The Ugly Truth of Legalizing Prostitution (School Paper)

Hello ya’ll! I had no ideas for a post today, so I thought I would share the last Argumentative/Research paper I wrote for my Comp. class. This has *several* grammar errors that I have yet to fix, but I thought I would go ahead and share. This is a highly debated topic, plus it can be triggering to some. If you had an opposing view, or different take, I would love to hear it in the comments! If you do decide to comment, please stay kind and respectful!

 

The Ugly Truth of Legalizing Prostitution

America is slowly making progress in legalizing many things that were once fought against. Marijuana, abortion, and prostitution are just a few of the things America as a culture is attempting to legalize. While many push to legalize prostitution, others wish to show the ugly side of the sex industry, what would eventually happen after legalization, and why prostitution is ultimately a worsening evil. Legalizing, or even decriminalizing, prostitution will undoubtedly cause more problems than already faced. 

All humans are created in God’s image and are consequently inherently worthy, meaning they have value. Prostitution does not show women that they have value, in fact, it does the exact opposite. The urge for legalizing prostitution, among other things, shows that America’s culture in general is attempting to normalize and accept things that were once considered morally and ethically wrong.

Often, those advocating for the legalization of prostitution claim it will give women the ultimate freedom over their bodies; the ability to choose. Like the argument with abortion, they believe women have the right to do whatever they wish with their bodies. They believe through legalization it would allow women to prostitute themselves without worry of fines or jail time, and give women all across the country the choice of prostitution without fear.

Legalized prostitution does not increase a women’s right to choose. Prostitution is made up of mostly trafficked women. A majority of the women in prostitution have been trafficked from other countries, and even from within the U.S. They have then been pimped, and ultimately shoved into the sex industry without a choice. Janice G. Raymond proves this point in Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution. She shows that in the Netherlands, where prostitution is legal, a large argument for legalization was that it would “end the exploitation of desperate immigrant women who had been trafficked there for prostitution.” (317). She goes on to explain that though prostitution in the Netherlands is regulated, a study showed over 80% of the women had been trafficked from other countries (317). Many other women have been tricked, pressured, or have felt prostitution is their only option. Those women did not choose to enter prostitution, they were forced, each in their own unique way. Even regulated prostitution fails, and would fail, to protect women from being trafficked and pimped. A trafficked, pimped, or tricked woman did not make the decision to become a prostitute, therefore the argument that legal prostitution would give women the right to choose is indeed mistaken.

In Joe Matyas article, Prostitution, Porn linked to Human Trafficking, he confirms the fact that most of the women in the sex industry had no choice when entering prostitution. An estimated 800,000 women are trafficked from country to country for sexual purposes every year (“Prostitution, Porn linked”). Marty Van Doren states that if you buy porn or use a prostitute, “you’re probably supporting human trafficking,” (“Prostitution, Porn linked”). 

In correspondence with the argument of choice, some argue that legalizing prostitution will allow women the same equality that men have when they choose to have sex with a proustite. They believe that women should have the same rights to prostitute themselves as a man has to go to a place of prostitution. 

Dianne Post debates Bishakha Datta in Should Prostitution be Legalized?, over the act of legalizing prostitution. Post argues that “Legalized prostitution cannot exist alongside the true equality of women.” (28). Post then goes on to explain that allowing a certain group of women to be available for men’s pleasure is built on inequality, as well as it undermines the dignity of a person and the idea of equality for all. For prostitution to function it requires a devalued group of women (28). It takes away a women’s humanity and replaces it with the idea of simply being merchandise. 

According to Raymond, “some people believe that, in calling for legalization or decriminalization of prostitution, they dignify and professionalize the women in prostitution.” (316). Those that believe this argue that by dignifying the sex industry they distinguish the women within it. 

Through dignifying the sex industry, they do not, in fact, distinguish the prostitutes within, but the buyers, pimps, brothels, and traffickers (Raymond 316). Legalization would not just distinguish the women, but distinguish and benefit the system that ultimately controls those women. Prostitution is not a dignifying occupation for women, instead it is an profession that belittles and ultimately hurts those within the system. Prostitution creates the idea that the women of the industry are just things to be sold and manipulated. Distinguishing the entire system would ultimately help grow the people and places that are controlling these women.

Many argue that the women of the sex industry want prostitution to become legalized. They say that the prostitutes are happy with their jobs and wish it to be legalized, therefore creating safe and legal jobs for the women currently working illegally. A few women in the industry seemingly confirm these beliefs. In the cover story by Madeleine Kearns called Don’t Legalize Prostitution, she mentions Xavier Hollander, the author of The Happy Hooker: My Own Story (26). Hollander seems to be living proof that this argument is correct. 

It is later discovered that Hollander primarily worked as a madam (a female pimp), and had only been a prostitute for six months, but nonetheless her book sold 20 million copies worldwide (26). Kearns went alongside the Los Angeles Police Department and met many young women being pimped and prostituted (22). She met many prostitutes that seemingly wished to leave the sex industry, and also a few who acted like they had no problem with their occupation. Kearns repeats a quote from former prostitute, Rachel Moran that reads, “I believe if a prostitute or former prostitute wants to see prostitution legalized, it is because she is injured both to the wrong of it and to her own personal injury from it,” (26). This further proves the point that many, if not most, prostitutes wish to leave the system, but either feel they cannot because of their circumstances, or are forced to continue in their occupation by their pimp or trafficker. The ultimate problem lies in the people who control the industry, not in the women within it. While prostitution is a terrible evil, the women within are mostly innocent. Pimps and traffickers, the people that control them, are who should be held accountable for their wrongdoings towards the women. In her investigation, Kearns met a young woman labeled as C.A.S.H (22). This young woman, only 18 years old, had worked all day in the strip club before her pimp arrived and took her days earnings (22). When asked how long she had been working on the street, she answered, “Since I was 13.” (22). Sargent Valento, who Kearns accompanied in her exploration, asserted the idea that the women were victims, “I do see these women as victims. You have no support system. You have nothing going for you. You have to have trusted someone and been let down so bad to be out there doing that.” (28). These women are victims that are in need of help, though some refuse to admit it. It is not unlikely that if a helping hand is extended, the women in prostitution would gladly leave. 

Many argue that legalization or decriminalization would control the sex industry. Those people claim to believe that legalizing would control not only what happens within the industry, but also possibly diminish it.

In the Netherlands, after prostitution was legalized, and brothels decriminalized, the sex industry increased by 25% over the span of a decade (Raymond 318). The legalization of prostitution in the State of Victoria, Australia, resulted in a large expansion of the sex industry. It quickly grew and became an integral part of tourism (Raymond 319). Legalizing prostitution does not control it or attempt to minimize it. Legalizing prostitution gives those that control the system the ability to expand and grow without fear of repercussions.   

Legalized or decriminalized prostitution would undoubtedly cause more problems than already faced. Prostitution is an ugly system that is attempting to filter into America’s society. While currently only legal in some counties of Nevada, the fight to legalize prostitution in America is ever growing. A large portion of the American population believes prostitution should be legalized, or in the least decriminalized, but as shown, many terrible side affects would occur after legalization. While the ultimate evil lies in the idea of a human being selling their body in any way, America as a culture should realize that in most instances, those who run the sex industry are truly to blame. While the prostitutes are participating in a sinful act, often times they have no choice over what they do. America’s people should stand up not in the defense of the practice, but in defense of the dignity of their fellow human beings. 

Works Cited 

Raymond JG. “Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution.” Journal of Trauma Practice, vol. 2, no. 3/4, July 2003, pp. 315–332. EBSCOhost,

search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=rzh&AN=106680442&site=ehost-live, Accessed 11 November 2021.

Datta, Bishakha, and Dianne Post. “Should Prostitution Be Legalized?” New Internationalist, no. 461, Apr. 2013, pp. 28-30. EBSCOhost,

search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&ab=f5h&AN=86016806&site=ehost-live.com, Accessed 11 November 2021.

Kearns, Madeleine. “Don’t Legalize Prostitution. (Cover Story).” National Review, vol. 71, no. 15, Aug. 2019, pp. 22–28. EBSCOhost,

search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=137939490&site=ehost-live, Accessed 11 November 2021 .

Matyas, Joe. “Prostitution, Porn Linked to Human Trafficking.” Illinois Family Institute, 27 July 2014,

illinoisfamily.org/pornography/prostitution-porn-linked-to-human-trafficking/, Accessed 11 November 2021.

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