First Word: Legalizing prostitution is beneficial for America

Rachelle Jones, Staff Writer

     Napoleon Bonaparte stated, “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” In a democratic, free country America is all about choices. You can choose what gun to purchase, who to vote for and whom to marry. America is a prime example of liberty, where individuals can become anything they want to be.

     In most of America, prostitution is illegal. This must be rectified for principles or liberty, the safety of sex workers and monetary reasons.

     Prostitution is an issue neither of the two primary parties like to touch. Republicans generally oppose it for moral reasons, while liberal feminists often view it as degrading to women. However, I believe that legalizing prostitution is an issue that both parties should unite behind for support. It is time to free women and men and allow them to embrace their bodily autonomy.

     Democrats are all about choice, and in the case of abortion, Republicans and Democrats take different stances. Regarding abortion, the question to me is regarding the body of the unborn baby and about stopping the heartbeat of a growing human being. However, in the case of prostitution, a woman has complete control over her body and should be able to decide how to use it.

     The same freedom should apply to men. Why should the government be able to tell you whether or not you can exchange your body for money? What right do they have? If you do not have control over sex, then that means the U.S. government has been overstepping boundaries into our private lives.

     In addition to the liberty concept, legalizing prostitution would make it much safer for women. Violence against women is a major issue with illegal prostitution, with 82% of sex workers having been assaulted and 68% have been raped while working as prostitutes in San Francisco.

     These women cannot come forward, which their attackers are well aware of, because they would be admitting to a crime. However, if prostitution is legalized, and women can work in brothels, any hint of violence will result in a call to the police. Women will be protected by the brothel, and they can then legally file a report if they are raped or beaten. They no longer will need to hide in the shadows with bruises covering their bodies (Business Insider).

     Furthermore, legalizing prostitution would make unplanned pregnancies and STDs much less likely. Nevada, which does have legal brothels, requires workers to have monthly and weekly tests to check for STDs and HIV. Condoms are also required in the brothels.

     According to the United Nations Development Program, “Criminalization increases vulnerability to HIV by fueling stigma and discrimination, limiting access to HIV and sexual health services, condoms and harm reduction services, and adversely affecting the self-esteem of sex workers and their ability to make informed choices about their health” (Business Insider).

     Lastly, taxing prostitution would provide a needed source of revenue. In Nevada, while the taxes do not benefit the federal government, they do provide tax revenue to their local counties. Illegal prostitution does not provide tax revenue; legalizing prostitution would change that status (Business Insider). Prostitution could benefit local, state and federal governments.

     Maybe this is a radical idea in today’s America, but I support freedom. If a woman or man wants to sell their body for sex in a brothel, where health and safety are top priorities, why should the government have a right to stop them? States need to begin legalizing prostitution, following Nevada’s lead. Freedom of occupation is critical to a democracy, and making sex work legal is a crucial step in that process.

Rachelle Jones is an Education major. She is president of the College Republicans and is a staff writer for The Voice.