Legalizing Prostitution in the US.The perpetual issue of prostitution continues to be a divisive source of contention in the US. Prostitution, defined as performance of sex for money, food, grant, drug, and other material goods, is illegal in most states in the US, except in the state of Nevada, where 30 legal brothels operate per year. It is estimated that there are 100.000 women are working as prostitutes in the US, and of these individuals, 70%-90% have been the victims of sexual abuse and most have a history of drug abuse and trauma. These women are frequently single out by law enforcement, which arrested and charged, unlike the clients of prostitutes who only pay a fine or spend a night in jail. To balance such inequities, many advocates of prostitution such as Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network have sought the decriminalization of prostitution, whereby the prostitutes can minimize health risk, be protected by authority, pay benefits to government. I believe that prostitution in the US should be decriminalized and legalized.
Legalizing prostitution can minimize health risk for both prostitutes and clients. Because prostitution is the close bodily contact business, it means increased risk for health and safety issues such as diseases which are most important. If prostitution is legalized, people can keep eyes on prostitutes and diseases can be tested for. It can reduce the health risk for both participants between clients and sex workers. According to Barbara Brents, “ In the rural countries outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, about 500 women work as legal independent contractors in just 30 brothels” . In those legal brothels, prostitutes are required by state health codes, and closely monitored by brothel owners and city regulation; they must use condoms and have weekly medical tests to guard against the STD or HIV/AIDS. While comparing 500 prostitutes are working in brothels and under legalization with the other 100,000 prostitutes that are working illegal and never be tested for diseases, it can show how women receive benefits from working legally. In the legally condition, not only prostitutes can reduce the chance of getting STD diseases for themselves, but also the clients can avoid to receive the unwanted disease from prostitutes. There is a sad story about Skylar who is college graduate student but she ends up on Broadway. She studies music and want to be an opera singer, but life have turned to the red zone. After the interview with the host, she was singing with the cracking voice after suffering from drug. By standing on street corners looking for Johns, although she mentioned that she does not want to have sex for money, she needs to satisfy her addiction. She needs to live in the toughly illegal world alone or someone like her, because she can find no resource to get help. Because of the drug addiction and sex without protection, the chance that she gets disease mostly 100%. By criminalizing prostitution, it stop women from getting help and chance to change their lives, they need to live with their diseases and addiction until they die. If prostitution is legalized, Skylar could be tested for her diseases, also she can stop her addiction that could change her life. Street walkers should be removed from the streets and allowed to work under legally condition which can help them access to healthier standard. If the girls are healthy and disease free then that means the clients won't be passing around any problems to other partners. Legalizing and monitoring the prostitutes would eliminate the health risk for many women and even men.
Legalizing prostitution can protect sex workers and respect their human-being. According to Carol Leigh, “The recent Canadian court decision helps establish social justice for sex worker in Canada.” After the Canadian court approved, sex workers are allowed to enter business relationship, rent apartment, ect. They are also protected by police if they are abused or violent by pimps or clients. From that point, we can know women are protected legally from exploitation. Criminalizing drives prostitutes working underground with more dangerous, and give more power to clients. For example of an illegal ex-prostitute in Italy, she was beaten by her client with knives or a Nigerian prostitute who was killed by a customer. By criminalizing prostitution, the clients hold the most power to threaten prostitutes and put their lives at risk (Unigwe, 1). Those women sell their bodies and respects to make a little money for surviving, but their safety is unprotected by anyone. They become vulnerable and whoever can endanger their lives.