Prostitution is described as the act or trade of being a prostitute or dishonorable misuse especially for money. Whereas a prostitute is a person especially a woman, who earns money by having sex with anyone who will pay for it back. Prostitute, which is a verb, means to put to a dishonorable use for money. (Longman group, 1987)
Is prostitution a fact or Fiction?
Many statements have made about prostitution: its nature; the personnel involved and about how governments address it. This can often lead to people being misinformed about the reality of prostitution.
Different people think and perceive prostitution in different perceptions. Some think it’s an abomination, others think its an act of self disrespect while others find it as a source of income. In this respect then, this context highlights declarations commonly made about prostitution and impart information that would assist one to distinguish amid fact and fiction on prostitution.
It is rather odd to think how one of the world’s oldest professions is found as something of an illegal and harmful nature. For some, including myself, prostitution is considered mala prohibita or victimless crime, whereas others lobby to their local legislature to rid prostitution forever. What these people do not realize is that the problem of prostitution only exists in a non-legal setting. By allowing prostitution you will not only clean up the streets but you will inevitably have a safer and healthier environment. However, in order to establish my points on the benefits of prostitution, I must first present the negative effects of prostitution. This way you could clearly see why legalizing it would benefit society as a whole.
First and foremost, non-legal prostitution is often found in the slums of big cities, where many of the young women feel forced into the profession because of hard economic conditions. A large percentage of these women are sadly hooked on drugs and end up trading sex to get high. If the poverty and the drug life aren’t bad enough, the women get to look forward to working for a pimp who eventually beats them and takes most of their hard earned money.
From a more technical aspect, prostitution should not be illegal because the act itself does not infringe upon anyone's constitutional rights. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that accepting or offering money for sexual acts is illegal. While many critics may maintain that prostitution is immoral and unethical, the issue cannot be denied. Prostitution happens all over the world and in most cities. A great deal of time and money is spent attempting to stop illegal prostitution. Dennis Martin, president of the National Association of Police Chiefs, once observed, "prostitution enforcement is erratic and depends completely on how much the public complains and on pressure from politicians. It's much too time-consuming, and police forces are short-staffed" ("Prostitutes," CQ 32). Many citizens feel that police efforts should be directed towards more serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, homicide, rape, etc. With the cost of court fees, enforcement, and jail housing for the convicted prostitutes, some citizens are beginning to wonder if the government is approaching the problem correctly. For many people, money is the bottom-line. For others, money takes a backseat to ethics, morals, and values. Legalized prostitution is really a question of value and judgment. Nevertheless, the government cannot impose morals and values. After all, it is not the duty of the government to teach values to children. Instead, it is the job of parents to teach their children from right and wrong. If the government was allowed to regulate morals and values to a nation, then our government is no more a democracy then a dictatorship.
Yet another advantage to legal prostitution is government regulation. Undoubtedly, the government will earn revenue from brothels and be able to monitor part of the sex industry. A significant benefit of government involvement in prostitution is that the regulations and standards will be set forth for all brothels to meet. This will allow for a clean and safe environment for both patrons and workers. Government regulation would also mean the elimination of pimps who usually keeps the prostitute dependent on drugs so that he or she can control the amount of money he makes.
Legal prostitution is being successfully racticed in many countries abroad yet every state in this country has yet to catch on The exception is 12 counties in the state of Nevada where there are places set up to provide legally solicited sex, which are known as brothels. Brothels are the major difference between illegal and legal prostitution. They handle prostitution is a business-like manner with the women being the merchandise, and like any merchandise at any store, brothels merchandise is protected very well. Bodyguards are hired to watch over the women and react if any problems take place.
Lack of Choice and Availability of Demand
Most women enter prostitution because of lack of choice and many are coerced by pimps or traffickers who are especially the men who buy sex thus exercising free of choice. It is well documented that the vast majority of women in prostitution are poor, homeless, and have already suffered violence and abuse throughout their life. 70% of those involved in street prostitution have a history of Local Authority care. Nearly half report a history of childhood sexual abuse. Up to 70% of women enter prostitution before age 18 and the global average age of entry into prostitution is only 13–14 years old. In the UK up to 5000 young people get exploited in prostitution daily. These are from all backgrounds and all types of families, many groomed and coerced by pimps (Paying The Price, 2004).
Prostitution is not Wanted Sex: It is Unwanted Sex.
Although the women are agreeing to sexual activity in order to survive, provide for their children or fund a drug addiction, this is unwanted sexual activity. Many women are under the control of pimps or traffickers who may use violence to coerce women into prostitution. Women in prostitution report that in order to be able to do it, they need to learn to dissociate (‘split off’ in their head). Dissociation can cause lasting psychological harm. Women who are not able to ‘split off’ will use drugs and/or alcohol to achieve the same effect. This is why women will start to use drugs, or their substance use will rapidly escalate, irrespective of why they first became involved in prostitution.
“I would numb my feelings. I wouldn’t even feel like I was in my body. I would actually leave my body and go somewhere else with my thoughts and with my feelings until he got off me and it was over with. I don’t know how else to explain it except it felt like rape. It was rape to me.” (Melissa Farley, 2003)
There is absolutely no Evidence for this Claim.
This myth is offensive to men who choose not to abuse and rape women.
Does anyone really believe that men are incapable of control, and that they will inevitably rape a woman or child if they can’t have sex? In addition, this myth ignores the sexual abuse of women in prostitution. Women in prostitution are disproportionately affected by rape, sexual and physical violence. In the US FBI crime figures show no evidence that prostitution leads to a decrease in rape. In fact rape figures in Nevada, where prostitution is legal, are higher than the national average (FBI, 2004)
Prostitution is Harmful in and of itself: Legalization doesn’t remove that Harm — It simply makes the Harm Legal.
A study of prostitution in five different countries found that 62% of those involved in prostitution reported being raped and 73% had experienced physical violence. The same study found that 92% of those people wanted to leave prostitution immediately if they could. Prostitution is legalized in Amsterdam, yet this has not stopped male clients raping and abusing women in prostitution. CCTV, police patrols and importantly, a sympathetic response from police when women in prostitution report rape or violence should be the norm. It is not necessary to legalize the sex industry in order to extend such basic rights and services to women in prostitution. Public safety measures and adequate police responses to crime should be provided to all women, irrespective of economic activity. The parents of Marnie Frey, a young woman involved in prostitution in Canada who was murdered by Robert Pickton — a man who brutally murdered numerous other women involved in prostitution – have this to say on the legalization of prostitution — “To thhink the best we can do for these women is giving them a safe place to sell their bodies is a joke. There is no such thing as a “clean safe place” to be abused in. For a man to think he can buy a woman’s body is insane, and should show us the attitudes that women have to fight against in society. Marnie did not choose prostitution; her addictions did, and any man who bought her body for their sexual pleasure should go to jail for exploiting her desperation.” (Lynn & Rick Frey, 2008)
It doesn’t matter where Prostitution takes place: Unwanted Sex is Unwanted Sex.
In addition to physical violence, women in indoor prostitution report high levels of coercion and control from pimps and brothel owners. This includes being pressurized or forced not to insist that male buyers use condoms, having to see more male buyers than do women on the street, and having to have sex with pimps or brothel owners, and/or their friends. A report in the British Medical Journal about client violence towards women in prostitution stated that of the 125 women in indoor prostitution contacted, 48% had experienced client violence. The types of violence experienced included: being slapped, punched, or kicked; robbery; attempted robbery; beaten; threatened with weapon; held against will; attempted rape; strangulation; kidnapped; attempted kidnap; forced to give client oral sex; vaginal rape and anal rape. “Violence by clients towards female prostitutes in different work settings: (Stephanie Church et .al, 2001)
As soon as you start to view prostitution as work, the harm is made invisible.
Prostitution is intrinsically harmful and traumatic and just calling it a job won’t make it harmless. It also does not magically remove the stigma associated with the sex industry. Where legalization and unionization has occurred, most women in prostitution still choose not to register with a Union. Those being controlled by pimps or traffickers also have no choice to register as a formal employee in this ‘industry’ or join a recognized Trade Union. If prostitution is seen as a job, then the predominantly male owners running brothels and pimping women become legitimate ‘businessmen’ overnight. Do we want to legalize the buying and selling of women’s bodies and sexuality? This would legally define women as commodities, which can be bought and sold. Recognizing prostitution as work also means an end to services to support women out of prostitution. If it were ‘just a job’ why would either the Government or charitable organizations encourage or support women to get out? Are women really worth nothing more than what a man is willing to pay for them? In Germany the service union Ver di offered union membership to Germany’s estimated 400,000 “sex workers”. They would be entitled to health care, legal aid, and thirty paid holiday days a year, a five-day workweek, and Christmas and holiday bonuses. Out of 400,000 “Sex workers”, only 100 joined the union. That’s a tiny percentage of German “sex workers”. Women don’t want to be prostitutes as portrayed by the turnover in the Union.
Not so.Pimps, owners of brothels, escort agencies, and ‘saunas’ want to make money.
They don’t care if someone has no papers, is a child, or trafficked. Prostitution is a market based on demand and if there is a demand from men to use women and children sexually for money then this will be met, by whatever means necessary. Pimps, traffickers, procurers and especially punters flock to wherever the prostitution industry is allowed to thrive. In Amsterdam after prostitution legalization child prostitution increased by over 300% (ChildRight). In New South Wales (Australia), brothels were decriminalized in 1995. In 1999, the number of brothels had increased exponentially. The vast majority had no license to operate, as there are always pimps who don’t want to register their ‘business’ or pay taxes on their earnings as they can earn more operating outside the law. There are also women in prostitution who don’t want to register, as they can’t afford to pay tax on their earnings, because they are under the control of pimps or traffickers or because of the stigma attached to those in prostitution. (Bindel and Kelly, 2004)
Related Sociology essays
- Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity
- Gender Construction
- Cultural Globalization
- Foreign Policies of National and Transnational Entities
- Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?
- Rhetoric & Stereotypes
- Hip-Hop Lyrics on Attitudes towards Violence
- Introduction to Sociolinguistics
- Progressive Movement