Donai Wright Mr. Manser English 9E: Research Paper 20 April 2012 Why Prostitution Should Remain Illegal in the United States Prostitution is said to be “the world’s oldest profession” (Ramchandran par. 1). The Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines prostitution as “the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money” (“Prostitution” par. 1). Many people argue that prostitution should be legalized, but it hurts people more than it helps. Legalization of prostitution condones sexual behavior for profit.
Not to mention, the increased risk of illness or infection via sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), or death. It also does not “enhance women’s choices” (Raymond par. 45). This means that whether legalized or not, prostitutes are going to continue their activities for the simple fact that they feel they have no other choice. Lastly, prostitution and the sex industry promote sex trafficking, more specifically human trafficking. For these aforementioned reasons prostitution should remain illegal.
Many social ills related to this illegal profession involve activities that lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (Rich par. 6). Some of these are fatal including syphilis, gonorrhea, and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Harry par. 7). Inevitably, more agents (sellers and buyers) would enter the market, and many would neglect to use protection therefore increasing the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (Harry par. 7). The fact that prostitutes consummate with numerous partners does not help prevent these sexually transmitted diseases (Rich par. ). Even condoms do not provide one hundred percent protection (Rich par. 6). The more sexual partners an individual possess, the higher the probability becomes that he or she may contract a sexually transmitted disease, possibly transmitting it to future partners (Rich par. 6). Although advocates of legalizing and regulating prostitution argue that such reforms would reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sex is an inherently risky undertaking and indiscriminant sex considerably more so (Rich par. 7).
Considering the fact that no prevention method provides absolute protection, criminalization is one of the only proven ways to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (Rich par. 7). Anything less than complete legal censure is unacceptable in the face of such an appalling practice (Rich par. 7). “Although the Health Ministry statistics show that only about 10 per cent of AIDS infections are spread by prostitutes, the Malaysian AIDS Council is concerned about the epidemic of such sexually transmitted diseases.
As of June 2003, a total of 54,914 HIV/AIDS cases were reported. We do not know the extent of the unreported cases” (Ramchandran par. 9). “This would be worse in developing countries where poverty, illiteracy and ignorance lead citizens into all sorts of unwholesome and precarious acts. By the way, it’s worth pointing out that the spread of these sexually transmitted diseases wouldn’t occur only among prostitutes and their clients, but also among the society as a whole” (Harry par. 7). Legalization advocates who claim that legalization would reduce disease transmission by requiring that prostitutes be routinely tested for STDs fails to account for the fact that unless all their clients are tested as well before participating in any sexual activity, the profession is still vulnerable for facilitating the unchecked transmission of these diseases” (Rich par. 8). Even though contracting a sexually transmitted disease is a common concern once a prostitute has entered this market, the most frequently asked question is why they decided to choose this particular profession.
Most women that enter prostitution do so for reasons based on survival. Dire circumstances contribute to one’s rational when deciding to engage in sexual solicitation. “Most women who prostitute themselves in the US do so because they have no other source of income and no prospects for other, legitimate employment” (Rich par. 9). More so than consent, “a prostitute usually complies with the only options available to her” (Raymond par. 46). Such compliance is required by the nature of the transaction (Raymond par. 46). Often the revenue from the job is needed to support a drug addiction or to provide supplemental means of basic subsistence, such as housing, food or transportation” (Rich par. 9). Such ill-fated choices may result in various forms of enslavement. Another major consequence of legalizing prostitution becomes apparent when the legitimization of sex markets strengthen the criminal-enterprise of organized pimping (Poulin par. 19). Such bolstering, accompanied by a significant increase in sexual solicitation activities and human trafficking, brings with it the deterioration of these enslaved women (Poulin par. 9). Decriminalizing prostitution presents one of the root causes of sex-trafficking, to the extent that human trafficking promotes the delivery of people into slavery—a crime equally as old as civilization (Raymond par. 9). “Around the world, for those in desperate poverty, the false promise of a better life often draws victims into the control of criminals who then traffic and enslave them” (Bales par. 1). “Many victims of trafficking of persons begin their journey by consenting to be smuggled from one country to another.
Because of this, the crimes ‘smuggling’ and ‘trafficking’ are often confused. Smuggling and trafficking both involve moving human beings for profit, but in smuggling the crime ends on arrival in the destination country. In cases of trafficking, arrival is just the beginning of enslavement, the institution of coercive control over the person, and exploitation for profit, such as forced labor or prostitution” (Bales par. 3). Although it is less likely to happen, “some victims of trafficking escape” (Bales par. 13). “When they do, their situation can be very precarious.
Without the needed languages or contacts, they are at the mercy of whomever they encounter. This can lead to re-enslavement or rough treatment at the hands of officials who should be protecting them but only see the escaped victim as an illegal immigrant” (Bales par. 13). “Around the world, governments are enacting new laws to combat trafficking in persons. In the United States the Trafficking Victims Protection Act came into force in 2001. International agreements and coalitions have been formed to fight this problem.
Many responses focus on the ‘three P’s’—prevention through raising awareness; protection of victims; and prosecution of traffickers. Non-governmental agencies have been crucial in bringing this crime to the attention of the public and governments. In America several shelters have been opened for trafficking victims, and some states have enacted their own anti-trafficking laws. The response to human trafficking, however, has been diminished by an ongoing controversy over what is the best way to respond to those victims who are trafficked into sexual exploitation and prostitution” (Bales par. 6). Many reasons such as the aforesaid explain why prostitution should remain illegal. “The practice of prostitution presents many dangers: to prostitutes, to customers, and to society at large. Prostitution is part of a vast economy of misogyny and female oppression” (Rich par. 2). This “also includes pornography and human trafficking, both of which are essential forms of institutionalized,” illicit sexual activity (Rich par. 2). “Prostitution attracts crime, spreads disease, and objectifies women.
The mere fact that it is called ‘the world’s oldest profession’ should not blind us to its inherent evils. Prostitutes are the real victims in these practices” (Rich par. 2). Many of them are trapped in an endless cycle of “violence, drug addiction, and poverty” (Rich par. 2). While it clearly would be unfair to put all the blame upon either party, their mutual consent of making such a choice contributes to the ongoing practice of prostitution (Rich par. 3). Thus, the customer and prostitute alike must face the consequences of their actions (Rich par. ). “The bulk of the punishment, however, needs to be directed at those who have forced these women into prostitution and controlled them at every turn, namely the pimps” and traffickers (Rich par. 3). No matter what position one may play in these illicit solicitations, the lines of division remain blurred between the prostitute, the pimp, and the customer. Because in the final analysis, the greatest victim is society-at-large.
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