Prostitution should not be legalized essay

Clinard, M. Sociology of deviant behavior 14th ed.

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Regardless of the actual number, prostitution is very common. These figures translate to about In , police and other law enforcement agents made almost 63, arrests for prostitution and commercialized vice Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, Washington, DC: Author.

Most of these arrests were of prostitutes, but some were of customers. Women accounted for almost 69 percent of the arrests in this entire category. Several types of prostitutes exist. Although streetwalkers are the subjects in most studies of prostitutes, they in fact compose only about one-fifth of all prostitutes Weitzer, Weitzer, R. Prostitution: Facts and fictions.

Uggen Eds. New York, NY: W. The remaining 80 percent of prostitutes generally work indoors. Call girls Prostitutes who work as independent operators in their homes or fancy hotels and charge higher rates for their services. Their clients are typically businessmen or other wealthy individuals. Sociology of sex work. Annual Review of Sociology, 35 , , — Although they may actually act as an escort to a dinner or show, typically their services include sexual acts. They, too, are generally well paid for their work, but do not earn nearly as much as call girls because they have to give at least 30 percent of their earnings to their agency.

Call girls and escorts rank at the top of the prostitution hierarchy Weitzer, Below them, but above streetwalkers, are three other types of prostitutes.

POINT TAKEN - The Prostitution Debate in 89 Seconds - PBS

Brothel workers Prostitutes who work in brothels houses of prostitution. The only legal brothels in the United States today are found in several rural counties in Nevada, which legalized prostitution in these counties in Workers in these brothels pay income tax. Massage parlor workers Prostitutes who work in massage parlors.

Many massage parlors, of course, involve no prostitution at all, and are entirely legal. They make contact with a customer in these settings and then have sex with them elsewhere. The lives and welfare of streetwalkers are much worse than those of the five types of indoor workers just listed. As sociologist Ronald Weitzer , p.

A good number of streetwalkers also began their prostitution careers as runaway teenagers and were abused as children. In contrast, indoor workers begin their trade when they were older and are less likely to have been abused as children. Their working conditions are much better than those for streetwalkers, they are less likely to be addicted to drugs and to have STDs, they are better paid, and they are much less likely to be victimized by their clients.

Studies that compare indoor prostitutes with nonprostitutes find that they have similar levels of self-esteem, physical health, and mental health. Many indoor prostitutes even report a rise in self-esteem after they begin their indoor work Weitzer, By definition, prostitution involves the selling of sex. This means that money is the key feature of prostitution.


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As such, money is also the major motivation for women who become prostitutes, as most of them come from low-income backgrounds. For indoor workers, and especially call girls, prostitution is a potentially well-paying occupation.

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Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments

Streetwalkers hardly get rich from prostitution and suffer the many problems listed earlier, but prostitution still provides them a source of income that they are unlikely to receive through legal occupations because they have few marketable job skills. Despite this financial motivation, most women do not become prostitutes, and scholars have tried to understand why some women do so. Because prostitutes are not eager to be studied, as noted earlier, we do not yet have studies of random samples of prostitutes, and probably never will have such studies. As also noted earlier, most studies of prostitutes involve streetwalkers, even though they compose only about 20 percent of all prostitutes.

Several of these studies cite high rates of child abuse in the backgrounds of streetwalkers, but other studies find that their rates of child abuse are similar to those of women from similar sociodemographic backgrounds who are not prostitutes Weitzer, Although some studies find certain psychological problems among streetwalkers, it is unclear whether these problems existed before they became streetwalkers or developed as is very possible after they became streetwalkers.

Methodologically, the best way to clarify this causal question would be to randomly assign young women to become prostitutes or not to become prostitutes, and then to study what happens to their psychological health afterward. For many reasons, this type of study would be highly unethical and will never be done. In the absence of studies of this type, it is difficult to determine what exactly prompts some women to become prostitutes. Despite this essential fact of prostitution, there are very few studies of why men choose to become customers.

The implicit message from this lack of studies is that it is normal for men to have sex with a prostitute but abnormal for women to charge these men for this sex. The few studies we do have do not find any substantial differences between customers and noncustomers Weitzer, Just as men come from various social backgrounds, so do the men who choose to have sex with a prostitute. Customers do have certain motivations for choosing to pay for prostitution Weitzer, These motivations include 1 the desire to have sex with someone with a certain physical appearance age, race, body type ; 2 the lack of a sexual partner or dissatisfaction with a sexual partner, including a desire to have unconventional sex that the partner does not share; 3 the thrill of having sex with a prostitute; and 4 the desire to have sex without having to make an emotional commitment.

For example, many men may not have a sexual partner or may be dissatisfied with a partner they do have, but they still do not decide to pay for a prostitute. Beyond explaining why individual women and men are more likely than others to pay for sex or to receive pay for sex, the three sociological perspectives outlined in Chapter 1 "Understanding Social Problems" —functionalist theory, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism—offer more general insights on prostitution. Table 9. According to functionalist theory , prostitution exists because it serves several important functions for society generally and for certain people in society.

As we have already mentioned, it provides a source of income for many women who otherwise might be jobless, and it provides a sexual alternative for men with the motivations listed earlier. Almost eight decades ago, sociologist Kingsley Davis Davis, K. The sociology of prostitution.

American Sociological Review, 2 , — He reasoned that many married men are unhappy with their sex life with their wives. Other men turn to a prostitute. Brothel owners have a clear interest in maintaining their image as law-abiding, trouble-free businesses to keep their licenses and maintain good relations within their communities. The study concluded that "brothels offer the safest environment available for women to sell consensual sex acts for money.

Illegal street prostitutes might face pressure from pimps and Johns to forgo condoms. But states that legalize prostitution can require sex workers to use condoms and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. 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.

Why America Should Legalize Prostitution - Business Insider

This law is posted on the outside of the state's brothels, according to the paper by Barbara Brents and Kathryn Hausbeck of the University of Nevada. For example, they insisted that they always use condoms, whether the client prefers to or not," the report stated. Making sex work a crime can drive prostitutes underground and make them less likely to practice safe sex and get tested for sexually transmitted disease. An April study by the Urban Justice Center found that New York City cops were actually using condoms found on women as evidence in criminal prostitution cases against them.

Why Prostitution Should Not Be Legalized Essay

It's easy to imagine how this practice might deter sex workers from carrying protection. The United Nations Development Programme published a report last year on illegal sex work in Asia and the Pacific that highlighted just how damaging the criminalization of sex work can be to women's health. Here's what it said:. Criminalization increases vulnerability to HIV by fueling stigma and discrimination, limiting access to HIV and sexual health services, condoms and harm reduction services, and adversely affecting the self-esteem of sex workers and their ability to make informed choices about their health.

While some advocates argue that prostitutes are victims of Johns and pimps , sex work can be a victimless crime if women sell their bodies of their own volition. Moreover, it doesn't make sense to arrest sex workers if they are their own "victims. As Cornell law professor Sherry Colb has written, "Prostitution should not be a crime. Heaith officials should conduct safe-sex outreach education with sex workers, clients.

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Compulsory testing for sexually trans- mirted infections stigmatizes sex workers, tests are not always accurate, and ions, testing clean on a certain duy may give the false impression that a person is Tt- se-rually healthy afterward. Still, workers and customers should be encour- n aged to be tested periodically and to routinejy practice safe sex. These rights supersede those of ciients and busi- ness owners. Employers shouid be held responsible for ensuring that their! An example is the systematic refusal of banlis in the Netherland. Taxation shouid not be retroactive.