Prostitution is often referred to as the oldest profession, and there is a reason for that. Since the beginning of time, sex has been a natural biological function. And since the beginning of time, sex has been used in a barter and trading system for safety and security, food, social status, etc. While we may not all agree with the morality of the system and might not participate ourselves, one must acknowledge the ill effect of blanket criminalization.
Banning prostitution is like prohibition. The banning of alcohol was seen as one of America’s biggest failures. It led to an uprising in criminal rings and illegal sale of goods that put innocent people just looking for a way to relax after work in the same room as hardened mobsters. Prostitution is no different.
One of the issues with prostitution is the large numbers of women who have no choice in their role in the community. It brings forth images of drug addicted women frightened of violent pimps and sex trafficking. However, one need look no further than the so called “Bunny Ranches” in Nevada to realize that this isn’t an inherent part of prostitution, but instead a side effect of the laws that have failed to recognize the difference between women willing to have sex to make money and those who are being abused in one manner or another. By legalizing prostitution, it’s going to be easier to weed out those bad prostitution rings. It’s simple: make brothels/ “massage” clinics get a license. To acquire a license, you would have to meet certain requirements. The women would have to be provided with sanitary conditions and inspectors would do their best to ensure that the women were there of their own free will (not being held there by force or under threat of deportation, etc). If a woman was robbed by a client, she would be able to go to the police. If she was hit by her madam or pimp, she’d be able to go to the police. One of the biggest travesties currently facing prostitutes is that they have nowhere to turn. Police are constantly raiding brothels and just throwing the hookers in prison without doing much to the actual infrastructure.
By legalizing prostitution, you would be looking to change the structure so that it would be safer for the women working in it. Obviously, the system isn’t perfect. But this would allow quality prostitution services that have good business practices to be able to replace the shady back alley things that are so common now. When politicians are busted for being involved in a prostitution ring, nobody ever looks at the prostitute and goes ‘Oh god, that poor girl.’ Why? Because that girl is being paid thousands of dollars and knew full well what she was doing. Obviously, not every girl is going to get paid thousands of dollars. But being a prostitute could become akin to something like being a stripper. Most people wouldn’t do it. But for those who are, there’s money to be made. Not every strip club is reputable, but most are. Nobody is crying that strip clubs should be illegal. Brothels should be given the same rights. By saying that no form of prostitution is legal we haven’t stopped the prostitution, but instead given no distinction between those that are truly awful and those that are simply morally gray.