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Thursday, May 26, 2005


Should Prostitution Be Legal?

This is obviously a question that "most" people would not bother considering. The default answer is that prostitution is immoral and illegal. As to my own opinion, I think it should be legal and regulated. This is not to say that I think prostitution is morally correct, much to the contrary, the selling (and buying, why is it no one ever mentions that end of the bargain?) of sex is morally repugnant and quite offensive to my own religious believes.

So why should we legalize and regulate prostitution? I would argue that prostitution is analogous to our illegal drug problem in at least two ways. First, in each case the act in question hurts only those who choose to engage in it. Neither sex between a prostitute and a "John" nor someone smoking crack hurts anyone else. The problem, for me, arises when the higher-order consequences of these two acts are considered. Taking harmful (illegal) drugs is not a "victimless" crime. Innocent children get caught in the crossfire of drug-related gang wars. Similarly, young girls (and to a lesser extent, in this country, boys) are sometimes forced into a life of prostitution and diseases are more easily spread (as, I would think, prostitutes will are generally less picky about their partners than the general population). Second, neither the illegal drug problem nor prostitution are going away. The tighter we clamp down, the more slips through our fingers.

Since prostitution is here to stay (it is, after all, the oldest profession), we really have no choice but to regulate it. In that way, we can at least protect some of those who would otherwise be vulnerable to STDs and exploitation by pimps, et al. None of this is to suggest that legalizing and regulating (the 'acceptable' forms of) prostitution will squash the market for other ('unacceptable') classes of prostitutes. Any form of prostitution that remains illegal (say, that conducted by 12 year olds) will continue as before: illegal, unregulated and dangerous. However, there are moral lines in the sand that cannot be crossed and battles worth fighting to the death.

Do I think any of this is actually going to happen? Not a chance. Why? For whatever reason America is relatively prude when it comes to sex. We're more than willing to watch sexually explicit movies, TV shows and, of course, fill forests worth of tabloids on the topic of celebrity sex. However, when it comes down to sex and 'real people' (and then throw in $$), people get very uncomfortable. The bottom line is that no politician (who wishes to remain so) is likely to bring anything like a Legalize Prostitution bill to the floor.


How topical.

Nice work.
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