Should the United States Legalize Prostitution?

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Prostitution in its legal sense is defined as sexual intercourse of some kind in exchange for some kind of payment, usually money (Adriaenssens and Hendrickx 665; Perer 826).As of 2013, there are an estimated 1 million to 2 million prostitutes active in the world wide sex work industry today (Adriaenssens and Hendrickx 666). Prostitution is illegal in the United States; however, many experts think that should change. Most European and Asian countries have legalized prostitution (Agustín 74). Some believe that the legalization of prostitution could increase economic stature, decrease sexual violence, and decrease the amount of sexually transmitted diseases spread (Agustin 76; Bruckert and Hannem 43). Others believe that illicit acts such as human trafficking. Those opposed to prostitution also consider prostitution psychologically harmful to all those involved (Perer 823).

Though, prostitution is a controversy in places all over the world, both sides have several points of understanding. Both proponents and opponents of prostitution can agree that the criminalization of prostitutes leads the sex workers away from getting help from the authorities. If a prostitute were abused, she would not go to the police for fear of being prosecuted (Perer 826). Many think that if the Johns (clients) were prosecuted instead of the prostitutes, the prostitutes would be more willing to get help (Perer 823). Another aspect that both parties agree on is sex trafficking. The bigger the sex work business becomes, the more women are sold into human trafficking (Perer 830; Sanders, O’Neill, and Pitcher 67). Human trafficking sparks a completely new category of prostitution. Human trafficking, or sex trafficking, is the act of involuntary prostitution ...

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Sanders, Teela, Maggie O’Neill, and Jane Pitcher. Prostitution: Sex Work, Policy, and Politics. London: SAGE, 2009. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 5 March 2014. .

Wagenaar, Hendrik, and Sietske Altink. "Prostitution as Morality Politics Or Why it is Exceedingly Difficult to Design and Sustain Effective Prostitution Policy." Sexuality Research & Social Policy 9.3 (2012): 279-92. ProQuest. Web. 5 Mar. 2014. .
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