Prostitution should be legalized

Teddy Harris

In no way do I condone the work of prostitutes or anything affiliated with prostitution, but it should be legal, and there are countless reasons why. I hypothesize that several problems would subside if prostitution were legal: overpopulated jail systems, domestic violence, high rates of cocaine use, rape and rampant spreading of HIV/AIDS.

Currently, it is assumed that as much as one-half of a typical urban city’s prison female population are prostitutes. In fact, the city of Los Angeles alone spends close to $100 million annually dealing with illegal prostitution. The real cost, of course, is that these public resources could have been used to protect citizens from real criminals. Taxpayers are spending large amounts of money on non-violent prostitutes that cause little — if any — public unrest. There are hardly any distress calls to the police for someone having sex for money in a hotel or in a private residence. The only way these women are busted is if cops trick them.

According to the Future of Freedom Foundation, “In Newark, New Jersey, the estimate is that close to 60 percent of all prostitutes carry the AIDS virus. Yet, in the relatively “free market” of Nevada, where prostitution is legal, not one (as of 1989) of the state-licensed prostitutes has ever tested positive for AIDS.” If prostitution were legal, it would be mandatory for prostitutes to be tested for STIs, and it would force them to have safe sex so they could keep their jobs. Measures would be drawn up to protect employees (prostitutes) from sick clients (johns).

Prostitutes obviously live an illegal life-style, so they have no legal protection. They are vulnerable to rape, domestic violence and high use of illegal narcotics. They are more vulnerable to these vices because they are not protected under any laws. So pimps and johns openly beat and/or rape these women without sympathy. Many of these women feel as though they have nowhere to go, and this results in their turning to prostitution as employment and then using drugs to bury the pain of being a prostitute.

The United States remains one of the few countries with laws against prostitution. In other nations, criminal laws seek instead to deal with the social problems of prostitution through control of public solicitation and restriction of those who would exploit prostitutes. Decriminalization would free the courts and police from handling victimless crime, allowing these forces more time to deal with serious violent crime.

Prostitution is the oldest profession in history and no matter its legality, it will always be here. Since it will always be here, why not try and protect the citizens of the United States who will solicit contracted sex no matter its legal status? Why not protect innocent women whose men go out and contract sex, putting these innocent women at risk for disease? According to the U.S. Department of Health, prostitution accounts for about 3 to 5 percent of sexually transmitted diseases. That is not much.

I am sure that figure could be minimized, if not eliminated, with the legalization of contracted sex.

Teddy Harris is a senior communication major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. He can be reached at [email protected].