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Legalization of Prostitution

In the rent past, prostitution has remained a sensitive topic not just in the United States but across the globe. At many times, arguments against prostitution center on concern for the safety and health of women, and those worries are unfounded. Prostitution is an extraordinarily dangerous job for the (mostly) women involved; death, physical abuse, forced addiction of drugs; and sexual assault are common in the sector. For the females who get their daily bread in this industry, it is often very complex to get out or get help. Many prostitutes were not just sold in sex trafficking at a very young age. Still, they also do not have sufficient resources to escape the sex worker profession or become prostitutes by choice, only to fall into sex trafficking later. Additionally, because the professional of sex workers is illegal in most places in America, there are very few legitimate protections in places for sex workers; many fear that looking for help will take them behind the prison walls, and many of those who go to look for help is incarcerated and then have to fight the stigma of a criminal record. At the same time, they try getting back into society. In the essay at hand, I will examine the effects of legalizing prostitution.

Criminalizing consensual, voluntary, and adult sex – incorporating the buying or selling of sex – is not compatible with the human right to privacy and personal autonomy. In other words, a government is not supposed to tell an adult who they are supposed to have sexual union and under which terms. The above notion is attributable to the fact that criminalization exposes sex workers to exploitation and abuse by law enforcers. Police officers, for instance, verbally and physically abuse sex workers, extort bribes, and harass sex workers or even rape them (Outshoorn, 2018). Criminalizing the sex trade makes the workers more vulnerable to violence such as assault, rape, and murder by attackers who view them as easy objects since they are not stigmatized. Still, they are also not likely to receive help from law enforcers in due course. Additionally, it consistently undermines the ability of sex workers to seek justice for the crimes committed against them. They are afraid of reporting cases such as rape or robbery for fear of being arrested since their businesses are not legal and that their experience with law enforcement officers is of being profiled or harassed and arrested, or being mocked and never taken seriously. Even when sex workers report crimes, they may not be willing to testify against their rapist or assailants since they fear being subjected to sanctions or more abuse due to their status and job.

Gunderson (2018) asserts that sex workers are on the edge of economic and social life across the globe. Progressively, even governments look down upon those involved in prostitution as subjects that are not worthy of legal protection or benefits. Making sex work legal itself remains a challenge. For instance, one option of legitimate prostitution could use urban zoning centers where sex work is allowed. On the other hand, sex workers could be provided with licenses, but this is likely to encourage bias and discrimination based on infringing and identity on the privacy of sex workers. In the face of increasing support as far as the legalization of prostitution is concerned, critics worry about the ignorance of the actual outcomes of legalization. Research by Alzoubi (2018) has revealed that most sex workers enter into sex work out of need rather than individual choice. It might be perplexing whether continuous criminalization that keeps sex workers stuck is justified when we could rather concentrate on helping sex workers to leave the profession. Certification or licensing of prostitution that adds to their recommence would be unadventurously deliberated a likely blot on their record (Gunderson, 2018). A 2nd concern concentrates on the risk that making sex work legal may raise the chances of human trafficking. Significant legality of prostitution could result from the fuel economy of that sector, yet workers would perhaps not benefit from such growth at the end of the day. Most networks of human trafficking operate in what is termed as the shadow economy, and the revenues are concentrated beyond the reach of sex workers. It is important to note that authorization only would not in itself transfer income to lower reaches. Prostitution is regarded as a fairly unorganized industry with many females operating from their homes. Authorizing sex work would push many sex workers outdoors, and more stigma would follow soon. Some residents may prevent sex workers from living in their neighborhoods. Those workers too restrained to come forward would not be included from the safeguards of labor law under a legalization scheme.

Snow et al. (2019) asserts that sex workers in countries where buying or selling sex is not allowed have higher chances of facing violence, not using condoms, and contracting HIV. Additionally, it also found that sex workers who had been exposed to exploitive policing such as prison or arrest were more likely to have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by partners, clients, among other persons. When the debate on legalizing prostitution continues, the concern of many people comes from a place of morality, brought forward as concern for the safety and health of women (Alzoubi, 2018). It is believed that legalizing prostitution will result in the abuse of more females, will make it complex for sex workers to get out of the sector, or will teach young girls that their bodies are there to be exploited by their male counterparts at the end of the day.

On the other hand, the debate on the legalization of prostitution has had positive benefits for prostitutes around Europe. For instance, Netherlands is one of the most well-known countries that have legalized sex work, where prostitution has been legitimate for more than two decades. Imposing tough restrictions and bringing the sex work sector out of the black market has advanced women’s safety in this business in the country. Brothels are needed to get hold of and reintroduce safety and hygiene licenses to operate, and street sex work is legitimate and significantly regulated in areas such as the Red Light District. It is important to note that sex work does not just become safer when it is controlled, but legalizing the sector also weed out the black market that exists for sex work, making women safer at the end of the day. On top of that, prostitutes are not seen as criminals; thus, they are provided with legitimate strategies for accessing the legal system and are inspired to report activities that appear to endanger their lives and other women in the sector. Finally, legalizing prostitution will offer many other affirmative externalities, incorporate rationalization of resources of enforcing the law, and lower sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

It has been ascertained that present efforts by various countries in Europe to legalize sex work have been far from what can be termed as perfect. In the Netherlands, some elements of legislation like setting the age of sex workers to be above twenty-one years and requiring those working in the industry to register might drive more prostitutes to black markets. On top of that, studies have shown that legalizing sex work can raise the trafficking of human beings (Alzoubi, 2018). On the other hand, even those who seem to be vocal when it comes to legitimizing sex work can acknowledge the welfares that lawgiving can have on the working conditions of the woman who involve themselves in the sector of sex work. If the countries that have put the legislation in place have spent extra time listening to present prostitutes, the outcomes of decriminalizing sex work incorporate bringing respect, security, and safety to a demographic that has traditionally been denied things.

The fundamental motive that individuals are not comfortable listening to prostitutes on legalizing sex work does not involve things aligned to women’s safety and health. If that were the genuine concern, sex work would have been legalized now in the United States. The primary reason individuals do not agree with the legalization of sex work is that the profession is seen as immoral since it incorporates (mostly) women selling their bodies to bring food to the table ultimately. In other words, sex workers use prostitution as their source of income. On the other hand, telling women what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do with their bodies does come from a morality perspective; instead, it comes from a control viewpoint (Snow et al., 2019). Individuals, particularly females, involve themselves in sex work for financial gain in legalized manners on a day-to-day basis. Exotic dancing is legal, and so is pornography. Research by Fitch et al. (2019) has revealed that many people involve themselves in sexual relationships with richer partners across the world to benefit from the wealth of the partners at the end of the day, whether this is done through looking for life partners that are rich or through the less formal but progressively established phenomenon referred to as sugar-dating.

On top of that, it is also common for persons to remain in abusive or unhappy relationships since they do not want to spend money on divorce or do not want to lose stability in terms of finances. So, where is the difference? Why is sex work seen as very appalling, but the examples mentioned above are socially satisfactory, even cheered? In all the above scenarios, the difference is that it is not complex for individuals to assume that the involved women are not selling their bodies openly (Fitch et al., 2019). Additionally, it is not difficult for persons to assume that the people who participate in pornography films are just persons who are having consensual sex that the viewing audience happens to be sharing into observing. On top of that, it is not complex to assume that exotic dancers are not selling their bodies since they are not engaging in sexual intercourse directly. Also, it is easy to assume that persons who remain or enter into sexual unions with rich partners could be in those relationships for reasons other than security or financial gain.

It is important to note that sex work does not pave the way for the general public to value these make-believes. Instead, the sector is genuine on how money and sex are directly connected. And for many people, this is not a comfortable idea. It is even more not comfortable for some individuals to assert that females should be given space to have control over their bodies that would allow them to involve themselves in sex work on their own accord; they cannot permit themselves to have faith in the fact that women would select such a job (Wagenaar, 2017). Yet, instead of acknowledging this reality, those who oppose the legalization of sex work march forth with assertions on concern for the security of females. It is worth noting that such individuals fail to understand that assuming that sex work is a criminal activity does not help sex workers at the end of the day. On top of that, their assertions result in lawmaking that hurts women while operating under the morally oriented guise of needing to safeguard them in due course.

Rather than forcing prostitutes to carry out their business in unregulated black markets since they put their lives in danger, all for a mislabeled strength of mind of “saving” females, take real action to safeguard women. Make sex work legal, impose strict regulations, and develop comprehensive support systems that pave the way for sex workers to do their daily activities in safe environments (Outshoorn, 2018). Many proponents of the legalization of sex work believe that the government has to actively control the sex trade to limit – or avoid – the social issues that come with it. However, they realize that the states are interested in overwhelming STDs, safeguarding minors who might otherwise end up being involved in sex work, and preventing forms of criminal activities linked with sex work. Those who want the sex trade to be legalized claim that their approach would achieve those objectives while advancing the lives of sex workers through destigmatization, unionization, and police protection.

In summing up, the desire to safeguard women from being abused sexually will always be valid, and if anything, is a wish that should be more prevalent not just in the United States but also across the world. What is dishonest is differing legitimate prostitution for explanations that purport to be the safety of women. On the other hand, the reasons originate from an area of uneasiness over females directly engaging in sexual activities as a source of income. Suppose one is not comfortable with the idea of women having sex for financial gain. In that case, they should also have an issue of persons dating for money, exotic dancing, and pornography. If one does not have an issue with all those mentioned above socially acknowledged practices but has an issue with sex work since it is “ethically doubtful,” then they have lost their rights to any forum where decisions on the rights and safety of women are made.


Alzoubi, R. Q. (2018). Should Female Prostitution Be Legalized? An Opinion Survey of Jordanian Citizens Living in the United States.

Fitch, C. H., & Weber, B. M. (2019). Prostitution Rights Movement. The Encyclopedia of Women and Crime, 1-2.

Gunderson, A. (2018). The Effect of Decriminalizing Prostitution on Public Health and Safety. Chicago Policy Review (Online).

Outshoorn, J. (2018). Policy reforms on prostitution: The quest for control. In Handbook on gender and social policy. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Snow, N. M., Smith, M., & Radatz, D. L. (2019). Human Trafficking and Prostitution. The Encyclopedia of Women and Crime, 1-3.

Wagenaar, H. (2017). Why prostitution policy (usually) fails, and what to do about it?. Social Sciences, 6(2), 43.


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