrong, and the prostitute is being looked at in the wrong for being beaten or raped while doing her job. How is her being beaten or raped her fault? It is her client who did it, but somehow she is looked at as the criminal. Now if this article was arguing about sex trafficking that is a different topic and crime containing victims, but the decision of one willingly choosing to sell sex is a victimless crime.
In the end, prostitution should be legal and more of the governments or states throughout the world need to do their part where it is legal by providing prostitutes with certified safe places. The city would save money since they would not be spending it on arresting prostitutes who would just get out and continue doing their thing. Also, it would help the economy since sex workers rather pay taxes than pay a pimp, brothels to keep prostitutes safe would also pay taxes and prostitutes would pay monthly to be tested. Police would be able to arrest more criminals who commit assaults against prostitutes since they would be able to speak up instead of being seen as at fault for selling their body. Sexually transmitted diseases would also decrease since the government tests prostitutes monthly where it is legal and sex trafficking would decrease with certified and regulated brothels to keep prostitutes safe.
BECKLUND, LAURIE. “Prostitution Arrests Cost $2,000 each, Study Finds.” Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext), Jul 10, 1987, pp. 3. ProQuest, http://chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url= ?url=https://search-proquest-com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/docview/292628410?accountid=41980.
DATTA, BISHAKHA, and DIANNE POST. “Should Prostitution Be Legalized?” New Internationalist, no. 461, Apr. 2013, pp. 28–30. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=86016806&site=ehost-live.
Khasanova, Alina. “An Honest Living.” Transitions Online, Sept. 2007, p. 1. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=26519356&site=ehost-live.
Landers, Ann. “STAND ON PROSTITUTION HAS ITS PROS AND CONS.” Chicago Tribune, Jun 27, 1999, pp. 2. ProQuest, http://chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url= ?url=https://search-proquest-com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/docview/418836041?accountid=41980.
McCLELLAND, MAO. “Criminals? Victims? Freelancers? AND AMERICAN SOCIETY IS GETTING CLOSER TO AGREEING WITH THEM.” New York, vol. 49, no. 6, Mar. 2016, pp. 38–45. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=113999477&site=ehost-live.
“Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments.” Should Prostitution Be Legal?, https://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000115