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The notion of legalizing prostitution has been a contentious topic in the United States, sparking several controversies. Some support this change and advocate for its legalization, while others are adamantly opposed, noting the damaging effect it would have on society's moral beliefs. In this day and age, with a high unemployment rate, prostitution has become a viable source of income. As a result, legalization would enable prostitution to be accepted as part of the American workforce. As a result, they will be provided with labor rules that will shield these sex workers from harassment and an unhealthy working climate. As such, the legalization of prostitution can have a lot of benefits to the American society.
Legalizing prostitution will curb the spread to sexuality transmitted diseases (STDs) and hence make the parties involved to live a healthy life. This is because once legalization is done, the nation will ensure that the prostitutes get tested and use condoms before engaging in any sexual activity. This will significantly aid in curtailing the spread of STDs such as HIV, gonorrhea, and syphilis. It has to be understood that making prostitution to sound illegal drives many prostitutes to involve in underground sex activities that are unhealthy and unsafe posing a great danger to them and their clients. In reality, the sex trade is a victimless practice, and no one is harmed in the process. Studies indicate that criminalization of this act raises the vulnerability of HIV infection and thus fueling social stigmatization and discrimination (Miller and Haltianger 12). This adversely affects a person's self-esteem. Simply put, legalization will enable the prostitutes to make informed decisions about their lives and avoid the dangers of STDs. Besides, according to Cho et al., legalization will reduce human trafficking who are forcefully carried to sex trade (Cho et al. 3).
This move could be a source of revenue to the nation. A significant amount of tax can be obtained from prostitution because it is highly demanded and thus earns substantial amount to the sex workers. Studies show that prostitutes earn $2000-$5000 in one night and this translates to $104000-$260000 yearly incomes. Procedures will be put in place to ensure that those who seek for this service pay tax to the government. Arguably, prostitution is not a criminal activity, and thus these people should be treated as one. It is critical to note that the act of criminalization only worsens the situation rather than making things better. It is also economically expensive in enforcing this law (Scoular 5). In fact, every person has to understand that prostitution is not going away in the society but rather remain to be with us, and hence we should embrace it. Many men and women are willing to rent their bodies, and this has become part of the American culture. Therefore, it is a high time that prostitution should be legalized not only to bring extra revenue to the nation but also ensure that it is well regulated to avoid any harm. Besides, the nation will be able to save a considerable amount of resources that is driven to law enforcement in the practice of prostitution criminalization. These resources will be directed to other important uses such as the provision of services to the low-income families.
Legalization will give these prostitutes legal labor rights and laws similar to other jobs which have provision for labor rights such as freedom from any discrimination, minimum wage regulations as well as the provision of safe working environment. The belief that is attached to prostitution depicting it to be criminal makes it lack legal labor laws, and this makes the sex workers unable to enjoy their legal rights (Scoular 9). Reports from United Nations Development Program stipulate that prostitutes face challenges in their work as they do not have legal rights that protect them. When legal rights are provided, this sector will create numerous employment opportunities. Notably, prostitution is one of the world's oldest professionals and keeping a deaf ear on the importance of its legalization does not help. Prostitution will remain to thrive despite being a crime. This only leaves questions of what it would generate when it is legalized. There are many women and men out there who are unemployed and thus, this will be a source of living for them. It has to be treated as another key industry in the economy that also generates employment for many people.
However, opponents who are against the legalization of prostitution argue that sex trade is morally wrong and it will degrade the values of the society. Here, arguments hold that the act of reducing sex to financial transaction significantly undermines the morality of the families, marriages, and relationships. Furthermore, these opponents state that in the nations such as New Zealand, Australia, and Belgium where prostitution has been made legal and taxed, the societies have become immoral and fail to accord any value on sex (Post 8). According to Raymond, the immorality aspect of sex trade has long been recognized in the history of humankind and thus keeping it illegal helps to safeguard the sanctity of the society along with upholding its basic values (Raymond 7). Additionally, prostitution only degrades women, and thus many of them are abused in the process. Alikhadzhieva indicates that legalization will not make it better but rather deteriorate the situation (Alikhadzhieva 5). It will only reinforce oppression of female gender in a male-dominated society and thus signify a clear front of genre inequality. Elimination of the legal barriers that criminalize prostitution will only send a wrong message to the new generation, and many people will view women to be sex objects, an aspect that many people including feminism women have fought hard to oppose an attempt to gain equality in a male-dominated society.
Indeed, the economic and the moral outcomes in the legalization of prostitution are overwhelming to the society. It is a high time that prostitution has to be legalized. The government has to understand that criminalization of this victimless practice is economically expensive. The above argument vividly proves that the process will have positive impact including enactment of labor rights regulations, the creation of employment and elimination of STDs spread. Besides, it will be a source of revenue to the nation. Even though the opponents argue that this process will result in a moral decay, people have to comprehend that prostitution has been in existence for a long time and with the current population where many people remain to be unemployed, it serves as a source of income. Therefore, failure to legalize it will only continue to frustrate the nation economically on its law enforcement practices.
Alikhadzhieva, Inna. "Public Opinion about Prostitution and Measures to Prevent It." Russian Social Science Review 51.3 (2010): 60-68.
Cho, Seo-Young, Axel Dreher and Eric Neumayer. "Does legalized prostitution increase human trafficking?" World Development 41 (2013): 67-82.
Miller, Coty R. and Nuria Haltianger. "Prostitution and the Legalization/decriminalization Debate." Georgetown Journal of Gender & the Law. (2004): 207-242.
Post, Diane. "Legalization of prostitution is a violation of human rights." National Lawyers Guild Review 68.2 (2011): 65-108.
Raymond, Janice G. "Ten reasons for not legalizing prostitution and a legal response to the demand for prostitution." Journal of Trauma Practice 2.3-4 (2004): 315-332.
Scoular, Jane. "What's law got to do with it? How and why law matters in the regulation of sex work." Journal of Law and Society 37.1 (2010): 12-39.
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