General Question

Your_Majesty's avatar

Why can't prostitution be a legal economic commodity?

Asked by Your_Majesty (8215points) May 27th, 2011

To further answer this question let us spare the moral and think more about economy, freedom, and pragmatism.

Prostitution as many have known is also another kind of job. The purpose is to earn money by giving services to other people, well, you know what kind of services they are.
Many of them exist in our society. Prostitution also pay for taxes and behave like a normal person, they just have a different kind of job so they’re still good citizens and good for economy, especially at recession times.

People need sex so I don’t see it’s wrong if other people find a way supply each other to sustain their life. This is the same like when we’re sick, other people provide medical treatment for us in exchange for money. So we could see that this is just another economic cycle between producer and consumer

If we think about it no matter how much and how long our government try to banish prostitution they will always still exist as long as the desire to have sex is exist in human kind, which is natural for sexual living creatures. Many women and their families in many countries (especially poor countries) could die because of starvation that is rooted from poverty. If their government approve prostitution as a legal job and erase any law about it they could’ve saved many lives instead of focusing on their egos and feel proud of their current achievements and religions.

As long as they are healthy and have a legal proof their job is not very different than a job of a massage therapist. So, aside from moral issue it’s not hard to see why prostitution couldn’t prevail as legal job. Why are our government keep insisting on banishing prostitution while they have approved polygamy/polyandry (since it almost have the same pattern) if their decision based on humanity and morality?
Why would our society seem to support this rule and sustain the perception of bad prostitution? Is it possible that one day prostitution would be legal in your country? What should have happened for that to becomes a reality?

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41 Answers

Hibernate's avatar

I should not support this but I do.

It should be wrong but the benefits from making it legal are far greater than to keep it illegal.

Not to mention that it’s easier to keep families together.

The greater good is somehow a variable for most .. what’s good for me is wrong for another and viceversa but prostituion will continue to exist no matter how we try to stop it.

Mamradpivo's avatar

As long as the women involved in selling sex aren’t being forced to do so, prostitution should absolutely be legal.

Nullo's avatar

The prohibition is all about the morality of it.

manolla's avatar

Prostitution reduces a person to an instrument for sexual pleasure, and that to me seems very degrading to a person, and I don’t think that I would feel okay with my government legalizing this to happen on people.

It sounds like, if you need money, you need to sell your body for it, which doesn’t sound right morally at all, I don’t assume that anyone would feel good about seeing thier sisters or thier mothers selling thier bodies for money, why would we then accept it on other people.

marinelife's avatar

Selling your body for sex harms the soul of the person dong it. There is no getting around that.

People who are starving are forced into prostitution. They do not choose it.

It is men who buy sex. Women who are (usually) prostitutes. It has an inherent power imbalance.

If it were legalized and regulated, that would probably improve the working conditions of the women.

It is not likely to happen in a puritanical society like ours.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Since @Your_Majesty already answered his (I’m assuming here) own question), I’ll just add to the discussion by asking, for the sake of argument, we also have two kidneys, can live without a pint of blood or so, should we also as a society decide to be able to sell them to the highest bidder when in need of some additional funds?
I guess we already do with sperm, eggs and blood/plasma already…

ragingloli's avatar

Historically, women were the property of their husbands and as such they were only allowed to have sex with them and bear that man’s (and that man’s only) children, to ensure the inheritance issue is clear. Women were basically just incubators.
Voluntary prostitution is about a woman’s control over her own body and destiny, which goes 180° against tradition. Not only does that wretched woman dare to remove herself from the incubator population, she also has the gall to decide for herself that she is not property anymore. How outrageous.
Modern opposition to prositution is, in my estimation, based on this traditional mindset, they just make up different excuses (“the woman is degrading herself”, “it harms the soul”), because the actual reasons are unacceptable to say out loud in today’s society.

HungryGuy's avatar

Because religious extremists and other Puritanical groups have too much political influence. And also, politicians are, by nature, control freaks.

Coloma's avatar

It already is in some places.
I live about an hour from the Nevada state line, and prostitution has always been legal in Nevada.

Many a young man has lost his viginity at the infamous ‘Mustang ranch.’

I don’t believe it is a healthy ‘profession’, as in soul serving, as another has said, but, it does exist in legal form.

Infact, there is a sign across the state line that say’s…. ” Welcome to Nevada, Prostitution legal, gambling legal, keeping lobsters, illegal” ! haha

Yep, gamble and hook your way across the state, but, keep lobsters in your living room, your in deep doggy doo doo! ;-)

laureth's avatar

As far as advancing women’s place in society, the movement has been hampered by a divided strategy. On one hand, there are those who think female equality will be attained when they can do anything a man can do and that women ought to have all the rights and responsibilities of men, including the possibility of conscription. People of this school of thought will generally take a legalization attitude about things like prostitution and pornography, saying that they empower women and show that they don’t need to be thought of as frail flowers that need protection.

The other school of thought advances the feminine cause by promoting a protectionist view. This is more geared toward protections for women in the hopes of equalling things out – and this view is where things like child support and alimony come from. The protection was needed when women left a marriage because their chances for employment were slim (and involved things like “taking in laundry”). It’s a “save the widows and orphans” thing. These people would say that prostitution (like pornography) is offensive to feminism, degrading to women, and should be abolished to ensure greater female equality.

The two schools of thought have been fighting it out for a long time. In some form, it’s been going on since Susan B. Anthony days at least. The reason that the ERA has never done very well is that the “protectionist” type of feminists are afraid of things like conscription, and rile people up with that idea (and the possibility of unisex bathrooms, oh noes!, even though the ERA has no such wording). Meanwhile, the “equality” feminists say that without equal responsibility, there can never be equal rights.

When, finally, one school or the other wins out, we might finally make some progress.

zenvelo's avatar

@Your_Majesty What country do you live in? Many of the people on this site live in the U.S., I don’t know of any government approved polygamy/polyandry.

I do support legalized prostitution if it is a choice of the woman, and not coercive and of legal age. I don’t think it’s the best choice for a woman, and would even propose that sex workers get some psychotherapy and/or job counseling.

Jaxk's avatar

As stated above, it is in some locations. I’ve never been to any of the brothels in Nevada but I’ve been to the ‘Red Light’ district in Amsterdam. Seems like a reasonable way to handle it. It keeps all the brothels in one one place and has turned into quite a tourist attraction. The ladies sit in the display windows while you shop and since most were not very good looking, it makes it easy to keep any urges you may have in check.

Overall it seems with licensing and regular health checkups, it doesn’t hurt anyone keeps the prostitutes off the streets. Although in Vegas the still find their way onto the streets. I guess no system is perfect.

6rant6's avatar

Maybe if prostitution were legal the industry would organize to put in place remediation against the almost inevitable mental health issues associated with the job. Other professions do it: psychiatrists, police officers, and soldiers. In some cases they are required to undergo counseling.

And if you want to prevent anyone entering work where the nature of the work often damages people in it, I think we should first prohibit acting, writing, and food service. All those are well known to undermine the self-worth of anyone going into them.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

I don’t think of prostitution as degrading someone at all. Sex is the best type of therapy sometimes. A prostitute is in control of her sexuality and is using it to her benefit, it’s not her that is made to feel like a tool, but the person receiving the services.

If legalized there is a chance the services would be cheaper and not to mention it will cause more people to use condoms and what have you. There is nothing wrong with sex, bonobo chimps use it to resolve conflict, why can’t we?

laureth's avatar

Here’s a link for anyone who thinks that prostitution is not degrading at all. I know that there must be, somewhere, some positive kind of prostitution,where everyone is happy to be there, but from the reading I’ve done, the “happy hooker” myth is largely just that.

Roby's avatar

If it weren’t for hookers I would have never gotton to know what sex was like. They don’t care if your ugly. The regular dateing girls do.

cheebdragon's avatar

Yeah, who cares about stds, let’s all fuck some hookers….~

lloydbird's avatar

Because of priggish, vote-hungry politicians.

pshizzle's avatar

It’s disgusting. Women should be loved, not used as cheap toys.

HungryGuy's avatar

@pshizzle – Well, believe it or not, some women get off on being used as cheap toys :-p

zenvelo's avatar

For one positive viewpoint on prostitution, here is one escort’s blog .
While I agree with the thoughts above, I do note that much of the worst aspects of prostitution arise from its illegality.

Your_Majesty's avatar

@zenvelo I live in Indonesia and there are a lot of poor prostitutes on the corner of each streets at night. The condition in my country is worse than other more developed countries. Here,our government and the local citizens (especially Islamic people) are very fierce on banishing prostitution from this country. Prostitutes were caught and sent to Humanity and Social Department (if not jail) and forced to sign an agreement paper to send them to jail if the same action repeated. This seems very humanized and educational but most of the prostitutes (80% of those who went to this Department) became to work as prostitutes again since most of them were doing that for their family and their own economic reasons and such Department just give them some humanity values but unable to solve their economic issue (Why do you think there are a lot of jobless people each year and their number keep increasing from time to time? Why would government and public hire a prostitutes if they can find one that isn’t. Prostitutes are seen as a very degrading aspects for people around them). And there is no counseling agency that will go as far as helping a bunch of prostitutes here.

To add the incompetence of their action,it’s has been shown that some of our politician have experienced a good time with a lot of prostitutes and are craving for porn (people can easily see this from many newspaper and TV medias) when they’re promoting anti-prostitution laws. People of the same Political Departments denied this,stating that some of them are bad but many of the politician are very morally good people.

There are,however,some people that get into prostitution at younger age. Many of the female student do this only to sustain their poor family. Of course,there are some that just do it for extra money but most of the prostitutes here are poor and uneducated(but they know how to use condom). Many of them want to quit but they can’t due to economic pressures. If prostitution were to be banished completely (I doubt it) many poor women would be unable to sustain themselves and their family. They have no choice. Sometimes a sacrifice is needed in order to survive in this world.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

@laureth I’ve seen tons of documentaries and articles on this subject. In the case of human trafficking and being in a situation where you have to do it because there is no other means of money then yes it’s degrading. After a while this profession can burn a person out and they will start not seeing the glamor in it that they used to.

Working in the sex industry shouldn’t be degrading, I should’ve said. Using sex for pleasure or even income shouldn’t be something that is disgusting. It’s using something a person has to get what they want. There are many attributes that people use to benefit them.

The problem I see with legalizing it is that child trafficking might spike up because it becomes more taboo and people will pay more for it. The average age for a NY prostitute is 13, and I think that is horrible. This is only the average which means there are younger out there.

roundsquare's avatar

I don’t think anyone argues with the economics of it… at least not in a properly regulated system. Putting aside the morals creates a straw man.

Not that I think its immoral, but thats why people are against it.

6rant6's avatar

Does anyone actually believe that soldiers in the battle field have it better than sex workers in places where prostitution it is legal? No one comes home from a fire fight undamaged. So should we make it illegal to be a soldier?

I kind of like that idea

blueberry_kid's avatar

This is my own personal opinion but what the hell kind of question is this?! Prostetution?! Really?! I mean seriously! Im sorry if this offends you or anyone else prior to thier knowledge, but seriously! It sounds as if to me you want to legalize sluts selling themselves on the street! Excuse me, but Im sorry! This is ridiculous! Prostetution?! Heavens, please, I hope no one has to ask a question like this ever again.

blueberry_kid's avatar

Women should be respected, not used.

roundsquare's avatar

@astrix24 Your welcome to your opinion but perhaps you could do more than just state it. Maybe you haven’t been exposed to it, but there are a lot of people out there who thing that prostitution should be legalized and regulated.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The current state of prostitution is surely abhorrent. That said, I think legalizing and regulating it would do enormous good. Would it still be degrading in many cases? Probably. But so is working at Wal-Mart.

nikkiduq's avatar

@astrix24 Prostitution doesn’t always only involve women, you know?

blueberry_kid's avatar

I understand prostetution isn’t just women, but men also, which makes it worse. Men and Women should have a right to their bodies. Prostetution I did, do, and always think is wrong. And @roundsquare I have seen prostetution. I saw it when I went to France, Mexico, and even in the true ghettos of Cincinnati. It’s criminal!

laureth's avatar

@astrix24 – From a “devil’s advocate” standpoint, here, if a person is not allowed to do certain things with their body (such as prostitute themselves), do they really have a right to their body?

6rant6's avatar

@astrix24,Maybe you should slow down and read what you’re writing. You write:

Men and Women should have a right to their bodies. Yet you want to deny them the right to use them as they see fit.

It’s criminal! Only until the majority of people think it isn’t .

blueberry_kid's avatar

@laureth In your words, I see what you mean. If a person chooses to be a prostitue, that is their own stupid opinion. But I don’t think it should be legal.

blueberry_kid's avatar

@6rant6 I say Its criminal! all the time as like saying Its wrong!.
But, for your first point on my opinion Im not quite understanding what your asking me.

laureth's avatar

@astrix24 – We understand that you oppose the legalization of prostitution. However, the questioner is wondering why it is that people do not want it to be legal. “Because it shouldn’t be legal!” is sort of begging the question. If your answer is, “Because it’s immoral,” that’s cool, but it’s also true that to others, it is not immoral.

Have you thought about why you find it so immoral and disgusting? I have, but I also think that if the things I think make prostitution objectionable went away, I might not find it immoral.

blueberry_kid's avatar

@laureth @6rant6 And all others to whom I may have upset. I find prostetution immoral and disgusting because its men and women selling themselves to strangers for money. The stranger doesn’t know what is inside this man or woman, and vice versa. If the prostitute wants money, they need to clean theirself up and get a job, that does not involve sex. They need to get some sense. I do not like it. Im sorry if it is not to everyones liking or my choice of words. My opinion is my opinion, and prostetution is wrong. I would understand discussing the thought of legalizing something else that isn’t envolving sex, selling s person to someone they would not know or any envolvment with that. I apologize. Also when @Your_Majesty says people need sex to sustain their life, people need other things to sustain thier life. Sex isnt everything.

laureth's avatar

@astrix24 – You have not upset me in any way. I understand that you find it disgusting; in some ways I do too. But here’s the thing – I engage in behaviors sometimes which other people find disgusting. For example, I eat pork, which is disgusting to some religious groups. Now, what if those folks decided that since they find pork to be immoral and offensive, I should not be allowed to eat any pork at all, even in my own home, even if I really like it, and even if my own faith doesn’t find anything wrong with pork? Is it right that their religious views should control what I, myself, can or cannot eat?

Similarly, I have a hard time with the idea of legislating morality. If I find something immoral, I will not do it – and I may even talk to my friends and family about things I think are immoral – but I don’t think I should force other people to bend to my moral compass, because I don’t want to bend to theirs. It’s like the Golden Rule – I treat others as I would want to be treated.

Now, I can absolutely see why you would not want to be a prostitute, nor would you ever want to visit one. Neither would I. But perhaps anonymous sex for money is just the thing that someone else needs, and if it’s not immoral to them, what right do I have to enforce my morals on those other people, who don’t even know me? It would seem, at least to me, that if I find prostitution immoral and I want it eradicated from the world, the best thing I can do is to work for the better treatment of women, or for social services that can help people get out of the prostitution trap, or at least make it legal so it can be regulated and the prostitutes can unionize, throw off the most disgusting of the behaviors they’re forced to engage in (if they choose), and turn something horrible into something at least a little beneficial.

Remember, people who want to be prostitutes, or hire them, will do it anyway, whether it’s legal or illegal. They will find a way, if they’re that desperate, to work around your enforced moral code. Lots of things would help clean up prostitution; making it illegal seems like the route that does the least to get there.

roundsquare's avatar

@astrix24 I think @laureth captured what we were saying. I’d just add one thing:

“I have seen prostetution. I saw it when I went to France, Mexico, and even in the true ghettos of Cincinnati.”

As far as I know, prostitution is illegal on all those places. This forces it underground and once that happens, the conditions are such that it it must be considered criminal from any sensible point of view. But, in places where its been legalized and regulated, this is not the case. Why? Because the following can be (mostly) prevented:

> STDs (via regular check ups).
> Pregnancy (via birth control).
> Violence against the prostitute.
> Poor payment from pimp to prostitute.
> Forcing the prostitute to sleep with someone they don’t want to.
> Etc…

Unionization and the ability to go to the police are huge. They allow people to have much more control over their lives.

I can’t find an article on this right away, but my boss told me that when prostitution was made illegal in Taiwan, there were marches by prostitutes saying they were losing their way of life. This says something about how prostitution can be different from what you’ve seen.

Of course, there are still people who find the very idea of payment for sex immoral no matter what the conditions, but I think a lot of it, subconsciously, comes back to knowing the conditions prostitutes have in places where it is illegal. It might be useful to try this thought experiment:

Pretend prostitution worked like this. The client went into a room and was able to look at descriptions of the prostitutes, pictures, etc… and got to choose one. Then, both the prostitute and the client were able to get an instant STD check. If both are clean, the client pays for the sex and they go into a room to have sex. Afterwards, the money is split between the person who owns the facilities and the prostitute. Any complaints about violence, etc… are handled by checking a video (which no one can look at without the prostitute’s consent) and, if there is any validity to the claim, brought to the police. All prostitutes and clients are given birth control that lasts for the session. If, by some chance, the prostitute does get pregnant, there are pregnancy programs and child care services, etc… Any prostitute can leave the job at any time, no strings attached.

In these conditions, are you still against prostitution? I realize I’ve made up one piece of technology (the instant STD test) but its just a thought experiment.

6rant6's avatar

@astrix24 As a practical matter, a society cannot outlaw activities just because people are repulsed by them. If that were the case, in the US we would not allow interracial marriages or even people of different races to use the same drinking fountain. After the law was changed, most people (or their descendants) eventually came to accept the naturalness of that change.

So it is with prostitution. Justifying your desire to make it illegal because you find it disgusting only serves to highlight your immaturity. There may be reasons to outlaw it, but your revulsion isn’t one of them. There are occupations I revile, and think harmful to the people involved in them. But I also know the value of those services to society.

proctologist, cop, sewer plant worker, slaughterhouse workers, prison guard, fluther moderator…

nikkiduq's avatar

@astrix24 how is it worse? There are others who are okay with prostitution being a job. I personally wouldn’t want to work as one but I don’t have any problems if others do. That’s their life. If they are okay with the job, then let them be. But forcing people to work as prostitutes (like human trafficking, etc.) is just wrong.

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