Posted by: Mike | April 13, 2008

Should Prostitution Be Legal?

Written by Mike R.

Prostitutes have been around about as long civilization has existed. In ancient Greece, residents of the city of Corinth carved penises into their roads to direct travelers to the local temple, where sacred prostitutes awaited them. In modern times, prostitutes have had to become more subtle, as many nations and states have made the practice illegal. But should it be illegal? Does our society do itself more harm than good by trying to enforce anti-prostitution laws?

I would like to point out before going any further that this post does not support prostitution. I personally believe the practice degrades women and harms society. However, it is inescapable that society is harmed far more when prostitution subsists illegally and secretly than when it is performed openly. Opponents of legalizing prostitution believe that such an action would constitute a government endorsement of the practice. Yet, when we consider that smoking and drinking are both legal (and that neither is encouraged or endorsed by the government), the logic of such an argument becomes quite shaky.

Opponents also contend that prostitution is immoral, and that the government is obligated to restrict it. Maybe this is true, but consider the fact that most Americans consider polyamory and adultery to be immoral. Does this mean that the government has an obligation to forcibly restrict these practices as well? What if a majority of Americans woke up tomorrow and decided that they found interracial relationships to be morally distasteful? Is it really the place of government to legislate morality?

The benefits of legalizing prostitution could be quite substantial. By making the practice lawful, the government would be able to regulate the prostitution industry, levying taxes on “pimps” and requiring prostitutes themselves to be regularly tested for STD’s. In essence, the government would be able to clean up some of the filth of our nation’s whorehouses. The aspects of prostitution that demean young women and leave them living in poverty could be tempered by requiring a minimum wage for prostitutes and basic “workplace” standards. Pimps who refuse to comply with these laws would become the sole targets of the police (instead of all pimps everywhere), and would be subject to harsh penalties if caught. In addition to fines and jail times, the pictures of illegal pimps could be placed on government websites and bulletin boards around the city of their capture in order to humiliate them. They could even be subjected to corporal punishment (the subject of a future article) for repeat offenses.

I hope it is clear to most who read this short article that the harm done to society by prostitution could be greatly mitigated if the practice were legalized. The demand for cheap, easily-accessible sex is not going to go away anytime soon, and the best way to deal with this demand is to regulate and control it. I know this post will offend the sensibilities of feminists and religious conservatives alike (which is hard to do at the same time…), but I hope that open minded individuals will be able to put aside their contempt for prostitution to see the greater good.



  1. “I’m with you on this!” says the feminist! Go figure.

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