The proponents of legalizing prostitution have asserted that contemporary laws in most cases unfairly victimize women. In Nevada, several women work as legal prostitutes since the state has laws that legalize such practices. Such women have claimed that they feel safe since the law enforcement agencies, employers, and co-workers are usually at the forefront of ensuring their safety and security. Likewise, in Spain, prostitution is licit, and this has brought a plethora of repercussions to the society. For instance, the nation has been classified as a magnet for sex trafficking. Regardless, legal brothels in Spain and Nevada appear to be safer than those in states and countries where prostitution is still illegal. Such a scenario has primarily been highlighted by the increasing number of women who go to Nevada with the core objective of escaping the perils correlated with the illegal street sex. It seems that the previous attempts to legalize the practice of prostitution have failed, and this has resulted in illegal prostitution that in most scenarios engenders the lives of women and their clients. It is for this reason that this paper has the ultimate objective of analyzing how illegal prostitution endangers the lives of women and their clients. Additionally, the paper seeks to analyze the manner in which legalizing prostitution affects the society and the challenges associated with the act of legalizing prostitution. The paper’s objectives will be attained by conducting a literature review of various studies and reports that have been published in this area. Legal prostitution tends to be safe when law enforcement agencies protect the prostitutes, co-workers support and protect their colleagues, and employers are legally recognized and function within the enacted laws.
History of Legalizing Prostitution
In North America, the onset of prostitution has been linked to the arrival of the early European settlers. Before the advent of these settlers, no Native American engaged in the practice of prostitution. In the early 1900s, religious groups were at the forefront of fighting to guarantee that the U.S. outlawed offering and soliciting sex for financial gains. In 1875, the U.S. Congress passed the Page Act with the primary intention of prohibiting the importation of women for prostitution purposes. Several women who posed in the early 20th and late 19th-century films were mostly sex workers. Significantly, in the 19th century, the issue of legalized prostitution was classified as a public controversy since the United Kingdom and France enacted the Contagious Diseases Acts. The act was essential as it mandated pelvic examinations for any woman who was suspected of engaging in prostitution (Batsyukova, 2007). It is worth noting that the only did not only apply to France and the U.K. but also to the two nations’ overseas colonies. During this period, several early feminists urged the government to repeal such laws since the practice of prostitution should be illegal, and thus, should not be regulated by the government since the acts forced degrading medical assessments upon the female gender. Like, in the Russian Empire, such a similar situation existed (Limoncelli, 2010). In the Russian Empire, the prostitutes that operated out of government-sanctioned brothels were assigned yellow internal passports that typically signified their health status. Additionally, these prostitutes were ordinarily subjected to weekly medical and physical examinations.
During the early years of the 19th century, the British living in India started to enact and embrace social segregation policies. However, they continued with the practice of keeping their brothels full of the Indian women. In countries such as British India, Singapore, Korea, Japan, and China, there existed a network that engaged in the trafficking of Japanese and Chinese prostitutes across Asia, and this was termed as the Yellow Slave Traffic. In the same manner, there was a network of European prostitutes that were trafficked to countries like Japan, China, Singapore, Ceylon, and India, and this was classified as the White Slave Traffic. The leading destination for the European prostitutes in these Asian countries were the British colonies of Ceylon and India. During the WWI, the U.S. and Philippines’ armed forces designed a prostitute management plan that was referred to as the American plan. Based on this plan, the military arrested all the women within six miles of any military cantonment. In situations where a woman was found to be infected, she was sentenced to a healthcare facility. At the start of the 1910s, the American plan was adopted by various states in America (Weitzer, 2011). Women were required to report to a health organization where they were subjected to an invasive assessment and examination. In most cases, the examination targeted the poor, racial minorities, and the immigrants. In 1921, an international convention was signed with the ultimate goal of suppressing trafficking of both the children and the women. Based on this convention, certain countries declared their reservations towards the issue of prostitution. The leading communism theorists opposed the practice of prostitution. Karl Marx asserted that it was imperative to abolish prostitution in order to overcome capitalism in the society (Weitzer, 2011). After obtaining power, the communist governments adopted significant steps aimed at repressing prostitution, despite the fact that the practice persisted. In nations that remained nominally communists after the conclusion of the Cold War, particularly China, prostitution was still regarded as illegal. In many communist nations, the economic depression that stemmed from the Soviet Union collapse resulted in an increase in prostitution. During the First World War, several Japanese soldiers were involved in forced prostitution during their invasions of Southeast and East Asian countries. Comfort women was the term that became an euphemism for the many Chinese and Korean women who were coerced into prostitution in brothels located in Japanese military camps. In the late 20th century, sex tourism became a controversial aspect of globalization, as well as Western tourism. Tourists from wealthier nations undertook sex tourism internationally. At the end of the 20th century, a new legal approach to the issue of prostitution emerged and was termed the Swedish model (Kara, 2009). Whereas the legal approach prohibited the buying of sexual services, it did not prevent the selling of these services. Based on this model, the client and not the prostitute commits a criminal offense if he or she engages in paid sex. Such laws were primarily enacted in the Republic of Ireland, France, Northern Ireland, Canada, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, and are currently being considered in other countries or jurisdictions. Notably, the laws are attempts to protect the prostitute and embrace the sexual revolution fallout. They ordinarily meant that sex will occur, and for it to occur respectfully and safely, there have to be some free-forms of regulation.
Since the Soviet Union’s break up, several eastern European women have embraced the practice of prostitution in Turkey, Israel, Western Europe, and China. Men from the UAE and Saudi Arabia comprise a large section of the customers. The U.K. was at the forefront of introducing the 1956 Sexual Offenses Act. In 2003, the act was partly altered and repealed to incorporate a variety of sections. While the 2003 Sexual Offenses Act did not criminalize the practice of prostitution, it was essential in prohibiting different activities which include soliciting for paid sex and running or operating a brothel. In the 1960s, concerns were raised regarding the Pakistani immigrants’ use of the white British adolescent girls as prostitutes. In the U.S., prostitution was initially regarded as legal (Aronowitz, 2009). Between 1910 and 1915, almost all states made prostitution illegal due to the influence and activism of the Christian Temperance Union. The union also influenced the prohibition of alcohol and the banning of the use of drugs. Due to the local objections, the federal government closed the prostitution district located in New Orleans in 1917. Whereas in South Dakota, prostitution was illegal, the local officials and residents tolerated the practice for decades until the prostitutes were apprehended by both the federal and state authorities for tax evasion. In Alaska, prostitution remained legal until the year 1953, and is still considered to be legal in various counties of Nevada, including various areas out of Las Vegas. In 1971, the state of Nevada legalized various brothels located in the region. Although the state’s politicians have claimed that they do not support prostitution, they usually admit that there is no need of banning the practice. In the late 1980s, several states played a leading role in increasing the penalties for prostitution in situations where the prostitute knows that she is HIV-positive (Barnett & Casavant, 2011). The felony prostitution laws as they are often known customarily require any individual who is apprehended for prostitution to undergo a HIV test. In case the test is positive, the law enforcement authorities will inform the suspect that any future arrest for the act of prostitution will be treated as a felony and not as a misdemeanor. In states that have these laws, the penalties and punishment for felony prostitution tend to vary with optimum sentences ranging from about 10 to 15 years in jail or prison. Currently, there is a debate concerning the issue of whether prostitution should be criminalized, and whether the benefits of legalization ordinarily outweigh the disadvantages.
Challenges Related to Legalizing Prostitution
The primary challenge that may be linked to the issue of legalizing prostitution is that several human rights and feminist activists have classified prostitution as a form of human rights abuse. Additionally, they assert that prostitution is an attack on both the worth and dignity of human beings, particularly the women. Feminist organizations have also opposed prostitution arguing that such a practice is a type of exploitation in which the men dominate and discriminate against the women. For instance, an organization named the European Women’s Lobby has condemned prostitution and regarded it as a form of the male gender’s dominance over the women. The opponents of legalizing prostitution have argued that the women in developing countries are usually vulnerable to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Religious groups have also opposed the legalization of prostitution since it poses significant threats to societies’ moral codes (Bailey, 2010). The opponents of this issue have in the recent past asserted that criminal law has the ultimate function of preserving decency, as well as public order. They have noted that criminal law has the goal of protecting citizens from offensive or injurious acts, and to provide safeguards against the corruption and exploitation of other individuals. In the view of the opponents, is not the main responsibility of the criminal law to interfere with the citizens’ private lives or to attempt to enforce a given code of behavior such as prostitution. Besides, the opponents of the legalization of prostitution hold that prostitution is an activity that can result in severe physical and psychological impacts on the prostitutes. They claim that prostitutes are usually forced to engage in the act of selling sexual services due to unfortunate circumstances such as neglect, history of child abuse, drug addiction, lack of economic opportunities, and poverty among others.
Legalizing prostitution is likely to damage the quality of life and reputation of the women. Many individuals prefer to engage in the act of prostitution since they did not have the resources to pursue further education. Such a situation has primarily affected the ability of prostitutes to have a career of their choice. Therefore, the opponents assert that prostitution affects individuals’ application of their abilities and talents in different areas of the economy. Several researchers have found substantial evidence that shows a strong correlation between prostitution with property crime, drug selling, drug use, and other forms of crime. In other words, the legalization of prostitution is likely to promote organized crime. Several reviews and scholars have highlighted that laws that regulate prostitution create a legitimacy façade that ordinarily hides sexual exploitation. Primarily, in certain incidences, brothels can serve as authorized outlets for various sex trafficking victims. Since the activity is viewed as a crime in several jurisdictions, its significant revenues are not contributing to the state’s tax revenues. In the recent past, the United Nations has established a convention that favors criminalizing the acts of those persons who seem to be coercing or exploiting prostitutes. The convention that suppresses the traffic and exploitation of prostitutes notes that prostitution and trafficking individuals with the ultimate goal of prostitution tend to be incompatible with and indifferent to the worth and dignity of the prostitutes. Such conventions are likely to pose substantial challenges to the legalization of prostitution.
Reasons why the attempts to regulate prostitution have failed
An evaluation of prostitution legalization in the Netherlands that the Justice Ministry found that licensed brothels in the country did not welcome frequent regulatory inspections, and this undermined the willingness of these brothels to adhere to the stipulated rules. Such a situation has customarily complicated the government’s attempt to combat human trafficking. Additionally, the Ministry of Justice realized that prostitutes still rely on secrecy, cash transfers, and anonymity, and this primarily demonstrates that a legalized prostitute market is likely to operate like a market designed for organized crime (Lee & Persson, 2012). Likewise, a Prostitution Review Committee in New Zealand found that several prostitutes felt that the decriminalization act could not assist in preventing the violence from occurring. The committee further indicated that abusive brothels in New Zealand did not enhance conditions for the prostitutes. Even after the enactment of the decriminalization act, New Zealand’s brothels that had a host of unfair and discriminatory practices continued with the practices (Aronowitz, 2009). Apart from this, attempts to provide prostitutes with rights through the legalization of prostitution have failed. In New Zealand, the review committee found that after legalizing prostitution, there is still the lack of respect and regards for various employment arrangements among those organizations charged with the responsibility of operating the brothels. The German government’s review and analysis of the 2001 legislation that legalized prostitution indicated that few prostitutes are officially insured as prostitutes. Moreover, the review noted that only one percent of the prostitutes in the country had an employment contract. The attempts to legalize prostitution have also failed since such forms of legislation usually focus on criminal law (Bailey, 2010). However, prostitution is viewed as a form of profession or work that needs to be regulated and controlled through the use of various instruments and tools that apply to mid-size and small businesses like the fiscal, administrative, and labor laws. Criminal law typically applies in cases of illegal and unethical behaviors such as extortive labor exploitation, assault, and rape.
How Legalizing Prostitution Affects the Society
Legalizing prostitution is likely to result in social disorganization and the erosion of moral standards and values. Prostitutes are likely to suffer from moral collapse and lose their position and status in the society (Prakash, 2013). Additionally, legalization prostitution can also result in the objectification of the female gender. In the society, men who engage in the act of buying prostitutes can label the women as mere sex objects, and not necessarily as respectable human beings. Such a terrible attitude to the female gender typically accounts for the high incidence of murder, as well as violence perpetrated against the prostitutes. In most cases, the brothel operators do not respect the female employees as they are mainly interested in the economic gains. Legalizing prostitution can also result in the exploitation and alienation of the prostitutes from the mainstream society. In most instances, the prostitutes can feel alienated and dis-empowered from the society (Weitzer, 2009). Besides, legalizing prostitution can also affect the society negatively since it may result in the growth of organized crime in the society. In other words, the legalization of prostitution is likely to promote a host of deviant behaviors in the society, and this may include drug abuse, crime, and rape among others. For instance, when Israel legalized prostitution, different analysts asserted that the country had legalized a form of rape. In the society, legalization is likely to foster or promote a culture of prostitution, and this is likely to result in high incidences of violence and sexual harassment. Various studies have shown that the men who buy sexual services are likely to justify rape of the female gender both outside and in the sex industry (Prakash, 2013). They further indicate that societies that legalize prostitution are likely to experience high rates and incidences of rape and other forms of violence. For instance, Nevada is considered to be the only jurisdiction that has legalized the practice of prostitution. Additionally, it is the only state that suffers from high incidences of reported rapes. Victoria, an Australian province where sex trade is legal also high domestic violence rates.
Potential Benefits of Legalizing Prostitution
Legal prostitution tends to be safe when law enforcement agencies protect the prostitutes, co-workers support and protect their colleagues, and employers are legally recognized and function within the enacted laws. Criminalizing prostitution in most instances does not eliminate it. On the contrary, it drives it underground, and this exposes the prostitutes to different risks, as well as giving the clients an unfair advantage (Unigwe, 2013). In certain jurisdictions where prostitution is illegal, there have been different incidences of violence and death of prostitutes by the customers. In her report, Unigwe (2013) asserts that criminalizing prostitution typically puts the prostitutes at their customers’ power. Brothels usually have various kinds of illegal prostitutes as the women in most cases cannot find recourse to help. Moreover, the prostitutes do not have the financial resources that can enable them to access essential health care services as legal workers. Although certain brothels in developed countries provide free health services for the illegal sex workers, most of these prostitutes still do not feel secure and safe. Compared to the illegal sex workers, the females that work legally tend to enjoy significant benefits in the form of protection from exploitation, protection from various violent clients, and enhanced access to insurance and healthcare services (Naylor, 2009). Legalizing prostitution is likely to result in significant gains to the society as it would generate income tax revenues that would have been lost in case prostitution was not legalized. By legalizing prostitution, brothels and prostitutes would have the obligation of paying taxes. Significantly, cities, states, and counties that have legalized prostitution will earn from tax revenues in the same way that they will earn from other legal businesses. The legalizing constitution is pivotal as it can transform the underground economy into a thriving economy.
When prostitution is legalized, various law enforcement agencies will work towards protecting the prostitutes instead of arresting them or interfering with their businesses. Millions of prostitutes are usually exploited and discriminated against in the commercial sex industry. Therefore, legalizing prostitution is likely to lead to an improvement in the women’s working conditions. Based on these laws, the women will be required to have access to medical facilities, a move that is likely to result in a reduction in the incidences and rates of STDs. The laws could result in the implementation of programs that are mainly aimed at controlling STDs and providing the states with adequate health care services. A study conducted in Australia indicated that the prevalence of STDs and sexual infections was 80 times higher among women who engaged in illegal street prostitution than those who engaged in legal prostitution in brothels (Prakash 2013). In most cases, legal prostitutes often encourage the use of condoms. Additionally, such prostitutes typically have access to screening services. It is important to mention that the screening services coupled with the use of condoms have the potential of reducing the incidences and rates of STDs among the commercial sex workers. Apart from this, legalizing violence has significant benefits as it can ensure the safety of prostitutes through the reduction of violence. Legalized brothels and bordellos usually provide a safe working environment for their workers as compared to those brothels that operate in a jurisdiction where prostitution is illegal. Being legal, access to police services is possible, and this has a lead role in reducing violent work environment. The proponents of legalizing prostitution have also noted that it will enhance the public scrutiny of the brothels, thereby reducing violence and improving the working conditions. Likewise, legalizing prostitution will be pivotal in the reduction of different incidences of criminal activities against the women. Empirical studies conducted in the recent past have indicated that the legalization of prostitution often reduces crimes against the female gender, particularly incidences of rape. For instance, a study conducted in Queensland reported a 149 percent increase in incidences and rates of rapes when the government decided to close the legal brothels in the region in 1959 (Trifiolis, 2012). On the other hand, the offenses against the male gender increased only by about 49 percent. Likewise, a study conducted in the Rhode Island obtained similar results.
Proponents of legalizing prostitution have also asserted that it allows the prostitutes to be integrated into the mainstream society. Research studies have also supported the assertion by highlighting that legalizing prostitution will provide the commercial sex workers with the opportunity to blend into the society and lead a remarkable, as well as a dignified life. Such opportunities will also result in an improvement of the prostitutes’ lifestyle and quality of life (Murphy, 2010). On the side of the brothels, legalizing prostitution will result in significant benefits as it will make them have access to capital. In other words, the legalization would result in an enhancement in the brothels and bordello organizations. Access to financial resources would be possible through the way of public markets and loans. A reduction in human trafficking has also been classified as another significant benefit of legalizing prostitution. Contrary to the commonly held belief, legalizing prostitution is imperative since it reduces human trafficking and the coercion of the women into the illegal trade (Cundiff, 2004). There is a likelihood that the criminalization of prostitution will result in a decline in voluntary prostitution owing to the threats and risks of conviction. Whereas the trafficker is exposed to a certain level of risk, it tends to be less than that of the victim. In this case, the trafficker will only bear the risk associated with income loss while the victim will face the threat of prosecution. Therefore, criminalization of prostitution will result in a reduction in voluntary prostitution, a situation that will exert upward pressure on the price, thereby, incentivizing the trafficker.
When prostitution is legalized, the co-workers will support, as well as protect their colleagues. In situations where problems arise, prostitutes are likely to unite and protect their colleagues. Moreover, legalizing prostitution will provide the prostitutes and their colleagues with the chance of forming their professional organizations and trade unions. During periods of disputes, the professional organizations and trade unions can fight for the commercial sex workers’ rights. In such situations, it may be difficult to undermine the rights of the prostitutes (Brents & Kathryn, 2005). Besides, when prostitution is legalized, employers will be legally recognized and are likely to work within the provisions of the law. As such, these employers will entitle the commercial sex workers to the normal benefits that other employees enjoy. Some of these benefits may be in the form of competitive salaries, medical insurance, annual leave days, retirement benefits, and performance bonuses among others. Such benefits are likely to improve the prostitutes’ living standards and welfare. Based on this, the proponents of legalizing prostitution assert that it would result in the reduction of criminal activities such as substance abuse and property crime that is mostly perpetuated by the prostitutes. In most instances, such criminal activities are perpetuated by the prostitutes due to poverty and poor working conditions at the brothels.
Exploratory/Conceptual Literature on the Dangers of Illegalizing Prostitution
According to Mathieson, Branam, and Noble (2015), proponents of legislation base their assertions on the standpoint that prostitution typically stems from a woman’s personal choices, and is an indication of women empowerment. Legalizing prostitution can be referred as the regulation of prostitution through the use of labor laws. In jurisdictions where prostitution has been legalized, the government usually plays an essential role in regulating prostitution, and this has been the case in Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and Victoria (Mathieson, Branam, & Noble, 2015; Trifiolis, 2012). Trifiolis (2012) also notes that legalizing prostitution is vital as it ensures the protection and care of the prostitutes. In the Netherlands, a jurisdiction where prostitution has been legalized, the City of Amsterdam displays information and details on its website. The information page ordinarily warns tourists about forced prostitution and sex trafficking. As early indicated, sex trafficking and forced prostitution are considered to be some of the dangers associated with illegal prostitution. While acknowledging such dangers, the information page assuages the ethical concerns and potential safety of the sex tourists with the assertion and assurance that the several sex workers that operate in different brothels in Amsterdam have an information center, police protection, and their workers’ union (Mathieson, Branam, & Noble, 2015; Trifolis, 2012). Additionally, legalization of prostitution has provided the prostitutes with frequent testing, monitoring, and professional standards.
Mathieson, Branam, and Noble in their 2015 study assert that those who conform to the notion of sex work stance advocate for decriminalizing and authorizing all prostitution-linked activities. According to Mathieson, Branam, and Noble (2015), such people argue that if prostitution is considered to be like the other businesses and professions, it can improve the women’s interests and well-being. Neoliberals usually define women engaging in the act of prostitution as freely choosing agents who have a decision to supply sexual services in response to the existing demand for sexual services. Thus, based on the neoliberal framework, prostitution can be classified as a labor activity that customarily arises from a female’s choice and the decision to trade sexual services to their male counterparts (Mathieson, Branam, & Noble, 2015; Prakash, 2013). The three researchers note that several global firms argue that the desires of the prostitutes including their well-being, safety, and health can only be advanced by decriminalizing or legalizing the various aspects of prostitution. The international discourse that surrounds prostitution stems from a common model that separate prostitution into two specific classes which are sex trafficking and sex work. Sex work is aimed to indicate ethical or decision-based prostitution while sex trafficking has been used to indicate unethical or forced prostitution (Mathieson, Branam, & Noble, 2014). The Nordic prostitution policy model emanates from radical feminism, Marxism, and the social democratic theory. In contrast to the decriminalization and criminalization policies, the Nordic theory is customarily based on the comprehension that the female gender’s equity relies on practicing a plethora of structural obstacles that often preclude the women’s political, social, and economic inclusion. Mathieson, Branam, and Noble (2015) discuss criminalization as the first global policy that has been developed by certain jurisdictions. Many nations have responded to the male quest for commercial sex by illegalizing prostitution. Supporting this approach is the notion that the act of prostitution is usually a widespread nuisance, a result of unethical decision-making that requires regulation (Wilson, 2011). In a jurisdiction that has criminalized prostitution, all elements of prostitution are illegal, and this includes the buying of sexual intercourse, pimping, and brothel keeping.
A research study conducted by Bowen in 2013 indicated that the criminalization of markets like drugs, gambling, and prostitution has resulted in their prevalence in the underground economy. In her view, legalizing the prostitution market is likely to eradicate the illegal prostitution that has endangered the lives of prostitutes and their clients. She further argues that the legalization of prostitution would be essential in reducing incidences of diseases, crime rate, and an improvement in the quality of life for the prostitutes and the society as a whole (Bowen, 2013; Mathieson, Branam, & Noble, 2015). Researchers have classified prostitution as a behavior that is difficult to prosecute and police (Bowen, 2013; Prakash, 2013). Mostly, there is no victim of criminal activity in the case of prostitution provided that women enter and engage freely in the profession. In instances of violent crime in which there exists a victim, an individual can have the incentive of seeking police assistance (Bowen, 2013). If prostitution were legal and authorized, violations of the prostitutes’ freedoms and entitlements would be primarily addressed through the use of the judicial system. However, as the market is usually illicit, neither sex workers nor their clients have an interest in informing or alerting the law enforcement agencies of their activities. Thus, the police can experience difficulties in their time to prevent acts such as women exploitation and human trafficking. Therefore, as individuals are flouting one particular law through engaging in the act of selling and buying sexual services, they are more likely to flout other laws including those that deal with violence, women exploitation, and human trafficking among others (Bowen, 2013). For instance, suppose prostitution is illegalized, sex workers may be afraid to seek police assistance due to the fear of being arrested, and this may make them likely targets for assault, violence, and abuse. In some instances, the prostitutes may also resort to the use of force to protect their property, a situation that may result in criminal confrontations (Bowen, 2013). Legalizing prostitution provides the prostitutes and potential violence victims the opportunity to come forward and seek protection and safety services from the relevant law enforcement agencies like the police.
The New Zealand experience ordinarily supports the idea that illegalizing prostitution can endanger the prostitutes and increase criminal acts of violence. Through the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act, New Zealand was at the forefront of decriminalizing prostitution (Bowen, 2013). With the core objective of ensuring that law enforcement authorities protect workers against exploitation, violence, and coercion, particular provisions were incorporated into the act making such forms of activities legal offenses. In his research study, Mossman (2010) interviewed various informants from a host of provinces in New Zealand. In conducting the interviews, the primary goal was to analyze the changes that happened in the sex work market and the perceptions of sex workers and brothel operations after the implementation of the 2003 act. Generally, the interviewed informants expressed the prevailing viewpoint that to some extent, violence has primarily lessened (Mossman, 2010; Bowen, 2013). For instance, one of the interviewed informants commented that currently sex workers could confidently stop a police car and make a genuine, as well as legitimate claim. While at first, the prostitutes were afraid to make reports to the police as they worried about the law enforcement agencies’ perceptions of the women as prostitutes, a significant proportion of the interviewees highlighted that the prostitutes were now willing to seek assistance and help from the relevant authorities (Mossman, 2010). Overall, the interviewees reported that the relationship with the law enforcers and authority figures had improved. Likewise, the perception that the brothel operators and prostitutes had about the law enforcement agencies shifted from viewing them as mere prosecutors to protectors.
Osmanaj (2014) in his research study had the objective of analyzing the relationship that exists between legalized prostitution and the incidences of human trafficking. According to Osmanaj, organizations that deal with the central issue of protecting human rights view legalization of prostitution as one of the solutions to the problem of human smuggling for sexual discrimination and exploitation. Such organizations have in the recent past asserted that sex workers, mainly prostitutes need security and protection as they are often the primary targets from rape and abuse from unscrupulous individuals. It is for this reason that one of the commissions of the United Nations advised all nations to dismiss that all the laws that prohibited prostitution (Osmanaj, 2014). According to the commission, since various jurisdictions criminalize prostitution, the activity is typically done illegally, and this exposes the prostitutes to a significant amount of danger. Additionally, the Commission highlights that poor medical services are likely to increase the risk of the prostitutes’ infection with deadly and lethal viruses. Therefore, the commission estimates that the legalization of the activity of prostitution would create different conditions for better medical services, and regular inspection, a situation that would help in minimizing human trafficking (Osmanaj, 2014; Bowen, 2013; Mathieson, Branam, & Noble, 2015). Apart from this, the commission notes that the legalization of this activity would eradicate the danger of HIV/AIDS (Osmanaj, 2014). Various jurisdictions have different politics against such a phenomenon, and it is for this reason that certain nations have entirely legalized prostitution while others have illegalized such activities. Several researchers have also indicated that the legalization of this practice shall protect the prostitutes and make them enjoy equal rights like other individuals who engage in other forms of professions and business (Bowen, 2013; Mathieson, Branam, & Noble, 2015). The Dutch legalized prostitution since it is a useful tool that can help the country from preventing human trafficking and other criminal activities associated with illegal prostitution.
Abuse of sexual workers mainly results from the laws that have been enacted with the primary purpose of illegalizing prostitution. In other words, laws illegalizing this form of profession endangers the life of prostitutes as they make them vulnerable to unsafe working conditions, as well as human rights violations. The illegalization of this practice ensures that the sex workers do not have the opportunity of ensuring that they are protected while they are engaging in their work (Unigwe, 2013). Additionally, it takes away the prostitutes’ ability to obtain justice for the various criminal activities that might be committed against them. In jurisdictions such as New York, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, and South Africa, the law enforcement agencies’ abuse of prostitutes tends to be prevalent and a common occurrence, and this range from rape to taking of bribes. Often, the sex workers may end up being stuck in an incarceration loop, as well as expensive fines that make it difficult for them to improve their living conditions and situation. Such situations force the prostitutes to continue violating the law with the primary intention of finding means to make a living and pay their fines (Andreas & Wallman, 2009). Whereas prostitution has traditionally been regarded as dirty and undesirable, it does not mean that the prostitutes should be treated as individuals who do not deserve human rights. Since prostitution is ordinarily illegal in several countries, prostitutes are customarily stereotyped as social outcasts and uneducated.
Due to its demonstrated benefits, there is the need for various jurisdictions to enact laws that legalize the act of prostitution. Legalizing such a practice will result in significant benefits to both the society, the government, and the prostitutes. Countries that have not legalized the practice need to realize that legal prostitution tends to be safe when law enforcement agencies protect the prostitutes, co-workers support and protect their colleagues, and employers are legally recognized and function within the enacted laws. It will protect the prostitutes from criminal activities and dangers such as rape, exploitation, human trafficking, and high incidences of HIV/AIDS and other deadly infections. Besides, by legalizing prostitution, the society will realize significant gains since it will experience low occurrences and rates of criminal activities like rape, violence, abuse, and different forms of assault.
Most of the published articles and reports may not be current. Therefore, the presented study may not be up-to-date, and this may fail to be representative. Additionally, medical reports and journals tend to be confusing as they provide a broad spectrum of the study in questions. The other limitation is the unwillingness of the prostitutes or brothel operators to give sufficient information to the research. Consequently, the few available research studies and reports on the legalization of the act of prostitution are shallow.
Summary and Conclusions
Legal prostitution tends to be safe when law enforcement agencies protect the prostitutes, co-workers support and protect their colleagues, and employers are legally recognized and function within the enacted laws. It can result in the reduction of criminal activities like human trafficking, women exploitation, abuse, violence, and assault. From this research paper, it is evident that the legalization of prostitution is likely to ensure the safety and protection of the prostitutes. It will protect the prostitutes from criminal activities and dangers such as rape, exploitation, human trafficking, and high incidences of HIV/AIDS and other deadly infections. Additionally, it will result in positive relationships between the brothel operators, the prostitutes, and the law enforcement agencies. Whereas prostitution has traditionally been regarded as dirty and undesirable, it does not mean that the prostitutes should be treated as individuals who do not deserve human rights.
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