Prostitution is a complex issue that has been the subject of intense debates in many countries for many years now. To a large extent, the focus of these debates has been upon the legalization of this what they called “the world’s oldest profession”.
Majority of countries in Africa and Asia legally prohibit prostitution and any activities associated with it, including running of brothels and pimping. Prostitution is also illegal in the United States, except in some parts of Nevada. The spread of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, and increased risk of sexual exploitation, violence, and trafficking are the most disconcerting issues why some countries choose to keep it illegal.
However, countries, like the Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Canada, legally accept the exchange of money for sex. Countries, like Mexico, Argentina, Austria, France, and Italy also allow prostitution but do not allow the pimping and running of brothels. Some people believe that legalizing prostitution brings a lot of benefits not only for the workers but for the entire economy as well.
Here are ten reasons why countries that prohibit prostitution should legalize it, just like in Germany and New Zealand, among others.
It Would Make Sex Workers Healthier
According to a new study presented at the International AIDS Conference in Australia, the transmission of HIV among sex workers could significantly be reduced by around 33-46 percent if prostitution were decriminalized. It may sound contradictory to other people’s opinions, but the study looks pretty sensible.
In places, where prostitution is illegal, sex workers are, in fact, more susceptible to sexually transmitted disease (STD) because of lack of access to health care and other social services. This is not to mention that sex workers face discrimination, stigma, and harassment, which drive them more to less likely practice safe sex.
Furthermore, sex workers usually experience panicky situations, wherein they are forced to forgo wearing protection, such as the pressure from their pimps and clients, and the fear of using their condoms as evidence against them when law officials caught them.
Legal Prostitution Would Reduce Violence And Sex Crimes
There have already been lots of studies performed and evidence gathered proving that legal prostitution reduces rape, sexual violence, and other sex crimes. One study that shows the correlation between legalizing prostitution and declining rape cases comes from Rhode Island, wherein they accidentally legalized prostitution. In 1980, lawmakers accidentally removed the section that defined prostitution as a crime, and it went unnoticed until 2003. Technically, it had been in effect for almost 3 decades, from 1980-2009. During those years, the number of women involved in prostitution and the size of the indoor sex market largely increased. But surprisingly, rape cases have declined by 31 percent. Researchers have also found a 39 percent decrease in the incidence of gonorrhea.
We can think of a lot of reasons that might prove how decriminalization could reduce sex-related crimes.
Once legalized, sex workers would be empowered to approach a police if they are in danger or having a problem with their clients and pimps. Furthermore, sex workers would also be given an opportunity to conduct their business on their own without the control of an abusive pimp, which reduces the possibility of violence and abuse.
And when prostitution is already legal, people, who wish to satisfy their sexual urges, would have their option readily available for them. So rather committing rape, they could just hire a prostitute to satisfy their sexual need. Well, this idea may sound repulsive, but if you think it over, you will find it also sensible. The late Indian novelist and journalist, Khushwant Singh, said that
“The more you try to put down prostitution, the higher will be the incidence of crime against innocent women.”
It Would Protect Minors
Child prostitution is a significant global problem, both in developed and undeveloped countries.
Sexual exploitation is profitable because its illegality brings legal risks that encourage pimps to demand a higher cost. In most developed countries, particularly in the United States, the average profit per forced sex worker is nearly $70,000 a year. This is the very reason why sex exploitation is so rampant all over the world that despite the actions that the government do to stop it, children are still continually exploited.
Aside from the profit, another primary reason why the market for child sex slaves exists is due to the criminalization of adult prostitution. When a man cannot find an adult sex worker, he would definitely turn to pimps, who mostly use underage sex workers, to satisfy his sexual urges.
A lot of pro-decriminalization of prostitution believe that if people can legally buy sex from women 18 years or older, it will significantly reduce child exploitation. Since no one would want to be prosecuted and pay fines, those who are in the commercial sex market will only legally employ willing adults, rather than struggle to operate in secrecy. By legalizing prostitution and implementing more strict laws regarding it, we can abolish child sex slavery as well.