Should Prostitution Be Legalized In The United States?

2925 words - 12 pages

Prostitution, the act of selling sexual services for money, has been around for thousands of years. Prostitution is found on in Sumerian records dating back to 2400 BC, earning it the nick name of “oldest profession in the world”. Prostitutes’ rights are also mentioned in Hammurabi’s Code in 1780 BC. ("Historical Timeline") More recently, prostitutes were an integral part of the United State’s westward expansion; New Orleans even had a red light district called “Storyville” up until 1917. Prostitution is now illegal in the United States with the exception of eleven counties in the state of Nevada, and is often associated with a myriad of problems. Problems such as increased crime and presence of drugs in areas known for prostitution are the most apparent to society. Prostitutes often find themselves stigmatized and in physical danger. Even with these problems, prostitution does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon; what is a country to do? One could argue that the best way to deal with this would be to legalize prostitution for the benefit of the sex workers, in a physical and social sense, and society at large.
In the current system, prostitutes are subject to such physical dangers as violence from clients and pimps, as well as a much higher risk of HIV/AIDs infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Under the current system, prostitutes must work in the shadows; many work for pimps or in illegal brothels, meaning they must give up a large portion of their earnings as well as the freedom to refuse clients. They are living in constant fear of assault and arrest. (Klinger) The fear of arrest keeps these women from asking for help from authorities which makes them prime targets for physical violence, rape, and murder. Even when not facing arrest, often these women’s complaints are not as taken seriously as they should be, with many people forming a “What did you expect?” attitude. The idea that a prostitute cannot be raped is, unfortunately, a common one. In Nevada counties that have legal brothels, the workers do not need to fear arrest and feel that they are safe from the extreme violence that prostitutes in other areas of the country are often at risk of (Clemmitt 438). In “The Audacity of Tolerance”, the interview a woman named Mariksa van Huisstenden, who is a confident for prostitutes at Prostitution and Health Center #292 in the Netherlands. She says that there have definitely been positive aspects to the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands and gives the example,
Prostitutes now work in secured surroundings where there are cameras in front of every window, and police, both in uniform or undercover, are always patrolling the area. In every brothel, there is an alarm system accessible at a moment’s notice and the press of a button, which can be heard for a considerable distance. Health and hygiene are relatively well cared for. Clean linen and towels are provided, and the girls have access to unlimited free STD...

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