In recent news, Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL team the New England Patriots, has been arrested for soliciting prostitution (Smith 2). Also arrested were the owners of the day spa running the prostitution services, Hua Zhang and Lei Wang (McBride 1). At first glance, this appears fair: both the men and women are being charged for offering or receiving sexual services; however, take a look at the pictures that the articles feature for each party involved.  

Source: Smith
Source: McBride

Since colonial times, men have “required an outlet for their sexual passions” (Jackson 1) but have also criminalized prostitution for various reasons, causing a dilemma: men need sex, women supply sex (either independently or by force), and women face legal and criminal problems for this exchange. This need to supply prostitutes for men’s sexual needs has caused many women and children to be subject to sex trafficking and suffering abuse from “clients” and their captors. Due to the severity of these problems and the heavy repercussions faced by women in this industry, legislation and law enforcement should target the men soliciting these sexual services. In addition to forcing men to become more accountable legally, prostitution should be outlawed in order to protect women and children from sex trafficking. To make up for the jobs being lost, more entry-level jobs should become available to women and men in lower-income areas so that the need for jobs in prostitution, as a supplier (pimp) or prostitute, are no longer needed to provide sufficient income.  

The need for prostitution, first and foremost, stems from a demand by men for sexual services (Shively, et al. iv). Prostitution in the United States is illegal, yet 10-20% of men solicit these services because they are seeking intimacy, want sex without intimacy, looking for sexual variety with women of different races and types, are attracted to the illegal nature of prostitution and the thrill of trying not to get caught, or are addicted or act on a sense of compulsion (Shively, et al. 7). The current legislation and reduction tactics aim to deter women from prostitution (Lucas 49); however, the study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, found that reduction programs and efforts focused on men combat the demand (Shively, et al. 22-24) which is more effective in deterring prostitution than focusing efforts on women. Some key reduction efforts to note are: reverse sting; in which a female officer poses as the sex worker in order to apprehend men soliciting sexual service, shaming; in which officers publicly identify johns (men seeking sexual services) through media or other tactics, public education; in which boys and men are educated about prostitution and sex trafficking in an effort to convince them not to purchase sexual services, and seizing autos used to solicit sex (Shively, et al. 22-23). Using a combination of the previously listed reduction efforts in coordination with harsher legal penalties for men seeking sexual services and providing more jobs to replace the jobs related to prostitution could drastically improve many people’s lives and solve the problems surrounding prostitution.  

The proposed solution could solve the problems surrounding prostitution; however, some may be opposed to this change, specifically, outlawing all forms of prostitution for a variety of reasons. For some women, prostitution is how they earn their living and outlawing prostitution could hinder their economic lifestyle; however, the proposal specifically adds the introduction of many (as in hundreds of thousands) of new jobs in order for those formerly working in prostitution to be able to maintain a job and thus maintain an income. Another issue that could be raised is that outlawing prostitution in order to protect women from sex trafficking is unnecessary as trafficking is “forced labour or slavery” (Outshoorn 10) and can be combated in other, more specific ways (Outshoorn 10). Sex trafficking is a direct result of prostitution as without the demand for sex, there would be no need to force women into sex work. Thus, the most effective way to prevent and stop sex trafficking is to make prostitution and solicitation illegal and create much harsher penalties to ensure that these laws are being followed and trafficking ceases. Another case that could be brought against the proposal is that the United States grants everyone the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that regulating men’s desires and women’s bodies would be infringing on their constitutional rights; however, some people find joy in killing or torturing others and the United States has made that illegal. So when can our rights be taken away? When someone’s expression of rights infringes upon another person’s ability to express their rights, then it is the job of the United States to intervene and thus, as prostitution infringes on the rights of some women, it can justly be outlawed.  

Prostitution has existed in the United States since it’s beginning as a nation. Why get rid of something that has existed so long now? How problematic could it really be if it has lasted hundreds of years? Think about a woman you know and love. Now ask yourself how you would feel if someone forced her to have sexual relations against her will. How would you feel if she was criticized for her profession? Prostitution has remained for hundreds of years in the United States and many other countries because men demand sex. Prostitution has remained in our society as we have historically excused men for being unable to control their sexual urges. In the 1870s, prostitution was regulated (was legal) due to the “Doctrine of Necessity”: the need of men to let out their sexual tensions without compromising their wives’ sexual morals (restricted by religion) (Jackson 5). No more excuses! We are in 2019! Our men should be held accountable for their actions, and women should be able to pursue other job avenues. If women enjoy sex, no one is stopping them from engaging with consenting partners; however, the exchange of sex for money or other material goods should not hold a place in our society or any society, as it poses a threat to the well-being of women who do not want to engage in those activities but are forced to in order to meet the high demands made by men.  

Works Cited  

Jackson, April. “The History of Prostitution Reform in the United States.” University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects. May, 2004 May, 2004.  https://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1754&context=utk_chanhonoproj. This article highlights the reforms in prostitution caused by social, religious, or freedoms (rights) throughout different time periods in the United States. This author is a student in the Honors Program at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, working to obtain a major in Sociology. I assume she is credible to discuss prostitution reform over historical periods as she has researched the topic extensively and has had to have her work approved by a professor. I will use this article to discuss some key issues regarding prostitution and their historical implications.  

Lucas, Ann M. “Race, Class, Gender, and Deviancy: The Criminalization of Prostitution.” Berkley Journal of Gender, Law, and Justice, Volume 10, Issue 1, Sept., 1995, pp. 47-60. https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1096&context=bglj. This article discusses the various social and economic factors leading to prostitution becoming illegal in the United State. The author is studying for a PHD in UC Berkley’s Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, so I assume she is a credible expert on social implications on legal doctrine. I will be using this article to provide more specific detail on how social ideas influenced the legal stature or approach to prostitution.  

McBride, Jessica. “Hua Zhang & Lei Wang: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.” Heavy.com. Feb, 2019. https://heavy.com/news/2019/02/hua-zhang-lei-wang/. This article discusses the details of the arrests and charges of Hua Zhang and Lei Wang regarding a prostitution sting at a day spa. The author of this article found the legal documents detailing the charges as well as police records, so I assume she is credible to discuss the charges brought against Hua Zhang and Lei Wang. I will be using this article to show how differently women facing prostitution charges are perceived publicly as opposed to men.  

Outshoorn, Joyce. “The Politics of Prostitution: Women’s Movements, Democratic States, and the Globalisation of Sex Commerce.” Cambridge University Press, 2004. This book highlights how women’s movements and advancing women have influenced government policies regarding prostitution. The editor of the book, Outshoorn, is a professor at Leiden Univerity who teaches Women’s Studies, so I assume she is credible to discuss the issues of prostitution as they concern women and women’s impact on policy. I will be using this article in order to address the counter-argument to my proposal.  

Shively, Michael, et al. “A National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts, Final Report.” The National Institute of Justice, June, 2012. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/238796.pdf. This article details the study of prostitution and human trafficking prevention methods by highlighting the main causes for prostitution/trafficking, a variety of prevention methods, and the data collected and analyzed of the prevention methods. The authors of the article received funding from the government in order to produce this study, so I can assume they are credible experts on prostitution and human trafficking prevention. I will be using this article to highlight the problems of prostitution and who is contributing to these problems. 

Smith, Emily. “How Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Could Get Off in Prostitution Case.” New York Post, Feb., 2019. https://nypost.com/2019/02/28/how-patriots-owner-robert-kraft-could-get-off-in-prostitution-case/. This article discusses the arrest of Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL team the Patriots, as well as detailing multiple loopholes in the law that may clear Kraft of any legal trouble. The author had to research the case against Kraft, so I can assume she is credited to discuss the arrest as she obtained legal documentation regarding the case. I will use this article to show how the media portrays men who are charged regarding prostitution in juxtaposition to the protrayal of women.