Just legalize it already!
Why is prostitution still illegal in the US? It is the 21st century for God’s sake and we’re supposed to be a democratic country. Why is sex for money such a taboo? Why do people work so hard, spend so much time and energy to forbid something which, quite frankly, is none of their business? The NY Times in a recent article speaks about NY Governor Eliot Spitzer’s “war on prostitution”:
Prosecuting an international sex tourism business based in Queens, he listened to the entreaties of women’s advocates long frustrated by state laws that fell short of dealing with a sex trade expanding rapidly across borders.
And with his typical zeal, he embraced their push for new legislation, including a novel idea at its heart: Go after the men who seek out prostitutes.
Now the human rights groups, which credit him with what they call the toughest and most comprehensive anti-sex-trade law in the nation, are in shock. Mr. Spitzer stands accused of being one of the very men his law was designed to catch and punish.
The law, which went into effect Nov. 1, mainly deals with redefining and prosecuting forms of human trafficking, which Governor Spitzer called “modern-day slavery.”
Modern day slavery? Yes, but only because criminalizing it has pushed it into the hands of criminals. Instead of businessmen you have pimps running it. Workplace protections laws do not apply to prostitutes. There is no minimum wage, no paid holidays, no workers compensation, unemployment benefits, medical benefits, time off etc. etc.
Prostitution is dangerous to the women engaged in it, not because of any inherent property of the thing itself, but simply because of who is running it. And who is running it depends largely on the laws criminalizing it. It is the laws that are meant to protect the women that at the end of the day end up hurting them more.
We all wear sneakers. There still are factories in the third world where children are exploited and forced to work long hours under unacceptable conditions, and we wear the product they produce. Does that mean that sneakers should be illegal? That’s a form of modern day slavery as well, but just like prostitution it is not the fault of the product, it is the fault of who’s in charge of running the business. You can’t fix that problem by going after the people buying sneakers. And you cannot fix the prostitution problem by going after the people buying prostitution.
If someone was really interested in the health and well being of these women, they would decriminalize prostitution. They would make it a business just like anything else. The laws would apply. It would be regulated, controlled. There would be protection and security for the women. No more sex romps in back alleys, cars, or obscure motels. Certain standards would be reinforced. You take the business out of the shadows, out of the hands of criminals, and you take away all the risks that people today use to excuse this stupid law.
At the end of the day, prostitution is a moral issue. Some people find it immoral. Others don’t. Every one has the right to refuse to partake in such activities if they so choose. Every one should also have the right to participate. Morality cannot be legislated. It is immoral to force your moral beliefs on another human being. I want a strong government, but I want it to butt out of my bedroom. What I do with another, consenting, adult human being is no one else’s business.
Why is sex for money different from sex for jewels, for a promotion? Why is the exchange of money so problematic? There is no reason, no logical reason, for prostitution to be illegal. None whatsoever. I challenge anyone to come up with one good logical reason in the comments to this post. Why are one night stands ok, but a paid one night stand is not?
It is time we as a society stop being so judgmental. It is time for us to say enough is enough. I do not want the government to stick its nose where it don’t belong. I want it out of my personal life. I don’t want it wasting my money on anti-prostitution laws, anti gay marriage laws or any such stupid endeavors. It has more important things to worry about.
It is time we legalize prostitution.
4 Comments »