Why Should We Make Prostitution Legal
However, the legalization of prostitution has had positive benefits for sex workers across Europe. The best-known country that has legalized prostitution is the Netherlands, where sex work has been legal for nearly two decades. Taking the industry out of the black market and imposing strict regulations has improved the safety of sex workers. Brothels must obtain and renew safety and health licenses to operate, and street prostitution is legal and highly regulated in places like the Red Light District. Not only does sex work become safer when regulated, but legalization also helps eliminate the black market in prostitution and make women safer overall. In addition, sex workers are not labeled criminals, so they have better access to the legal system and are encouraged to report behaviours that pose a danger to themselves and other women in the industry. Finally, the legalization of sex work will bring many other positive externalities, including tax revenues, the reduction of sexually transmitted diseases, and the redistribution of law enforcement resources. The sexual exploitation of children is a serious problem that Congress should address. The EARN IT Act is not a solution to this problem. Legalized workers in America get rights such as a minimum wage, non-discrimination, and a safe work environment.
Since prostitutes do not work legally, none of these rights are granted to them. Prostitution does not allow the general public to take advantage of these pretexts. On the contrary, the industry is honest about how sex and money are directly related. And for many people, it`s an uncomfortable idea. It is even more uncomfortable for some people to believe that women should have control over their bodies that would allow them to voluntarily engage in prostitution; You cannot afford to believe that women would choose such a profession. But instead of acknowledging this reality, those who oppose the legalization of prostitution advance with arguments about concern for women`s safety. They don`t realize that criminalizing prostitution doesn`t help sex workers, and their arguments lead to legislation that harms women while operating under the morally motivated pretext of wanting to protect them. Prosecutors and police need to change the way sex workers interact with the criminal justice system and promote sex workers` access to justice.
Sex workers aren`t always part of the conversation about police brutality, but they should be. Police routinely attack sex workers or people they believe to be sex workers, such as trans women of color. The police usually get away with it because sex workers fear arrest if they file a complaint. If we lived in a world that did not criminalize sex work, sex workers could better protect themselves and seek justice when they are hurt. Prostitution is such a little-spoken taboo subject that most people would not bat an eyelid if they were told that the vast majority of prostitutes have been abused. According to Prostitutes Education Network, an advocacy group for former sex workers, 70 percent of prostitutes reported being raped at some point in their careers. Whether they are clients, pimps, strangers and even police officers, prostitutes are constantly at the mercy of others. In addition to the horrors of being hurt so violently, the real atrocity lies in the inability of prostitutes to speak for themselves, even to try to obtain any form of justice. Instead of seeing a rapist locked up, a prostitute would be charged with prostitution, as well as possible fines and prison sentences. The illegal nature of prostitution not only endangers the lives and safety of sex workers, but also encourages sex trafficking and underage exploitation, which ultimately harms communities as a whole. Decriminalization reflects changing social and moral perspectives. A society may come to the conclusion that an act is not harmful, that it should no longer be criminalized, or that it is not an issue that needs to be addressed by the criminal justice system.
Examples of issues that have changed views on crime over time in different societies and countries include: In addition, legalizing sex work would not only protect millions of prostitutes around the world, but also help make communities safer. Given that prostitution has been driven underground in this way, it is not surprising that other crimes are often surrounded by it and fester. The decriminalization of prostitution would reduce both sex trafficking and marginal exploitation. In addition, the legalization of prostitution would help reduce the incidence of rape. A study by the Independent Institute, a public policy research and education organization, estimated that if prostitution were legalized, the rate of rape would decrease by about 25 percent, a decrease of about 25,000 rapes per year. This is reflected in crime statistics for Nevada counties of Lyon, Douglas, Carson City and Elko, the first two of which have banned brothels and prostitution. In 2016, the FBI found that there were three reported rape cases in Carson City, where prostitution is legal, compared to 15 cases reported in neighboring Lyon County. Similarly, no rapes were reported in Elko County, home to several downtown brothels, a number that stands in stark contrast to the 11 rapes reported in Douglas County. Based on data and support cases related to sex work and sexual assault, legalizing prostitution would have a positive impact on reducing violent crime rates in society, thereby making communities safer overall. As Cornell law professor Sherry Colb wrote, “Prostitution should not be a crime. Prostitutes do not commit an inherently harmful act. Although the spread of disease and other disadvantages are possible in the practice of prostitution, criminalization is a sure way to exacerbate these effects rather than combat them.
“The reason people are uncomfortable listening to sex workers talk about legalizing prostitution has nothing to do with concern for women`s health and safety. If that were the real concern, prostitution would now be legal in the United States. The reason people don`t agree with legalizing prostitution is because prostitution is considered amoral because it involves (mostly) women selling their bodies for financial gain. However, telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies does not come from a place of morality: it comes from a place of control. So why is the reaction to such a dangerous industry to push it further underground away from social resources and legal protection? Critics of the decriminalization of prostitution often point to the increase in reports of human trafficking in countries that have legalized prostitution, such as Germany. However, it is entirely possible that this is because people have finally started to see human trafficking and report it in greater numbers. In addition, a Harvard study on the subject noted that “the likely negative impact of legalized prostitution on the influx of human trafficking into a country could help those advocating for the prohibition of prostitution, thereby reducing the flow of human trafficking. However, such reasoning overlooks the potential benefits that legalizing prostitution could have for workers in the industry. There is evidence that decriminalization also improves the environment for non-sex workers.
When Rhode Island decriminalized sex work for six years, from 2003 to 2009, a UCLA study found a dramatic decline in sexually transmitted diseases and rape. The study`s authors noted that “decriminalization could potentially have great social benefits for the general population – not just sex market participants.” Illegal street prostitutes could be pressured by pimps and clients to stop using condoms. But states that legalize prostitution can force sex workers to use condoms and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Countries like New Zealand, which have decriminalized all acts of prostitution, seem to have better luck in terms of the well-being of sex workers, perhaps because they have focused on creating laws that “protect the human rights of sex workers and protect them from exploitation.” While some proponents argue that prostitutes are victims of clients and pimps, sex work can be a victimless crime when women sell their bodies on their own. (Also, it makes no sense to arrest sex workers if they are their own “victims.”) Making sex work a crime can drive prostitutes underground and make them less likely to engage in safe sex and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Dershowitz also told MSNBC`s Michael Smerconish, “Every hour spent looking for prostitution is an hour that could have been spent pursuing terrorists and persecuting people who become victims.” We should listen to them and involve them in the reforms, because they are the ones who will be affected. It is a crazy dream to imagine a world where prostitution does not exist. Societies have tried for centuries to eradicate it through various laws, prohibitions and sanctions, all of which have failed. Sex work is and always will be part of human society.
Legalizing prostitution would protect vulnerable members of our communities, help reduce sex trafficking, and reduce violent crimes such as rape and sexual assault. But to move forward, the very first step had to be to destigmatize prostitution. Prostitution must stop being the punchline of jokes, but become a matter of education and advocacy. Starting with destigmatization and legalization, it`s time to recognize the reality that prostitutes don`t need to be saved. They need rights. An April 2012 study by the Urban Justice Center found that New York City police officers had actually used women`s condoms as evidence in criminal prostitution cases against them. It is easy to imagine how this practice could deter sex workers from wearing protection.