Legalize Prostitution Essay

2989 words - 12 pages

One of the oldest legal debates comes from one of the world's oldest profession, prostitution, there is no denying that the sex industry has taken international dimensions and is recognized as an economic motor for many countries. As countries around the world debate the merits of legalizing or at least decriminalizing prostitution. The following questions should be addressed. Would legalization reduce some of the inequalities and abuse suffered by the women involved? On the other hand, by legitimizing prostitution, would society reverse decades of work to promote human rights and improve the status of women? On the surface, this looks like a rehashing of a timeless debate. However, it is not. The question is no longer about morality -- is prostitution a vice and are those involved evil or somehow lacking in judgement? Now the question should be asked: is prostitution a form of exploitation to be abolished or an occupation to be regulated? To get a feel for what is going on and how opinions are changing, one should look to the headlines. In the Christian Science Monitor, an ex-call girl is challenging Florida State laws on prostitution. In Amsterdam, the "First World Whore's Congress" takes place. Prostitutes from around the world came together to make a statement of solidarity. In the Times Higher Education Supplement, John Taylor, Chief executive of Sheffield Britain 's Chamber of Trade, says, "You can't eradicate it. All you can do is drive it underground. I am a realist. It's better that it should be controlled." These are all separate incidences where some kind of regulation, decriminalization, or legalization of prostitution is being debated. By decriminalizing prostitution, laws would protect prostitutes, enable prostitutes to prosecute for abuses, and finally, health concerns would be regulated.

For decades, scholars have speculated why women would go freely into prostitution. Latent lesbianism, low intelligence, a home life of abuse, and desperate poverty head the list of possible reasons. Nevertheless, no one has been able to isolate a specific set of social factors that leads to prostitution. Current books by prostitutes and new scientific studies have prompted Vern and Bonnie Burlough, from the book The First Sex, to conclude that prostitution is, largely, "simply another occupation"(Fisher 208). If in fact, prostitution is looked upon as another occupation, then why not create a win-win situation. Prostitutes would contribute monetarily to society and would have in return rights to health benefits and retirement would be ensured. According to the "World Charter For Prostitutes' Rights," prostitutes themselves believe that they should "pay regular taxes on the same basis as other independent contractors and employees, and should receive the same benefits."
As well as being able to contribute to society, prostitutes will be safer under the umbrella of the law. One argument against prostitution is that women and...

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