should it be legal ?
There are approximately forty-million active prostitutes across the nation (Dye 1). I, like you, hear the horror stories of women in prostitution, but I question if some of it is because of the environment in which the business must be conducted since it is illegal. Why is prostitution illegal? Lysander Spooner wrote, “Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself of his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another.” According to that statement, prostitution is not a crime but a vice. Vices are not illegal, so therefore, I think we should legalize prostitution in Florida. Decriminalizing this service would save the tax payers money, earn the government money and provide a safer place for coitus between two consenting adults.
Prostitution is known as the world’s oldest profession; it dates back as far as the Biblical times. In 19911 the US Supreme Court ruled that regulating prostitution was up to the state (ProCon.org). According to Florida State Statue first time offenders of prostitution are charged with second degree misdemeanor and can spend up to sixty (60) days in jail. These arrests include men, women, and customers, also known as johns (Fig.1).
Fig. 1 Statistics for American Citizens Arrested for Prostitution. Dye, Eric. A Look At Prostitution Statistics. 2012. Graph. Findingjustice.org. 12 Oct 2012. Web. 1 Dec 2014.
Sting operations are set up to arrest the prostitute for soliciting sex and the john, the person paying for the sex, and this expends many man hours of police work along with the equipment needed to prove their case. Man hours involve police officers posing as prostitutes, setting up the audio and video equipment in the room(s) being used for the sting operation, plain clothed officers standing by to make the arrest after the exchange of money happens and attending court. And for what, a few arrests to place someone who is selling what they own in an over- crowded correctional facility. Obviously, by decriminalizing prostitution, some of the over-crowding of correctional facilities would be alleviated because prostitution and johns are no longer being arrested. Decriminalizing prostitution would allow officers of the law to focus on heinous crimes instead of a person selling what they own, or arresting someone fulfilling a fantasy.
Legal prostitution would also bring tax revenue in. A legitimate business w2ould be established, paying legitimate employees who in turn will be paying into social security, FICA, and Medicaid. Licensing the prostitute to work verifies his or her citizenship, age and this gives the health department permission to test for drugs and sexually transmitted diseases. With the licensing of prostitutes who work in legitimate brothels, prosecution could be reserved for those who choose to use the prostitute and the prostitute who does not want to become a legal working employee (Conye,10).
With the health department involved in licensing the prostitute, the concerns with the spreading of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) could actually be dealt with more easily. Part of the conditions to opening a brothel would be regular disease testing of the employees, mandatory condom use, and the licensing of each prostitute the employer hires. With the prostitutes no longer having to worry about being arrested and located in a central place, disease testing and treatment would be easier to facilitate. According to Ronald Weitzer, a professor at George Washington University who is currently doing research on the legal prostitution system “sexually transmitted diseases are fairly rare among call girls, escorts and women who work in the brothels (Weitzer,29).
An argument to legalizing prostitution is the higher demand for human trafficking. A study has shown that if a prostitute is licensed and remains in one area, it actually reduces the demand for trafficked prostitutes (Cho, sec 7). This is due in part to an intimacy that is formed between the customer and the prostitute who works in a brothel; called the “girlfriend experience” (Weitzner, 30). In short, there is an emotional bond that forms between the two, causing the client to want to return to the same prostitute instead of a new prostitute.
Safety is always a concern for prostitutes. Part of the horror stories that are told by prostitutes are them being physically abused by their pimp. A pimp is a paid person, by the prostitute, for protection from other pimps on the street, and one who gets clients for the prostitute. If prostitution is legalized, there would be a number of call-girls working under the same roof, along with a manager to run the business instead of controlling the person, through fear and abuse, who is rendering a service. A number of safety measures could be put in place from pre-screening, panic buttons, surveillance, and listening devices for each office. To put into perspective the safety of legalizing prostitution, only one percent (1%) of indoor prostitutes report having been beaten compared to thirty-nine percent (39%) of the prostitutes on the street (Weitzer 29).
In conclusion, legalizing prostitution saves tax-payers money, gains monetary income in taxes for the government, helps control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, decreases human trafficking rates, gives prostitutes a safer environment to conduct business, and stops the infringement on the right of freedom of choice – to sell what I own. Legalizing prostitution makes sense both for the tax payers and the person who chooses to be a prostitute.
Cho, Seo-Young. “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?” World Development. 23 May 2014 Vol. 41. Web. 10 Nov 2014
Conye, Andrew. “Prostitution Laws Struck; The Case For.” National Post. 21 Dec 2013: A.1. SIRS Issue Researcher. Web. 10 Nov 2014.
Dye, Eric. “A Look at Prostitution Statistice.” Findingjustice.org. 12 Oct 2012. Web 10 Nov 2014.
Florida State Legislature. “2014 Florida State Statues.” Statue 796.07 www.leg.state.fl.us. Web. 13 Nov 2014.
ProCon.org. “History of Prostitution.” Procon.org. 12 Nov 2013. Web. 10 Nov 2014.
Weitzer, Robert. “Prostitution: facts or fiction.” American Sociological Association. 2007:28-33. Web. 13 Nov 2014.
Writing is like prostitution.
First you do it for love,
Then for a few close friends,
And then for money. – Steven Conway
Prisons are built with stones of law,
And brothels are built with the bricks of religion.
- Marly Coleman
with your hard black eyes
Shameless flower of the damned
Your aroma overwhelms me my sense
I am driven to possess you
But you scarcely feel my flesh
I make no impression
Bound on your bewitching tongue, I have no taste
You exhale my desire like smoke
Incense sacrificed to your unyielding beauty . Paul Verlaine