This report will discuss the disadvantages of prostitution and cites the reasons why it should not be legitimated. For the past decades, the number of “sex workers” or prostitutes had significantly grown since many customers have patronized their services. Prostitution cannot be considered as legitimate means to earn an income due to health hazards and morality issues. There will be a discussion on the harmful effects of prostitution such as the rising incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Prostitution is also referred to as a form of human trafficking which permits the market demand for sex to the consumers’ satisfaction. It also promotes inequality of gender and racial discrimination. Finally, there will be an explanation why prostitution is considered as a form of violence that is willfully blind to the source of its supply.
Keywords: Prostitution, sex workers, legalization, human trafficking and violence.
According to Post (2011), legalized prostitution cannot exist in conjunction with the real notion of equality for women. The notion that women is to made accessible in order to satisfy the sexual needs of men only supports structural inequality of gender, class, and race. Further, legalizing prostitution is considered as a violation of international law. The act of prostitution undermines the human rights norm which demands that the dignity of the person should be respected and promotes equality for all. The idea is that if prostitution will be normalized, prostitutes as released from the stigma of such profession and society can treat commercial sex as any other commercial transaction (Liberto, 2009).
Legalized or decriminalized prostitution industries have become the major causes of sex trafficking (Raymond, 2003). According to Post (2011), reports have shown that there are about 600,000 to 800,000 individuals who become victims of human trafficking across international borders every year. Out of this number, about 80 percent of these victims are women and 50 percent are minors (Datta & Post, 2013). Prostitution is a form human trafficking and has become one of the biggest problems that the world has to deal with. In fact, trafficking and prostitution of women and girls for profit has been one of the fastest growing global enterprises (Post, 2011). Prostitution and human trafficking is the second most common international crime at present. The targets of prostitution are women and children since they are forced to engage in sexual activities for profit. Some of these victims are left with no choice but to render service even against their will, and tantamount to slavery.
History of Prostitution in America
Prostitution in the U.S. was a result of alien women and children who are brought in the country without legal documents. In fact, the Immigration Act of 1903 sent a strong restriction message against unwanted foreigners, which prohibited “alien” women and girls from engaging in prostitution for three years after arriving in America (Delgado, 2012). The United States seeks to prevent the importation of both prostitutes and foreign-born women and girls who had been forcibly brought into the country for that purpose. At present, the country still faces problem of prostitution and human trafficking since many people resorted to this illegal trade to make money.
Disadvantages of Legalizing Prostitution
The legalization of prostitution promotes sexual violence and physical assault. The norm for women in prostitution often results to a long term physical and psychological harm, regardless of the fact that the assault was found to be legal or not (Post, 2011). The anticipated result of legalizing prostitution will mean that there is a greater demand for prostitutes, frequent incidences of violence, and the promotion of cruelty to women and children.
The detrimental effect of legalization of prostitution will result to the reduction of resources for women to truly improve their lives on the basis of the belief that prostitution is a legal means to take them out of poverty. Such absurdity will become more pronounced as the prostitution is legitimated and more people patronize this activity. To illustrate, women and young girls are being treated as commodities as they are being peddled for sale. One extreme method to sell the sex workers is by providing consumer guidelines in websites on how to buy the services of the prostitutes online. The men who visit these websites and purchase the services of sex workers have regarded themselves connoisseurs of fine women (Post, 2011). These women will do everything to please their customers for fear that these men have the liberty to post a bad review about their services, and can file complaints if they are not satisfied with the “commodities or products” they purchased. Such kind of sex trade in the market places the women in a dilemma since these women are forced to sell their bodies for sex as a means to support themselves. Being a prostitute is a double-edged sword as reported by Post (2011), after having interviewed on of the sex workers named Helen. She received a $350 rate per hour for escort services in a Western state (Post, 2011). According to Helen she decided to stay in this kind of business in order to save enough money so that she will be able to attend graduate school and become a teacher. With this set-up, when prostitution is legitimized, many women will follow the footsteps of Helen and choose to engage in sex trade to finish their education.
Another disadvantage of prostitution is the spread of sexually transmissible disease such as AIDS and HIV. According to Raymond (2003), health examinations or tests are only being conducted for women but not men. Thus, it makes no public health sense because monitoring of female prostitutes does not protect them from HIV/AIDS or STDs (Raymond, 2003).
Aside from health hazard prostitution brings, many prostitutes become victims of homicide and had become of the leading cause of death among these women. Based on recent studies, the average life span for a woman after entering prostitution is reduced to four years (Post, 2011). The situation of women with higher death rate is being experience worldwide such as the case of the women in Korea. Reports revealed that these women were beaten, raped, humiliated, and threatened if they will demonstrate resistance to the practice (Post, 2011).
Prostitution promotes physical violence against women and young children. It allows men to perform physical acts to women, which they are being forced to endure. While the sex workers render services to their customers, some of the violent activities they encounter is that they are verbally abused, beaten, cut with knives, their hair being pulled, their faces are ejaculated on, their breasts are squeezed and pinched, and sometimes, some parts of their bodies are burned with cigarettes, or worst is that they are gang raped. Such reality has been supported in a complaint filed that has been filed in Canada by one of the victims who stated that her pimp manipulated her movements and was told that he “owned her, stole her money, made her strip, burned her with a cigarette, threatened to inflict physical violence by mutilating her body parts, forced her to lick his anus, and had threatened to kill family” (Post, 2011, p.67). This illustration only shows that prostitutes are victims of torture and that the state must not condone these degrading actions of unscrupulous individuals.
Datta, B., & Post, D. (2013). Should prostitution be legalized?. New Internationalist, (461), 28-30.
Delgado, G. (2012). Border Control and Sexual Policing: White Slavery and Prostitution Along the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1903-1910. Western Historical Quarterly, 43(2), 157-178.
Liberto, H. (2009). Normalizing Prostitution versus Normalizing the Alienability of Sexual Rights: A Response to Scott A. Anderson.Ethics, 120(1), 138-145.
Post, D. (2011). Legalization of Prostitution is a Violation of Human Rights. National Lawyers Guild Review, 68(2), 65-108.
Raymond, J. G. (2003). Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution. Journal of Trauma Practice, 2(3/4), 315-332.