Friday, June 19, 2009


I just read a very good post on prostitution. It demonstrates that all arguments against legalizing prostitution are either religious or paternalistic in nature and thus should not be taken into consideration. It's hard to disagree with such a logical and well-presented argument.

Still, the idea of legalizing prostitution makes me feel uneasy. If, as this post argues, prostitution could always remain as "merely the exchange of money for sex between two willing individuals" there would be no problem. This is, however, often not the case. Many women are trapped into prostitution by pimps and find it next to impossible to leave the industry when they want. While prostitution is still a crime, they can at least have the hope of denouncing their pimps to the authorities in order to free themselves from exploitation.

Another problem is that I don't see how it will be possible to untie prostitution and drug business in order to legalize the one while considering the other criminal.


Anonymous said...

Actually, it would be easier for an exploited woman to get out from under the control of a pimp if prostitution were decriminalized. Part of the leverage a pimp can use now to “keep his girls in line” is the fear that they can’t go to the police without being arrested themselves. Admittedly, that’s a very minor point within a much bigger issue. Drugs and prostitution are only symptoms of bigger problems some women have that result in them subjected themselves to a more dominate person.

The point is that defining prostitution as a crime doesn’t solve any problems and, in reality, creates many more problems. In fact in the U.S., street prostitution, where you’ll find most of the exploitation, makes up less than 20% of the women who exchange sex for money. The overwhelming majority choose to do what they are doing. As long as what happens is consensual, between adults, on private property and behind closed doors, it should not be anyone’s business other than those directly involved. As a society, we should focus our efforts on providing help for the real problems of those that are being exploited rather than making unenforceable laws.

Clarissa said...

Thank you for a great comment!