Prostitution: the act of providing sexual services in exchange for money; has existed in society longer than many realize. Commonly referred to as the worlds oldest profession, prostitution dates back to biblical times. The issue at hand is not whether the act of prostitution is immoral; but rather, is prostitution a crime? Is it a crime when two consenting adults have sex? Why should the fact that money has been exchanged in return for sexual services make the act a crime? The attempt to suppress prostitution has been made for centuries; however, the profession not only remains but also continues to thrive. Only through the legalization of prostitution are we then better able to control other crimes that are closely associated.
So, what should the legal status of prostitution be? Should prostitution continue to be a criminal offense? Should prostitution be decriminalized or legalized? In order to make a determination, we must first understand the different meanings. According to the legal dictionary at Law.com, a crime is defined as a violation of a law in which there is injury to the public or a member of the public and a term in jail or prison, and/or a fine as possible penalties. Criminalizing sexual activities is an oppressive restriction of our individual liberty and denial of our freedom. Decriminalization (or tolerance) is the repeal or amendment of statutes that made certain acts criminal, so that those acts no longer are crimes subject to prosecution. On the other hand, legalization (or regulation) removes a legal prohibition against something that is currently illegal. Decriminalizing or simply tolerating prostitution is not enough. Legalization is the only way to refine prostitution and the criminal acts closely associated. Legalization will allow for safer environments for prostitutes, provide health screenings, reduce the widespread victimization of prostitutes and eliminate criminals trafficking in women and children.
Countless anti-prostitution feminists like Melissa Farley continue to make the argument that prostitutes, or "sex-workers", a term introduced by Carol Leigh an American feminist in the 1970s, are victims. Taking into consideration; the countless studies and surveys conducted, yes, it appears that sex-workers are victims. However, what exactly are sex-workers victims of? Surely, feminists are not attempting to blind us into believing that sex-workers are victims of sex, are they? Sex-workers are not victims of the act of sex itself; otherwise, every sexually active person in the world would be considered a victim. Sex-workers are commonly victims of other crimes associated with prostitution such as drug abuse, sexual assault, and physical assault. In 2001, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) conducted a survey of 235 women detained in the Cook County Jail; According to this study, "74% of sex-workers had been sexually assaulted" and "69% had been attacked with a weapon." (p.15). Now, merely the association of these crimes with the act of prostitution does not mean that one causes the other. Convenience store clerks are at a high risk of becoming victims of physical assault, robbery and being attacked with a weapon and there are countless acts of sexual assault, drug abuse, and physical assault committed everyday that are in no way connected to sex-workers or prostitution. Nevertheless, the fact remains that sex-workers are victims of other more serious crimes. Legalization would allow for safer environments for sex-workers and allow sex-workers to come out of the shadows and report serious crimes that are committed against them.
Another issue thrown into the debate on prostitution is morality. Morality is the determination of what society views as right or wrong. In other words, morality is the opinion of society. Many believe that Mary Magdalene portrayed in the Bible was a sacred or temple prostitute. A sacred or temple prostitute would have sexual intercourse, with a...
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