The Truth About Prostitution
Prostitution. It is a powerful word, which, with just four syllables, breeds uneasiness. I have gone almost my entire life without understanding what lies behind it. We live in a society where pop culture and the media give us strong suggestions as to how we should see the world around us, and they have not been kind to the concept of prostitution. Hollywood has shown us that prostitutes are the foul-mouths in fishnets roaming the streets of Memphis in the movie Hustle and Flow. It has also depicted for us to the horrific world of forced prostitution and trafficking in the blockbuster Taken. With prostitution being so terrible one must ask themselves, how could anyone want this to be decriminalized? When I was first enlightened on the subject I asked that very question, but as I uncovered more about the world sex trade I realized that prostitution is not what society thinks. Now, before I go on, I would like to say that forced prostitution and trafficking are real. It is a terrible and unfortunate side of human nature and should continue to be seeked out and eradicated. However, the vast majority of sex work in the world is voluntary. Almost all of its ‘defining’ factors are misconceptions and once they are cleared we realize that criminalizing it is much more harmful than helpful.
Since prostitution is most commonly disliked I believe it would be easier for me to simply address the misconceptions about it and rebuttal from there. ProCon.org is a website designed to show both sides of contravercial topics from authorities in the field and so gives us the main areguments against sex work. The first, and possibly most discussed argument is that “[prostitution] creates a setting whereby crimes against men, women, and children become a commercial enterprise” (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)). This information was affirmed by Melissa Farley and her associates during a study which found that “71% [of prostitutes] were physically assaulted” and “63% were raped” (Farley 34). These assaults happen, but when asked, the average sex worker attributes them to reasons which the anti-sex traders wouldn’t like. The first thing that most prostitutes blame for the high abuse rates is the victim mentality people hold towards prostitutes: “what I hate most of all is the idea that we are all victims” (Jasmin 34). Feminist writer, Anne McClintock, points out that, to many people, a prostitute’s life is worth nothing. This makes them perfect targets for rapists and murderers who can live out their terrible fantasies without fear of the ramifications (McClintock 3). Jasmin, a German sex worker, points out that there is a “one more… who cares?” attitude towards prostitute rape. This is despicable because even if the psychological effects are overlooked, they are still being “forced to work” and the immorality of slave labor is not a widely disputed one (Jasmin 35).
Many prostitutes also claim that the laws set in place against prostitutes cause them to be easy targets for abuse. To give rapists and murderers yet another reason to choose hookers as victims, sex workers cannot go to the police if they have any information about other crimes: “in London, prostitutes asked for a temporary amnesty from arrest, so they could come forward with information regarding a series of vicious murders of women in the area. The police refused”. This is almost certainly the cause of the United states having the highest per capita prostitute murder rate in the world (McClintock 3), and it is estimated that if prostitution were legal, the rape rate in America would plummet by as much as 25% (Cundiff). Furthermore, without the ability to protect themselves through legal action, prostitutes must turn to the protection of abusive pimps and possibly even slave-brothels. This is much like the difference between banks and loan sharks. Because banks give loans legally they can go...
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