Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of sexual assault and rape.
Should prostitution be legal? Throughout human development, mankind has created various questionable ways to obtain a feeling of euphoria from the use of illegal drugs to the taste for the extreme. But out of all of these intoxicating methods, one medium has gathered a massive view in morality. In a sense, where it has become even a toppling midlife crisis during the century. That is prostitution.
Worldwide, the sex work of prostitutes has been shamed and harassed as a job where one sells their body for sex in exchange for money. Historically, it has often been seen as work that should be outright hated, banned and condemned.
Still, even with society’s refusal to see prostitution as anything but competent, many places have legalized and decriminalized the occupation.
Switzerland, for example, has even gone as far as to create some protection for the recipient’s line of work. According to “The Normalization of Prostitution in Switzerland: The Origin of Policies” written by Isler and Jirykinen, “The sex trade in Switzerland has been tolerated since 1942, and prostitution is protected under the economic freedom guaranteed by the Swiss constitution.”
Imagine that — while sex workers are protected in Switzerland, much of the United States is against and even bans sex work. The Swiss have decided to legalize and protect prostitution as an actual job, why can’t we?
Prostitution, therefore, should be legalized and should have the absolute law that aids (economically, physically, and medically) would be provided to their workers. This should be founded because prostitutes are discriminated against for the morality of their work in the U.S. Even though the job never said anything about the prostitutes personally.
Accusations against prostitutes also have caused physical assault; which in law is a qualified offense against civil rights. But, if such a job was legalized and given medical support, then that would create a safer working environment with better healthcare for prostitutes.
It shouldn’t be doubted that sex workers have a horrible stigma. Many of them are even discriminated against and verbally assaulted for their line of work.
For example, an article on socialconnectedness.org states “‘Whore stigma’ has been conceptualized to shame sex workers — particularly women — who embody unconventional gender norms, such as selling their body for sex, satisfying lust and fantasies, and carrying and transmitting sexually-transmitted diseases. This stigma has engendered a misconception of the sex worker as an uneducated and poor individual, leading to a generally socially-acceptable disrespect and discrimination of these individuals.”
This is very concerning, as though sex work is the work of sexual activity, it never really describes the whole being of a sex worker. To discriminate against them for their line of work and for the assumption of such qualities, it shouldn’t be doubted that sex workers are challenged with painful and unnecessary stigma.
According to a 2015 paper published in the Mediterranean journal of social sciences, a majority of sex workers may experience similar struggles in life such as household violence, poor economic condition, debts, low income and a lower level of education. This doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate against sex workers just because of their standing and challenges in life.
Just as people of color shouldn’t be discriminated against for the color of their skin, prostitutes shouldn’t be discriminated for the stigma that surrounds their line of work. Therefore, if a proposed law which legalizes prostitution as an actual line of work is passed, with the account that those who work in prostitution would be provided aids, the view on prostitution would seem more acceptable, therefore lowering the discrimination treated among prostitutes. And so, a rule legalizing prostitution and aids which could be acquired by prostitutes should be passed.
But of course, not only are sex workers discriminated against, but they are also physically assaulted at a higher rate than non-sex workers.
An article by United Against Human Trafficking states, “One study of prostituted women in nine countries found that 70-95% of the women were physically assaulted, 60-75% were raped, and 89% of the women told researchers that they urgently wanted to escape prostitution. Even if individuals choose this profession, globally it is a dangerous one full of exploitative and demeaning circumstances.”
Just because of the stereotypes and assumptions of sex workers in society, people think that they’re legally qualified to abuse and assault prostitutes, including sexual assault. The idea that anyone could assault prostitutes because of sexual desire and/or stigmatization does not exclude police officers.
A 2019 Human Rights Watch article titled “Why Sex Work Should Be Decriminalized” states that HRW “has consistently found in research across various countries that criminalization makes sex workers more vulnerable to violence, including rape, assault, and murder, by attackers who see sex workers as easy targets because they are stigmatized and unlikely to receive help from the police.”
But this view on “justified” physical attack is quite wrong, as assault on anybody can be found as a crime against one’s civil rights.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and The United States Department Of Justice; learn about hate crimes, attacks of assault or threats of possible attacks based on a bias from a specific characteristic which are defined by the law can be qualified as a hate crime; a hate crime is a civil rights violation.
So how are prostitutes supposed to be protected if the public still views it acceptable to harm sex workers? By making it a law in which sex work is legalized, and those with such occupations are granted legal aids, it would enable sex workers to get proper protection from such assaults as well as making battery upon them impermissible. This would also lower the rates of physical harm against prostitutes and their civil rights. Therefore, a rule permitting sex work and aids which could be acquired by sex workers should be passed.
Finally, legalizing sex work and permitting aids for prostitutes would create better working environments and easier access to healthcare. Many prostitutes abandon healthcare or don’t adopt healthcare in a whole, as those who do attempt to gain healthcare are denied the option.
According to 2019 research titled “Culturally Competent Health Care for Sex Workers: An Examination of Myths That Stigmatize Sex-Work and Hinder Access to Care, “FSSWers are therefore at a much greater risk for mental health conditions but often experience barriers to seeking treatment, such as lack of access to health insurance and general distrust of medical professionals due to sigma, work invalidation, and potential misogyny.”
And that’s just their healthcare. Their working environment is neither safe as well, as law enforcement doesn’t even try to protect and create a better working environment for sex workers. In fact, they make it much worse.
This same research states, “In a Chicago study, 24% of outdoor FSSWers who had been raped identified a police officer as the perpetrator.”
Frequently FSSWers are not protected by rape shield laws. Although New York and Ohio explicitly exclude FSSW to be used as character evidence against rape victims, judges in states without explicit exclusion of FSSW often allow for FSSW to be brought up in order to invalidate assault charges.
FSSWers may also be arrested when they report violence, including trafficking, to the police because, even though the FSSWers are victims of violence, they are still criminalized.” They can’t even trust the police! Because of their line of work, they are unable to get the healthcare and trust they deserve.
This is why prostitution and aids for prostitutes should be legalized. By legalizing prostitution, and giving prostitutes legal aids, officials can no longer doubt or harm them; improving the working environment, and doctors can no longer turn them away just because of their job; allowing them to get the help and healthcare they need. And so, prostitution and aids for sex workers should be legitimized.
Still, many people argue against the idea of helping and legalizing prostitutes. A lot of the controversy against the idea is that if you legalize prostitution, the sex worker’s opinions, devices, and sentiment will be swept under the rug.
A 2014 opinion piece in The Stanford Daily states, “For those who argue that Amsterdam is a sexually liberated city, they are not taking into account the inherently one-sided nature of sexual interactions between sex workers and those who pay for sex. It is not a ‘liberating’ experience to display one’s body for the enjoyment of others and rent oneself out for an hour in order to pay the rent.”
Though, even if one may argue that enabling sex work as a legal job would be allowing the sex worker’s trivials to go unnoticed, that is no where near the truth. If prostitution was legalized, then it would be framed as a real job, which would give their workers their own rights in which follows the worker’s code. And so, if a sex worker does not feel happy with their job, they can easily quit by their right of the law. They wouldn’t have to stay in that job if they didn’t like it. And by giving prostitutes aids, such as work aids, they would be able to find a better job which does liberate them.
In conclusion, prostitution should be decriminalized with the law that aids (economically, physically, medically, etc.) would be provided to their workers. This idea should be permitted because prostitutes are disfavored against the morality of their work in America; even though the job never said anything about the prostitutes on a personal level.
Assertions against prostitutes also have caused physical battery; which is a qualified offense against one’s civil rights. And if such a job was enabled and given medical aid, then a safer working environment with better healthcare for prostitutes would be the ending response.
Though it may seem that this new value for prostitutes is no where near, many people are working hard to decriminalize prostitution. And bunches of others are also trying to help with the cause. We need people like you to contribute to these types of ideas just like they are.
Protest for the rights and decriminalization of prostitutes, send a letter or post on snapchat about the movement, even start a campaign/website about the idea. Anything can help, as long as it contributes to the cause. Remember: Prostitutes’ rights helps prostitutes’ lives!