logo 
spacer
  

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

If you have an opinion, you should share it! Register Now!

America's Debate hosts the best in news, government, and political debate. Register now to take part in the most civil and constructive debate on the Internet. Join the community, and get ready to be challenged!

Click here to start

> Sponsored Links

Register to remove these ads!
> Should we Legalize Prostitution?, ... Part Two
VDemosthenes
post Jun 3 2005, 01:28 PM
Post #1


*******
Five Hundred Club

Group: Members
Posts: 800
Member No.: 4,252
Joined: January-11-05

From: St. Augustine, Florida
Gender: Male
Politics: Moderate
Party affiliation: Libertarian



IPB Image


A debate last year about the legality of prostitution was closed recently. I'd like to continue the debate here. You can locate the original debate here.


Questions for Debate:

1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?

2.) Who does it harm and how?

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
19 Pages V   1 2 3 > »   
Start new topic
Replies (1 - 19)
droop224
post Jun 3 2005, 03:15 PM
Post #2


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 2,825
Member No.: 3,073
Joined: May-12-04

Gender: Male
Politics: Very Liberal
Party affiliation: None



QUOTE
Ok-- let's look at this from a different perspective. How many of you guys with daughters out there would want your little girl to grow up to be a prostitute in this hypothetical world where it is legalized and the job comes complete with benefits? I cannot deny that some "good" could come out of it as LH points out. But weigh all that against the rest. We head down a slippery slope of societal acceptance of this sort of conduct, going so far as to say that the conduct "empowers" women.


I wouldn't want my daughter to become a porn actress or a stripper either, but I think both of those professions should be available for my pleasure. We're on the slippery slope by having it illegal. Why does a woman not have the right to allow a man to have sex for her for money in a direct way.

Our society has no problem with letting women at men money indirectly. Got to love those gold diggers...

QUOTE
I am sorry, but prostitution is what it is: selling sex for money. And I don't want our society to reaching a point where it packages it as just another legitimate profession.


Sorry to break the news, but it already has. It's just hypocritical about how it does it.

Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?
Of course. So men don't have to have long lasting affairs... it will improve marriages and decrease the divorce rates.

Who does it harm and how?

The self-righteous, they have a sinking feeling that we are headed on a path that will lead to a moral decay that will end with fire and brimstone

Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?

Of course. increased tax revenue.. more regulated sexual trade to decrease spread of STD.. .. and of course a decrease in divorce rates.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
CruisingRam
post Jun 3 2005, 04:39 PM
Post #3


**********
Elite Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 7,934
Member No.: 927
Joined: July-25-03

From: Hawaii
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: Other



I think you are dreaming if you think it will help the divorce rate there droop- my wife would divorce me, legal or no, if I started visiting places like that LOL- that being said, both me and my wife believe prostitution should be legal and regulated, just like drugs, gambling, or all other non-violent, non-property crime laws. It is just so silly allowing the christian church in america legislate thier petty foibles on those that can make adult decisions for themselves.

Look, I want my daughter to be a scientist. I don't want her to be a hooker, I don't want her to be a stripper, but I don't want her to have to spend her life working at taco bell either!

IT harms no one but the petty sensibilities of the self righteous. Let adults party they way they feel like, and teach your own kids morality.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
hayleyanne
post Jun 3 2005, 10:43 PM
Post #4


*******
Five Hundred Club

Sponsor
June 2005

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 831
Member No.: 4,135
Joined: December-22-04

Gender: Female
Politics: Independent
Party affiliation: Republican




1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?

Prostitution should not be legalized. When the government legalizes an activity that had been illegal in the past, it sends a message that the activity is socially acceptable.

2.) Who does it harm and how?

It harms all of us by moving us all closer to moral decay. Does that sound "fire and brimstone' ish"? It shouldn't. Enforcing a moral code in society is not inextricably linked to religion, nor should it be. Let me ask people this:

Is prostitution only bad because religion says it's bad?

Should society only criminalize conduct that has the potential to hurt someone else?

Can arguments be made that we "lose" something as a society when sex is generally viewed as a commodity, for sale on the market?

These are really important questions that the issue of legalizing prostitution raises.

As a society, and as individuals, we have the duty to seriously consider the full ramifications of removing the societal prohibition on prostitution.

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?

It could be argued that prostitutes, their customers (and anybody else having sex with either of them) would be subjected to less health risks if prostitution were regulated by the government. In addition, the prostitutes' income could be taxed.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dontreadonme
post Jun 3 2005, 11:35 PM
Post #5


Group Icon

**********
I think, therefore I am an enemy of the State....and Fox News

Sponsor
October 2003

Group: Moderators
Posts: 6,452
Member No.: 359
Joined: December-25-02

From: Nestled in the Shenandoah
Gender: Male
Politics: Independent
Party affiliation: Libertarian



1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?
The state does not have a right to regulate whom I have sex with, ever. I can legally take a woman out, buy dinner, drinks and a show with the full knowledge that in return, she would provide the *ahem* services of a prostitute. Why is it different if instead of dinner and drinks, money is exchanged up front?

hayleyanne, I agree with you on many issues, but this is one where we part opinions. When you write: Prostitution should not be legalized. When the government legalizes an activity that had been illegal in the past, it sends a message that the activity is socially acceptable, that's not much of an argument.......one that stands up to logic anyway. Why should the state regulate what is socially acceptable in an arena where two consenting adults make an adult decision for the mutual satisfaction of one or both? If you don't think sex hasn't always been a commodity, for sale and used to sell, you've been shielded well.

If the impetus for prohibition is 'saving the family', then how are we going to outlaw and enforce against adultery? Though possibly a different subject, I would contend that adultery is far more harmful to the family, and ultimately society than is prostitution.
If the impetus is prevention of STD's, prostitutes are known for practicing safer sex than most teenagers.

I have two daughters, and of course, I don't want either of them to work in the sex industry, as strippers or as prostitutes. But I don't feel that they, as members of society are harmed in any way by the above occupations.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Vermillion
post Jun 3 2005, 11:43 PM
Post #6


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 2,547
Member No.: 2,065
Joined: December-23-03

From: Canada
Gender: Male
Politics: Slightly Liberal
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



OK, some counterpoint.

I am curious. Many people here have claimed that prostitution is just an extension of the feminist argument for women to have the right to their own bodies, and that it really is just a form of liberation.

Great in theory. Now in reality, does anyone alive actually believe that? Are prostitutes this morally and spiritually free and empowered group of confident young women taking this job willingly to strike back against male-dominated parochial sociaty?

No, of course they are not. For every one woman who chose prostitution there are 30 who were forced into it, if not literally through force, which is common enough, then through abject desperation, poverty and drug habits.

Prostitution is one of those cases where you have to separate theory from reality, and in reality 90% of prostitution is victimisation. Now maybe, just maybe legalisation could miraculously change all that but I think thats unlikely.


Some people use places like Nevada or Holland as bright shining examples, but both of these places are absolutely FILLED with illegal prostitution. You see when you legalise, you legislate and restrict, setting certain standards. Those who cannot meet those standards simply continue with illegal prostitution, and really nothing has been solved.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Mrs. Pigpen
post Jun 4 2005, 12:12 AM
Post #7


Group Icon

**********
Carpe noctum

Sponsor
June 2003

Group: Moderators
Posts: 7,344
Member No.: 598
Joined: March-12-03

Gender: Female
Politics: Slightly Conservative
Party affiliation: Independent



Our last debate on this issue a while back enlightened me. Today I'd place myself with Vermillian's line of reasoning. The reality is, prostitution is an inherently exploitive enterprise. Sexual trafficking (in particular organized criminal groups trafficking in the exploitation of human beings) is a very real problem in areas with legalized prostitution.

I don't wish for any woman or man to spend a single night in jail for accepting money for sexual services, but illegal prostitution still flourishes in legalized areas as clients seek cheaper, younger, unregulated sex-for-hire. Outright legalization might do more harm than good. In some places where prostitution is legal there are up to ten times as many non-registered women involved in prostitution as registered women. The non-registered are usually foreigners who have been trafficked. An underground black market emerges, as those traffickers seek to maximize profit by avoiding scrutiny and regulatory costs of the legal prostitution market. Legalized prostitution simultaneously allows exploiters to legitimise their trade, while making it more difficult to identify the victims. I think, perhaps, decriminalization without outright legalization is a better answer (as an escort mentioned on the previous thread). That thread is long but worth a read.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Jun 4 2005, 12:30 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
hayleyanne
post Jun 4 2005, 01:13 AM
Post #8


*******
Five Hundred Club

Sponsor
June 2005

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 831
Member No.: 4,135
Joined: December-22-04

Gender: Female
Politics: Independent
Party affiliation: Republican





QUOTE
hayleyanne, I agree with you on many issues, but this is one where we part opinions. When you write: Prostitution should not be legalized. When the government legalizes an activity that had been illegal in the past, it sends a message that the activity is socially acceptable, that's not much of an argument.......one that stands up to logic anyway. Why should the state regulate what is socially acceptable in an arena where two consenting adults make an adult decision for the mutual satisfaction of one or both? If you don't think sex hasn't always been a commodity, for sale and used to sell, you've been shielded well.


DTOM, I guess I don't see it as a clear cut situation where there are two "consenting" adults. I know superficially that it is. But when I think of a woman who has decided to become a prostitute, I think of someone who has been forced into a situation, whether through dire financial need, or fear or whatever. That is why I asked if someone would want their daughter to become a prostitute. Why would I not want that for my daughter? Tons of reasons, health risks etc, but primarily because of the degradation. I think we are not being honest if we do not acknowledge that, in most cases, prostitutes are desperate and are being used and degraded. Why should society legitimize conduct that degrades another human being?

The only argument that holds any sway in my opinion has to do with health risks. If legalization could guarantee the elimination of STDs, it might be worth it. But as Mrs. P points out, a black market is sure to develop.


QUOTE
If the impetus for prohibition is 'saving the family', then how are we going to outlaw and enforce against adultery? Though possibly a different subject, I would contend that adultery is far more harmful to the family, and ultimately society than is prostitution.


I don't think legalization of prostitution would harm the family anymore than prostitution does now. I certainly can't see men being more up front about going to prostitutes if it is legal. Unless prostitution comes to be seen as some kind of empowerment of women (pretty scary thought).


QUOTE
If the impetus is prevention of STD's, prostitutes are known for practicing safer sex than most teenagers.


I am not sure how much that is worth . . . laugh.gif I don't think teens are all that good at practicing safe sex. Plus, prostitutes have a whole heck of a lot more sexual partners than your average teenager. (I would hope).


QUOTE
I have two daughters, and of course, I don't want either of them to work in the sex industry, as strippers or as prostitutes. But I don't feel that they, as members of society are harmed in any way by the above occupations.


We don't want our children working in these professions for a reason-- and not in the same way that we don't want them making a career flipping burgers. We don't want them to be degraded. So why would we turn a blind eye to others being put in this position?


QUOTE
I am curious. Many people here have claimed that prostitution is just an extension of the feminist argument for women to have the right to their own bodies, and that it really is just a form of liberation.

Great in theory. Now in reality, does anyone alive actually believe that? Are prostitutes this morally and spiritually free and empowered group of confident young women taking this job willingly to strike back against male-dominated parochial sociaty?


Well said Vermillion. Is this a red letter day now because you and I agree completely on an issue? cool.gif In fact this whole prostitution and empowerment of women is a bunch of nonsense IMO.


QUOTE
Prostitution is one of those cases where you have to separate theory from reality, and in reality 90% of prostitution is victimisation. Now maybe, just maybe legalisation could miraculously change all that but I think thats unlikely.


Again, I agree wholeheartedly. thumbsup.gif


Mrs Pigpen-- you might have a good point about decriminalization vs. legalization.

Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
CruisingRam
post Jun 4 2005, 02:53 AM
Post #9


**********
Elite Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 7,934
Member No.: 927
Joined: July-25-03

From: Hawaii
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: Other



You are also assuming that prostitution is a female only industry- and it is not. hmmm.gif

There are a great deal of male prostitutes, with more stigma attached to them than the females- but interestingly enough, not as many busts- I have no idea why. In my field, I have met a great deal of male prostitutes, especially when aids was first discovered, and it hit them particularly hard. It is even more underground than female prostitution, which has some degree of social acceptance.

Decriminalization may very well be the word I am looking for as well (thanks Mrs P for reminding me of that debate) without an outright operating sex industry like Nevada or Holland.

Whever there is a demand for a thing, a market will be created for it- and one has to ask oneself- is it goverements business to do anything more than regulate it for safety? hmmm.gif

This should always be asked in any case where there is no property crime or no violent crime.

Yes, I think this is yet again another strictly religious issue, coming from our puritan background and biting us once again. There has been times in history where a prostitute was a revered part of society, and thier audience highly sought after. We, as a society, make the industry dirty, it is not inherently dirty on it's own!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Vermillion
post Jun 4 2005, 04:47 PM
Post #10


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 2,547
Member No.: 2,065
Joined: December-23-03

From: Canada
Gender: Male
Politics: Slightly Liberal
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



QUOTE(CruisingRam @ Jun 4 2005, 02:53 AM)
You are also assuming that prostitution is a female only industry- and it is not.  hmmm.gif

There are a great deal of male prostitutes, with more stigma attached to them than the females- but interestingly enough, not as many busts- I have no idea why. In my field, I have met a great deal of male prostitutes, especially when aids was first discovered, and it hit them particularly hard. It is even more underground than female prostitution, which has some degree of social acceptance.


Actually, it is a female dominated industry. According to the Harvard Medical Review, 88% of prostitutes in the United States are female (the study did not cover other countries, but I think its safe to assume a similar trend) and that more than 70% of male prostitutes were homosexual.

While I agree that leaves a lot of male prostitutes, and they should be considered, I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that prostitution is a primarily female industry


Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Erasmussimo
post Jun 4 2005, 06:51 PM
Post #11


*******
Five Hundred Club

Group: Validating
Posts: 886
Member No.: 4,853
Joined: April-12-05

Gender: Undisclosed
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?
Yes. The state has no business interfering in the voluntary activities of individuals.

2.) Who does it harm and how?
Hayleyanne has offered an interesting argument that prostitution is inherantly degrading to the prostitute, and that the prostitute's free will is not truly free in most cases. However, careful thought on this issue convinced me that the argument is mistaken. Its focal point is the notion of involuntary degradation. First, let me observe that the presence of degradation in employment does not constitute an absolute basis for criminalizing that occupation. Every empolyee undergoes a certain amount of degradation. It is degrading to be overruled in a meeting by a boss whom you know to be mistaken. Every job has trivial or menial tasks that are degrading. True, the magnitude of degradation is far less in these cases than in prostitution, but this consideration forces us to shift our concern from the presence of degradation to the degree of degradation. Is the degradation suffered by a prostitute markedly greater than the degradation suffered by other employees? This is not an objectively answerable question. All of us can point to jobs they would never, ever accept because of the degradation: septic tank cleaner, roadside attention-getter in stupid costume, booth bimbo, congressman...

The second factor is the degree of volition genuinely exercised by the prostitute. As Hayleyanne rightly points out, nobody goes into prostitution as a step in their career development, for the health plan, or for the opportunities for advancement. Women go into prostitution as an act of desperation, forced by economic circumstances to support themselves, their drug habits, or their children by this degrading means. However, this argument runs into the same problem that trips up the argument about degradation: every employee works to some degree out of economic compulsion. How many people flip burgers for the sheer joy of it? How many people sit at desks tapping at computers because they love to tap on computers? If there weren't any economic compulsion, very few people would work. The prostitute makes exactly the same decision that the stockbroker makes: I need money, I have these marketable skills, and so I'll sell the exercise of my talents. Who is to say which person's decision to work is coerced and which person's isn't? As the great sage Ilya Kuryakin once observed, "No man who must work for a living is free."

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?
Yes, if legalized they can form a lobbying group to exercise their patriotic duty to assist the operation of our legislative process, as so many other selfless patriots do.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
CruisingRam
post Jun 4 2005, 07:42 PM
Post #12


**********
Elite Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 7,934
Member No.: 927
Joined: July-25-03

From: Hawaii
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: Other



QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jun 4 2005, 07:47 AM)
QUOTE(CruisingRam @ Jun 4 2005, 02:53 AM)
You are also assuming that prostitution is a female only industry- and it is not.  hmmm.gif




Actually, it is a female dominated industry. According to the Harvard Medical Review, 88% of prostitutes in the United States are female (the study did not cover other countries, but I think its safe to assume a similar trend) and that more than 70% of male prostitutes were homosexual.

While I agree that leaves a lot of male prostitutes, and they should be considered, I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that prostitution is a primarily female industry
*



I don't disagree with the majority of prostitutes are female, or that it is a female dominated industry, but I also did not make my point clear that there seems to be no exploitation argument whent it comes to males doing it, especially if they are homosexual anyway, right? hmmm.gif

As Erasmussimo pointed out- everyone is exploited- I would allow this proffession to be legal, and deal with the social consequencs, like with drug decriminalization as well, than take away more law enforcement resources for this issue.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
hayleyanne
post Jun 4 2005, 11:29 PM
Post #13


*******
Five Hundred Club

Sponsor
June 2005

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 831
Member No.: 4,135
Joined: December-22-04

Gender: Female
Politics: Independent
Party affiliation: Republican



QUOTE
I don't disagree with the majority of prostitutes are female, or that it is a female dominated industry, but I also did not make my point clear that there seems to be no exploitation argument whent it comes to males doing it, especially if they are homosexual anyway, right?


Why would there be no exploitation argument if they are homosexual prostitutes? I am not following you. I am sure that male prostitutes get into it for the same reasons as female ones. And they too are degraded and exploited. The point is as I said before, that the whole prostitution situation is not one where both parties are on equal footing in the vast majority of cases.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Wertz
post Jun 5 2005, 05:25 AM
Post #14


Group Icon

*********
Advanced Senior

Sponsor
January 2003

Group: Committee Members
Posts: 3,235
Member No.: 181
Joined: October-23-02

From: Franklinville PA
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: None



I hope it doesn't look like I'm singling you out today, hayleyanne, but you and Vermillion (I'll get to him later shifty.gif ) are the only ones so far strongly coming down against legalization.

First - and maybe I'm reading you wrong - you seem to be saying something contradictory here:
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jun 3 2005, 05:43 PM)
Prostitution should not be legalized.  When the government legalizes an activity that had been illegal in the past, it sends a message that the activity is socially acceptable.

QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jun 3 2005, 08:13 PM)
I don't think legalization of prostitution would harm the family anymore than prostitution does now. I certainly can't see men being more up front about going to prostitutes if it is legal.

If there would be no increased harm to the sacred family and if men (or, presumably, women) would be no more "up front" about employing prostitutes, where's the greater social acceptance? Sometimes, when something that has been legal for centuries is made illegal, then, a relatively short time later, is made legal once again, it simply sends the message that an anomalous error has been corrected and a society has come to its senses.

Second, I find your "moral decay" argument a bit lacking - and highly subjective. First, I agree with your argument that a moral code need not be linked to religion, but let me answer the questions you raise individually:

Is prostitution only bad because religion says it's bad?

No. In fact, most religions don't say it's "bad". Since "religion" in this country generally means Judeo-Christianity (most people couldn't give a damn what Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto or anything else has to say about morality in any context), let's look at the Bible. The Old Testament addresses two types of prostitution: temple prostitutes (male and female) and "harlots" - the latter generally being loose women in general (even those who merely wear flashy clothes) or those who commit adultery. Obviously, temple prostitutes are condemned (in Hosea 4 and 2 Kings 23, for example) as patronizing them would mean paying homage to Canaanite gods like Baal - clearly a no-no for Yahweh-worshipping Israeli tribesmen. But in terms of non-religious prostitutes, even the ridiculously judgemental Leviticus doesn't have much to say. Indeed, the only proscription here is that men shouldn't pimp their daughters (Leviticus 19:29). The only other condemnation of prostitutes is in Leviticus 21:9 - in which it says that prostitutes who are the daughters of priests (and only those that are the daughters of priests) should be killed. That's it for Mosaic Law.

Elsewhere in the Old Testament, prostitution is rampant. Wealthy men often had numerous wives and concubines - Solomon, for example, appears to have done more whoring than judging, Hosea married a prostitute (at God's command), Sampson spent a good deal of time with one, Gilead fathered Jephthah with another, Judah saw nothing wrong with hiring a woman for the night, and Abraham's first son was the result of - at least - adultery. The "harlot" Rahab was praised (in Hebrews 11 and Joshua 6) as an example of faith. So much for the Old Testament.

The New Testament has even less to say about prostitution. The closest we come is good ol' St. Paul - who pretty much hates everything anyway - condemning "fornication" unspecified, which he does at the drop of a hat. 1 Corinthians 6 provides a typical example. Otherwise, the only woman that came close to being a disciple of Christ during his lifetime was herself a prostitute and I'm sure we all remember the admonition of Jesus that "he who is without sin" should be the first to cast stones at a harlot.

(If it's any consolation, hayleyanne, the one religion that does condemn prostitution outright is Islam. Al-Qaeda would back you up 100%. mrsparkle.gif )

So, if "religion" - or, at least, Christianity, is relatively okay with prostitution, we have to turn to secular ethics. Most ethical systems are based on harm. Those acts which threaten or damage another person or their property are generally considered to be unethical, wrong. From Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus to Hobbes, Kant, Bentham, and Schopenhauer, this is the standard basis of ethical behavior. Prostitution, in this context, clearly "does no harm". Find me a secular code of ethics anywhere that condemns consensual acts between adults outright and you might begin to have a point here.

It is worth noting that, like many currently illegal drugs, prostitution was perfectly and entirely legal in the US until the early twentieth century. Thanks in large part to a hysterical campaign by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (who were also instrumental in the criminalization of drugs, especially alcohol and, in some states, tobacco). Due to their efforts, prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between 1910 and 1915 - though it wasn't criminalized in Alaska until 1953 - and remains legal in ten counties in Nevada.

So what, then, is your "moral" basis for considering prostitution "bad"? Personal prejudice alone? Perhaps your other questions shed some light...

Should society only criminalize conduct that has the potential to hurt someone else?

Yes. Absolutely. What other basis for criminal conduct are you suggesting? Things that some people, for obscure, unwarranted, and undocumented "moral" reasons, find distasteful?? Nonsense. No consensual act should be criminal. No act which has an absence of discernable victims should be criminal. To suggest otherwise is... criminal. It is simply imposing the will of some people on the lives of others. As I mentioned in a recent thread on drugs, this is nothing less than tyranny.

Can arguments be made that we "lose" something as a society when sex is generally viewed as a commodity, for sale on the market?

Arguments can be made about anything. One can argue that the sky is red and the seas are dry. That doesn't mean that the argument has any value. So, sure, arguments can be made that we "lose" something as a society when sex is viewed as a commodity. That doesn't mean that such arguments are valid (and I've yet to hear such an argument that couldn't be reduced to "Ew"). And keeping prostitution illegal is hardly going to stop sex being viewed as a commodity. The criminalization of prostitution has hardly eliminated the profession - and it never will. One study in 1968 found 95,550 arrests for prostitution nationwide and estimated that every day 286,650 men visited prostitutes (and the male population has increased by roughly 50 million since then). A 1994 study found that 16% of 18 to 59-year-old men in a US survey group had admitted to paying for sex - that's about 24 million. Besides, a good number of marriages are based on sex as commodity - and I don't see anyone calling for marriage to be criminalized.

QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jun 3 2005, 05:43 PM)
These are really important questions that the issue of legalizing prostitution raises.

If you say so. What were those arguments again? "Ew"??

QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jun 3 2005, 05:43 PM)
As a society, and as individuals,  we have the duty to seriously consider the full ramifications of removing the societal prohibition on prostitution.

Okay, so what are these ramifications? That people who already don't like prostitution are going to like it even less? Not the most convincing argument I've ever come across. I'm glad you mentioned prohibition, though. We should have learned our lesson from the prohibition of alcohol. The prohibition of prostitution has done exactly the same thing: put a huge economic sphere in the hands of organized crime, removed a vast amount of potential revenue from the government, eliminated any standards or regulation (including all health standards), and created an entire criminal class where there had previously been none. Talk about ramifications!

:::::::::::::::::::::::::

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jun 3 2005, 06:43 PM)
Many people here have claimed that prostitution is just an extension of the feminist argument for women to have the right to their own bodies, and that it really is just a form of liberation.

Really? Who? Where?

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jun 3 2005, 06:43 PM)
Great in theory. Now in reality, does anyone alive actually believe that?

Well, now that you come to mention it, I do.

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jun 3 2005, 06:43 PM)
Are prostitutes this morally and spiritually free and empowered group of confident young women taking this job willingly to strike back against male-dominated parochial sociaty?

I don't think that's quite the argument (though I'd have to see whoever you're imagining is making this argument to be sure). It does have to do with empowerment of a sort, though - economic empowerment (and, for that matter economic liberation). And, I suppose, if it frees some people from sexual slavery and exploitation and eliminates pimping, then of course it strikes back at (largely, though not exclusively - there are exploitative "madams" out there) male dominance.

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jun 3 2005, 06:43 PM)
For every one woman who chose prostitution there are 30 who were forced into it, if not literally through force, which is common enough, then through abject desperation, poverty and drug habits.

I've been unable to find a source on the percentage of women forced into prostitution through drug addiction or similar. Clearly, you have. Could you cite it, please?

Until you do, I'm going to doubt that 30:1 ratio. But, sure, there are a lot of women (and men) "forced" into prostitution due to poverty. It is one of the few things that the unskilled and uneducated can do to earn decent - and often extraordinarily good - money.

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jun 3 2005, 06:43 PM)
Prostitution is one of those cases where you have to separate theory from reality, and in reality 90% of prostitution is victimisation.

Again, I've been unable to find statistics on the victimization of prostitutes and, again, your research is apparently more comprehensive than mine. Again, could you please direct me to your source? Then tell me how making these "victims" criminal improves their lot.

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jun 3 2005, 06:43 PM)
Some people use places like Nevada or Holland as bright shining examples, but both of these places are absolutely FILLED with illegal prostitution.

I find this factoid fascinating (I'd find your source for this even more fascinating whistling.gif ), but I do not find it surprising in the least. I don't quite buy your rationalization for it, though, should your claim actually be true. Perhaps there are some sex workers who are not registered in the Netherlands and Nevada due to a failure to meet standards, but I suspect it has much more to do with demand.

Because prostitution is legal in these places, it is restricted - there are only so many licenses offered. But because the Netherlands (with, to a slightly lesser extent, Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand) is one of the few places in the west where prostitution is legal, it has become a Mecca for those wishing to buy sex. Prostitution has become a major tourist industry in the Netherlands - people come from all over Europe and the US to visit the red light district in Amsterdam. And, consequently, the demand is huge. The supply, on the other hand, is not. If you anything about basic economics, you will know why the Damrak is FILLED with illegal prostitutes.

Were prostitution legal throughout Europe, the demand in a few square blocks of Amsterdam would drop significantly - as would the illegal trade. And people would be visiting Amsterdam more for the Rijkmuseum, the Anne Frank House, and the glorious architecture than the red light district. The same would apply to Nevada. Were all fifty states to decriminalize prostitution, the illegal trade would drop away to nothing.

The same would apply to some of the fears expressed by Mrs. P. With prostitution legal throughout the country - and every sex worker licensed - it would be much easier to find those being exploited or trafficked - as well as those who are underage or HIV+. Now, with all prostitution criminalized, it is near impossible to find those who are sex slaves or to distinguish them from anyone else involved in this "criminal activity".

:::::::::::::::::::::::::

We now return to the hayleyanne portion of our program. wink2.gif

QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jun 3 2005, 08:13 PM)
Why would I not want [a sex industry job] for my daughter? Tons of reasons, health risks etc, but primarily because of the degradation. I think we are not being honest if we do not acknowledge that, in most cases, prostitutes are desperate and are being used and degraded. Why should society legitimize conduct that degrades another human being?

Most of the prostitutes that I know would disagree with you heartily (as would the many who posted to the last thread we had on this topic) - and, in my time, I've known quite a few. For many, it means nothing more or less than financial independence. And they would argue that it is they who are using their clients - for income.

Sure, there's an element of desperation. There's an element of desperation with anyone who's unemployed - especially those who do not have much education, many skills, or much time (like those supporting a family). You are right, though (as is Vermillion) that there are some sex workers who engage in prostitution to support drug habits - and that is a sad state of affairs, indeed. But the problem there is addiction, not prostitution. And, frankly, I'd much rather addicts engaged in prostitution than, say, armed robbery. You may disagree.

QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jun 3 2005, 08:13 PM)
We don't want our children working in these professions for a reason--and not in the same way that we don't want them making a career flipping burgers. We don't want them to be degraded.

Again, I respectfully dissent. I may be in the unique position here of having a child who was a prostitute. One of my sons was a heroin addict - and supported his habit through sex work. What was degrading was the addiction, not the job. Indeed, even after we got him successfully through rehab, he occasionally continued to engage in sex work (which we had prohibited until he was eighteen, even though the age of consent in Ireland is sixteen). Why? So he could afford various luxuries while he was working on his education. In a few hours every month, he earned more than he did working at KFC or as a hospital custodian for forty hours a week. And he found it much less demeaning.

Did I want him working in this profession? No, I wanted him to be a rock star - or maybe an astronaut. But that was not my choice. At the end of the day, I wanted him to do what made him happy. Once he was in recovery and of age, he only saw "regulars" that he knew fairly well (he had always been good about practicing safe sex, even when he was most strung out) and, at the time, it was what he wanted - and was equipped - to do. I would no more have stopped him from seeing clients than I would have stopped him tending bar - and he made a helluva lot more money.

I must also admit that, when I was young and golden, I was occasionally offered money in exchange for sex - and sometimes I accepted, especially when the amount offered was substantial. Did I feel degraded? Not in the least. I felt wealthier. I was also more or less "kept" for a year or so by a guy in a relationship that was no more demanding than your average marriage. Did I feel degraded? No - but I can't say I enjoyed doing all the housework.

In all honesty, if I had any chance of making a living wage, I'd much rather be turning tricks right now than working for Cingular Wireless. As Erasmussimo pointed out, one man's meat (so to speak) is another man's poison. A lot of work is degrading - and I've known quite a few sex workers (male and female) who loved their jobs.

As I'm in confessional mode, I should also mention that I once patronized a brothel in Berlin - my first and (so far) only experience of prostitution as a john. I met a very nice young man by the name of Rainer who was working his way through college. We hit it off and I saw him several more times - not as as a client, but as a friend. He took me to quite a few good clubs and, as often as not, bought the rounds. We still correspond occasionally. Did he feel degraded? Not in the least. He was involved in the industry for about three years and emerged with a music degree. He nows works in a German orchestra. Had prostitution not been decriminalized in Germany, he'd probably be flipping burgers.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::

1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States?

Absolutely.

2.) Who does it harm and how?

No one.

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?

Of course there are. Regulated prostitution is safer for everyone involved, drastically reduces exploitation, generates tax revenue, eliminates an entire sector of organized crime, and - over night - an entire class of "criminal" evaporates, decreasing our prison population and its attendant recidivism for more serious crimes.


This post has been edited by Wertz: Jun 5 2005, 05:47 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
lederuvdapac
post Jun 5 2005, 06:09 AM
Post #15


*********
Mr. Free Market

Sponsor
August 2006

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 2,940
Member No.: 2,573
Joined: March-4-04

From: A New Yorker in DC
Gender: Male
Politics: Independent
Party affiliation: None



1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States?

Simply no. Thats just how i feel on the subject. I don't think it should be made legal because i think it degrades our society and our culture. Thats just my opinion on this issue.

2.) Who does it harm and how?

Contrary to the delusions of grandeur that some have about how fabulous prostitution could become in the US...in reality it would not work because it DOES harm the female (or male) prostitute. To find out the success of the Dutch experiment...look to this NY Times article of Aug.12, 2001.

New Rights for Dutch Prostitutes, but No Gain

QUOTE
Legalization has done nothing to diminish the taboo associated with the sex trade. Prostitutes who are trying to set themselves up as self-employed businesswomen are finding that accountants, banks and health insurance companies want nothing to do with them.

And many experts are worried, too, that the new law is simply pushing a huge number of prostitutes underground, where they are at greater risk of being taken advantage of. This group includes illegal immigrants, who fear being sent out of the country if they register, and Dutch citizens who are not ready to go public with what they do.

"I have often doubted since we legalized the brothels, whether we did the right thing," said Femke Halsema, a member of Parliament who advocated the measure. "For me, it was a question of emancipation and liberation for the women. But for now it is working the other way."


Of course there is still the 10 Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women which give plenty of facts as to how legalization of prostitution has hurt the women involved instead of helping.

But it doesn't matter what many facts say. People are going to believe what they choose to believe.

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?

The only benefit goes to the pimps who are automatically transformed into "legitimate" businessman.

This post has been edited by lederuvdapac: Jun 5 2005, 06:09 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
nighttimer
post Jun 5 2005, 09:29 PM
Post #16


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Sponsor
February 2007

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 4,660
Member No.: 504
Joined: February-16-03

Gender: Undisclosed
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Jun 3 2005, 09:28 AM)
Questions for Debate:

1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?

2.) Who does it harm and how?

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?



1. My views on this matter remain unchanged. While I favor decriminalization over legalizing prostitution, I believe many people are based their beliefs on an paradigm that is not entirely valid or current.

For your information: http://www.ktvu.com/video/4496834/detail.html

2. Prostitution can be harmful and usually to the women that participate in it.

Most girls saw anywhere from 2-7 clients a day. I averaged about four. That’s why it’s hilarious that these men think the popular girls are so “real” and “genuine” – a woman cannot be sane after being with that many clients in one day. They were the ones that I worried about, not being able to be OK when they retired.

We felt sorry for mistresses. I must say that every woman that I have spoken to that is emotionally involved with a married man has been absolutely more mentally disturbed than any escort. We also watched talk shows when they had cheating husbands on, and we would laugh and shout “No penetration without compensation!”


http://www.khmx.com/misty.html

The woman at the heart of this story is obviously a very damaged person and I feel sorry for her. But her experience is not everyone's experience and to make her the poster child for all that's wrong about prostitution misses the point entirely. Here's a different take on the matter:

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not Heidi Fleiss. I’m not exceptionally wealthy or even “well-kept” by anyone. I’m also not a drug addict or a desperate street prostitute. When my “journey” began, I was a 32 year old happily-married woman. I had a beautiful home in a typical suburban Houston neighborhood, a husband with an upper-middle class salary and a propensity for disappearing in his high-tech internet job. I have a beautiful daughter and all the necessities, except sex.

For every case of someone who has been exploited or debased by prostitution there are others who entered and emerged unscarred by the experience. Are they the exception? The rule? Who can say with authority? One thing is for certain: the critics of sexwork are always louder than the advocates.

3. The possible benefit of legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution is permitting the police to stop wasting time, money and resources for a consensual sex act between adults. Of course nobody wants to see their daughter having sex with strangers for money. However, nobody wants to see their daughter working in a non-union clothing sweatshop, busing tables while horny men check out her legs or otherwise being exploited by some pig.

Sexwork is not the first option most women would choose for themselves, but why should a woman who chooses to put a price tag on her sexual favors be scorned while another who gives it away is not? There's some inconsistency here.

Camille Paglia said it well: The most successful prostitutes are invisible, because the sign of a prostitute’s success is her absolute blending with the environment. She’s so shrewd, she never becomes visible. She never gets in trouble. She has command of her life, and her clients. The ones who get into the surveys have drug problems or psychological problems. They’re the ones who were sexually abused. Feminists are using amateurs to condemn a whole profession.

hmmm.gif

Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
VDemosthenes
post Jun 5 2005, 11:01 PM
Post #17


*******
Five Hundred Club

Group: Members
Posts: 800
Member No.: 4,252
Joined: January-11-05

From: St. Augustine, Florida
Gender: Male
Politics: Moderate
Party affiliation: Libertarian



I have chosen, up until now, to remain silent in this debate. I try to make it my policy to debate elsewhere and avoid topics I have started/revived. However, the three other members to share their distain at the idea of legalizing prostitution seem to be encountering an overwhelming need for new blood (hope that doesn't sound to conceited).


Fine arguments have been presented in favor of legalizing prostitution and some fine reasons have been given why. Yet there is one concern that has not been fully addressed by supporters of legalization. The need for education should be young women and young men's primary concern. When mommy and daddy vote a potential yes on prostitution (should it ever come to a national vote) they are announcing to their children their escape from education and giving them a well-paid career and an incentive to fail school. I do not know any prostitutes personally, yet I would imagine education was something either elusive or difficult for them to excel at.

I do not want my child to throw a temper-tantrum one evening at dinner and wind up not having the option to say goodbye to her when she chooses to live life as a prostitute. Say she is underage, even if a legal business I doubt there will be background checks, STD tests, etc., how easy would it for her to lie like so many young women did during World War Two to become nurses. Education is precious, our children are precious, family is precious. When legalizing prostitution splits the family and the chance of your child to excel in life because they have chosen to throw it away for a career of servicing loveless clients you know there is a problem.

My inner-Libertarian is screaming for freedom of choice and to be left alone, yet I am letting my ethics fly me on autopilot.

Who does it harm? Has anyone consider the family? The fathers? The mothers? The lonely siblings and disappointed friends? Personally I would be crushed if my sister had decided to give up her life, her happiness, to make sex her life. Wertz (nothing against you, you are merely my guinea pig for this argument thumbsup.gif ) said it harmed no one (even though it never harmed you Wertz, is that basis to claim it harms no one?). Am I no one? I am not a client or a prostitute but am I no one? Am I not entitled to be harmed at the conversion of my sister from promise to prostitute?

How about the many, many health care workers and councilors whose lives might be touched if the supporters of legalization have their way? I know a truly delightful woman who works with helping prostitutes begin to rebuild their lives, and every time I speak with her she cries because of the numerous sob-stories prostitutes have. These stories are about the prostitutes themselves, not their family and not their friends, whom would have no real meaning after living that kind of a lifestyle. It harms her to hear these people's stories of abusive employers, drunken clients who harm them, the drugs, competition, poor conditions. It harms everyone involved on some level. No one? No one? I cannot accept it harms no one because everyone loses something when they permit such emotional/physical degrading. Prostitutes (as has been pointed out before) do not perform acts of prostitution for the sheer sexual contact of the job, I highly doubt they would be doing it without the economic incentives. The only one who is remotely given any hint of satisfaction or physical fulfillment is the client.

How can anyone allow a harmful enterprise to survive on this earth? Are we too blind to the need of prostitutes for compassion and aide? Is society too used to selling their daughters and sons to estranged people who will pay them for money and rob them of their future? It is so hard to walk away from and all it takes to ruin someones life is one step toward that lifestyle. Harms no one? There are a lot of no one's on this world all of a sudden.




This post has been edited by VDemosthenes: Jun 5 2005, 11:16 PM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Erasmussimo
post Jun 6 2005, 12:08 AM
Post #18


*******
Five Hundred Club

Group: Validating
Posts: 886
Member No.: 4,853
Joined: April-12-05

Gender: Undisclosed
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



I'd like to offer a general response to those who point out that prostitution is a raw deal for women and should therefore not be legalized. I agree entirely that prostitution is not at all like regular employment and that it is destructive to women. However, I think we should consider the alternative to prostitution. Let us imagine a situation in which our enforcement of anti-prostitution laws is actually effective to the point that women do not choose this means of obtaining income. What is left to them? Welfare, under some circumstances. Homelessness, most likely. The question here is not, "Would you rather that your daughter be a prostitute or a Nobel laureate?" The more realistic question is, "Would you rather that your daughter be a prostitute or homeless?" Do undegraded women make a conscious choice to degrade themselves through prostitution, or do women who are already degraded by their economic situation choose prostitution as a lesser of two evils?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
bucket
post Jun 6 2005, 02:05 AM
Post #19


********
Millennium Mark

Group: Members
Posts: 1,259
Member No.: 1,459
Joined: October-14-03

Gender: Female
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: None



I was part of a debate we had on this a while back and really enjoyed it last time so thought I'd give it a go with some of the new arguments smile.gif

First and foremost..I feel like I need to say this since this issue is apparently being placed into the christian morality box. Not only am I not Christian but I honestly don't have any problem with exchanging sex for money in terms of morality.

My main reason/purpose or choice to not be in favor for legalized prostitution is because I feel as a woman legalized prostitution is detrimental to women in society..as a whole. I do recognize male prostitution exists too but I believe most often young boys would be favored over men. I feel that the US is very forward thinking when it comes to women and their roles as leaders, contributors and stewards in society and I feel that America's overall approach, attitude and regulations on prostitution is one of the reasons for this.

I personally believe that any society that openly accepts and even governs the sale of sex..that provides, legitimizes and acknowledges such roles for women in society someway or another feels women are of less value in society. It is what I like to refer to as my livestock theory.

QUOTE(Wertz)
Yes. Absolutely. What other basis for criminal conduct are you suggesting? Things that some people, for obscure, unwarranted, and undocumented "moral" reasons, find distasteful?? Nonsense. No consensual act should be criminal. No act which has an absence of discernable victims should be criminal. To suggest otherwise is... criminal. It is simply imposing the will of some people on the lives of others. As I mentioned in a recent thread on drugs, this is nothing less than tyranny.


Tyranny? It's illegal to sell dogs, people or cats for food...oh what a horrible tyrannical society we live in.
Do you feel that a dead baby should be sold for stew if the parents agree to it? Who will it harm? Or is this one of those moral things? Is it perhaps illegal because morally our society does not feel we should devalue people, dogs or cats as material or livestock to be bought and sold for something as degrading as supper? If we did allow the sale of dogs, people or cats for food do you recognize or acknowledge the change or what some of us would term damage it would cause our society?

I think ignoring moral lines or guidance when deciding what is and is not appropriate for merchandising, sale or consumption is wrong about as wrong as wrong gets. I will be the first to admit I have a neo-liberal streak in me..but it is nothing more than a pinstripe. I seriously doubt you are as neo-liberal as you would have us all believe you to be..in fact I think if the purchase is removed from a sexual context your opinion would greatly change.

Will as you use it is just an individual term for governing and anyone who argues that as participants of a society we should have no concern or even respect for that society's government..has in my opinion a terribly flawed argument.

Yet what irked me most about your argument..in it's entirety.. Wertz was the manner in which you poo pooed the idea or belief that in our society and really in most human society's women are devalued, are dehumanized and are often seen as property to be bought sold or kept and that any means to alleviate such societal views or cultural norms is not worthwhile or important.
You demanded evidence as if it does not exist or is unattainable and yet all I have to do is look to current events to see that hundreds of thousands of people are enslaved yearly and that 80% of them are young girls and women...for what ? For prostitution. So I think there is a lot more that just an "ew" factor at stake here and I believe any efforts to alleviate the horrible denial of freedom of will...you so greatly value for yourself..for women the world over is not only a great moral cause but a useful one too.


I am in the decriminalization camp. I see no reason to punish and persecute those who have been already punished by our society's monetary system. Yet I do feel governing prostitution is wrong in the complete sense ..whether you govern it illegal or legal.

This post has been edited by bucket: Jun 6 2005, 02:07 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
ExistentialHedon...
post Jun 6 2005, 10:59 AM
Post #20


***
Junior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 35
Member No.: 5,101
Joined: June-6-05

Gender: Female
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



Hello- I am brand new to this board (this is my very first post), and was directed here by someone who has recently posted on this topic and knows my passion for it. While I have read this entire thread, I have not read the previous thread on this same subject (I promise I will, though).

I take a bit of issue in this discussion with statements such as:
QUOTE
in most cases, prostitutes are desperate and are being used and degraded. Why should society legitimize conduct that degrades another human being?
,
QUOTE
when I think of a woman who has decided to become a prostitute, I think of someone who has been forced into a situation, whether through dire financial need, or fear or whatever
, and
QUOTE
in reality 90% of prostitution is victimisation.


First of all, it is important to recognize the logic of the Paglia quote submitted above by someone. I have been a sex worker now for over 15 years in various areas of the industry, and can honestly say that only in rare cases did I not enjoy it. Women like myself rarely consent to interviews, or to be subjects of studies. It is simply too dangerous- we must remain much more discreet in order to survive. However there are quite a few of us who do consent to be interviewed for such endeavors, or attempt to publish ourselves- and we are often marginalized. Ask any one of us who has attempted to publish a book, and many of us will tell you that it is nearly impossible to find a publisher who will consider publishing anything which doesn't place us in the role of "victim" or "fallen woman."

Many of my fellow sex workers are well-educated, balanced, empowered, and staunchly independent. And yes, several of us do this in part to thumb our noses at the patriarchy. Other reasons we do this include (but are not limited to): Money, fun, love of sex, love of men, love of our feminine power (power with, not over), independence, freedom to travel, hours which we choose (that fit around busy real-life schedules: careers, motherhood, marriage, philanthropy, school, volunteerism), the opportunities to meet so many amazing people- which includes having intimate access to high-level individuals (politicians, religious leaders, scholars, lawyers, celebrities, etc.). We are not desperate, and we have other options. I myself have completed an MSc at a very well-known university in London, and currently do much academic work in my field of study. As I am not a PhD, my income is nicely supplemented by my evening occupation. Almost all of my friends in this industry have at least one, if not two or three degrees.

The problem is that, as was stated above, most people do not hear from women like myself. They hear mostly from women who are in shelters, in jail, in rehab programs, or in situations such as Claire's (from Nighttimer's link above). If we studied the institute of marriage by only looking at women in battered women's shelters, I am sure we would draw similar conclusions about marriage.

The problems we see as harmful to women which are attributed to prostitution are problems which exist no matter which occupation you look at. The problems are not inherent to the act of transactional sex. And the whole argument that "prostitution degrades women" is simply not true. Transactional sex degrades nobody. Dehumanization degrades people. Dehumanization is not necessary for transactional sex.

Drugs- I am sure many women in other occupations not having to do with the sex industry do drugs. The instances perhaps might be increased when one looks at prostitution simply because it is largely a cash industry, thus drugs are more readily acquired. But drugs are not part and parcel of transactional sex. Self-esteem issues may also increase one's likelihood of engaging with chemical mood-altering substances, but this, again, is not exclusive to the sex industry. (Stigma is rife when it comes to transactional sex, and I will address this later.) And keep in mind that there are those who would argue that drugs should not even be considered a problem.

Abuse- happens under many occupational circumstances. Battery and assault are already illegal, and punishable by law. False imprisonment and slavery are also against the law, and punishable as such. None of these abuses are exclusive to any particular occupation. As a matter of fact, many sweatshop activists will tell you that these same types of abuses occur in various textile factories (as an example) around the world. Does anyone ever consider eliminating the clothing industry? Again, these abuses are neither necessary nor inherent in transactional sex.

Child Prostitution- I don't even really accept this term, because sex with a child is child abuse and should not be referred to as prostitution. There are plenty of laws which prohibit abuse and exploitation of children, and no legal status for or against transactional sex will affect this.

Trafficking- my favorite subject. I have done extensive research in this department, and I can tell you that the statistics quoted over and over again are not reliable. Most "trafficked women" are simply women who choose to migrate to perform work abroad, much of it sex work as it is the most lucrative work uneducated (and even educated!) women can do. After the fall of communism, Europe was absolutely flooded by women who had been thrust into positions of extreme poverty: in 1995, women in Russia made 40% of the wages men made. Prior to the fall they made 70%. Check this out: Poverty in Russia was at 2% in 1987-1988, and shot up to 31% by '92-'93. In Lithuania, it was at 1% in'87-'88, and rose to an astonishing 50% in '92-'93.(see reference 2 below)
Two interesting pieces on trafficking:
Loose Women or Lost Women? The re-emergence of the myth of 'white slavery' in contemporary discourses of 'trafficking in women' by Jo Doezema
Learning the Thai Sex Trade by Alex Renton

QUOTE
I personally believe that any society that openly accepts and even governs the sale of sex..that provides, legitimizes and acknowledges such roles for women in society someway or another feels women are of less value in society.


Ok- this would include Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, France, and The Netherlands.

All of these states have signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The US has signed, but not ratified it.(1)

All of the above countries (except for Austria) are considered very tolerant of women who are lesbians, while the US is considered only somewhat tolerant.(2)

In the mid 1990s, the US was considered one of several countries in which religious fundamentalism was on the increase "leading to heightened legal and social restrictions for women," while the only European countries which fit that description were the Czech Republic, Poland, and Yugoslavia.(2)

As far as wages (1994 data), the women in the US (and Belgium) made only 75% of what men made, while in Denmark they made 83%, in Austria 78%, Finland 77%, Germany 76%, France 81%, and the Netherlands 77%.(2)

All of the above countries' national social security systems pay women maternity leave. The US does not.(2)

In terms of women in power- as of July 1995, women held 42% of cabinet level govt. positions in Norway, 41% in Finland, 35% in Denmark, 24% in the Netherlands, 22% in Austria, but only 20% in the US. (More interesting- in Sri Lanka, they held 29% of positions, 25% in Gambia, 41% in Seychelles, 39% in Barbados, and Fiji, the Bahamas and Bhutan joined the US at 20% of positions).(2)

References
1. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/states.htm
2. The State of Women in the World Atlas (Penguin Reference)
by Joni Seager

This data would controvert your argument, Bucket.

As far as the morality of selling sex- this argument boils down to how our society views sexuality, which is largely a religious argument and holds no water for someone like myself who does not subscribe to a patriarchal and misogynist interpretation of religion such as today's Christianity seems to have become. This argument also holds little sway in the above-mentioned countries. As a matter of fact, the most sexually intolerant countries seem to those in which women are degraded most.

I personally happen to think that our society mystifies sex way too much, placing it on a pedestal and thus trying to remove it from its place as something humans simply need to do- like eating, sleeping, and eliminating waste. If you do not have sex, your body will do it for you in your sleep. There is nothing inherently wrong with casual sex- and casual sex with complete strangers is no different. Numbers of partners should also make no difference. And the addition of a bit of cash should make absolutely no difference to this either. I pay to sleep in a hotel out of town. I pay 20 pence to eliminate waste in London's Waterloo Station. I pay to eat out at restaurants. Why can't I pay for an occasional orgasm? Likewise, I can eat at McDonald's or at French Laundry, I can ceremoniously prepare a lovely candlelit dinner, or I can grab a quick candy bar at 7-11. Is my candy bar or any other transactional eating experience morally wrong?

QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Jun 3 2005, 06:28 AM)
Questions for Debate:

1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?

2.) Who does it harm and how?

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?

*



So, here are my answers to the questions at hand:
1.) Should prostitution be made legal in the United States? Why or why not?
No. Legalization puts women's bodies under the control of the government. I don't want my body controlled by men or women- only myself. Here is an excerpt from a paper I wrote debating the legalization/Decriminalization debate which highlights some issues with legalization:

QUOTE
Legalisation/ state regulation

The majority of countries have no laws against the act of exchanging sexual services for pay, and as such consider prostitution to be legal. In most cases, however, this ‘freedom’ is moderated by laws surrounding prostitutes’ lives and certain forms of draconian state control. A law commonly used in many countries to penalise prostitutes is that against vagrancy, allowing police to arbitrarily pick up anyone they choose. (Pheterson, 1989). There are also laws against pimping, procuring, pandering, brothel keeping and living off immoral means. These prevent prostitutes from advertising, soliciting, and using the services of a middleperson. The brothel keeping and living off immoral means laws prevent two prostitutes from working under the same roof (making many hoteliers and landlords technically liable under this law), and enable the prosecution of anyone who lives with a prostitute (partner, relative, child) because they are benefiting from the profits of prostitution (Pheterson 1989, Altman, 2001; Adams, 2003). This effectively means these women are forced to reside and work alone and in less safe conditions. Occasionally, real property can even be confiscated and bank lenders arrested (Pheterson, 1989:68). In places where brothels are legal, there can be abuses of the girls by the brothel keepers, and very little job security. In developing countries such as India and Thailand (Pheterson, 1989), the prostitutes in some brothels can be beaten and/or fired for refusing to serve a client, and have no choice of numbers of clients served or any days off. There is rarely any recourse for such cases: the laws clearly do not protect the prostitutes.
Draconian measures used to control prostitutes include the assessment of special taxes, identification cards or licenses, and mandatory Socially Transmitted Infection (STI) tests with documents. Taxes assessed on prostitutes’ earnings are always overestimated by police or those responsible for assessing them, and are usually much higher than those of other taxpayers (Pheterson, 1989; BAYSWAN, 2004; NSWP, 2004).  Ways in which these are assessed can be very degrading as well: in one case, police were even pulling used condoms out of a rubbish bin to assess taxes each prostitute should pay (Pheterson, 1989). For these taxes, prostitutes are not considered regular citizens, and therefore not subject to the same benefits. They get very few, if any, social benefits such as pensions, health insurance, or labour protection.

Other measures are mandatory licenses which prostitutes are required to carry, having to register with the state as a prostitute. This is problematic on several levels, beginning with stigmatisation. In many instances (Pheterson, 1989) if the prostitute should choose to leave the profession to pursue other employment, it can take several years for evidence of her past employment to fade from public records, and often these records are sent directly to the prospective employer by the state. While most parties to the debate agree that some form of ensuring good health for prostitutes is important, there is much disagreement on ways in which this is done. Laws that provide for such enforcement of STI tests often have done so in very inhumane and undignified ways, such as carting all prostitutes off in a van, and stamping her health card with an identifying mark to note if she had been found infected. This would be cause for her to get fired from her job. In some cases (Pheterson, 1989), prostitutes’ books would be confiscated if found infected, and they would not be allowed to work at all. This treatment also shows how the rights of the prostitutes are not primary to laws and policies governing prostitution.

In attempting to enforce gender consideration in prostitution policy, many feminist groups (CATW, 2004) have pushed for more attention to the demand side of the industry, endorsing such tactics as ‘John Schools’ where men are sent to ‘rehabilitation programs’ to ensure they do not offend again. Sweden has recently (1998) passed a law making it a crime to purchase sex. Julia O’Connell Davidson (2003) and Petra Ostergren (2004) both show how these tactics can also affect the prostitutes more negatively than those who patronise them.
As the foregoing evidence shows, neither criminalisation nor legalisation of prostitution seems to benefit women who work in the trade. Criminalisation often leads to direct abuse of sex workers as does legalisation, and in both cases the sex worker always suffers the most (Pheterson, 1989; Alexander, 1998; Lucas, 1999; Davidson, 2003; Ostergren, 2004). While these laws purport to be for the benefit of the prostitute (and anti-prostitution feminist activists and abolitionists heartily support them) they clearly have very few, if any at all, positive outcomes for the prostitutes. Indeed, the laws merely reinforce unequal gender relations in terms of female sexuality. Many sex workers’ rights activists advocate instead the decriminalisation of prostitution.

Adams, N. (2003) ‘Anti-trafficking Legislation: Protection or Deportation?’ Feminist Review 73: 135-39.
Alexander, Priscilla (1998) ‘Prostitution: Still a Difficult Issue for Feminists,’ in Delacoste, F. and Alexander, P. Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry. San Francisco: Cleis Press.
Altman, D. (2001) Global Sex. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
BAYSWAN (2004) http://www.bayswan.org .
CATW (2004) http://www.catwinternational.org/ .
Davidson, J. O. (2003) ‘”Sleeping with the Enemy”? Some Problems With Feminist Abolitionist Calls to Penalise Those Who Buy Commercial Sex.’ Social Policy & Society 2(1): 55-63.
Lucas, A. (1999) ‘Women and Prostitution’ in Askin, K. and Koenig, D., Women and International Human Rights Law. Transnational.
NSWP (2004) Network of Sex Work Projects. http://www.nswp.org .
Ostergren, Petra (2004) ‘Sexworkers Critique of Swedish Prostitution Policy.’ Petra Ostergren. www.petraostergren.com .
Pheterson, G. (1989) A Vindication of the Rights of Whores. Seattle: Seal.


2.) Who does it harm and how?
Transactional sex harms nobody who consciously, thoughtfully, and deliberately chooses to participate in it. If, however, one subscribes to the silly notion that a woman who has sex with many partners is immoral (and a surprising number of women do), then the internalization of this stigmatization can have detrimental effects on a woman's psychological health. Imagine participating in something which you are told every day by those around you is the most horribly degrading thing you can do. This would not be healthy for anyone to internalize. Further, transactional sex is even more stigmatized and less socially acceptable, and thus the internalization of the stigma further harms women who subscribe to this view.

I myself do not subscribe to this. Not even a bit. As long as I am with a consenting adult (or three tongue.gif ) I have every right to have sex with whomever I choose under whatever circumstances I choose, as often as I choose and for whatever reasons I choose. Including transactionally. And so should you. Nobody seems at all concerned with what (heterosexual) men do with their bodies given the above criteria, so why should they be concerned for me as a woman? I am not a victim, and do not need to be saved. And I quite enjoy sex with wealthy, respectful strangers.

Prostitution does, however harm patriarchal notions of keeping women, their sexuality, and their movements under surveillance.

3.) Are there any possible benefits to legalizing prostitution? If so, what are they?

The benefits to patriarchal society are great: they get to watch us, take exactly 1/2 of our money, tax us further, monitor our whereabouts, deny us access to certain countries, inspect our bodies, pimp us out, and generally keep us down. In comparison, the benefits to sex workers are few: we get to have a license. How exciting.

I am a staunch advocate of decriminalization. Here is another excerpt from my paper where I outline why decrim is better:

QUOTE
Decriminalisation

Prostitutes and activists are lobbying for decriminalisation; they ‘demand the dissolution of the prostitute’s special status in law, freedom from state regulation as prostitutes, and subjection to the same state regulation as workers and business owners’ (Bell, 1994, also see BAYSWAN, 2004). They believe there are plenty of laws already in existence to deal with the negatives in prostitution- laws against fraud, theft, force, battery, rape, sexual assault, false imprisonment, extortion, grievous bodily harm, trespassing, littering, loitering, and others. (Bell, 1994; Adams, 2003; BAYSWAN, 2004; COYOTE, 2004).  COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) argues that if something is legal when it is done without the exchange of money, the exchange should hold no relevance to its legality. Decriminalisation will allow prostitutes to organise amongst themselves, form unions or associations, free them to approach law enforcement regarding abuses committed against them, and enable them to file grievances against abusive officials.

In Calcutta, India, the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) is a sex workers’ group of 30,000 formed in 1995. They have determined to ‘fight for full legal recognition of prostitution as a profession, to demand decriminalisation of adult prostitution and abolition of the existing laws controlling the sex industry as these laws consistently act against the interest of sex workers rather than penalise those who exploit [them], [and] to work towards forming a self-regulatory board constituted solely by sex workers (in the lines of other professional bodies like the Indian Medical Council or the Bar Association), which will act as the principal arbitrator of the sex industry’ (NSWP, 1998). DMSC have established a retail cooperative, a savings and credit system, and plan to establish day care centres for fellow sex workers. They registered their cooperative under their occupation as sex workers, being ‘officially’ recognised as doing the work they do, which they hope will lead to normalisation of their occupation. (They were encouraged by officials to register as ‘housewives’ and refused to do so (NSWP, 1998).) As sex workers worldwide wish to simply have their rights as human beings and workers recognised, as in any other industry or occupation, decriminalisation would be an important step in this direction.

Decriminalisation will be a first and needed move towards de-stigmatising prostitution. De-stigmatisation will promote better relationships between the sex workers, law enforcement officials and the wider community. Sex worker involvement in the decision-making process on matters directly related to issues important to them, such as HIV/AIDS, trafficking, slavery and forced working conditions, can be productive for the workers, the state, and the international community.  Participatory approaches to policy concerning such matters will foster a sense of ownership amongst the workers, ensuring the perpetuation and longevity of any projects initiated.

Lin Lean Lim’s 1998 book, The Sex Sector: The Economic and Social Bases of Prostitution in Southeast Asia, was pivotal (Agustin and Weldon, 1999) in bringing the issue of sex work to the forefront in development discourse, which had previously been concerned (and, to a large extent, still is) with rehabilitation and training programs to direct women out of prostitution. Recognition of sex work as a practical- if not always desirable- choice of employment considering the circumstances surrounding poverty, status of women, and availability of alternative choices, encourages policymakers to listen more closely to those involved and to make more informed policy decisions.
Agustin, L. and Weldon, J. (1999) ‘The Sex Sector: A Victory for Diversity.’ Global Reproductive Rights Newsletter 66/67 (2/3): p.31-4.
Bell, S. (1994) Reading, Writing, and Rewriting the Prostitute Body. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
COYOTE (2004) Decriminalization Vs. Legalization. http://www.freedomusa.org/coyotela/decrim.html .
NSWP (1998) ‘Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) & The Usha Multipurpose Co-operative Society Ltd.’ Network of Sex Work Projects. http://www.nswp.org/ .


VDemosthenes mentioned education in his latest post, and when I saw that word, I got all excited. I vehemently believe that sex work is a skill that should be taught so that women who do it can do it well, and without harming themselves. It is not easy work, and requires skills that my clients have informed me most women simply do not possess. How can one be good at something she doesn't do very often, and when she does, is with perhaps 3 different people? Does a martial artist become expert by practicing with the same person day after day? Perhaps in the context of a spar with that person, but I would argue that a martial artist who has only ever sparred with one or two other people wouldn't do well at an international competition...and thus cannot be considered an expert. Further, I believe that sex workers perform an incredibly valuable service for society, and as such I don't believe just anyone can do it. The Geisha of Japan trained for years to perfect their art, and were experts at what they did. While many who know the art of the Geisha would say that they are not necessarily "sex workers" (and I agree that this is merely a small and sometimes insignificant part of what they do), most Americans that I have run across seem to conflate the two. That is like conflating streetwalkers (who I honor and respect) with courtesans (which I consider myself to be), or poets with those who write the copy for cereal boxes. All require specific skills, and these skills should be taught under proper circumstances, and not everyone will make the grade.

But, VDemosthenes (as well as others who have expressed similar opinions), I am living proof that your fears are unfounded.

The sex industry- like it or not- is here to stay and always has been. Instead of degrading it by dehumanizing and stigmatizing the participants, we should embrace it and celebrate it for the wonderful, needed, and highly skilled art form it is.

And I am pleased that more women are participating as consumers.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

19 Pages V   1 2 3 > » 
Closed TopicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

  
Go to the top of the page - Simple Version Time is now: October 20th, 2018 - 07:26 PM
©2002-2010 America's Debate, Inc.  All rights reserved.