Is prostitution wrong? Is it possible to stop prostitution entirely? The debate on whether prostitution should be legalized in the United Sates is not a new one. On the topic of prostitution different ideas such as morality and freedom of choice come to play. The differing of opinions on whether prostitution should be legalized in the United States vary greatly, but generally they fall into three categories: anti-prostitution, decriminalization, and pro-legalization.
The viewpoints that are the most vehemently opposed to legalizing prostitution in the United States stem from religious ideals. Charles Clark, senior editor at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, suggests that sex out of marriage is a large factor in the disapproval of prostitution from religious Americans (1993). The religious perspective offers something than many prostitution arguments lack. A series of guidelines and clear cut rules on the matter. Evelina Giobbe (as cited in Clark, 1993), director of Women Hurt in Systems of Prostitution, implies that most religious groups find that prostitution is immoral (1993). The idea that prostitution is immoral makes making policy on the matter easy. Those who prescribe to the religious way of thinking seem to suggest that prostitution should not be allowed and therefore criminalized. On the other hand there are arguments against prostitution that feel that it is immoral for other reasons.
One argument, specifically from a certain type of feminists, is that prostitution should be prohibited because of the inequality of women in society. According to Annette Jolin, associate professor of administration of justice at Portland State University, beliefs that prostitution is a representation of female inequality originate from the ideas of traditional feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton. The modern equivalent of these ideas claim that freedom from male oppression is the primary reason that prostitution should be criminalized. Feminists that believe this are often refereed to the sexual equality first (SEF) group (1994). The SEF feminist perspective is by no means the only feminist perspective on the issue of prostitution, but their viewpoint is the most anti-prostitution. Jolin continues, “For SEF feminists, the existence of prostitution presents a priori of proof of women's inequality. To achieve true equality therefore requires that prostitution must cease to exist. Appropriately translated into 20th-century prostitution police, this means criminalizing prostitution (1994 pg XXX).” The SEF feminists make their stance clear: Prostitution is wrong. Not because it is inherently wrong, but because at the current time it undermines the equality of women.
There are many people who are opposed to prostitution that do not prescribe to the religious or feminist perspective. Generally, they argue that allowing prostitution would increase the amount of violence in our...