Prostitution is an issue which has caused controversy cross-culturally
and historically and which has many individuals reexamining the
logistics of it. If prostitution is decriminalized it will become
economically profitable and feasible for not only the prostitutes, but
also western society as a whole. Without the 20th century western laws,
which force prostitution underground, the profession of prostitution
could become a clean and safe occupation. Prostitution laws are
unconstitutional and deny the prostitutes what the American
constitution allows them. Prostitution is an illegal act in Canada and
large portions of the United States which, if legalized, would protect
and benefit 20th century western society. If sanctioned, prostitution
will become economically lucrative for the
governments involved. The colossal amount of money spent each year on
prevention could be spent on more urgent issues, which is exactly what
the San Francisco
Task Force on Prostitution found.
The total costs accounted for in this report amounts to $7,634,750.00.
Given the many areas in which we found that information is not
available, or there are hidden costs, the over all expense to the
taxpayer exceeds $7.6 million annually.1
The San Francisco Task Force is a group of researchers, police
officers, members of the
San Francisco community, government officials and prostitutes, who
frequently meet to
discuss the issues of prostitution and to try to come to some solution.
Although they may
not always agree, two issues they are in agreement about are that the
$7.6 million dollars
would be better spent elsewhere and that prostitution should be
legalized.. Robert Noce
of Manitoba city council wants reform of the Canadian Justice System
and he would like
to see prostitution become worthwhile to Canadian taxpayers.
Quite frankly, for anyone to suggest to me a dating or escort agency is
just offering companionship is being quite naive. Let's not try to
bury our heads in the sand and pretend nothing else is going on.
Instead of pretending these establishments don't exist let's instead be
logical about this and try to use the profits that we could be making,
in a wise and useful manner. I think that the highest paying customers
for prostitution is us Canadians, in the money we put into fighting
this futile cause.2
Instead of putting millions of dollars into stopping this consensual
act, the money saved
and made from the legalization of prostitution can be spent on fighting
and coerced prostitution. These two crimes are becoming rampant across
but lack of funds prevents a serious effort from being made to fight
against them. If
brothels and prostitutes were to be taxed like any other place of
business, millions of
extra revenue dollars would become available to the Canadian
government, for it to spend
as it sees fit. Although the monetary concerns are overwhelming one of
the most debated
issues is the health and safety of prostitution.
If prostitution were to be decriminalized, the profession of
become a healthy, publicly sanctioned place of business. Throughout
throughout European cultures, prostitution has been legalized to
decrease the spread of
disease as historian Jennifer James reports.
Beginning with Prussia in 1700, most continental European governments
shifted their tactics from suppression of prostitution and sexually
transmitted disease to control through a system of compulsory
registration, licensed brothels, and medical inspection of prostitutes.
Although medical techniques were primitive there was a noticeable
decline in sexual diseases among prostitutes and their clients.3
European governments hundreds of years ago realized that since they
could not fight
prostitution, it was best to make it as safe and healthy as they could.
Their efforts saved
hundreds of lives and provided treatment to the prostitutes who
previously could not seek
medical attention without being arrested. A recent episode of 20/20
McNamara, former police chief of Kansas and San Jose, and vice squad
officers as they
discussed the physical harm that anti-prostitution laws inflict
JOE MCNAMARA: What we're doing now is worse than prostitution.
JOHN STOSSEL: The law makes it worse? JOE
MCNAMARA: The law makes it a lot worse. It
drives up the profits.
It drives up the potential for corruption. It invites violence.
JOHN STOSSEL: It is true that when the vice
cops talk about the terrible things they
2ND VICE SQUAD OFFICER: You see homicides. You see the narcotics. You
see the assaults.
JOHN STOSSEL: They're talking about things
caused not by
prostitution itself, but by the law. Because the law drives
prostitution underground into the criminal world, where everyone's
hiding from the police.
2ND VICE SQUAD OFFICER: We see the black eyes.
We see the rapes.
We see them crying. JOHN STOSSEL: Such problems occur much less often
where sex for money is legal. Here, in rural Nevada, for example, the
state has licensed 35 brothels. These businesses don't have robberies,
rapes or beatings.4
The Nevada police force is an advocate for the legalization of
prostitution because they
have seen the difference that legalization makes. Crime rates drop when
brought to a setting where it is monitored. Prostitutes are forced to
established brothels and are forbidden to work out of their homes. All
brothels must be licensed and the brothels must provide the prostitutes
doctors who test all of the prostitutes for sexually transmitted
diseases, and HIV tests are
done on a monthly basis and condoms are mandatory. When prostitution is
only are the pimps, who are often involved in other illegal affairs
illuminated, but the
prostitute and the community are protected.
Anti-prostitution laws are unconstitutional in their nature and deny
what the American constitution would allow them. In 1973 the case of
Roe v. Wade
established certain legal precedents concerning a woman's body, the
court found that:
"a woman has a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain
areas or zones of privacy, does exist in the Constitution and that it
is founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty
and restrictions upon state action. This right of privacy is broad
enough to encompass a woman's body and her decision of whether or not
to terminate her pregnancy."5
Although the courts in the case of Roe v. Wade were referring to the
woman's right to
abort her unborn fetus they inadvertently set a precedent for
prostitution as well. The
fourteenth amendment of the American constitution states that all
individuals have the
right to life, liberty, and the ownership of property. For the Roe v.
Wade court to find that
liberty encompasses the meaning of aborting what is, by definition, the
property, a woman should have the right, under the constitution, to not
only sell her
property, but to do it in privacy. In 1905 during the case of Lochner
v. New York Mr.
Justice Holmes made a closing statement appropriate to the issue of the
[The Constitution] is made for people of fundamentally differing views,
and the accident of our finding certain opinions natural and familiar
or novel and even shocking ought not to conclude our judgment upon the
question whether statutes embodying them conflict with the Constitution
of the United States.6
What Mr. Justice Holmes was trying to convey to the jury was that
certain subjects like
prostitution cannot be viewed as a moral issue but as a constitutional
Prostitution cannot be judged using preconceived notions, but rather by
viewing all of the
facts and determining logistically whether or not prostitutes are
treatment. The answer to this question is that they are not.
Prostitution in the 20th century in Western society is an
illegal act which if were to
be legalized would profit and preserve not only the prostitutes but
society as a whole.
Legalizing prostitution is economically profitable for governments in
dire need of
resources. The anti-prostitution laws which are intended to help the
society, instead force prostitution underground and without these laws
become a clean and safe occupation. Present day prostitution laws are
and should be abolished because of their unconstitutional nature.
prostitutes are issues that few individuals have taken the time to
fully understand, and so
the issues are misunderstood and their voices go unheard. Some issues,
have been around for thousands of years and will never go away, so it
is for this reason
that, as Barbara Walter said, "Prostitution is a world that is here to
stay, like it or not it is
time to make the best of it"7.
1. San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution: Report.1994. www.bayswan.org/SFTFP.html
2. Jeffs, Allyson. Legalizing Prostitution. Edmonton Journal. October 21 1997.
3. James, Jennifer. Encarta: Prostitution. Microsoft. 1997
4. 20/20. Sex for Sale: Should Prostitution be legal in America? ABC. June 27 1997
5. Roe v. Wade 1973
6. Lochner v. New York. 1905
7. 20/20. Sex for Sale: Should Prostitution be legal in America? ABC. June 27 1997
1.20/20. Sex for Sale: Should Prostitution be legal in America? ABC. June 27 1997
2.20/20. Sex for Sale: Should Prostitution be legal in America? ABC. June 27 1997
3.James, Jennifer. Encarta: Prostitution. Microsoft. 1997
4.Jeffs, Allyson. Legalizing Prostitution. Edmonton Journal. October 21 1997.
5.Lochner v. New York. 1905
6.Roe v. Wade 1973
7.San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution: Report.1994. www.bayswan.org/SFTFP.html
The Futility Prostitution Laws