Melissa and Legalized Prostitution

This blog is going to start with a story.

It was near the end of my Deviant Behavior class (shout out out to Jason’s mom) and we had to listen to people present their papers. It was maddening because some of the papers made my eyebrow rise. No seriously, one girl talked about her experience going to Popeye’s after class and running into an older black man selling bootlegs and her argument was “at least he isn’t selling drugs.”  Breathe.  Then there was the woman who spent like 20 minutes on a paper that no one cared about (same woman who called homosexuality a generational curse). Things finally picked up when a young woman stood up against prostitution. She gave an impassioned presentation and even got a little emotional. Her argument was basically: It is a deviant behavior that destroys families. I decided to go for some more participation points (because it was the only paper so far that interested me) and asked that if it were heavily regulated, would she change her mind? Would her opposition be as strong? Her answer was simply and kinda loud, “No…blah blah blah blah FAMILY!” I’m sure those were her exact words.

There are currently two states in the United States of AMERICA (no reason for those caps) that legalize prostitution: Nevada and Rhode Island. Nevada legalizes brothels within counties of no more than 400,000 and they have the option of not allowing it. Most counties do. It has been legal in Rhode Island since 1980. Interestingly enough, it is legal because there is no law against it. They were going to drop it from a felony to a misdemeanor in order to make the prosecution quicker but it somehow ended up getting deleted all together.   Street prostitution, however, is illegal. Don’t count it staying this way in because the House passed a bill criminalizing all prostitution on May 13, 2009.

I have been thinking about my position on prostitution, clearly. At the end of the day I am for legalizing but now I wonder how much of a benefit it would actually be. Prostitution is hardly a career path you’d want your daughter to follow. And even if you regulate it, there will always be a violent underworld sector of it. I have to wonder how much of an impact it would have on the spread of STI’s especially HIV. I believe it might lower the rates of some but not prostitutes are not the fount from which all sexually transmitted infections flow. I still believe it would cut down on the number of pimps who take all the money and dole it out as they see fit. I also believe it would those who do go into it more options. I worry how much we can actually regulate it and enforce condom laws. I would hope that it would increase the protection of prostitutes who are raped and assaulted on the job.

I believe there needs to be serious discussion about this decision. I believe the main reason we haven’t legalized or decriminalized it is because we are supposedly a Christian nation that loves her scapegoats. In my opinion, that’s not a very good reason to be against it. That is not to say that every person against the legalization of prostitution is some crazed fundamentalists or social conservative. There are valid arguments against it and to not acknowledge that is short sighted.  As for the girl who claims that prostitutes destroys families…wrongness. If a man (or woman) is going to buy sex, they are going to buy sex. Prostitutes didn’t destroy that family, the John did that.

Here are some good websites to look at to learn more or just to read:

http://prostitution.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=000115 (this one helped a lot)

http://www.projo.com/news/content/PROSTITUTION_LAW31_05-31-09_NVEHGBH_v161.3e90048.html (the story behind Rhode Island prostitution laws)

http://www.politicalbase.com/issues/legalization-of-prostitution/94/ (just read it)

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Melissa and Legalized Prostitution

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