Why Prostitution Should Not Be Legal

Emily Rothman, an associate professor of health sciences and an expert on sexual abuse and violence, says the criminalization and legalization of commercial sex presents ethical pitfalls, as it can “take responsibility and burden” sellers and put vulnerable people at increased risk of harm. The German experience shows that legalized prostitution does not work. Women are abused hour after hour in huge mega-brothels around German cities. Human trafficking gangs continue to sell girls from Eastern Europe, South America and Africa for sexual slavery. The industry is still unregulated and under-monitored. It encourages corruption, drugs and other crimes. A report by Germany`s Family Ministry noted that a decade of legalization had brought “no real measurable improvement in social protection for prostitutes,” nor “solid evidence” that the law had reduced crime. The opposing abolitionist position – defended by feminists, including myself, and all the survivors of sex trafficking I interviewed – is that prostitution is inherently abusive and a cause and consequence of women`s inequality. There is no way to make it safe, and it should be possible to eradicate it.

Abolitionists reject the disinfectant description of “sex worker” and consider prostitution a form of violence in a neoliberal world where human flesh is seen as a commodity, like a hamburger. Instead of forcing sex workers to run their businesses in unregulated black markets where their lives are in danger, all with the mislabeled purpose of “saving” women, take concrete steps to save women. Legalize prostitution, impose strict regulations, and put in place comprehensive support systems that allow sex workers to do their jobs safely. Hsiang and Sekar`s study proves a broader point: if legalization changes the nature of supply and demand, politics cannot lead to an intentional reduction in illegal production. It goes without saying that ivory trafficking and prostitution are very different practices. However, the relevant question for eradicating exploitative suppliers is only to what extent the market dynamics between the two industries are comparable. And there seem to be notable similarities. Similarly, Denmark`s official figures support the idea of a significant increase in demand after the creation of a legal market. Estimates by the Danish Social Services Agency indicate that after the legalization of prostitution in 1999, the number of prostitutes increased by more than 40 per cent between 2002 and 2009, which would correspond to a significant increase in demand. In neighbouring Sweden, where the purchase of sexual services was criminalised in 1999 (but the sale of sexual services remained legal), a comparable increase in prostitution was not observed. The desire to protect women from sexual abuse will always be valid, and if anything is a desire that should be more prevalent in the United States.

What is dishonest is the rejection of legalized sex work on grounds that claim to be women`s safety, but actually stem from a place of discomfort towards women who openly engage in sexual interactions for financial gain. If you are not comfortable with the idea of women having sex for money, then you should also have a problem with pornography, exotic dances, and dating for money. If you don`t have a problem with all these socially accepted practices, but a problem with prostitution because it is “morally questionable,” then you have lost your right to any forum where decisions about women`s safety and rights are made. Prostitution is a sensitive issue in the United States. Often, arguments against prostitution focus on concerns about women`s health and safety, and these concerns are not unfounded. Prostitution is an incredibly dangerous profession for the (mostly) women involved; Sexual assault, forced drug abuse, physical violence and death are common in the industry. For women working in this field, it is often very difficult to get help or get out of it. Many sex workers were trafficked for sex at a very young age and lack the resources to escape forced prostitution, or voluntarily started as sex workers, only to become victims of sex trafficking later. Because prostitution is illegal in most places in the United States, there are few legal protections for prostitutes. Many fear that seeking help will only lead to arrest, and many of those who seek help are arrested and then have to contend with the stigma of a criminal record as they try to reintegrate into society. “It is argued that legalizing or decriminalizing sex work is beneficial in containing the HIV epidemic because it allows governments to monitor and regulate sex trafficking. In this way, they can ensure that sex workers are empowered to negotiate condom use, improve their access to public services, and protect them from violence and abuse.

Proponents of decriminalization, including many liberals and some feminists, view prostitution as work, arguing that “sex workers” can be protected by unions and health and safety measures. Decriminalizing the sale of sexual services – so that only buyers break the law – means that prostitutes themselves are not punished. But even when buying sex alone is a crime, prostituted women are forced to take risks. For me, decriminalizing the sex trade means legalizing Propels` death. Although girls and women enter the sex trade due to various external factors, the practice violates human dignity, breaks up families and runs counter to human development. Many other alternatives can be mentioned, such as expanding education and training, employable training, working on women`s property rights, consolidating ethical education, improving empathy and partnership between nations, communities and different sectors, presenting different survival strategies) may be some of the solutions that will change women`s lives.