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Prostitution Legalization Essay

September 14th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Many people argue that selling their own bodies in terms of sex, or in other words prostitution or sex work, is considered immoral. They also say that practicing it can be very risky for the health of the prostitute. This is true, but only in the case when prostitution is illegal. Thus, prostitution is a very controversial issue, because some people believe that it should be legalized, while others oppose it bitterly. Although many people think that that prostitution should not be legalized, I believe that it should be legalized for a number of reasons.

As we all know, different people have different views of morality. Some people believe that prostitution is immoral, and therefore it should not be legalized. These people say that prostitution is demoralizing and humiliating to a woman’s self-esteem. Such people also believe that prostitution is an “unethical and illogical practice in itself.” Women are human beings and “should not be treated as material objects of trade” (Nikiforakis, interview). However, as Pippa Holloway in her book review Regulation and the Nation: Comparative Perspectives on Prostitution and Public Policy found in Journal of Women History 202 Spring points out, “Enclosing brothels in particular parts of the city and monitoring them would help protect morality and the social order.” Furthermore, by legalizing prostitution, women practicing sex work i.e. prostitutes will cease to be treated like material objects of trade and used as “white slaves”. They would start working for themselves instead of for their pimps. They will be free to choose if they want to do this job or not; they won’t be forced to do so. In the words of an anonymous female sex worker in her article Prostitution is Work appearing in the journal Social Text on page 33-37, “If prostitution were decriminalized, women could choose where they wanted to work, the kind of work they do, the kind of place they want to work. That’s the thrill of our job: being able to choose what we are comfortable with.” She also points out later on that in the countries where laws are made to control prostitution, they oblige sex workers “to rely on men, on pimps, and guys who organize the houses [that is, brothels].”

Another thing that people use to oppose the legalization of prostitution is that being a prostitute increases the risk of getting unwanted pregnancies, as well as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphilis, hepatitis-B, gonorrhea and the most dangerous – AIDS. However, prostitutes can protect themselves from getting pregnant and/or getting STDs by using contraceptives; and at the same time the customers will have to use condoms while having sexual intercourse with the prostitute. Moreover, the government can instigate all of this by making a law that will enforce the prostitutes and their customers to practice safe sex. This also implies that the mortality rate will decrease, since the deaths caused by STDs as well as by venereal disease will decrease. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1875 the government in effort to increase public health [and decrease mortality rate] by means of reducing the spread of venereal disease had developed a law that legalized prostitution. By this action all the brothels in the country gained authorization to work (Holloway, 207). Besides that, in the article of the anonymous prostitute, she emphasizes that she makes appointments with her doctor once every two months. She claims that “statistics now prove that the prostitutes are definitely not a high-risk group for HIV and STDs” (35). In addition to this, brothels may require customers to show a medical certificate proving that they are in a good health condition in order to use their services.

In countries where prostitution is not legalized, Germany for instance, female sex workers do not have equal rights as other people in their society. Even though they pay 56% of the taxes, “they are not entitled to social security, health insurance, or pension” (Prostitution, 33). Later on, the “hooker”, that is the sex worker, the author of this article, states that in Germany it has not been long since the law changed. She describes that a couple of years ago, raping a prostitute was not considered a crime. And if that had happened, the raped hooker could bring that case to court, but the judges would ignore that and would not make effort to solve the case. Nevertheless, by legalizing prostitution, the hookers will gain equal rights as every other person. This means that they will be protected by the state, so they will be able to defend themselves if there is a case of rape, as mentioned above, or in any way mistreatment by the customers. Furthermore, the prostitutes will be released from the fear that they are white slaves to their pimps, and also they will get more self-confidence.

In the end, one very positive reason why prostitution should be legalized is that the state can have economic benefits concerning its budget, especially if it is an undeveloped state or state in a phase of developing. If prostitution is legal, then besides hookers, the brothels would have to pay taxes to the government, which would further improve the budget of the particular state. This is extremely useful for undeveloped countries and countries in a phase of development, as we said above. It can also be done, like for example, the more prostitutes brothels have, the more taxes they would have to pay to the state. Cheating can be avoided in these situations with continual police inspection in the brothels to check the number of registered prostitutes working there. If it is found that there are more prostitutes working in the brothel then there are registered, then there may be penalties for the brothel, such as financial punishment and up to closing down the brothels.

To sum up, legalization of prostitution is very beneficial for everyone, including the government, the state, the prostitutes and the common people, or the “customers”. It helps reducing health risks, it allows prostitutes to protect themselves from mistreatment by their customers, and also it is beneficial for the state and its budget, especially if the country is undeveloped or in a developing stage.

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