Sarah Post

Prostitution is viewed in many different lights.

The Legalization of Prostitution (Opinion)

Some countries have legalized prostitution, but it remains against the law in most of the U.S.

February 13, 2023

Legalizing prostitution would bring vulnerable citizens closer to safety and stability (Opinion)

The legalization of prostitution is a necessity in order to achieve safety for many vulnerable groups of people.

The lifestyle of a full service sex worker is no doubt a high risk and considerably more dangerous one when compared to other professions and (often) socioeconomic classes. It’s even more concerning when considering that the demographics that make up this profession are already considered high risk, being that they are often women and transgender individuals. The NIH said that prostituted females are “60 to 100 times more likely to be murdered then non prostitute females”.

30% of sex workers have reported not calling 911 to report a crime or violent offense because of fear of drawing police attention towards themselves. This fear of law enforcement is ultimately harmful when many prostitutes have experienced being assaulted or beaten by clients.

The stigma and judgment surrounding sex workers also serves to discredit witness accounts and moral veracity — many prostitutes are not believed or valued by members of law enforcement or even medical professionals. This has created an environment where prostitutes have no outreach or support.

Stigma also exacerbates a victim blaming mindset. Some harbor the belief that prostitutes can’t be raped, an astonishingly incorrect fact when 68% of prostitutes report being raped.

Normalization of the industry implements mandated health and safety regulations such as running water, access to condoms, and fire escape, all of which reduce possible accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Workers are also allowed to refuse service.

Legalizing prostitution in order to provide regulation and oversight would also serve to provide health insurance and would create taxable income.

Imagine working a high risk job to create and sustain a living while not being protected under law, not being offered healthcare or insurance.

The taxes that are collected from prostitution would also keep the government from needing to impose new taxes due to a need for more money in the federal budget. The San Diego Union Tribune expressed, “The Central Bureau of Statistics estimates Amsterdam prostitution generates €660 million ($865 million) in annual turnover.” This is just a fraction of all prostitutes in the Netherlands, a country of 16 million, in comparison to the U.S., a country of 330 million.

This decriminalization is already taking effect in countries like the Netherlands, where the Dutch government took a realistic approach and passed a bill in 2000 that abolished a ban on brothels, saying their establishment did not affect public life. This provided sex workers the same status as other workers, including taxed income and social security.

The monetary benefits don’t just come from the more taxable income, it would free up law enforcement too. As said by the Los Angeles Times, “A prostitution arrest on average costs around $2,000.”

Time. Energy. Taxes. Resources. All devoted to punishing and shaming one another.

Allowing stable working conditions and legal oversight would open a doorway for many of those who no longer want to partake in prostitution as well.

Morally, I won’t deny that prostitution lives in a foggy gray area. But so does smoking, drinking, and wearing certain types of clothing. The bottom line is that your lifestyle might not be for everyone, but that’s exactly what makes it your life. You can choose not to partake in activities you don’t agree with.

Individual morality is not worth risking the safety and livelihood of consenting Americans trying to achieve a the lifestyle they find most sustainable.

Legalization would not only benefit the everyday citizen (cutting the need for more taxes and saving money, energy, and resources for law enforcement). But it would also provide ethical and safe working conditions and social environments for those in the industry.

About the Writer
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Sarah Post, Writer

Sarah Post is a Senior who enjoys art and music. She’s involved with golf and guitar, and is looking forward to finding her journalistic voice this year.

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Legalizing prostitution in the U.S. would be extremely problematic (Opinion)

Prostitution is a type of sexual exploitation that objectifies and dehumanizes women.

Many places in the world have begun legalizing prostitution. It has been legalized in some European countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Greece, and Austria.

If legalization of prostitution were to happen in the United States, it would be very problematic.

The reality is, prostitution is a choice, not a necessity. According to CNBC, there are currently 11 million open jobs in America. Many of these jobs that don’t even require a high school diploma. Some of these job opportunities include restaurant service, construction, delivery, and customer service.

With legalizing prostitution there comes infinite risks — risks that put the safety, health, and happiness of prostitutes at jeopardy. Fellow human beings that are being put into extremely harmful and degrading positions.

Legalizing prostitution wouldn’t create a safer environment for prostitutes, it would in fact create the exact opposite. This detrimental choice would create a surge of trafficking, putting countless lives at risk. In other countries where prostitution has been legalized, the rates of human trafficking have gone up tremendously, and the numbers are even more shocking when compared to countries where prostitution is prohibited.

In 2013 the U.S. State Department estimated that there are 27 million victims worldwide trafficked for forced labor or commercial sex exploitation.

The prostitution industry is incredibly violent, and legalizing prostitution would only feed into the violence prostitutes face everyday. Legalizing prostitution would not stop this abuse. Harassers and rapists will still profit from abusing their victims, except this time it will be in legalized facilities and even regulated by the government itself.

It has also been estimated that women involved in street prostitution are 60 to 100 times more likely to be murdered than non prostitute females. The industry is endlessly dangerous.

In addition to murder rates, prostitutes are at a high risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Legalizing prostitution would only increase the amount and spread of these diseases.

For the first time since 2006, STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are rising. The CDC estimates a total of 110 million infections and nearly 20 million new infections annually. As a sex worker, the risk of getting an STI is significantly higher due to engagement in unsafe sexual activity. 

When the enforcement of a condom policy is left up to the prostitutes themselves and extra money is offered, there is still so much pressure on women. One woman from IPL said, “‘I’d be one of those liars if I said, oh I always used a condom.’ If there was extra money coming in, then the condom would be out the window. I was looking for the extra money.”

In addition to higher rates of STDs and STIs, prostitutes often are unaware of infection statuses. This not only puts the prostitute at risk, but puts every one of their sexual partners at risk as well. 

It could be argued that by not legalizing prostitution, the government is controlling women’s bodies. However, I believe there is a large difference between controlling someone’s body and looking out for the safety and wellbeing of an individual. For example, we have regulations on abortions and seatbelts. These regulations are in place for the safety the individual.

There are many resources available for those who are struggling or feel stuck in the sex industry. These include shelters and hotlines.

Legalizing prostitution is stating that it’s okay to sell your body for money, and in this capacity, that is unsafe. Prostitution should be prohibited. Legalizing prostitution would bring more harm than good.

About the Writer
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Aspen Bingham, Writer

Aspen Bingham is a sophomore. She enjoys dancing, listening to music and sleeping. She is involved with dance. She is looking forward to writing new stories this year.

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