Legalization Of Prostitution
Running head: Legalization of Prostitution
Should Prostitution Remain Illegal?
Francis R. Vercher
Louisiana State University-Alexandria
For years the act of prostitution has been conveyed as immoral and illegal. Even the definition of Prostitution: The act of being prostituted, debased (the lowering of status, esteem, quality or character), conveys the profession in a repulsive way. Being the oldest profession in the world it’s hard to see how it can be completely undesirable. Many agree that the act of prostitution is not as bad as it is made to seem. An article written by Robert Perkins published in Working Girls: Prostitutes, their life and social control, states that “Whilst the money is good, the work offers flexibility rare in most other employments, for the lonely women, there is female companionship, and, for many, it has the curious effect of developing character, making a weak woman strong and providing a social confidence that was previously lacking.” Almost sounds like a finishing school.
While advantages of prostitution seem appealing, the disadvantages are stacked high against it. Basically the disadvantages, while there are a lot, can be grouped into three main categories: Police involvement, sexually transmitted diseases, and drug addiction. The average cost per prostitution police bust is almost or more than $2000. Also it is estimated that sixteen large American cities spend over $120 million to suppress prostitution a year. Even with the over crowding of jails and prisons there is still police cracking down harder on prostitution than ever before as if a woman soliciting sexual favors is more important than a drive by shooting, murder or automobile theft.
Nevada is the only state in the United States that allows some legal prostitution; the acts are done in most of its counties and are extremely regulated, but not illegal. As long as the brothel is licensed and the county population is fewer than 400,000 they are allowed to have prostitution if they so wish it. “Licensed prostitutes must be at least 21 years of age, except in Storey County and Lyon country, where the legal age is 18.” With that said, the brothels in these counties have very low health risks as well, almost every one has mandatory testing for HIV and other STD’s and since 1986 not a single brothel prostitute has been positive for HIV. The mandatory condom law that was passed in 1988 makes that occurrence nearly impossible, it also helps that those who run or own the legal brothels understand that they are liable if the customer contracts any disease. Prostitution and brothels in Nevada have been around since the middle of the 19th century and whenever there is a debate about whether it should be illegalized or not, the legalization of prostitution always remains. So if most Nevadans prefer the laws that are set in place for prostitution and like having it legalized, then what’s stopping the rest of the United States?
Although so many things are listed in reference to prostitution that shines a negative light on the profession. I do believe that legalizing the profession would not only be more beneficial to prostitutes but the police can concentrate more on other issues and I believe that it will also be more beneficial to the general public. Since the people are worried about sexually transmitted diseases then legalizing prostitution will enable them to receive health care benefits because then it would be a paid legal profession. It’s understood that making prostitution legal will not solve all the problems but it will help solve most of them. By making the legal age 21, there is more concentration on our youth and helping them, instead of tying to police grown women who know and acknowledge what they are doing.
While researching, a statement made by Ms. Gwendolyn Landolt, vice president of REAL women, of Canada, caught my attention. She states that, “Prostitution is an abuse of women. Women are reduced to sexual objects to be used and pushed aside. Human sexuality was intended for the context of love, in a marriage relationship. Prostitution is a denigration of human sexuality.” While the beginning of this statement made sense because there are men out there called “pimps” who do use and abuse women for monetary gain, the last part of the statement left me confused. Where does it state that human sexuality is intended for the context of love, within or without marriage? Human sexuality is intended for pleasure, even the definition of sexuality is “Tendencies and behavior of human beings with regard to any activity that causes or is otherwise associated with sexual arousal.” as defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica, and no where is love mentioned. Some women do not find the idea of marriage pleasurable or appealing. Some women find prostitution to be gratifying and pleasurable. So why shouldn’t they get paid to do something they love to do as long as it does not entail physically harming someone or taking someone’s life. Should we finally legalize this profession to which no amount of policing seems to be reducing, or should we continue to outlaw one of the oldest professions in the world?
In summary, the purpose of this project was to investigate people’s opinions towards the legalization of prostitution and to determine how if the legalization of this profession was a long time in coming or if the 21st was the perfect place and time. I used a Prostitution Press Release in which the students were told that prostitution was going to become legalized as near as 2009. The reason for this was so that the opinions of the students would be fresh with emotion and with complete honesty. The result of this model is presented in Figure 1. By including questions of beneficence, agreement and timeliness I hope to establish that more people nowadays believe that prostitution should be legalized and that legalizing this profession has been a long time in coming.
Participants and Procedures
In order to gather the information needed to test the response to the Legalization of Prostitution a sample of college students from a small southern university was used. The participants consisted of 19 female and 3 males. The average age of the participants were 26.833 years of age with a standard deviation of 8.101. The sample included a mixture of ethnical heritage.
The students entered a climate controlled classroom at a pre-scheduled time during the day when it is most convenient for them, then they were seated and handed the standard mandatory Informed consent form. Once they completed filling this out the students were given the Prostitution Press Release, a questionnaire where they were lead to believe that the Legalization of Prostitution is being discussed and will happen in the near future as near as January 2009, after reading the scenario the students will be asked how they feel about the legalization of prostitution and several other question pertaining to the scenario. After completion of this questionnaire the students were then debriefed by receiving a small statement explaining that the there was no real discussion going on about legalizing prostitution but that if they have any concerns they have the information to contact me with.
The results of the research were split into three main categories of the questionnaire. The first was to determine the whether the students agreed or disagreed with the legalization of prostitution and if age factored into how they felt. The second was to determine whether or not the students believed that if prostitution became legal would it be more or less beneficial to the United States and if the student’s age had anything to do with their opinion on that. The third question was to determine whether or not the students believe that legalizing this profession was a long time in coming or if the 21st century was the perfect time. The average response for these questions were as follows: 75% of the students agreed with the decision and 21% disagree and 1% was found neutral, 21% found the decision to be more beneficial to the U.S., while 63% found it less beneficial and 16% found themselves neutral on the subject, it was 50/50 when deciding whether it was a long time in coming or if the 21st century was the perfect place and time, there was no one neutral on that topic.
The results from a correlation study indicated a significant relationship between gender and whether or not prostitution would be beneficial to the U.S. More men found that having prostitution would be more beneficial to the United States than women did.
Correlations Between Gender and Opinion on Beneficence
3 4 5 3
gender 1 3 15 3 21
2 2 0 1 3
Total 5 15 4 24
Although my sample size for this questionnaire had not been very large there was a significant result, there was not much division on the matter. Most of the students tended to disagree with the legalization of prostitution, but as I analyzed the results it did not escape the irony of the response, though the students disagree wholly with the idea of legal prostitution they seemed to be divided on whether or not it would have been a long time in coming or if the 21st century was the perfect place in time. This means to me that even though some of them disagreed with the legalizing of the profession they did see this as the perfect time to have legalized it. Some of their reasons for why they disagreed were interesting as well, mostly that the profession was immoral and debase. This leads me to wonder if they think our country has become immoral and debased since they believe this was the perfect century for it. Also it leads me to wonder how open minded they really are to this profession. Although I did not have a sample size large enough to approve or disapprove that more people would be open to the legalizing of prostitution, the sample size that I had acquired leads me to wonder what the overall response would be of the United States if making this profession legal does come into discussion. All in all, there were more people needed to test this theory, people of different ethnical backgrounds, profession and educations.
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Perkins, Roberta. (1991). Working Girls: prostitutes, their life and social control. Retrieved March 12, 2007 from AIC (Australian Institute of Criminology).
Web site: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/lcj/working/ch4-4.html