Legalize Prostitution?


Should prostitution be legal anywhere?

Posted by PostGlobal on January 26, 2007 1:38 PM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (122)

Bernard :

Prostitution should be legalized as a trade. Prostitution as trade should be regulated and licensed.
Issued licenses and regularly licensing inspections would be the best way to tackle with unwanted forms of prostitution as well.

All tries to abolish prostitution will promote unwanted criminal elements.

dwight :

I can't stand when politicians try to distract Americans from the real issues that need to address. They love making fuss over bullsh*t. The reality is that politicians are stealing taxpayer money and making alliances with disgusting corporate America, driving us further into a two-tiered rich-poor society where the rich trample over us like bugs. Look at Bush's friend, former Enron ex Ken Lay who destroyed Americans. Will you let politicians and corporate America distract us from the real issues?
On another note, we need to go after real crime like corporate crooks, murderers, and burglars. Prostitution (sex for money) between two consenting adults is no one's damn business but the private sex life of those involved. Besides, having a girlfriend/boyfriend is a sex for money relationship. It's scary imagining that there are people interested in knowing and regulating which adults are having sex with each other. Land of the free? My azz.

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jk :

First, the essential priorities of the law, they are to create limitations and parameters to ensure that each citizen can live freely -- this includes freedom from bodily harm and the right to equal protection. Keeping this in mind, the four points I'd like to add into this discussion are as follows:

(1) The impact of legalizing prostitution. While individual narratives and personal opinions regarding sexual activity, being a prostitute, or interacting with a prostitute are helpful to color the discussion, opinions can change. Jenna Jamieson, a famous American porn star, denied the detrimental implications of pornography for most of her career. After time however, her feelings changed.

What we can assess that is real and tangible are the potential effects of legalizing prostitution on those within the profession, on consumers of such services, on other related industries, on the economy, on global markets, and on American and global societies as a whole. Given even the list of implications that we can predict, do we really believe that prostitution on a whole is better of legalized? That allowing the minority of individuals who are able to safely pursue this profession outweighs the majority of women coerced and trafficked into the industry? Do we believe that individual workers will benefit more than the industry and male consumers? Do we believe that putting a price on a woman's body will have positive effects on the gender imbalance in America?

2) The closest parallel I can think of that highlights the exploitative effects and power differentials of such legalization, and also somewhat removes this issue from that of gender (which is integral: see point 3) is that of selling one's organs. It is illegal to sell one's organs in the United States, the reasons being: inappropriate commodification and exploitation of the human body, exploitation of the certain segments of social (poorer segments), the dangers involved, etc. Perhaps rather than comparing selling sex to selling cars, it might be more appropriate to compare selling sex --a part of oneself that is often incredibly personal and intimate, the core of your bodily integrity-- to other parts of yourself. Although, let's be honest-- having someone remove your tonsils is very different than being raped or sexually violated.

And while I do think that prostitutes and escorts are sincere when they say they enjoy their work, I think that could also be heard from an organ-seller. I believe it is the job of the government -within reason- to look at the larger implications on society and on culture to determine whether acts should be legal or not.

3) The point of gender. It is often hard for us to design policies where gender is a factor because most of our laws have been (and are) created by men and therefore often fail to accommodate the needs of traditionally unincorporated or disenfranchised groups (i.e. groups that originally did not have the right to vote, ethnic minorities, women, children). We are used to looking at laws and policies through this lens. Sexual harassment law did not come into play until the 1980s; before, there were no language or laws to adequately address such crimes. Inherent to relations between men and women (that are also within same-sex relations) are inequalities of power that we as a society have not yet overcome. Until these relations of power are equalized, there will always be a greater benefit for men and a massive loss for women when it comes to issues of prostitution. One in four women will be raped or the victims of rape in the United States (according to 1991 stats). One in four. Men (not all men, but many men) already believe that they can take sex from women; that they are entitled to sex. Many states currently do not believe in the existence of marital rape -- stating that husbands should have sexual access to their wives at whim. Do we believe that legalizing prostitution will not exacerbate this trend of gender-motivated crime, violation, and brutality? Moreover, rape and domestic violence have serious consequences for our society and for our economy. How many women have looked over their shoulder or been wary of being assaulted? If these occurrences increase, I can only imagine what our country would look like.

4) Again, I do believe that some prostitutes and escorts are sincere when they say they enjoy their work. But I do have to reiterate that many women consent to this profession because they are forced by pimps, because they do not have a choice or alternative opportunities, or because they have already been devalued or exploited to have a certain image of their worth. Additionally, most women do not have control over their sex work careers as women in the high-end escort service may. Perhaps a new way to pose this question -- sex work, like most work, is for money. If prostitutes did not receive any money for their work, would any exist? Or, if there was another occupation that raised the same amount per hour as sex work, which occupation do you think would be selected?

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joecool :

Should Prostitution be Legal? Here is a poll: http://www.apopularitycontest.com/display_poll.php?ID=5351

Jason :

Only those first-hand experience of whoring have an opinion worth considering. Christianity still lays such a guilt trip on western culture, an impartial opinion is almost impossible to obtain. Girl-friend sex, one-night stand, even remunerated dating or escort agency supplied is absolutely fine. But "going with a prostitute" (nice euphemism) labels you a social pariah. But this alternative life style is far more common than you might suppose. Check out the number of men that make unaccompanied and frequent visits to Thailand as a hub of the region. "The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free. I feel the Devil walking next to me." “Asian bimbos stealing our men?” Come off it girls. They stopped being “your men” when you started rationing the home comforts.

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Garak :

It already is legal. Go read the Post's series on Gerald Cassidy, Citizen K Street.

Gary Edmunds :

Prostitution should be legal between consenting adults.

Jewel :

I think it should be legalized. It's the only way to control it and keep the bad guys from treating the women like dirt. Geneva Nights is a great book for an American perspective on Europes red light districts.

Sarah B. :

Prostitution has been an accepted practice in many countries for years, dating back to the ancient Middle East, India, Greece and Rome. In fact the United States is one of the few countries who still have laws against prostitution. The rationality for it being illegal in the U.S. is that normally it is linked to organized crime and just crimes in general as well as the spread of sexually transmitted disease. However, if the practice were legalized, it could be taxed and regulated. Some counties have already came to the conclusion that prostitution is impossible to eliminate and so these societies have chosen to regulate it in ways that regulate to control sexually transmitted diseases, reduce sexual slavery, controlling where brothels may operate and dissociating prostitution from criminal activity. This would also save our government the time and money used to prosecute these people. Prostitution is already legalized in some counties of Nevada; the most popular of the licensed brothels in Nevada is the Mustang Ranch. Doctors came to the ranch regularly to do pelvic examines and check for sexually transmitted diseases. After the AIDS pandemic in the 1980’s customers were required to wear condoms. Security was also stationed to keep unwanted visitors out as well as panic buttons in every room to alert security if a woman felt threatened. As you can see the United States is very capable of producing a well regulated prostitution practice. So do I think it should be legalized? Although I will not participate in prostitution I find no reason why it should not be legalized.

Sarah B. :

Prostitution has been an accepted practice in many countries for years, dating back to the ancient Middle East, India, Greece and Rome. In fact the United States is one of the few countries who still have laws against prostitution. The rationality for it being illegal in the U.S. is that normally it is linked to organized crime and just crimes in general as well as the spread of sexually transmitted disease. However, if the practice were legalized, it could be taxed and regulated. Some counties have already came to the conclusion that prostitution is impossible to eliminate and so these societies have chosen to regulate it in ways that regulate to control sexually transmitted diseases, reduce sexual slavery, controlling where brothels may operate and dissociating prostitution from criminal activity. This would also save our government the time and money used to prosecute these people. Prostitution is already legalized in some counties of Nevada; the most popular of the licensed brothels in Nevada is the Mustang Ranch. Doctors came to the ranch regularly to do pelvic examines and check for sexually transmitted diseases. After the AIDS pandemic in the 1980’s customers were required to wear condoms. Security was also stationed to keep unwanted visitors out as well as panic buttons in every room to alert security if a woman felt threatened. As you can see the United States is very capable of producing a well regulated prostitution practice. So do I think it should be legalized? Although I will not participate in prostitution I find no reason why it should not be legalized.

sabby2725 :

To the first poster, the difference is consent by two adults.

Ashley Nuckles :

Prostitution should be illegal, and all children and adults need to learn that it is not only immoral it is demeaning to the person who buys the sex, as well as the person who sells their body so another can get off.

Everyone should respect themselves enough to know that selling your body is not okay-whether it be for sex, or for someone to get off on torturing you sadistically. It's all the same.

If someone wants or needs sex, they need to go about it the correct way-by meeting someone and trying to connect to them mentally. It's not a product that should be on a shelf. It's a miracle that should be revered.

People in other countries are forced into this act-and would do anything to be able to lead a normal life. So why would Americans who have the chance for a good life choose to demean themselves-it's easy: pure laziness. They are too lazy to get a real job, and the people who buy the sex are too lazy and pathetic to find someone who WANTS to give it to them-not just sell it to them.

ALL OF YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL-I CAN'T BELIEVE THERE ARE SO MANY SICK PERVERTS OUT THERE WHO THINK PROSTITUTION IS OKAY. MIGHT AS WELL START CONDONING RAPE AND CHILD PORN-WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Sergio :

It should be legalized. Can't understand why a woman can kill an unborn child but can't have sex for money. As long as sex is a religious based tabu, there wouldn't be freedom.

Jim Jonhson :

My name is Jim........... and I like to party.

DeeDee :

Prostitution should be legal. I am 49 and single and if I could find a "papered safe" age appropriate man to spend some quality time with I would. I am a medial professional and single for 12 years. A safe consensual encounter would be worth it.

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dost m. khawja :

prostitution should be and must be legalise,rea-
sons:i am a single average looking male from india,i have no wife and girlfriend,what shall i do or where shall i go for sex.its tough,american girls does not like me,i tried no luck.sex is also
like hunger,we buy our food,i like to buy my sex.
sex brings life,all show on this planet is because
of sex its not dirty or taboo,its holy.in europe
prostitution is no problem,in america its a big problem.please grow up america.teach you children about sex,if you dont teach them who else will teach them.dont tell them sex is sin,like they did to me and destroy my youth,which i will never get back in this life.

dost m. khawja :

prostitution should be and must be legalise,rea-
sons:i am a single average looking male from india,i have no wife and girlfriend,what shall i do or where shall i go for sex.its tough,american girls does not like me,i tried no luck.sex is also
like hunger,we buy our food,i like to buy my sex.
sex brings life,all show on this planet is because
of sex its not dirty or taboo,its holy.in europe
prostitution is no problem,in america its a big problem.please grow up america.teach you children about sex,if you dont teach them who else will teach them.dont tell them sex is sin,like they did to me and destroy my youth,which i will never get back in this life.

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Anonymous :

Prostitution should be legal everywhere. It happens all the time anyway. But it should be regulated to make it safer. Regulation would make it safer for those prostitutes who are selling their 'goods' in places that are illegal and provide them some legal protection from authorities when reporting crimes against themselves without fear of they themselves getting locked up for it.

shantia Johnson :

I think that prostitution should be legal everywhere. just the simple fact that, that are those women body's and what they want to do with it has nothin to do with anyone else. so it should be legalize.

Wanda :

I agree with you, Ingrid. Many women who are technically "prostitutes" actually practice what might be more appropriately categorized as cash-and-carry polyandry. We have a limited and select client base.
We are not desperate. We are not druggies. We are not diseased. We are not ill-educated. We are not stupid.
What we are is totally independent of male control and dominance. We are financially independent. Often we are quite well to do, but while we charge a considerable sum for our services, we are not in quite the same financial league as lawyers--but then they give you the best screwing of all.
We provide a service that is always in demand, and greatly desired. We are like ice cream. Whenever we show up, people are happy.
Decriminalize prostitution. Allow us to have the same legal protections--and obligations--as every other self-employed person. But otherwise, leave us alone!

Ingrid Thera :

As an independent escort based in Canada, I would choose decriminalization instead of regulation.

Yes, continue combat trafficking and provide opportunities for low-income people to reduce street prostitution - but those of us who had education and choices, and chose to become escorts having full and complete control over our practices and clients should be left alone. There is a number of women out there who use escorting to help with tuition, supplement a career change, get out of debt or build savings. Internet enables us to act on out own without the need of intermediaries and have full and complete control over all aspects of our business. However, a lot of us do it on the side, having career or education aspirations in mind - do you really think that given social prejudices, we'd agree to be herded into brothels and have a stamp saying "prostitute" for the rest of our lives?

As far as STDs are concerned, if the streetwalking scene is taken out of equation, the rate of STDs are actually LOWER among escorts than in general population. I have seen several statistical sources citing this (don't have them handy right now, but will find and post later). Does a woman who sees 4 clients a month, everything covered with a condom, need to be mandatory tested every 2 weeks?

Regulation based on the system of legal brothels will destroy this so far small yet rapidly growing segment of women engaged in prostitution in the most healthy way possible. Yet I also fully agree that measures should be taken to improve the lives of those involved in prostitution for survival.

Wanda :

Why is your panel male-dominated? If you are so against prostitution why not make paying for sex a crime punishable by castration? Punish the men not the women.

BobF :

Seems to me the legalized vices of gambling, alcohol, and tobacco can be and often are considerably more damaging to the mind and body than sex. Why does a human activity so natural and essential occupy so low a rung on the moral ladder?

loha :

No. I don't think it should be leagalized. Let's face it, it's basically for men with no morals, women having a hard time, and an std playground.

But if it is leagalized, it should have some ENFORCED rules.

If people enter it legally, thinking it is an easy job and not understanding the risks. Or men seeing a girl in more revealing clothes who is not a prostitute, the girls are going to get hurt.

And it just proves, no, encourages, our society to look at sex as something done between two strangers as playtime.

Avedon :

Yes.

Decriminalize prostitution and put the power back into the hands of the people who do it rather than the pimps, cops, and rapists.

Saul :

Prostitution is already effectively legal in the United States. Your multibillion-dollar hardcore pornography industry, in which vulnerable young people are paid to perform sexual acts at great risk to their lives so that corporate interests can rake in profits, is predicated on the state accepting that people be paid for sexual acts. If that isn't prostitution, I don't know what is. The hypocrisy of Americans on this issue knows no bounds. A drug-addicted streetwalker will quickly get rounded up and thrown in jail for plying her trade. But a wealthy corporate executive who rakes in huge profits from effectively pimping out such vulnerable young person -- that person is considered a respectable citizen and left alone. Another example of how the poor and vulnerable get criminalized while those doing the exploiting and making the money are pampered and coddled by the U.S. justice system.

Kevin - FL :

Legalize it? Not good enough. SUBSIDIZE it!

Doing so will provide numerous benefits:
- regulation and control of health issues
- reduction of the criminal element now involved
- regular testing for STDs, making it safer for providers and clients
- provide an outlet which will probably reduce rape and possibly domestic abuse
- potentially reduce hidden infidelity by providing a socially sanctioned outlet for those tempted, especially in sexless marriages
- tax revenues to municipalities, states, and national governments
- subsidies to make it available to almost anyone who wants or needs it

James Stepp :

What we have right now is illegal prositution with all of the underage prostitutes, pimps, drugs and disease that go with it. All of this does incalculable damage to our society. After over 80 yrs of illegality it is still just as rampant, if not more so, than it ever was.

When I was stationed in Germany it was legal there. The government licensed them, inspected them and required condom use and medical screening. The women were all safe, of legal age and in a clean working environment.

I won't make moral decisions about it because my morals are my own and I have no right to force other people to live by them. Based on purely which one causes more problems for society I would have to vote on legalizing it. I would never see a prostitute because I don't believe in it but I say let people do what they are going to do anyway and regulate it so it causes less problems for the rest of us.

Caitlin :

"Do chefs provide a service? Yes. Is that service evil? Not inherently, no- food is not evil. Is that service useful to society? When it creates unrealistic expectations of experimentation and taste for those that solicit food services to the detriment of others, then no, because it creates damage. One example: a man is married, but has lunch often in a restaurant. The food experience he has is enjoyable. Following that, when he has dinner prepared by his wife he may expect that level of satisfaction. When she refuses to comply, or it can't be achieved through her, the relationship eventually suffers. Through no fault of the wife, she is the victim of his actions."

"More than that, the legalization of restaurants will inherently set back women's rights by making them have to consider how much they wish to debase themselves in the face of raised expectations of men that can obtain easy, interesting food."

Yeah, go on, read it again. :)

Suki Falconberg has had a dreadful life, and I understand what she's saying, but prostitution doesn't have to be like that.

Who am I to say? I am a prostitute, in the UK where my activities are legal. I work only via the internet, am not pimped or controlled by anyone, choose my own working hours and companions, and have never once been "raped" or sexually assaulted at "work". I was not maltreated as a child and went to university. I am not addicted to any illegal drugs - any more preconceptions I need to deal with?

I am not denying that street-workers are often vulnerable and abused girls and boys - but there are forms of non-exploitative prostitution, and this often seems to be ignored when laws about prostitution are being discussed.

Shiloh, Otter Creek, USA :

Prostitution should be legalized and taxed - by both the income tax and a luxury sales tax. The revenue would help to reduce both the national and state government deficits.

John :

Leigh:

Why should brothels be illegal? It seems to me brothels serve the purpose of getting prostitution off the street and into a more controllable environment for the sex worker. I don't have any stats on this, but in my experience many brothels are run by women, former prostitutes themselves, not by abusive male pimps.

I'm sure a lot of people in this country think only of street prostitution when they hear the word prostitution, and I can understand why they would be opposed to its legalization if that's their only experience with it. Who wants their street littered with used condoms? I don't think street prostitution would go way entirely if brothels were legal outside of Nevada, but I imagine it could cause it to decrease.

Leigh :

I think that prostitution should be legal, but the law should require all prostitutes to be self-employed, to submit to drug and STD tests a minimum of twice a year, and be over the age of 21. Pimping should be against the law, as well as brothels. Prostitutes should pay taxes the same as any independent contractor, and they should have legal rights to sue/prosecute for breach of contract.

I personally don't see why prostitution is illegal. If anything, it's putting the blame on those who have the least power to change the situation -- the prostitutes. Many prostitutes are controlled by pimps who kidnap them, blackmail them, provide them with drugs, and sexually assault them. If society wants to prevent prostition, we must impose lengthy jail sentences for pimps, as well as criminalizing the solicitation of sexual services. No one goes after the johns right now, and they're the ones who willingly trade money for sexual activity (including with minors), and therefore create a market in the first place.

BobL-VA :

Dani,

"It's only legal in one state, and even then only in counties under a population of 100,000 where it was approved by a vote of the county."

I'm assuming this was a typo since it's not true. The Law in Nevada does leave it up to each individual County with a population under 400,000. There was only one county in Nevada at the time with a population over 400,000. Hence, everyone knew the exclusion was simply for Las Vegas. Most Vegas businessmen still oppose legalized prostitution in Nevada today not on moral grounds, but business ones. Vegas has tried very hard to put forth a family friendly face on it's activities and doesn't want the social stigma legalized prostitution carries with it.

Also, I must take issue with your example of the poor wife dumped by a happy husband. Happy husbands don't go running our to buy the services of a prostitute unless they want to be paying alimony for many years to come. Any married guy who is using the services of a hooker either has some type of special relationship set up with his wife or isn't long for the matrimonial world.

Finally, I'm glad you brought up the murder issue. Murder has been around since the beginning of recorded history and has been illegal in some form since the beginning. How is that like prostitution which has only been illegal for a hundred to a hundred and fifty years? The reason I used alcohol as an example was when it was prohibited the penalty for usage was a misdameanor. The same as prostitution.

Consumer :

Legalise prostitution, ban high interest rates on credit cards!

Ian :

Dear Dryice,

In fact, prostitutes don't control the business.
That said, I imagine it would be a horrific job regardless of who was in charge.

DryIce :

Dear Ms. Suki Falconberg, what if the Prostitutes controlled the business? Did you ever see Sin City? Check it out, please. Respectfully, DryIce

Suki Falconberg :

As an ex-prostitute, I am adamantly opposed to legalizing prostitution. In countries where it has been tried (Germany, the Netherlands, Australia) trafficking has skyrocketed because legalizing makes it easier for men to procure, pimp, and buy bodies: it does nothing to protect the women. Similarly, in ‘legal’ Nevada brothels, many girls are trafficked in by their pimps, who take the money. Setting aside a space called ‘brothel’ where women are confined and gang raped on a daily basis promotes the notion that we women are there to serve men, the superior ones. Any situation that involves a buyer (usually male, the one with power) and a bought (usually female, destitute and disempowered) is rape and sexual slavery. The whole notion that men can buy bodies for their pleasure (ours does not matter) is degrading. It devalues our humanity and dignity and turns us into disposable bodies with one important part—the sex organ.

The physical and psychological misery resulting from prostitution is enormous. It is rape of the worst kind—serial, rape after rape after rape of the body. (Consider how hard it is for a girl to recover from just one rape: it is no wonder prostitutes suffer PTSD in excess of torture victims.) From my own time in it, I still have physical damage. The sex act felt like rape. No one considers the consequences to the girl’s body—how overuse means swollen, often bleeding genitals, pain in the bladder, bruises from how heavy men are. No one considers how disgusting it is to actually have sex with men you don’t know. The only way to survive is to numb out—this protects a small space inside where you are so vulnerable, you will die if someone touches this spot. The long-term damage to the soul simply cannot be put into words.

I invite anyone who would like to see prostitution legalized to lie down and be penetrated by strange men 10 or 20 times a night. Then maybe they won’t be so eager to espouse prostitution.

In fact, I would like to see every man who uses a prostitute penetrated as many time a night as she is. I think fewer men would buy bodies if men had to suffer this intolerable cruelty—rape, over and over again. Prostitution is rape disguised as a financial transaction. The sexual selfishness of the male keeps it going.

Suki Falconberg :

As an ex-prostitute, I am adamantly opposed to legalizing prostitution. In countries where it has been tried (Germany, the Netherlands, Australia) trafficking has skyrocketed because legalizing makes it easier for men to procure, pimp, and buy bodies: it does nothing to protect the women. Similarly, in ‘legal’ Nevada brothels, many girls are trafficked in by their pimps, who take the money. Setting aside a space called ‘brothel’ where women are confined and gang raped on a daily basis promotes the notion that we women are there to serve men, the superior ones. Any situation that involves a buyer (usually male, the one with power) and a bought (usually female, destitute and disempowered) is rape and sexual slavery. The whole notion that men can buy bodies for their pleasure (ours does not matter) is degrading. It devalues our humanity and dignity and turns us into disposable bodies with one important part—the sex organ.

Mr. Moubayed looks at this only from a very selfish male point of view. He does not consider the physical and psychological misery of prostitution. From my own time in it, I still have physical damage. The sex act felt like rape. No one considers the consequences to the girl’s body—how overuse means swollen, often bleeding genitals, pain in the bladder, bruises from how heavy men are. No one considers how disgusting it is to actually have sex with men you don’t know. The only way to survive is to numb out—this protects a small space inside where you are so vulnerable, you will die if someone touches this spot. The long-term damage to the soul simply cannot be put into words.

I would like to see Mr. Maoubeyed penetrated by strange men 10 or 20 times a night. Then maybe he won’t be so eager to espouse prostitution.

In fact, I would like to see every man who uses a prostitute penetrated as many time a night as she is. I think fewer men would buy bodies if men had to suffer this intolerable cruelty—rape, over and over again. Prostitution is rape disguised as a financial transaction. The sexual selfishness of the male keeps it going.

Suki Falconberg :

As an ex-prostitute, I am adamantly opposed to legalizing prostitution. In countries where it has been tried (Germany, the Netherlands, Australia) trafficking has skyrocketed because legalizing makes it easier for men to procure, pimp, and buy bodies: it does nothing to protect the women. Similarly, in ‘legal’ Nevada brothels, many girls are trafficked in by their pimps, who take the money. Setting aside a space called ‘brothel’ where women are confined and gang raped on a daily basis promotes the notion that we women are there to serve men, the superior ones. Any situation that involves a buyer (usually male, the one with power) and a bought (usually female, destitute and disempowered) is rape and sexual slavery. The whole notion that men can buy bodies for their pleasure (ours does not matter) is degrading. It devalues our humanity and dignity and turns us into disposable bodies with one important part—the sex organ.

The physical and psychological misery resulting from prostitution is enormous. It is rape of the worst kind—serial, rape after rape after rape of the body. (Consider how hard it is for a girl to recover from just one rape: it is no wonder prostitutes suffer PTSD in excess of torture victims.) From my own time in it, I still have physical damage. The sex act felt like rape. No one considers the consequences to the girl’s body—how overuse means swollen, often bleeding genitals, pain in the bladder, bruises from how heavy men are. No one considers how disgusting it is to actually have sex with men you don’t know. The only way to survive is to numb out—this protects a small space inside where you are so vulnerable, you will die if someone touches this spot. The long-term damage to the soul simply cannot be put into words.

I invite anyone who would like to see prostitution legalized to lie down and be penetrated by strange men 10 or 20 times a night. Then maybe they won’t be so eager to espouse prostitution.

In fact, I would like to see every man who uses a prostitute penetrated as many time a night as she is. I think fewer men would buy bodies if men had to suffer this intolerable cruelty—rape, over and over again. Prostitution is rape disguised as a financial transaction. The sexual selfishness of the male keeps it going.

Joseph Hanania :

My mother is Syrian-American, and she told me about prostitutes riding around in a horse-driven carriage in Aleppo every Sunday, their silk dresses low cut, showing the tops of their breasts to all the men. Then, the women went back to their home of prostitution, and the men came calling. The elegant ride around town was their way of advertising. So, I do find this post about prostitution in Syria to be quite interesting.

brainsurgen :

Being 65 year old male having no hair and a body shaped like a pear my chances of getting married again in this lifetime to a lady that mean ole father time has not done in. With the aid of chemistry I can still meet my wants? Not wanting to bar hop,waste my time on the internet meeting up with someone who just wants to hold hands walk around and look at the moon and stars? Reduce my standard of living? I am somewhat left out? Having worked for a large Military contractor and been a regular at the Neveda hangouts I found them clean neat organized. You ain't gonna catch anything and you can pick your entertaiment from a line up. Why should I be penelized for being old and ugly? A few minutes with a legal professional is much more entertaining.

MeMe :

Yes. If I can sell a massage and perform the way I want, I should be able to promote, advertise and have sex...
If its my body, I should tell you if its wrong. Not the president or the mayors.
Once upon a time prostitution was swept underneath a rug, until the profits showed prosperity, hair stylists make untaxed money- and soon, that will be illegal, just because the government isnt getting a cut.
TRUTH IS>>>
the government shouldn't focus on controlling women.

Dani :

"This country went through prohibition."

Yes, and in some respects it still is going through prohibition. "Hard" drugs are still prohibited. We now have new reasons for alcohol prohibition. Alcohol was prohibited for moral reasons, then repealed. Now the drinking age is higher to protect people at high-risk of driving under the influence. Beer alcohol content is regulated to 3.2%.

There is merit to the statement that U.S. citizens 18 years or older should be allowed to consume alcohol. But the citizens of the U.S. have said it is better for them to prevent young adults from drinking to reduce the impact of their behavior.

"We all prostitute ourselves."

Yes, anyone with a wage or salary is prostituting themselves. The difference in sexual vs. non-sexual prostitution is in the benefit that they provide society as a whole for that wage or salary.

"Prostitution has existed since the beginning of recorded time."

That's like saying the sky is blue. It's only relevant in that it involves the topic, but is not prurient to the discussion. Murder has also existed since the beginning of recorded time. It involves two people, one doesn't always have to be a victim, and was acceptable in some societies as a form of sacrifice. That prostitution has always existed doesn't make it right today. Perhaps we should also return to an age of assassin's guilds, so that only certain people are free to practice their craft, regulated by the government?

What the pro-prostitution advocates are really pushing for is moral relativity. Simply put, if something is not bad for an individual, then logically it's not bad for society. Your wrong is my right. Who's to say what is right and wrong? etc.

Do prostitutes provide a service? Yes. Is that service evil? Not inherently, no- sex is not evil. Is that service useful to society? When it creates unrealistic expectations of permissiveness and behavior for those that solicit sexual services to the detriment of others, then no, because it creates damage. One example: a man is married, but has sex often with a prostitute. The sexual experience he has is enjoyable. Following that, when he has sex with his wife he may expect that level of satisfaction. When she refuses to comply, or it can't be achieved through her, the relationship eventually suffers. Through no fault of the wife, she is the victim of his actions.

"But that's not what this is about at all," you say. "It's about two consenting adults freely exchanging sex and money to each other's benefit. It is better that we should regulate the activity so as to protect those that are legitimate."

But it is not legitimate according to the laws and citizens of the United States. It's only legal in one state, and even then only in counties under a population of 100,000 where it was approved by a vote of the county.

People will be hurt and exploited. More than that, the legalization of prostitution will inherently set back women's rights by making them have to consider how much they wish to debase themselves in the face of raised expectations of men that can obtain easy sex.

I will not focus on those prostitutes that are willing to act responsibly and just want a normal life, because they are not the reasons the law exist.

The laws do not exist to eradicate prostitution. A simple review of thousands of years of law enforcement will verify the effacacy of reducing the activity.

The law exists to control and protect our citizens from the many ignored, hard to quantify, potential legal hazards (failing to provide services, disease propagation, social degradation, increased difficulty in punishing those that abuse other humans) that result from widespread sexual activity. Much like with alcohol laws that keep the drinking age 21 seems over the top to me as compared to the rest of the world, it exists for the benefit of our society by reducing the risk of potentially dangerous behavior.

berry :

We have all missed the big point, where the real action is these days: the internet.

Sex is surely the number one google search. How many sex sites are out there? How many people provide sexual services over the internet? How many people view and PAY for those services?

Now, how do we describe those "barely legal teens" or those "mature housewives" showing everything on your screen? Are they "hookers" or "call girls" or "scorts"? I would say they are all prostitutes in some way or another: they provide sexual services; they get paid.

Internet sex is here to stay, no matter how legal or illegal it is.

BobL-VA :

"Those that are arguing for "legal prostitution" in this thread ignore those that don't want to be prostitutes, but can't stand up for themselves."

Ah, if life and social issues were so easy.

This country went through prohibition. Alcohol was illegal and there was a large flourishing black market. It was made legal and while there has been a poliferation of legal bars and liquor stores around the country moonshiner's still exist to this day. Legalizing or de-criminalizing something doesn't do away with a 100% of the bad element. The same pattern would likely fit de-criminalizing prostitution. It would certainly clean it up, but it wouldn't make it perfect.

Prostitution has existed since the beginning of recorded time. Whether it is the world's oldest profession I have no way of telling, but if it isn't it's real close. Making prostitution illegal as we've done in most of this country hasn't stopped or even really slowed down the profession. I can walk into any casino in Atlantic City on any given night and run into a dozen "working women" at the bar. Whether we like it or not that's a fact of our society. We have everything from common street hookers to high class call women in this society. We've made millions of women criminals for plying their trade. For what? It's surely not the minority that are being forced to practice this trade against their will. We already have laws on the books that are much harsher then the prostitution laws to deal with this issue.

No, all of those opposed to de-criminalizing prostitution in this thread have made blanket statements about how seedy and exploitive the profession is. While it certainly is true a portion of the trade is currently that way look real hard at industrialized countries that have legalized prostitution and you'll get an idea of what it would be like in this country. Watch the HBO series "CatHouse." Read the Happy Hooker. Like anything else in life prostitution has it good points and it's bad points, but making it (or keeping it) a crime seems a little over the top to me.

Dani :

Let's leave the whole 'legislating morality' out of it for a second (ignoring the prime reason why prostitution is illegal).

Do you think that all prostitutes are willing, and that they barter sex because of free will? More the point, do you think that bad pimps will go away if prostitution is legalized?

It doesn't matter if it's regulated or not, people will look to use sex as an instrument of control- and if it's legal, the recourse of the victim becomes nearly impossible. How hard is it for any rape victim to come forward and stand? And you say they took money?

The black market for sex won't go away whether sex is legal or not. Making prostitution illegal isn't for those that have the sex, although enabling of sex addiction is destructive in it's own right on society by allowing unrealistic expectations of what a sexual partner will permit to grow in those that solicit. The reason it is illegal is to prevent the blatant, often abusive, always exploitative nature of those that profit from the activity. It's rarely the prostitutes.

Those that are arguing for "legal prostitution" in this thread ignore those that don't want to be prostitutes, but can't stand up for themselves.

That is why it is illegal and should remain illegal.

Yousuf Hashmi :

The comments i am making is not on moral or ethical values but purely dealing it as a profession or buissness.

We know the each industry has a regulating authority. for example a neuclear or coal fire plant can not be allowed to installl at a centre of a residential society.

All retailers choose a place where they can sell the product easily and of course they have a projection of expected list of clients avilable in the market. for example a porche or rolex show room will not find a place in a village.

Same argument is valid for the oldest profession.

this is the reason that the biggest market of human temporary love is avilable near big sea ports or tourist attractions and the biggest customers are sailors or tourist .

the reason is simple that the visitors landing in a new country having no contact with the family for months look for an alternate for few hours. but in a family residential area where most houses having couples raising the children will find no place for a shop where women is ready to sell herslf.

And if one individual is just interested to shop anyway they he should drive for few minutes to find its commodity.

BobL-VA :

Tom,

I don't think there is a single reason or a single set of reasons groups of people do anything. I'm sure a number of prostitutes suffer from a lack of self respect. I'm sure a number of lawyers do as well.

Since for the most part prostitution is illegal in this country I think you'd be hard pressed to find large numbers of them singing the praises of their chosen profession. You don't see to many drug dealers or moonshiners telling Americans what a noble profession they've chosen either. However, if it were legalized I'd dare say that would change. Yeah, I know Heidi Fleisch and Xavier Hollander (sp) made quite a splash in our society. Fleisch I believe ended up behind bars for a short while for running a brothel.

Prostitution in this country has and will continue to be a moral issue that our society has turned into a legal issue. It's the legislation of morality. To bolster the Victorian position taken on prostitution those opposed simply use smear tactics. (i.e., it's dirty, it's demaeaning, it preys on women, it creates sex trafficing, it spreads disease, etc. etc.)

My question to the opposers of legalized prostitution is basic. Are they creating their own outcome by banning it and turning it into a primarily black market profession?

Anju Chandel, New Delhi, India. :

Yes, prostitution should be legalised.

People have been engaging into prostitution since time immemorial but the irony of the situation has been that it is "prostitutes" - mainly women - who have been stigmatised and made to feel "ashamed" whereas it has been the men who have "paid" for enjoying those few minutes of (non-)consenting sex. This has been the worst kind of "hypocrisy" seen by the humanity.

Having said that, men have always taken huge advantage of the predicament of women engaged into this "flesh trade" and as a result we see such women getting "raw" deal in terms of violence, STDs (men refusing to wear condom), getting infected with life-threatening HIV, having to get involved with under world baddies, apart from facing the social stigma and, therefore, the need for anonymity.

By legalising prostitution, though the society will still be far from accepting prostitutes as "normal / regular" service providers, but at least it will ensure respite from the associated ills in the trade, and a safe and healthy life for prostitutes.

So, yes, prostitution should be legalised all over the world.

Cayambe :

My goodness.....of course it should be legalized. How else is a young man to learn what he needs to do for the lady and not just dump his own wad? Ahhh, at that age it is all excitement and wonder at the magic of it.

Certainly, legalize it and enjoy!!!!

Dave! :

If it was legal, it could then be regulated and life would, in theory anyways, improve for prostitutes. Life seems better for the ladies out at the Mustang ranch in Nevada then for those on the street corners of DC. That said, much like drugs, its just one of those things that should be illegal.

Reading the comments on the perception of prostitutes, it brings to mind the response of women to the movie "Pretty Woman". Most women i know love the movie and identify with the Julia Roberts character. I've have always found this rather curious. It makes me wonder just how far we are from prostitution being acceptable.

catzie :

It seems to me that the fact that there are a lot of male prostitutes, many of them young boys, is not being addressed seriously here.

Have we forgotten Jeff Gannon/Gukert for example?

I know the Bush administration would be delighted if we had.

Tom Wonacott :

BobL

While it is true that prostitution is a business transaction, there is a social stigma associated with that career choice in most societies (all?) in the world. It is not like girls sit around at a sleepover and say, "I want to be a lawyer or a doctor or a prostitute", or "I'd like you to meet my wife, she is a prostitute". It is not something that girls, or young ladies aspire to be.

Some reasons listed for a choice of prostitution from " A Feminist Overview of the Last Two Centuries":

"...Some women move into prostitution due to economic needs like poverty, emotional neediness and susceptibility to pressure from friends; few women listed only one main reason for entering into the profession (Scambler 7). Some prostitutes’ explanation for becoming involved in prostitution include “having a history of sexual abuse, having grown up without love from the significant adults in their lives, being enticed by a male of female friend or by peer pressure from a group of friends, and needing money. Those who used drugs prior to their involvement in prostitution activities mention their addiction as a major reason for trading sex for money or drugs..."

I don't think the analogy to a message therapist works, and the difference is that we (society) view a message therapist as a respectable career choice, and a prostitute is not viewed that way (morally). Although I don't believe Pat's "male dominated..." theory, a lack of self respect can be a factor in the decision to become a prostitute.


SAMI :

WP : You are just as guilty as the rest of the elite class of Washington journalists who hyped up the WMD threat and deeply in your hearts supported the War.
Now that the War has gone south every one is blaming Bush.
And you you are trying to change the subject.
Sorry there are NO MISS SAIGON's in Baghdad.

TARIK :

WP : You are just as guilty as the rest of the elite class of Washington journalists who hyped up the WMD threat and deeply in your hearts supported the War.
Now that the War has gone south every one is blaming Bush.
And you you are trying to change the subject.
Sorry there are NO MISS SAIGON's in Baghdad.

PostGlobal :

Thanks Daniel,

We're working on restoring those comments to the previous thread.

BobL-VA :

Pat,

I'm sorry I can't resist.

Your post is jibberish at best and shows a complete lack of understanding of human nature.

Prostitutes can be self-respecting people and people who use prostitutes can also be self-respecting. Prostitution isn't about respect, it's about sex. Mutual sex. One person pays for a service and another person is willing to provide it. These people rarely know each other or who each other really are as people. Respect is the last thing they are thinking about. One person wants sexual release and the other person wants money. Seems pretty respectful to me. Not all that much different then renting a massage therapist for a good back rub, except with benefits.

BobL-Va :

Shashank,

You need to get out more and meet more people.

Bartering sex for money is as old as recorded history. Making it illegal simply creates a black market for it and allows a criminal element to control it.

You may find it personally distasteful and that's your right, but to find it unacceptable for the rest of the world is not your right. I have no desire to tell you how to live and I know I don't want you telling me how I have to live.

Whether I ever choose to use the services of a prostitute is my personal choice and doesn't effect you in any way.

Shashank Shekhar (in Doha) :

I am yet to meet a person in the world, who would be proud to declare that his sister, wife or daughter is a prostitute. Or that his mother sold her body for supporting the family. Though awards have been instituted across the world to recognise "the best" in categories like engineering, science, medicine, science and technology, I am yet to comess across a term like the "Best Prostitute Award". I am sure the award will not find many takers if all -- considering the absurdities that are floating around the world-- does get instituted.
I would strongly propose the view that a lady who takes up prostitution as a profession can -- even in the most miserable of conditions take more dignified jobs at time less paying.
But certainly "the potential to grow" would be better in any other job even the most menial ones. A mental analysation would make things clear. Prostitution is a menace to any society in the world and it affects the habits and the thought process of a person.
The practice and profession of Prostitution should never be given a legal assent.

Joy Roy Choudhury, E-aryans :

Ever since the dawn of civilization, prostitution has always been the world’s oldest profession. In ancient Greece, the legendary lawmaker Solon was first credited for having set up state brothels with prices that were controlled and regulated. Prostitutes in ancient Greece like the beautiful Lais, charged exorbitant money from their clients and they also paid the taxes. So prostitution was a legalized profession. From a socio-economic point of view, since it’s a service like any other, it has to be legalized. Each professional should be given an identity card authenticating her profession in the legal way. This could perhaps curb illegal sex-trade and child prostitution. Unless we see the business side of prostitution, the fact that they dare to offer the service because they are born with a great art or power to please the greatest of all men and can afford “the philosophers occasion to discuss her in exalted terms and at great length”, we are always missing the truth of the debate on legalization of prostitution. ( N.B.“the philosophers occasion…at great length”-Plutarch in Life of Pericles, XXIV,2 )

Joy Roy Choudhury, E-aryans

Joy Roy Choudhury, E-aryans :

Ever since the dawn of civilization, prostitution has always been the world’s oldest profession. In ancient Greece, the legendary lawmaker Solon was first credited for having set up state brothels with prices that were controlled and regulated. Prostitutes in ancient Greece like the beautiful Lais, charged exorbitant money from their clients and they also paid the taxes. So prostitution was a legalized profession. From a socio-economic point of view, since it’s a service like any other, it has to be legalized. Each professional should be given an identity card authenticating her profession in the legal way. This could perhaps curb illegal sex-trade and child prostitution. Unless we see the business side of prostitution, the fact that they dare to offer the service because they are born with a great art or power to please the greatest of all men and can afford “the philosophers occasion to discuss her in exalted terms and at great length”, we are always missing the truth of the debate on legalization of prostitution. ( N.B.“the philosophers occasion…at great length”-Plutarch in Life of Pericles, XXIV,2 )

Joy Roy Choudhury, E-aryans

Mark :

Yes, prostitution should be legal and regulated.

The primary objections to legalization will come from religionists trying to impose their own religiosity on others who do not share their beliefs. If a prostitute and his or her customer have made their own choices, it's really no one else's business to come in and force their values on other people. There will always be prostitution, whether regulated or not. Why not take steps to improve public health?

RDJRDJ, Princeton, NJ :

Some things ought not to be bought.
Some things ought not to be sold.

This is possibly the "philosophical case" against sanctioned (legal) prostitution.

If you believe that sex ought to mean more than, say, just a trip to the restroom to relieve yourself or performance art, then you might think that some things ought to be given freely, rather than for profit.

In a social economy we can say that selling some things *can* run counter to the basic human dignity of an individual, and therefore should not be sold. Having no means of income and being forced to sell your body, which may be your only god-given capital/posession, is something that might be considered the line ought to be drawn on the power of the dollar, the ruppe, or the yen in society to command this or that action.

Yousuf Hashmi :


I personally do not support the idea of legalising the prostitution anywhere.but definately support legal and health assistance to all those who are envolved in this profession, as well as the strong legal measures to protect all workers being exploited by middlemen and harassment or mistreatment from the clients.

As a sailor I have witnessed brothel houses from st. Pauli to Bangkok and met with Liverpool dock girls to Japanese hostess.

Fact is that the life of prostitutes weather legal or illegal is terrible. They are being exploited, subjected to life threat of various killere diseases and no security for old age when they retire from the profession .

the life behind dim lights is not what is ethically human.

If legalisation means to protect them from law inforcement agencies then this is not sufficiant.
this is a sensitive issue and the intrest of the profession as well rest society should be safegaurded.

Shashank Shekhar (in Doha) :

I am yet to meet a person in the world, who would be proud to declare that his sister, wife or daughter is a prostitute. Or that his mother sold her body for supporting the family. Though awards have been instituted across the world to recognise "the best" in categories like engineering, science, medicine, science and technology, I am yet to comess across a term like the "Best Prostitute Award". I am sure the award will not find many takers if all -- considering the absurdities that are floating around the world-- does get instituted.
I would strongly propose the view that a lady who takes up prostitution as a profession can -- even in the most miserable of conditions take more dignified jobs at time less paying.
But certainly "the potential to grow" would be better in any other job even the most menial ones. A mental analysation would make things clear. Prostitution is a menace to any society in the world and it affects the habits and the thought process of a person.
The practice and profession of Prostitution should never be given a legal assent.

daniel :

To Postglobal from Daniel. On the last question you asked (about the economy and politics) you missed putting the last page of reader responses onsite--it cuts out on the 64th comment when reader responses actually went on for awhile after that....

Berry :

I think the right question is exactly the opposite:

Should prostitution be illegal? Why?

For prostitution to be criminalized, there should be proof that it is some form of a crime. Is prostitution a crime?

Let's look at some cases.

1.- Do I commit a crime when I pay someone for sex. Does she commit a crime when she accepts money for having sex with me? I don't think so.

2.- Do I commit a crime when I walk down the street with a woman who is know for having sex-for-money? I dont think so, although some neighbors may think this is immoral behavior.

3.- Do I commit a crime when I stop my car at a corner and start talking to the sexy woman who is standing there? I dont think so; but, again, some neighbors may think this is immoral behavior.

4.- Do I commit a crime when I beat my sex partner with a whip, or when I handcuff her to the bed? Well... if she consents...

5.- Do I commit a crime if, by effect of the beating, she loses consciousness and ends up at the hospital? I would certainly say this is a crime, regardless of money being involved or not.

6.- Do I commit a crime if I keep beating her until she dies? No answer needed.

So, I think it is clear that prostitution itself is not a crime.

Rape is a crime, either you rape a prostitute, your girlfriend, or a stranger. Murder is a crime. Forced labor is a crime. Selling human beigns is a crime. Slavery is a crime.

Thus, if prostitution is not a crime, why is it outlawn in the first place?

Observer, San Francisco, USA :

Allow me to explain some shocking facts. San Francisco is a major center of sex trafficking. Read the information in the "San Francisco Chronicle".

"SEX TRAFFICKING", "San Francisco Chronicle", 2006 October 6
------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/10/06/MNGR1LGUQ41.DTL

The "San Francisco Chronicle" reports that the following web site is at the center of the sex trafficking scandal.

myRedbook
---------
http://forum.myredbook.com/cgi-bin/dcforum2/dcboard.pl?az=list&forum=DCForumID11&conf=rb

myRedbook has been operating with impunity for 6+ years. Neither the FBI nor local police has made any attempt, whatsoever, to shutdown myRedbook and to arrest the culprits operating the web site.

myRedbook regularly promotes the prostitution at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater. You can find numerous reviews (by customers) of the sex services offered by prostitutes at the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater.

The city government of San Francisco chooses to ignore both myRedbook and the O'Farrell Theater. This climate of indifference is why prostitutes and their pimps flock to San Francisco.

What should we do?

We should legalize prostitution and regulate it. However, prostitution should not be treated as a "regular job". In much the same way, we do not treat being a soldier as a "regular job". We do and should not tell the unemployed folks, "Don't have a job? Be a prostitute or join the navy."

By regulation, I mean that the prostitutes and the employees of the brothel-like clubs (e.g., the O'Farrell Theater) should register with the police department. The police must run background checks, and all the prostitutes should be subjected to monthly HIV testing.

The city should establish a specific department overseeing and regulating the industry. A city monitor should be stationed at clubs like the O'Farrell Theater. The monitor will collect and track all the tips (which can range up to $1000 per customer) that each prostitute "earns". The monitor should deduct 10% of the earnings as a tax for the city. The monitor reports the other 90% to the Internal Revenue Service and also gives that 90% to the prostitute at the end of her work shift.

The above proposal to regulate prostitution is, of course, just a fantasy.

The officials in the government of San Francisco just do not care. They do not care about prostitution. They do not care about HIV. They do not care about the millions of dollars in unreported (or under-reported) income. That attitude of indifference is "San Francisco" values.

People in the Sun, http://peopleinthesun.blogspot.com :

Who are we kidding? In our hypocritical war for the preservation of perceived values we don't dare legalize prostitution (or drugs, for that matter). After all, why risk the wrath of the blind conservatives who are unable to see themselves as "the other" when we can let people do what they want while keeping the right to take them into custody whenever we choose and hide them in our leper-colony-like prisons.

How does a prostitute view the system? How does she view us who go online to debate the legality of her life like the Gods in Acropolis, high and mighty with our borrowed opinions based on borrowed world-views? Where were we when her father abused her? Where were we when she failed her exams? Where were we when advertisements promised her a life she would never have? Where were we when she lost her life opportunities? Where were we when she made a beautiful drawing above a beautifully written journal entry? Where were we when she wanted to learn to play an instrument? Where were we when she had a chance to be somebody? Where were we when she grew up to face a choice between making an easy five hundred a day or making $6.50 an hour in McDonald's?

Should prostitution be legal? I have a better question: How come prostitution is illegal while giving people $6.50 an hour is legal? And how long can we keep pretending we all have choices in this world?

Elisabeth Ham :

Yes, I think it should become legal in the Amsterdam way, confined to an area, regulated with required health checks, protected by law enforcement in the area. Generally Americans feel so superior and modern when, in reality, we are in a constant state of denial. Outlaw everything distasteful to some people and look the other way as it continues to happen or spend badly needed public funds to try and enforce laws to stop it. The same way we gasp in horror at the idea of legalizing marijuana yet accept liquor stores on every other corner. How about marching in protest at stem cell research but not blinking an eye at the medical clinics that destroy unwanted embryo cells daily. Clamp down on television at the inadvertant display of a bare breast or an obscene word but accept homicides with legal and lethal weapons as a godly freedom. And, of course, the big one---ABORTION. Does anybody think that by denying the practice of making safe abortions available in sterile settings by competent medical personnel will end abortions? Abortions have been with us long before Roe vs Wade and will continue--in dirty back rooms with unsterile equipment by unscrupulous people. Frequently the patient dies of bleeding before she can be be seen in an ER or develops infections that may not be treated until too late. The tail has been wagging the dog too long in this country. We should use our heads instead of kneejerk reaction.

daniel :

Should prostitution be legal anywhere?

Yes I believe prostitution should be legal--furthermore I believe it should be legal everywhere.

I base my reasoning on a variety of factors--and I uphold it provided certain ways of viewing women exist.

Prostitution has always existed, and therefore it only makes sense to legalize it and protect the workers until the day...Well, will it ever not exist? What would have to occur to keep it from existing?

I certainly am against it if prostitutes are sad women driven into it because of no other opportunities...Who wants to have sex with a sad beaten down creature?

And I am certainly against it if prostitutes are the leftovers from child abusing bastards.

What I mean by being for prostitution I mean a job opening like any other with employee protections, etc. which is not the only job women can do--on the contrary. In fact prostitution will probably be looked upon favorably only on the day when women are truly integrated in society with a variety of choices for their lives.

I suppose I just envision the day I wish existed when I was young, on the threshold of my twenties. When I was young in order for a young man to have sex he had to either tell his girlfriend he loves her (as if he is really ready to get married!) or he had to lie to her or depend on her good will or make out great due to personal charisma or something...I suppose what I am trying to say is that having sex was always something guilty unless one was actually in love...Of course these days it seems people can be "just friends" and have sex, but that just reinforces what I am trying to express: the total confusion around sex, the nonsense of it all...In fact to this day I cannot really claim to be all that knowledgeable about sex...

I really wish prostitution had been legal, clean, everyone protected and clear and with total decision concerning the process so I could have had sex with no ambiguity, no drama, no lies, no need to get married, etc.

Or is it that a young man is not supposed to have sex or he is supposed to lie to his girlfriend or depend on falling in love in order not to have to lie or come to a "just be friends" (and have sex) agreement or--?

To this day I find myself totally confused. The real question should be "Why is sex so damn difficult?" I can understand women with their biological clock, and needing to get married to raise and protect children, but...

The real question I suppose is the totality of male and female relationships, sex and childraising, etc.--A total rethinking of the whole thing--a world where childraising occurs and all have rights and opportunities and where sex is not some surreptitious and guilty process at all...

I suppose the problem is beyond whether prostitution should be legal...I hope in my defense of prostitution I have not simply been secretly fulfilling my fantasies...But then again sex is a strong drive...

I say yes to legal prostitution provided a total rearrangement of society and human relations is brought into existence...A new relationship of man to woman....

Tom wonacott, Boise, Idaho :

To PG

Yes

Vedapushpa-Bangalore-India :


Yes - Prostitution is an endemic 'problem of sorts' no doubt.

Legalizing it is a necessity as it has got accepted as a 'profession' albiet its personal demeaning connotations both as regards the professionals and the clints.

I would very much like to bring to the notice the facts of the matter as it was - say - two to three generations ago. Not a very distant past !

Even among the prosititutes there was a category - like the Geisha of Japan or the Devdasis or the Taiphe of the Indian context which was not necessarly 'sex workers'per se but a highly accomplished music and dance experts who were visited even by the kings - Pundits and commoners alike for the highly cultured and accomplished artistic fare that they were offerrring.

However - even such persons were considered by the political-economists as 'professionals' with due regulatory legislations to safeguard them as well as their clints.

The saddest thing of the present is that like any other phenomenon prostitution has also got distorted - with undue efforts on the part of the much mis-guided 'social reformers' who insist on bringing the logically secluded prostitute-community into the 'Mainstream'.

Know-not I what they mean by they mean by the 'Mainstream'? And how could that arena be free from human miseries maladies and malpractices?!

Vedapushpa - Bangalore - India

captainjohann, BANGALORE, INDIA :

Prostitution will continue whether it is legalised or not.The question is how WOMAN ARE RECRUITED for the profession?Force as in many third world countries,coercion,and buying of girls from poor parents, using drug addiction in western countries, these are the issues which merit consideration.
Now as Gay marriages are legalised young school boys are being forced into sodomy.
Prostitution SHOULD BE LEGALISED AS IT BREEDS ONLY CORRUPTION BUT WITH THE PROVISO that those WHO INITIATE THESE WOMAN INTO PROSTITUTION SHOULD BE PUNISHED FOR TRAFFICKING OF WOMAN and ALSO THOSE WHO DO PIMPING AND RUNNING BROTHELS. THE woman AND MEN who have sex should be looked upon as the victims of woman trafficking.

Dave in Phoenix :

Private consenting adult prostitution is legal in almost all the world except the U.S. with no significant negative issues.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with children, or forced trafficking.

When legal there is less opportunity for pimps and organized crime when there is no crime.

Private sexwork provides many benefits to a culture, a safe avenue for sexual release, exploring intimacy skills, sex for those that are disabled, not in relationships or who admit the natural human desire for sexual variety.

It modifies the biblical principals where men could have as many wives, concubines, and "common" prostitutes and it was never wrong. Men owned their wives and concubines. Today men don't own their women and women have the right to choose their own partners (not based on marriage by family deal where in biblical times the girl often age 13.5 never met her husband till the wedding day).

Today women should be able to choose sexwork as a legitimate choice without the stupid legal issues we have in the U.S. vs the rest of the world.

This is NOT about public nuisance street hookers which are illegal in almost all the world very good reasons. This is about in private consenting adults in bedrooms laws have no place in.

Dave in Phoenix
sexwork.com
libchrist.com
sexworkcanada.com
lovetouch.info

Tracy Quan :

We need to respect the needs and rights of PROSTITUTES, too.

By the way, prostitution itself is not against the law in most Western countries. The US is out of step with its closest neighbors, and with the West. In Canada, Mexico, UK and continental Europe, selling sex is not a crime -- it is regulated by laws which do make it hard to function as a prostitute. But the actual exchange of sex for money is not itself a crime. This makes a difference in the daily lives of prostitutes and, sometimes, in our working conditions. I recommend a visit to the Network of Sex Work Projects website. This is an NGO working for sex workers' human rights all over the world.

yknot. :

That may be an issue worthy of discussion and resolution by the UN.

The chances of that issue being resolved, given the UN's past performances and accomplishments are rather poor.

The most appropriate responses should be made by those individuals who are or plan to engage in such activities.

At the present the Netherlands {Holland] has allowed the legal establishment of a political party whose primary objective is to legalise sexual acts between adults and minors.

According to news media reports brothels in Israel import young women from Eastern European states.

What is bizarre is that the WP has determined that the issue of whether "prostitution should be allowed ANYWHERE" warrants consideration at a time when the cost of waging a promised "cakewalk" in Iraq is costing American taxpayers some $8 billion a month. That is in addition to the several thousand young Americans dead or crippled for life and the destruction and carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan promoted by a cabal of neocons.

Come to think of it the issue and the timing by the WP of "Should prostitution be legal anywhere" is likely raised by the same cabal in order to make the average American forget about the insanity of bringing democracy to Iraq under the guise of looking for weapons of mass destruction.

Shiloh :

I have the highest respect for a woman who chooses prostitution as her profession. I have nothing but disdain for those who would impute their mores on another.

Pat :

Prostitution is already legal in Nye County, Nevada.

Prostitution is a social issue that needs to be addressed with a male dominated society using any tools necessary to control the lives of others for the staisfaction of their own personal needs and desires. lack of respect.

Respect women and prostitution will disappear just as quickly as you can well up repsect for women.


Respect yourself and you will not find the desire to do things with women other than your own wife.

Respect your children and you will not sexually abuse other peoples children.

This is about self respect. No self respecting human being woiuld attempt to rent another human being for any purposes.

A little respect can go a LONG way.

Anthony Adragna :

As a matter of policy, I think the answer is clear: YES! Not only has prohibition not worked, but has had much worse effect than crusaders against social ills might want to admit. Indeed, every attempt at outlawing vice has merely driven the conduct undergound, where various forms of thugs regulate the conduct to their own ends.

I have been to countries where prostitution is legal and regulated -- even availed myself of the services. I noted at the time several benefits of the status in those jurusdictions: The "working girls" tended to be healthier than prostitutes here in the U.S.(mandatory medical inspections), and crime ancillary to prostitution seemed nowhere near the levels that we see in the U.S.. How can this be bad?

Of course, repealling prohibitive statutes in favour of reasonable regulation is not the same thing as condoning or promoting the conduct. You can argue that some act is bad, immoral, sinful without needing go so far as to ban that act. You can agree to regulate some act without agreeing that the act is good.

And legalising prostitution doesn't mean that you've given up the fight against those who force women -- and young girls & boys -- into sexual bondage. You can prosecute slavery and allow truly voluntary conduct at the same time.

The only pro-legalisation argument I don't cotton to is that one citing positive tax revenue impacts -- much seen in the debate over legalised gambling. When government starts depending on vice in order to balance the books the public fisc is on very bad ground.

FYI, I am not under the influence of any illicit drugs at the moment, but that another debate... or is it?

RobGreg :

Frankly we are all prostitues in some way or another. Yes, prostitution should be legal. our society just have this extreme burden over our heads when it comes to dealing with sexuality in any form. Reading recently about shia and sunni muslim customs of temporary or secondary marriages of convenience is another form of prostitution. if this is a male dominated world give women every right to earn a living. Many women prostitute themselves in ways we deem legal now for survival.

D. Hodara - Monte-Carlo :

Prostitution has and will always exist. By legalizing it, it will give the women, who decide to prostitute themselves, a legal statute with protection from the "protectors" who try to exploit them and the possibitilty to control their life and at any time make a decision to stop. The legalization has to be very clear and tighttly regulated.

Salamon :

My vote is for legalization of prostitution for the following reasons:
1., you can not stop it under legal means
2., would enable better control of STD-s
3., is LEGAL in many Cases all over the world: KNOWN AS MISTRESS /High priced call girls
4., Without doubt physical abuse and drug addiction could be greatly reduced.
5., There are some males and females who actually enjoy and like being prostitutes.
6., Finally if due to economic/psychological reasons that a girl/boy decides to "live on the Street" then it is better that legal prottection is availble to them, rather then the criminal leaching they face in the "UNREGULATED" zoo of slums [or near slums]

peledad :

The world's oldest profession will continue with or without official consent. Legalizing and controlling it might improve the health problems associated with it, like in the Netherlands. - The main objections come from non-realists and the religionists, some of whom turn out to have engaged in the practice even in recent times, while actively preaching against it: both heterosexual and homosexual encounters. Church leaders who preach morality have been found guilty of it. Why deceive ourselves and fall off the moral high horse?
Legalize it, may be even tax it to pay for the health control activities.
Hypocrisy lives, especially in the US, where our leaders lie routinely and violate their professed moral beliefs for the sake of expediency.

john kershaw :

Yes legalize it. that way it could better controled with regards to the curtailing of Venerial Diseases. But you would need to be watchful that the Pimps not get control of the legislatures to get back their so called "Fair Share" as they would be denied a source of income. that may end up putting them on the welfare rolls-someone has to pay for their pimpmobile Beemers and Cads.
All the Girl/Guy has to do is go into the National Health Service office on a weekly basis to have his/her check up and licence renewed by paying a set Fee. Somewhere in the icinity of 30-45% of their average weekly earnings. This may pase a problem in that there would be reqwuired that an office be established for the policing of this system. that would entail another inept government office.
Better yet just leave it as it is and turn a blind eye to it insofar as the law is concerned. Just let the Religious Zealots deal with it as they see fit. Perhaps Public Stoning of the Prossie and the John.

Shiloh :

Zathras said "...the legal system is a weak remedy for societal illnesses."

I submit that it is the only remedy. The alternative, religion based laws, as in the 10
Commandments or Sharia law, have done little to correct those societal illnesses. They continue and are part of the nature of the animal.

Anything else is Uptopian.

highwayscribery, Los Angeles, http://highwayscribery.blogspot.com :

highwayscribery is anarcho-syndicalist in philosphical bent and in answering this question turns to the words of Federica Montseny, an anarchist militant in '30s Spain, and Secretary of Health in the Popular Front Government of 1937: "We can never do away with prostitution by decree given the moral, social, and economic roots of the problem. Prostitution will be abolished in that moment when sexual relations are liberated, in that moment when the woman has a profession in a social reality that ensures her well-being and that of her children, in that moment when society is organized so that not a single being sits out on its margins. With our libertarian houes of prostitution the society creates an instrument which begins to guarantee life and the right to it, for all human beings."

"Escrits Politcs" (1979)

Noah Smith :

For almost 3 years, I lived in Japan, a country where prostitution is so widespread that it is difficult if not impossible to find a man who has never visited a prostitute. Moreover, most middle-aged men there have sex with prostitutes far more than with their wives, and outings to brothels (and, even more commonly, to bars where escort-like "hostesses" provide all services of prostitution short of sex) are paid for by company expense accounts in order to encourage male worker bonding.

As anyone who has studied Japan will know, that country is one of the worst in the developed world in terms of gender equality. I believe that widespread prostitution is a large part of the problem.

* By pulling fathers away from their families, Japan's prostitution culture deprives young girls and boys of positive male role models, and forces women to do all of the housework themselves. The cycle of inequality thus perpetuates itself.

* Japanese men who visit prostitutes learn to see women as servile sex objects, whose purpose is to cater to male whims in exchange for small amounts of money; this is how many of them end up treating their wives, mothers, girlfriends, and even daughters.

* Prostitution is so widespread and so lucrative that any young, independent girl who wants to live on her own is sorely tempted to go into prostitution. Once she enters that world, however, her chance for employment in other sectors plummets, and she will typically end up being forced to get married once she passes age 30 - usually not to the best of husbands, either.

* With prostitutes so available and such little stigma attached to the act of hiring one, Japanese men have little incentive to treat their wives or girlfriends with kindness and decency; if denied sex, they can simply go to a prostitute with no negative consequences.

Thus, after seeing the very real harm that widespread prostitution can do to the very fabric of a society, I have to override my libertarian instincts and say that prostitution should be illegal.

kyprios :

When I was growing up in Cyprus, prostitution was legal with certain streets in the capital designated as prostitution alley. Many of my High School classmates frequented that alley. They knew that they had to use condoms, something that was required by the prostitutes.
Under strict governmant regulations I think that prostitution should be legalized.

Zathras :

No. But the legal system is a weak remedy for societal illnesses. Prostitution, drug use, public drunkeness and gambling can have their impact throughout society limited through legal sanctions, but a society with declining morals is going to have plenty of all of these things regardless.

BobL-VA :

Absolutely. Having said that the whacko's will come crawling out of the walls crying exploitation, disease and how the entire western civilization will crumble if we allow prostitution. Of course with the exception of the disease issue western civilization did quite well when prostitution was legal. The disease issue would be much less of an issue if the profession were legalized and regulated.

Does anyone know if the State of Nevada has sunk back into the depths of depravity because prostitution is legal there? Are they still allowed to have a State Government, collect taxes, have senators and the like?

Let's call it the way it is, legalized prostitution upsets people's personal morality and that's a terrible reason to ban it. (Please no underage responses to this post. I assume in legalized prostitution the parties have to be a minimum of 18 years old)

kelkit :

Absolutely, regulate it so it is fair and safe.

David :

Philospohically, I have nothing against prostitution. Yet, I once lived in a neighborhood in Hartford, CT where prostitutes cruised the sidewalks around our homes looking for Johns. The noise and risk of violence contributed the breakdown of the area.

However, I think it's better to spend time developing a policy to control its location than the thoroughly waste our time and resources trying to eradicate the planet's oldest profession.

Pat R. :

Prostitution cannot afford to be legal given its long history of being associated with hate crimes against women where trafficking and coercive sex is the pattern of violence against women.

The stigma of prostitution arises from the presumption of women as property for women to do with what they want. That is sexual Darwinism that is unacceptable in a world where equal rights has validity, and invalidates the possibility that the "oldest profession" is work.

The degree of coercion involved in it shows that it is not work, but enslavement of women merely because males are stronger, and can use that strength against women.

Prostitution as work means that women can choose their clients, and not be forced to serve, or service them. As presently practiced, the economic disadvantage of women shows that it is through economic disparity, and the poverty of women that entices them to prostitution, and keeps them there. Force and economic enslavement to produce sexual enslavement is not a profession, and cannot be called work - for women or for men.

Shiloh :

The oldest profession will continue with or without legalization. Legalized prostitution at least offer the protection of regulation, including health inspections and treatment for veneral diseases. My military experience as an Army medic in Korea showed me how rampant VD was at the time. In an effort to curb the spread, medical teams would visit known houses of prostitution to treat the prostitutes in an effort to curtail the extremely high rate of infection among soldiers. Yes, legalized and regulated prostitution is a valid option for the control of disease.

MikeB :

Good heavens NO! Time and again we read about the long term psychological harm done to men and women who even willingly engage in this behavior. It coarsens society, too, and causes some to think of people, human being as a mere commodity. The practice is also ripe for abuse, by the desperately poor forced to sell themselves to eat or feed their children, by the addicted to feed their habit, and by the self loathing as a form of living suicide.

Robert Rose :

Legal? No.

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