Selling sex: should prostitution be legalized?

Jose Chapa

Let’s legalize prostitution. Some people would ask “why?” but a better question would be “why not?” Laws are in place to protect us, and prohibiting prostitution does no such thing; it merely limits our personal freedoms.

By legalizing prostitution, the government would be able to tax and regulate it. These regulations would make sure that prostitution is conducted safely. If we were to restrict prostitution to brothels, that would give prostitutes and clients a secure location to make a transaction. Prostitutes and clients would be regularly screened for sexually transmitted diseases, which would protect both workers and clients. Not only would it impede the spreading of diseases, it would also ensure that workers receive treatment as soon as they realize they have the disease. Brothels would be liable for these contracted diseases because of their workplace. This incentivizes brothels to screen thoroughly and to make sure they are protecting their workers. Prostitutes could also feel protected knowing that they’re in a building with other people while they are performing their services, instead of being in some stranger’s house or an abandoned parking lot.

Prostitution should be legalized outright because the government has no business getting involved with what two consenting adults do on a bed. Why should the government decide what is and isn’t moral? People should be allowed to do what makes them happy, as long as they aren’t hurting others or hindering their freedoms. Although I am not personally interested in hiring a prostitute, I don’t want to impose my morals on other people.

One interesting thing about the status of prostitution in the U.S. is the hypocrisy in legislative loopholes. If one person pays another for sex, it is illegal. But if one person pays another to make a video of them having sex, then it is legal? Suddenly, a camera makes everything okay. The line between prostitution and pornography is not far off, and I certainly don’t think we should make pornography illegal.

Finally, the best thing about legalizing prostitution would be the undermining of trafficking. With sex work being legalized, the black market for sex work would be crippled. Why should someone go through the risk of getting sex illegally, when they could simply go to a brothel instead? You can see similar things happening with the legal marijuana industry in states like Colorado. Brothels wouldn’t employ any underage people, and regulations would make it more difficult for people to be forced to do sex work against their will.