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

This legalization would give people the right to sell their bodies for money, something that comes with many dangers

Aspen Bingham, Content Editor

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.