The term prostitution is used to describe the acts of engaging in sexual activities or services for beneficial gains such as money. The prostitution industry has grown to a level where it now recognized globally (Gauthier, 2011). All this has been made possible by the ever-growing tolerance and the liberal legal framework that includes the legalization of brothels in many countries. In countries such as the United States of America, sex work, and prostitution feature prominently in both its history and culture despite the social opprobrium. The prostitutes have been forcefully ejected out of towns and put into institutions where they are subjected to mandatory physical examinations.
Those who participate in regulated prostitution are required to relinquish their rights to privacy concerning their medical and other personal information (Kaye, 2007). If prostitution could be criminalized, then the minimum workplace standards would have been applied in such areas. The absence of these standards contributes to varying workplace conditions that range from comfortable or luxurious to deplorable conditions. Those who engage in the vice may be subjected to financial exploitation or denied access to particular services because of the nature of their work (Silcock, 2014). Despite all these, prostitution is still persistent and for the same reason, it is featured highly in movies, music, and literature with a common saying that sex sells.
The leading drivers of prostitution
The term sex workers has often been used when referring to either women or adolescent girls. It is not the case as all the gender identities have a representation among the sex workers. In the past, most of the legislation that touched on prostitution mainly addressed the issue of women selling sex (Kaye, 2007). This in part was because the promiscuity and prostitution on the part of women were viewed as a social problem. Male sexuality on the other part was never considered a problem nor did it face much criticism and in the same way men do not feature prominently in the law enforcement records as compared to their female counterparts. The legally acceptable age that one can get consented for sexual activities has changed over time. In the past years, the engagement in sex for sexual favors though rampant among adolescent did not draw much attention as it does today.
The sex workers usually have difficulties in reporting cases of assault or violence to the law enforcement agencies. It can be attributed to the hostile social attitude compiled by an inadequate legal framework that does little to address such issues. Legalization of prostitution can be one of the major steps in solving these problems (Gauthier, 2011). Those who advocate for its legalization argue that it is a harmless act and should therefore not be considered as a crime. Furthermore, criminalizing the act will only exacerbate the spread of communicable diseases such as HIV and will also encourage better working conditions where the prostitutes can access the testing and counseling services. There is also bound to arise cases of discrimination and poor working conditions for the sex providers in the case where it declared a criminal act.
The laws that are currently in place do not stop the sale of sexual services by prostitutes but instead only seem to be susceptible to acts of violence while working. Women should be allowed to participate legally in prostitution on their free will and also be provided a central place where their rights are safeguarded (Kaye, 2007).
The Pros of Legalizing Prostitution
Since there are seemingly many anti-legalization arguments for prostitution, there also exist pro-legalization proponents. For instance, those whose ideas are for prostitution being legalized will argue that, it will lessen trafficking, remove prostitution out of streets, regulate prostitution activities, and curb the sex industry. Sexual pro-prostitution proponents argue that legalizing prostitution would promote the health of women because women ought to get good health checks (Gauthier, 2011). They further propose that it would enhance women's choices since women would be at liberty to choose whether they desire to participate in the sex industry and offer them the chance to be self-employed.
Argument two is that, it is believed that if only prostitution would be legalized for instance in the United States, there would be a reduced rape rate of approximately 30%, amounting to roughly 30, 000 rapes annually. To coin this, sex work is lawful work and that the problems within the industry are not intrinsic in the work itself. It is vulnerability and not sex work that serves to create victims. Those practicing prostitution should enjoy the same labor rights just like other workers, and also the same rights enjoyed by other people.
Voluntary prostitutes are the actual advocates for legitimate prostitution. An argument can be postulated for why it is illegitimate to charge for what is freely dispensed. For instance, Weitzer (2012) argues that criminalizing the prostitution industry creates idyllic circumstances for rampant abuse and exploitation of sex workers. It is held that trafficking in women, exploitation and coercion can only be halted if the existence of sex work is recognized and the legitimate and social rights of sex workers are granted.
The Cons of Legalizing Prostitution
The cons of legalizing prostitution outweigh the pros significantly. Most pro-legalization people tend to claim that legalization controls the sex industry, without realizing that it only expands it. For instance, the prostitution industry currently accounts for 5% of the economy of Netherlands. Last decade alone, while pimping became legitimate and then brothels decriminalized in this country, the sex industry eventually expanded to 30%. This further implies that prostitution does not really expand the sex industry, but only increases the hidden prostitution. Legalization tends to drive women into street prostitution, since many women choose street prostitution by avoiding control and exploitation by new sex gurus.
According to the words of Brison (2006), legalizing prostitution makes it possible to increase child prostitution. In some nations, Chizuko (2003) reports that the number of children and youngsters entering prostitution is growing at an alarming rate. This is tied with organized commercial exploitation of children in those nations allowing for such kinds of prostitution. The arrests of such victims of prostitution often do not help to alleviate the situation because of the bribes given by those sponsoring the same prostitutions. While writing to condemn the act, Chizuko (2003) takes a negative side of prostitution by asserting that it does not promote women health. A report by Gauthier (2011) documents that in a country like USA, 50% of women said that men anticipated sex without using a condom, 65% said that men offered to pay more money for sex without a condom; while 24% of women said that they were abused whenever they insisted that men should use a condom.
The safety policies in most legal brothels do not protect women from incoming harm. Women who work in these brothels have severally confirmed that they were abused by brothel owners, buyers, and even friends (Chizuko, 2003). The worst of all is that some are even threatened to be killed in case they do not give in to mens demands. There is absolutely no point in working for something when your own death is being compromised.
Prostitution and sexual exploitation are considered to be highly gendered issues wherein most situations, girls and women sell their bodies, either by consent or coercion, to boys and men who willingly pay for this service. It is hard truth that a large percentage of those trafficked for sexual exploitation are girls and women. Though there has been consensus that sexual exploitation ought to be eliminated, the concept has widely supported that prostitution should never be backed up by a lawful business. The reason is because it is contrary to those principles enshrined in the Fundamental Rights Charter, which also houses the room for gender equality. Some well-known forms of legalized prostitution such as day-long sexual services have caused eruption of a discussion of whether such include violations of human rights and dignity of women.
Based on the assertion made by Weitzer (2012), feminist theories tend to disagree on the suitable approach to take. Some of them highlight the existing discrepancy in the hot debate between the emphases on women's right to self-determination over their own bodies. Others focus on the objectification of women's bodies and also question the normalization of the concept that men do take advantage of women's bodies for their own sexual desires whenever they feel the urge to do meet their desires (Silcock, 2014). Most of the studies are centered on the recognition that the debate occurs in a society where men possess greater political and economic power as compared to men. They admit that provided there is this imbalance of power, the conception that sex workers should take a firm stand on sexual equality and strive for reversing sexual dominion in favor of women is somewhat theoretical.
The conservative or religious approach
This approach views prostitution both as a harmful aberration and as a moral problem, especially in a nation like Israel (Gauthier, 2003). This particular approach tends to eradicate prostitution and vividly opposes its institutionalization. For those who hold dear to this approach, they do not tolerate prostitution, since they belief that it is not right to introduce reforms for criminals (Chizuko, 2003). The assumption behind adoption of this approach is that it is possible to eliminate prostitution via uncompromising law enforcement. This outlook also support the criminalization of everyone involved in the phenomenon. Silcock (2014) fears that such a policy can lead to creation of a public impression that is full of forceful campaign against prostitution. The limitation arises in the manner in which it involves a substantial economic price, and that it has not demonstrated its effectiveness in eradicating the phenomenon in the long run.
Those who oppose this approach contend that criminalization only serve to force prostitution underground by exacerbating the circumstances in which women work and expose them to very harsh exploitation. Underground prostitution is bound to hamper any efforts aimed at locating and assisting the victims of trafficking as well as other women in the prostitution industry suffering from harsh exploitation (Silcock, 2014). Any form of criminalization of women would consequently prevent them from complaining to the said authorities in case they are victims of offenses. Secondly, it would lead to heightened negative stigmatization. Thirdly, it would restrict the possibility of assisting them to free themselves from the act of prostitution.
A look at the liberal approach
This outlook accepts prostitution as a lawful part of life and further emphasizes the right of women to choose the work in a dirty profession in the world. This particular approach puts an argument that it is quite impossible to combat prostitution, and puts a criticism on the conservative approach because of its pretence and tendency to ignore the problem, which only serves to exacerbate the exploitation and coercion accompanying prostitution. The liberal approach, as founded by Brison (2006), argues that legalization is intended to meet a natural need of men for sex, so long as this need is met without any form of coercion.
Legislative goals involved in the legalization process
In the Netherlands, for instance, a lawful amendment was adopted in October 2...
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