The principle of sex for money is horrifying to many. But why should something that is completely consensual, and done in private, be banned? However vile prostitutes’ activities may be, their actions are not directly affecting anyone who chooses not to be involved (except maybe the hotel maid the following morning). But as usual, Washington bureaucrats feel the need to get in people’s private business by banning consensual sex for money.
Why does it matter what people do in private if others are not affected?
Prohibition never works. For instance, alcohol consumption increased sharply during Prohibition in the 1920s. Other effects of this ban: alcohol became more dangerous to consume, crime increased, and prisons became very overcrowded. When something is banned, its use rarely decreases significantly, and a black market is always created.
Prohibition didn’t work with alcohol, and it doesn’t work with prostitution.
The laws banning prostitution are well intended. Would you want your daughter being a sex worker? Your sister? Of course not. But the unintended consequences of these laws are worse than the problems they attempt to solve. Prostitutes currently must operate in the shadows of society, which places them in jeopardy. Anonymity allows dangerous Johns to abuse the women (remember the Craigslist killer?), often with no consequences. Bringing both the prostitute and the John out of the dark reduces the likelihood of dangerous clients. Another benefit of transparency: prostitutes could advertise their services freely, eliminating the pimp from the equation. And just think how adorable those new billboards would be!
Prostitution legalization would also reduce the risk of STD transmission if the state mandated disease exams for sex workers. As it stands now, prostitutes with STDs, who may not even be aware that they are infected, can spread disease rapidly and repeatedly.
Most people are opposed to prostitution legalization because they think it is immoral. This is understandable, but just because something is immoral does not mean it should be illegal (with the possible exception of renewing Keeping up with the Kardashians for another season). Cruelty is immoral, but we can’t pass laws outlawing every cruel behavior. We simply cannot ban everything we don’t like.
But what is morally wrong with a consensual woman of age using her body to make money? Strip clubs are everywhere, and they allow women to make a living exploiting their own bodies. And porn stars make a good living having sex for money- and we’re okay with that because there is a camera in the room. The hypocrisy is laughable.
In Amsterdam, prostitution has been recognized as a legal profession since 1988. Despite prostitution legalization, the violent crime rate in Amsterdam is far lower than that of New York City. The Dutch believe that regulating the sex industry helps reduce human trafficking, forced prostitution, and exploitation of children. Dutch prostitutes pay taxes on their income, and get tested for STDs regularly. The city of Amsterdam has been so pleased with the system that in 2007, a bronze statue memorializing “working women” was erected (pun intended).
In the US, Nevada is the only state that allows regulated brothels. Moonlite BunnyRanch in Mound House, NV, is one of the legal brothels in the state. So far, it has been a tremendous success. The women who work there may set their own wages transparently, and are regularly checked for STDs. HBO has even turned the BunnyRanch into a popular reality television show. Most of the female workers say they love their job, and wouldn’t want to do anything else. On a side note, I wonder if they’re given a mandatory retirement age. If not, the situation could get really ugly at the BunnyRanch.
Does anyone truly believe that outlawing the oldest profession in the world makes it less prevalent?
Prostitution legalization would not ruin our culture. It would only make the sex industry, and society as a whole, safer and more transparent.