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Legalizing Prostitution

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Charity Krebsky

Philosophy 1114 – Business Ethics

Aaron Bartolome

December 2, 2015

Legalizing Prostitution

Prostitution; we all know what it is.  It is known as the world’s oldest occupation.  Despite the taboo and disapproval of it, prostitution is still around today.  I will even go so far as to say that it has actually osmosed into other issues of our modern day cultural views; we have reaped a culture of casual sex being condoned and sometimes even praised.  There are many reasons why prostitution, regardless of legality, is malevolent to health, safety, and wellbeing.  In this essay I shall write why prostitution should not be legalized.

Lars Ericsson said that “If two adults voluntarily consent to an economic arrangement concerning sexual activity and this activity takes places in private, it seems plainly absurd to maintain that there is something intrinsically wrong with it” but, if prostitution were to be legalized, would it really be all that private?  Brothel owners in Nevada responded to an interview that they are “making it policy to call the police at the slightest hint of trouble” (Fuchs).  How can they know when that occurs?  We have a right to privacy as stated as our nation’s fourth amendment but where is the line drawn when sex and work are concerned?  Surveillance cameras would have to be used because a client could render a sex worker quiet either through gagging or knocking him or her unconscious, making relying on sound ineffective.  Clients knowing that there is video surveillance would cause many to be less likely to use brothels because of it being affirmative evidence that they are having an affair, political scandal, others would simply have uneasiness, etc; in turn not enough money would be made to keep the business open.  A lack of surveillance of this kind would still make the brothels unsafe for the prostitutes.  Legalizing prostitution would either generate the same danger or would not be profitable.

Regulating prostitution claims that sex workers will be healthier if prostitution is legalized because brothels and/or the government would require sex workers to use condoms (Fuchs).  Unfortunately, condoms do not stop STIs from being contracted.  While they can reduce the chances of contracting an STI, the CDC states:

However, condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STD. The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.  (U. S. Department of Health & Human Service).

Even if condoms were an absolute in protecting against sexually transmitted infections, how are we to enforce such a law, what consequences would there be if the two consenting adults did not use a condom?  It would be difficult enough to simply try to enforce such regulations let alone truly know if protection was used each and every time.  Legalizing prostitution would significantly increase sex which, given that condoms are not an absolute protection, the amount sexually transmitted infections could and would raise.  While the sex workers would be required to be tested regularly, it would not be a daily test and even so, testing tells one after contracting a sexually transmitted infection, it would not protect those having sexual relations between contracting the infection and finding out that one has this infection.  

Scott A. Anderson stated that there are those who believe that prostitution should be legalized in order to protect and regulate this occupation and ultimately “normalize” it in our views towards prostitution (Anderson 749).  If we were to legalize and ultimately regulate this, then many of the negative aspects would be gone from this profession, right?  Wrong.  Our nation, the United States, along with many others too, regulate the consumption of alcohol with such limitations as making a legal age to drink; but this has not stopped under aged teens from drinking.  In the United States, “65 percent of teens have had at least 1 drink” (National Institute of Health) by age 18.  The normalization of this would have various negative effects.  Those who, for whatever reasons, are in need of public aid like Welfare but are physically able to perform sexual acts, may be expected by the government to take employment in this type of work over receiving help, regardless of their beliefs.  One’s nonconformity to accepting prostitution is normal could be viewed as being lazy.  With prostitution legalized, where is the line drawn?  Jobs of different fields could be redefined to include performance of sexual acts.  Perhaps even termination of employment for failing to fulfill this new job requirement.  School career adviser may start to advise students, who do seem misfit for most conventional options, to make this their career goal.  Normalization of prostitution could also be viewed as equivalent as casual sex, but that also has negative effects.  Casual sex can lead to sexually transmitted infections as well as developing psychological side effects.  Susan Krauss Whitbourne summarized one Kinsey Institute researcher’s finding:



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