Prostitution, also known as the “oldest profession in the world,” has left the nation with an extensive battle between the two sides: make it legal or keep it criminalized. Prostitution should be legal in the United States. It will lower heinous crimes such as human sex trafficking and illegal brothels, as well as rampant exploitation and abuse of commercial sex workers. Legalizing it would allow prostitution to be controlled under official businesses where the activity could easily be regulated.
Prostitution will continue to occur regardless of it being illegal or not. “In 2010 alone, the Bureau of Justice reported over 60,000 people were arrested for prostitution,” according to an Elite Daily article by John Haltiwanger. You can’t control what isn’t controlled. If prostitution were decriminalized in the eyes of the law and put forth into an effective business model, it would be easier to have more jurisdiction on what’s going on, rather than simply outlawing it and ignoring the problem. This would require the U.S. to create an effective approach to legalizing prostitution and swaying the issue into a healthy business model where everyone wins, and there would be no need for criminal operation in the shadows.
Something to be considered when legalizing prostitution is that it would have to be forbidden to sell sex over the internet for private meet-ups anywhere other than in the licensed building the business uses. The internet would make it extremely difficult to manage meet-ups, sanitation and safety of the encounters. These licensed brothels would operate under rigorous regulations where there would be regular checkups by authorities to see how the workers are doing and being treated, as well as a constant inquiry of the customers entering and buying. Brothels would take full accountability for the prostitute and would have legal obligations for the safety of their workers and the disgrace and transgression of the customer.
A county in Nevada has one of the only legal brothels in the U.S. that goes by the name of Sheri’s Ranch, and it houses only women. Dylan Love for Business Insider explored the facility and interviewed many of the sex workers
“The women here seem to do quite well for themselves, operating as independent contractors who set their own prices,” Love said.
Every worker interviewed by Love seemed satisfied and happy with their work. One of the workers stated how many of the women begin at Sheri’s Ranch on a short term basis just to make copious amounts of money. Other women see it as a long term profession, and they have families and husbands waiting for them back home.
In businesses like these where prostitution is legal, there’s a sense of a safety net provided when it comes to abuse and exploitation. “A sex worker was awarded $21,000 after successfully bringing a sexual harassment lawsuit against the operator of the brothel where she worked,” explained Michael Gonchar in an article for The New York Times. “Prior to decriminalization, it would have been impossible for a sex worker to legally challenge bullying and exploitative behavior.”
Through legalizing and creating prostitution as a business, we lower the incentive to purchase and sell prostitutes illegally, and we lower the risk of exploitation. Sex trafficking would decrease because there would be no need to take innocent girls captive when the availability of legal purchasing of prostitution is available.