The late night hours, men known as “Johns” and a long history as far back as the ancient world pull in a subculture seen as vile and dangerous. Prostitution, dubbed the world’s oldest profession, has an awful stigma attached to it. Religion may deem it immoral and feminists may call it degrading and lacking in integrity, but its legalization has powerful good as well.
For one, it would reduce the violence against prostitutes, more so for the women. They are vulnerable to violence from their customers, pimps and madams. With prostitution legalized their profession would escape the shadows of illegality and allow its workers to call the police. If still illegal, they would be too afraid to call any authority and the rape and murder count would continue to rise.
Legalization would make sex workers healthier. The pressure of prostitutes to forego condoms is a great health risk on a global level. If legal, its workers can get tested regularly and practice safer sex. Sex workers in Nevada have to get monthly tests for Syphilis and HIV, and weekly tests for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Nevada also requires condoms for all sex in brothels.
Prostitution is arguably a victimless crime. If both parties are consenting adults and the “victims” are the prostitutes themselves, what crime is there? If legalized, women may feel empowered instead of corrupted, and the act can be seen as beneficial and uplifting.
Legal prostitution can be a source of tax revenue. If legal, then state and county governments could gain significant revenue. Even though in Nevada brothels do not pay state taxes, they do pay significant taxes to the county where they are located.
Legalization could also save law enforcement resources. The investigation into notorious John and former New York governor, Eliot Spitzer is a great example of how costly it can be to investigate sophisticated prostitution rings. From wiretapping to intercepting emails, these resources could be spent on catching terrorists instead of prostitution.
Prostitution is not going away anytime soon. There will always be lonely and kinky men looking for sex and women ready and waiting to rent out their bodies for the right price. Prostitution is a part of every culture. We legalize and regulate commerce that’s morally controversial — like tobacco, alcohol, gambling, lap-dancing, and pornography. Yes, women can be coerced into prostituting themselves, but we’re not helping them by making consenting sex-work a crime.