Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Prostitution and Decriminalization

"It is a silly question to ask a prostitute why she does it… these are the highest paid professional women in America" - Gail Sheehy

        Should prostitution be decriminalized? Should prostitution be regulated by the government? Yes! Prostitution should be decriminalized and regulated by the government. There are a number reasons why this so. It would lower the crime rate, it would allow people to perform their craft and partake in the services of that craftsperson without the fear of going to jail. It would improve the sanitary conditions of the trade. It would slow the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. It would also dramatically increase the government's tax base. The revenue that comes in from the industry annually, decriminalized or not, is staggering. Why, then, should the government not have a hand in how the industry conducts its business, especially when unsafe practices are a direct threat to the public well being? If prostitution is decriminalized, all persons involved with this controversial industry will benefit.
        Another thing that decriminalizing prostitution would do is recognize a very important human historical reality. Put very plainly and very simply, prostitution is one of the oldest professions in the world. It has been around since mankind first entered into communal living arrangements. There is no getting around this reality. It is what it is. Now, having admitted this, there are a few other things that must be recognized about prostitution. Historically, prostitution has been one the most violent industries to be involved in. Men hurt the women, and other men hurt those men for hurting those women. In connection to this, prostitution, while profitable, has been most dangerous for the women because they are facing the violence from their customers, as was just noted, but they are also facing the threat of violence from their handlers. These men are, essentially, pimps, and it is their job to keep the women working. A woman who stops working, or brings trouble to their pimps, could find themselves dead or, at the least, severely injured.
        Another historic drawback of the prostitution industry is disease. In the United States, one of the quickest ways to get HIV is to purchase the services of a prostitute. Of the diseases that are spread in this way, HIV is the most deadly; however, a person visiting a prostitute could also contract diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, herpes, or any number of other fluid born pathogens. This has not just been the case in the United States. This happens all over the world, it does not judge by age or gender, and people regularly die from preventable diseases contracted while securing the services of a prostitute. This has also been the case throughout human history. One of the most dramatic examples comes from the middle of the sixteenth century. Almost immediately upon securing a foothold in the Americas, the Spanish began capturing Native Americans and transporting them to Europe to be sold as sex slaves to brothels. One thing that the Spanish did not account for when they brought these people to Europe, however. was the disease that they would bring with them. The real Montezuma's Revenge was syphilis. Native Americans had a natural immunity to the disease that Europeans did not. When Europeans began sleeping with these new sex slaves, they would contract the disease, get ill, go crazy, and then drop dead.
        This, of course, leads into the modern slave trade, which constitutes the capturing of innocent men, women, boys, and girls to be sold into slavery as unpaid sex workers. This, too, spans the globe, and several of the most advanced post industrial nations are the biggest contractors in this global trade. However, this, also, has been going on for the entirety of human history. The most recent historical example that one can draw upon is American slavery. The value of a female slave was not just based on her ability to work in the house or in the fields. A female slave's value was based on two additional factors. These factors were her age and her physical beauty. The younger the female, the more expensive she would be because she would have more available years to produce offspring. Further, they were chosen for their attractiveness because some, though not all, would become comfort girls, or prostitutes, for the use of their master or their master's guests. Going back even further, the Romans had an extensive sex slave trade, in which, women were forced to have sex with whomever their owners instructed them to. These two, much like the modern version, were not discriminatory. Men, women, boys, and girls were all subject to the possibility of being raped or serving as a sex slave, though women were, and are still, the most likely target for this trade.
       Another thing to make quick, but important note of, is the fact that in the present age, as well as in past ages, prostitution has tended to be a trade most likely to be taken up by the very poor. Essentially, when an economy has tossed them to the side, poorer women, some men, and even some children, have been forced to rely on the last thing that they have available to them to survive, their bodies. So, to survive, they were, and still are, forced to abandon their pride and allow people to do with them as they please. All of these things mentioned here, the violent nature of the industry, the risk of disease incurred by both the prostitute and the customer, and the threat of forced labor, among other things, like unwanted pregnancies, are some of the additional and very important reasons why prostitution should be decriminalized. This is not just a matter of profit and increased government revenue. It is also a matter of public health and public safety, as well as, a pragmatic realization of the fact that the conditions that create the need for the industry are not going to every go away any time soon. Recognizing this, it is the responsibility of the state and the people in that live in that state to decriminalize the industry, clean it up, and then regulate it. The point of this is to minimize the negative effects of the industry. Who knows, this might even go a long way to remove the negative social stigma that comes with the job. 

1 comment:

  1. Like most laws the government makes money. Making things illegal create crime. Fill prison full. Profit through fines court cost.