How to deal with the prostitution

Prostitution Prostitution Position Paper
Gwendolyn Plaza
Human Sexuality
Professor Jan Buttler
April 2006
Prostitution 2
"The oldest profession in the world" is, perhaps, even more of an issue today than it has been before because of our global economy. A global market increases demand for any commodity, including sex. Prostitution is traditionally considered immoral and is illegal in many places, and many states and countries are trying to decide how to deal with it. One proposed way to deal with prostitution is to decriminalize it, and keep the state’s nose out of private business. (see Another option is to regulate prostitution, as Nevada does. A third option, and the one this paper will support is to make prostitution illegal in every state and impose stiff penalties on the people who pay for such services.
One reason states pass laws is to prevent and/or punish activities that are harmful. Decriminalizing prostitution would, in essence, be saying that it does not cause harm, and so is a private matter and not one the state can or should intervene in. Prostitution does cause harm, though, to the prostitute and to society as a whole. Prostitutes are at risk for assault, rape and other violent crimes (reference), sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV and Hepatitis C) and posttraumatic stress. (Destiny’s End). Societal costs are difficult to measure, but include the spread of disease and effects on families. Prostitution is also linked to sex trafficking, and a recent State Department brief said that prostitution, "fuel(s) the growth of modern-day slavery by providing a faade behind which traffickers for sexual exploitation operate."
Regulating prostitution does not prevent the harm it causes. Proponents of regulation say that regulation will prevent the spread of disease, make for safer working conditions and reduce sex trafficking and child prostitution. (Raymond).
Criminalizing prostitution does have a negative effect on prostitutes because prostitutes, not the pimps or the johns, are the ones who suffer. Prostitutes are the ones who are arrested and incarcerated. Prostitutes are, however, the victims of childhood abuse, violence and/or exploitation (reference). In addition, it’s the demand for prostitutes, not the supply, which drives the market. In order to stop the personal and societal harm caused by prostitution, those who pay for the services must pay the penalty.
Many people who become prostitutes have been victimized and suffered sexual abuse as children. Then they are exploited by pimps, and beaten and raped by customers. For these reasons, I believe Prostitution should become illegal in every state and we should impose stiff penalties on the people who pay for such services. Only by eliminating the market can we make an impact on the personal and societal harm of "the oldest profession."
Works Cited
Bureau of Public Affairs . The Link Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking. 5/21/2006. November 24, 2004.
Destiny’s End Website. 5/21/2006.
Raymond, Janice G. Guest Editor’s Introduction. Journal of Violence Against Women. October, 2004. On Prostitution and Research Website. 5/21/2006. 5/21/2006.