Legalizing Prostitution in the U.S.A. the Topic Essay

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LEGALIZING PROSTITUTION IN THE U.S.A.

The topic I have chosen to discuss is the legalization of prostitution in the United States of America. By prostitution, I refer to an act where money is exchanged for rendering sexual services. Presently, 49 states out of 50 in the United States have banned prostitution withonly some forms of it allowed in a few areas of Nevada. This is not the case in all developed countries. Some places in Europe such as Holland, have legalized itand are regulating it through relevant legislature by the government.

My main stance on the topic is that these countries are not worse off than the U.S.A. In terms of the expected negative societal effects of prostitution such as human trafficking, rape etc.In fact on a closer introspection it may be that this ban is causing more harm to the community rather than benefits. For example, the number of rapes that took place in Netherlands, where prostitution is legal in 2010 is 9.2 per 100000 populations, while USA in which 49 of the 50 States, barring Nevada have criminalized prostitution has an astounding number of 27.3 per 100000 populations.

Thus, I advocate legalizing prostitution because:

a. There is little evidence to support that banning sex workers is reducing prostitution in the society in fact it is creating a black market for it which lies outside the purview of law.

b. Legalization can provide protection to the vulnerable groups by subjecting individuals involved in the trade to the same protection and rights that are available to all citizens.

Prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world. During wars, prostitutes were allowed to render their services to weary soldiers away from home in order to maintain their spirits.The aristocracy kept mistresses that, though frowned upon in polite society, were considered an accepted way of life. Thus, prostitution has been a part and parcel of our societies irrespective of different laws and legislatures formed to illegalize and consequently diminish its existence.
It is so pervasive that even harsh punishments have been unable to completely root it out. The Arab world for example, confers the death penalty over sex trade yet it continues to exist even in those societies. Remarking on this pervasiveness, The Economist (1998)noted that all developed economies had conceded that the business was impossible to stamp out. In the United States alone for example, despite prostitution being illegal 15% of men admitted to having paid for sex in 2004( Langer, 2004). In reality these figures must be even higher asmost men probably didn't want to admit to a crime to a random person conducting a telephone survey. Similar kinds of survey effects happen with drugs as well.

In light of this reality the state is left with two policy choices. It can either spend millions of dollars trying to monitor and control it with hopes of diminishing it. Or it can choose to accept its existence and make policies to ensure that its negative externalities to the sex workers and the society are minimized. At the end of the day a cost and benefit analysis to the society will determine which policy option is more effective. Some of these are discussed below.

Studies indicate that criminalizing the sex industry has created the ideal conditions for rampant exploitation and abuse of sex workers. These individuals when abused or threatened can hardly appeal to authorities that consider them offenders as well. Many times sex offenders use this very vulnerability to blackmail these workers into performing acts against their will. Women are brutally beaten for pleasure as the customers know there will be little repercussions for their actions, as these women are not protected under the law. It is no surprise than that in the U.S., prostitution as a profession causes 51 times more deaths than the second most dangerous employment I.e. bartending. Thus, there is a strong case to suggest that such exploitation can be stopped if the existence.....

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