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

The U.S. would be able to regulate environments, and vulnerable citizens would be protected under the law

Sarah Post, Writer

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.