Legalization of prostitution Essay


            Prostitution is any sexual act in exchange for money. Many a times these acts prevail between men and women whereby the women have to sell their bodies (Mechelen, 1992). Most of the time, they operate from the streets of big towns and through brothels. This depends on the legal status. Some countries like Netherlands prostitution is completely legal while in others like Afghanistan such crimes are punishable to death.

Legalization of prostitution entails constitutional and legal backing of all affairs giving a free and a government regulated business of prostitution. Brothels are licensed by the government to run the affairs of the industry. They serve as a extra source of income for the government through taxation as the government hopes to create self employment opportunities to the unemployed women. In Netherlands, this business is used to finance the countries annual budget.

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            Prostitution can be referred to as street prostitution to mean group of prostitutes who stand on street corners where they meet their clients. Most of the times, sex is performed at the costumer’s car or at a nearby motel. This kind of prostitution is considered to be of low class with a majority of them motivated by the desirer to get money to survive in hard times. Also they are motivated by drug addiction.

Sex tourism is another form of prostitution which takes place among tourists who travel for sexual intercourse with prostitutes. Tourists utilize their availability in a country to encourage prostitution. This is diverse in countries where prostitution is legal like Thailand.

Women are at a very high risk of the consequences that arise from prostitution. They range from sexually transmitted diseases, murder, sexual assault, and physical assault. Those who by any chance give birth, their babies are at a very high risk of AIDS or an abnormally caused by drug abuse.

Legality of Prostitution

            Only a few countries of the world consider prostitution legal. German,Greece, Netherlands for instance uphold the legal status of the sex industry. This enables them to operate freely though in the hands of licensed brothels (Baldwin, 2004).

In other countries such as Afghanistan and almost all other Muslim countries, prostitution has a death penalty. In the US, it is considered a social crime. It is only one  state in the state of Nevada in the US where prostitution is legal. With these few countries giving an overview of the world prostitution, this social vice is considered to thrive everywhere in the world either legally or illegally.

            In the Netherlands, the legality of prostitution has been beneficial to the country through tax collection from the business. Some of these prostitutes are able to run their lives very comfortable like self employed persons. Prostitutes in this country are even able to afford  health cover facilities which only affordable by the well salaried employees. Here, the business is regulated by licensed brothels.

This included, there are a number of merits for legalizing prostitution.

            With the rising number of prostitutes and prostitution all over the world so is the rising spread of sexually transmitted diseases. As the governments effort to minimize this spread especially from these promiscuous prostitutes, the government establishes a law regulating the sexual acts of these prostitutes. This is very challenging, since the government can never know if a prostitute is using a condom in a sexual intercourse which is part of the regulation..

            Legalizing prostitution can be backed by security reasons . Many a times they are both sexually and physically assaulted by their clients so incidences of death result sometimes (Ginette, 2002) . In the US, the levels of prostitute deaths while at work are 200 per 100,000. Going by this alarming rates, it follows a legal backing by the government to license brothels who run prostitute business upholding both their security and those of their buyers.

The brothels equip motel rooms with CCTV cameras to ensure proper surveillance in case of any crime resulting in the rooms. They even go a step ahead to get the valid personal details for proper identification. This justification for legalizing prostitution is backed by its ability to prosecute crimes related to prostitution compared to street prostitution where victims of violence even fear to report such crimes in fear of being prosecuted themselves.

            In countries where prostitution is legal, governments have an assured income from the tax collected from the state regulated brothels. In the United State, the state of Nevada sexual intercourse on hourly basis costs over $300 placing most of these prostitutes on high salary bracket.

This gives the government even more earning to source enough personnel to run the brothels effectively.

            Prostitution in its broader perspective and scope is one of the oldest world’s professions since the time of the ancient civilization (Baldwin, 2004). Any steps taken to legalize it are never aimed at killing it rather regulating it in manner that respects the rights of the participants with regard to the constitution. It would be awkward for a government to spent dollars of money arresting prostitutes other than creating a conducive environment for them at the same time using such funds to finance other projects.

Illegality of prostitution

            However, legalizing prostitution has a number of draw backs that tend to justify that legalizing prostitution is discriminating sex in a country as a whole and on the notion of existence of humanity.

The naturality of human beings demands that every one has a right to have intimate relationships with one or more partners. The biological make up of human beings enables them to have sexual intercourse.  On this line of thought, it would be unproductive legalizing prostitution (McElroy, 1999). As human beings we need not to be intimidated to adopt animal behavior on legal basis and yet we known that this is our utmost right. It would be better  prostitution to be illegal such that that when it happens, it is in secrecy and that victims will have to be taken to court for charges before the law. This give people to act like human beings and live up to our societal expectations.

            The legality of this sexual act brings about growth of  organized social crimes to our society associated with big time prostitution. This is where one hour service costs $ 550. Such crimes range from not paying the money in  even organized theft from the prostitutes since they become high salaried considering $550 per day.

Trafficking of women has been on the rise among countries where prostitution is legal through the stock brothels (Michael, 1994). This has been manifested with the growth if highly organized and complex brothels who source these women from the rural areas through misguiding media adverts. This results to a society portraying women as sex tools who are out to source money not by working but by selling their bodies to men unknown to them.

            Legalizing prostitution posts a major challenge to a country’s moral orientation. Generations come to get a polluted society with a complex ascription on gender. This divides the society on gender and on what one feels fit for  or unfit for his or her human worth. With the increased demand for prostitution after its legality, men get a lot of encouragement to buy sex from women in a manner unacceptable by the society.

The moment women are allowed to sell their bodies to men for sexual pleasure, the men start treating women as sexual merchandise. This affects the new coming generation of young men and boys who view women as sexual commodities just to be bought when necessary. The connotation in the society becomes branded that prostitution is harmless and fun (Casad, 2004).

Of course the government gets tax from what it deems a legal business  so it is its  constitutional role in supporting the business financially and provision of human capital to run the sector. The notion of a “legal business” and the expectations of getting employed push majority of both school leavers and college students to pursue this business even without knowing its down falls. The brothels even threaten the prostitutes whenever they show reluctance telling them that the government will withdraw the employment opportunity for them.

            Illegality of prostitution is supported by the health safety for both the prostitutes and their clients and the society as a whole (David, 2000). With the rising spread if sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes as well as AIDS, prostitution needs to be illegal to check the spread. This plan especially in the third world countries should go hand in hand with the governments initiatives of fighting HIV/AIDS and STDS.

            Through legalization of prostitution/ discrimination of prostitution, the so created sex industry automatically changes clubs and massage parlors to legitimate avenues of commercial sex acts. However much they dignify and professionalize the women involved in prostitution though, they don’t dignify the women but dignify prostitution as a work.

            Legalization of prostitution never controls  or even regulates it but it expands the industry. Many countries justify their legality of the sex industry by saying that they control the affairs of the industry. Sates however like Netherlands, have found an extra source of the countries GDP . The industry here in this country accounts for 5% of its economy (Delay, 2001).

In this country, prostitution has taken the shape of “sex work” actually self employment while pimps have become great entrepreneurs. This transforms trafficking of women into “voluntary migration for sex work” thereby normalizing prostitution as the “option for the poor.”

            With legal approach to prostitution, women are faced with a lot of oppression  and stigmatizations. It is the registering of prostitutes with brothels and confining them into closed rooms where they ere traded like slaves or business stock to male clients. In Netherlands prostitutes have turned to the streets to avoid this kind of of exploitation. It implies therefore that the legal status of prostitution does not work to benefit the prostitutes themselves with ease rather other middle men who serve as brokers.

The longterm justification for a legitimate sex business is to eliminate criminal elements among its stake holders. This kind of change has not been achieved in most states where the law works. After Australia for instance legalized its sex industry, many unlicensed brothels emerged and started their operation  with a lot of impunity. (Altink, 1995).They advertised pictures of naked women along the streets on competition for male clients. This illegal act was hard to eradicate among the local authorities due to unavailability of funds to investigate.

            The misconception of the legal status leading to the legalization of prostitution and sex work has always been that of reducing child prostitution. This has been the opposite.

With Netherlands as a case study, since its legalization of prostitution, child prostitution has increased radically especially in the 1990s. It is estimated that the number increased by more than 300% between 1996-2001. Most of these children are trafficked from countries most of them in Africa especially Nigeria.

In 1998, a report unveiled by a non-governmental organization based in Australia known as the End Child Prostitution and Trafficking found that commercial exploitation of children was on the increase.

            The act of legalizing prostitution does not protect the women in any way. Studies show that victims of commercial sex are not protected by the law and yet it allows them to run their “sex industry”

Most of these women argued that regardless of the legality of the business, the difference was the same.(Hughes, 2002)Most victims of trafficking were found to have suffered physical violence form their buyers with a majority harboring health problems associated with sexual exploitation.

With many brothels running the business, their main customers are the male prostitute buyers whom they give a lot of attention and good customer service as compared to the women. The commitment of the brothels in this situation is to protect the buyers by even going a mile ahead to install CCTV cameras in the rooms in case these women steal from them. The protection of these women is therefore secondary.

            If  commercial sex is taken as a business, then we expect it to thrive in a competitive environment. With a plethora of sexual services by women to men, then most of these women tend to offer all the demand of their buyers. These demands may include anal sex, oral sex or sex without condoms. In State Victoria, disabled men even have a provision by the brothels even to participate in prostitution. If a woman wants to have sexual acts with a disabled man, then he takes him to the brothels then allowed to have sexual intercourse. The brothel’s adverts even encourage businessmen to hold meetings in clubs where naked women surround them during tea breaks.

            Legalization of prostitution and acts of prostitution broadly denies women their ability to make choices for intimate partners. Most women in prostitution are executing survival strategies of life. Non of them was born a prostitute. Most college students join prostitution to finance their stay in college. They do not care whom they have sex with as long as they raise enough money in exchange. (Altink,  1995)


            Governments in countries where prostitution is legal do not realize the reasons for declaring it legal. We need to think the government as a business company with its politicians as managers. When plans in the business field fail to perform, managers sit and rethink the position of improving them to fit the current environment.  Without this, most companies are rendered incompetent. Most states of the world are democratic so the politicians should stand for the change of the majority. With high dynamism of government work, they should make laws which meet the current demands of the people and the modern civilization. It is better to make laws prohibiting prostitution than making those that encourage it in the hope that one day it may go away.

            Not unless governments seize all the assets utilized by the sex industry then funding alternative sources of income for the women will there be a solution to prostitution. Stern measures need to be taken to prevent trafficking and laws instituted to prosecute traffickers, buyers and recruiters. Heavy penalties should be imposed.


Altink, S. (1995). Solen Lives: Trading women for sex and slavery:  London, Scarlet Press

Baldwin, R. (2004) Classical Greece. Accessed on line on Dec. 2004

Casad, A. (1999) The Sexual State of Human Nature. Accessed on line on Dec. 2004

David, S. (2000) The Specifities of Female Drug Addiction. Accessed on line on Nov 2003

Divorce Magazine (2001)  U.S. Divorce Statistics. Accessed on line on Nov 2003

Ginette, P. (2002) Is prostitotion work or exploitation: Quebec, McGraw Hill.

Gavin, K. (2001) News Release: Women need testing and care for infection that can steal fertility. University of Michigan Health System. Accessed on line on Dec. 2004

Hughs, J. (1990) Monogamy as a Prisoners Dilemma: Non-Monogamy as a Collective Action Problem. Accessed on line on Nov 2003

McElroy, W. (1999) Prostitution: Reconsidering Research. Accessed on line on Nov 2003

Mechelen, R. (1992) Prostitution. Accessed on line on Nov. 2003

Michael, R. (1994) Sex in America: Boston, Oxford University.



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