Should Prostitution Be Legalized In The United States?

2734 words - 11 pages

Prostitution is an issue that has been debated in many countries. 22 countries have legalized prostitution. In the United States, prostitution is only legal in 11 rural counties in Nevada. It used to be legal in Rhode Island due to a loophole, but since 2009, it has been illegal 1. Women are not the only ones who are prostitutes, about 20 to 30% of prostitutes are male 2, which means both genders are affected by laws against prostitution. Men and women should be allowed to choose how they want to use their bodies how they wish, and that includes prostitution.
People deserve the freedom of choice. While some question the morality of prostitution, citing the Bible or other religious texts, people such as Catherine La Croix, founder and executive director of Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE), say that “Sex work is no more moral or immoral than the chocolate or distilling industries”. In the argument of Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan, in the Supreme court case of USA vs. Bitty, said that “the lives and example of such persons are in hostility to 'the idea of the family as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony” 3. That argument that Harlan made is based on his religious beliefs, not on evidence. Prostitution is famously known as the oldest profession in the world and if prostitution is “wrong”, then why can people drink or smoke freely? Our laws should not be based on morality or religious text, they should be based on the people, the community, a grassroots campaign where the legality of prostitution is chosen by the people, who overwhelmingly support prostitution with 84.53% of people on a Huffington Post poll voting for the legalization of prostitution 4.
While violence, rape, and crime in general are both prevalent in illegal prostitution, prostitution can be made safer through the legalization and protection of prostitutes. According to Kirby R. Cundiff, PhD, the Associate Professor of Finance at Northeastern State University, when prostitution is legalized, the “rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% for a decrease of approximately 25,000 rapes per year...” 5. The reasoning for this is that since prostitution is legalized, they will be protected. Because prostitution is currently illegal, people feel the freedom to rape prostitutes, since prostitutes fear going to the police on the risk of being arrested. According to Cheryl M. Toth, author of The Definition and Facts of Prostitution, by legalizing prostitution, not only will the amount of rapes in the United States drop substantially, but the amount of rapes reported will rise, due to the fact that prostitutes no longer will fear going to the police when raped. Illegal prostitution is unsafe, with women being mistreated by pimps. Pimps, as reported by prostitutes, employing “daily physical abuse, emotional dominance, and lie about caring”. Illegal prostitutes are on average 14 years old, and the majority...

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