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Is it Time to Consider The Legalization of Prostitution?
The Worlds Oldest Profession
Prostitution is one of the worlds oldest professions. People have been selling sex for at least as long as history has been recorded, and since that time there have always been those who wish to restrict it and forbid it. Never has any attempt to stop prostitution been successful. The more a group tries to forbid prostitution, and the harsher the penalties, the more prostitution goes underground and flourishes.
Legalized and regulated prostitution is the only reasonable course.
- Reduce the incidents of violence related to the sex trade
- Lower STD Rates
- Reduce jail overcrowding
Legalizing and Regulating Helps Everyone
In some cases women are forced into prostitution by violent “pimps” and have no way out. In others women are assaulted and abused by their clients. If a prostitute is assaulted they have no where to turn, if they go to the police and they are arrested for prostitution. A recent study has shown that 80% of prostitutes in the US have been sexually assaulted, only 7% seek any assistance at all, and a mere 4% report it to the police. Of course prostitutes also assault their clients from time to time, and again the "Johns" or clients are have no legal recourse since they too were breaking the law.
Reducing the Rates of Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
In most countries the number of prostitutes who have an STD floats around 5%, however in some countries that legalize and regulate prostitution it can get as low as 1.5%. That is a significant decrease. And with 40 million prostitutes world wide that’s a lot of lives saved.
Reducing Strain on Jails:
In the US the prisons are quickly becoming overcrowded, legalizing prostitution can help alleviate the issue. 80,000 people are arrested each year on prostitution charges in America.
Should Prostitution be Legal?
Prostitution Can Save the Economy
In a recent study it was shown that over $10 million dollars was handed over to individual county coffers annually thanks to legalized prostitution in Nevada. That is a big figure, but add into that the savings of fighting prostitution including court costs, increased police requirements, and much more and the figure grows substantially. Now take that and add in federal income taxes and the figure swells again. Add on to that a licensing fee which the state collects of $25/prostitute, there are approximately 800 licensed prostitutes in Nevada. These figures seem fairly small, but remember, that’s Nevada alone.
The more legitimate prostitutes out there as opposed to unregulated prostitutes means more tax revenues that can be fed into the school system, or health care. There would also be a host of related jobs that would be created from the legalization of prostitution, not just bureaucratic positions such as license issurer and inspectors, but positions at brothels and such that are not actually prostitutes, schedulers, greeters, etc..
Is prostitution inherently immoral?
The Morality Issue
Ok, I deliberately left this until the end, primarily because I disagree with the concept of laws which impose morality on others, however it is an important consideration.
Is it immoral to allow others to sell themselves for sex? That is the question at the heart of the issue, and the answer is a complex one. It is immoral to force anyone to do anything they are opposed to doing, and this increases drastically when you are talking about sex, but are the prostitutes unwilling?
If a prostitute is forced into the trade then yes it is immoral, wrong, and I'd even go so far as to say evil. That being said, that's not what we are discussing. In a legalized and regulated system it would be sex between two consenting adults in which money changed hands, is that immoral? This is the question that many who are opposed to the legalization of prostitution tend to ignore, but it is an important one, in my mind it is THE question that clarifies the issue beyond any other.
What to Do?
I am not saying we should just turn a blind eye to prostitution and allow it to take place in our public parks. What I am saying is that with a regulated system licensing prostitutes we can curb violence, decrease STD rates, lower crime prevention costs, and increase the governments income which will allow for more social systems and lower taxes. Sound too good to be true doesn’t it?
Prostitution needs to be legalized for the safety of the public. But it needs to be done in a reasonable manner. Controls need to be put in place to make sure that prostitutes are getting regular checkups, and that the use of condoms are 100%. I believe a system in which a prostitute purchases a license, and pays taxes will more than pay for enforcement and regulation of prostitution and make sure it done in a safe environment and manner. To continue to allow it to happen only in the dark alleys and seedy motels gives power to the criminals and ensures that public health is not a concern.
© 2014 Jeff Johnston