Prostitution: More than Heels, Handies, and Head
It is known as the oldest job in the world, some people consider it an occupation, and others believe it is a profanity. Prostitution does not discriminate race, color, gender, or age. In prostitution ethnicity or life experiences are not disregarded. Prostitution exists all over and is not limited to specific areas. It can be found at nightclubs or during the day at an apartment, where someone is having sex for money. Prostitution laws in the United States were developed from confused and contradictory impulses, to punish and help sex workers at the same time, reflecting our society’s uncertainty and double standards about sex, male desire and women’s sexual independence.
The idea that imprisonment would be a way to “save” prostitutes seems more and more absurd and at odds with modern views of prostitution. There is a growing understanding of the right to sexual freedom that is sometimes dismissed by only one stereotype of prostitution. Legalizing prostitution would give consenting adults the right to determine how they use their bodies or spend their money without having governmental regulation. The origin of prostitution originated in the fifteenth century. Many prostitutes in this time period were banished from the community and usually labeled as a harlot. Prostitution then is very similar to how it is portrayed now. Comparing the first prostitutes to the modern prostitutes
there are many comparisons one can make. Patty Kelly has researched many topics related to prostitution, including the history. She is a history professor at UCLA and each year has her students take a side on the legalization of prostitution. Kelly believes that prostitution has been a part of history in a variety of ways. One study that Kelly did in 2005, showed just how similar prostitutes of the fifteenth century and modern day are. The results were surprising. Out of 200 prostitutes surveyed all over America, 53% said that their families havedisowned them, and 68% have admitted that they have been raped at least once. Theseresults have ties to the start of prostitution. There are stories and accounts of prostitutesfleeing home lands because of being disowned, or even more troubling, being repeatedlyraped (Kelly). This proves that prostitution has been a form of occupation for centuries, and the mistreatment still occurs.
Prostitution was illegal in the fifteenth century and still in the twenty-first century prostitution is outlawed in many different countries. If prostitution is going to keep occurring for centuries to come would it not only be right to make it legal so these girls could do their jobs in a safe environment? Prostitution will always be a form of occupation, so why not harness the benefits and turn it into a business? There are many different varieties of prostitution, all that could have their own form of establishment and making the business that much more profitable. There are many different components to prostitution that one must understand. According to Ronald Weitzer, “The sex industry of prostitution refers to the workers, managers, owners, agencies, clubs, trade associations, pimps, and marketing involved in sexual commerce, both
legal and illegal varieties”. With all of these people involved there are different views of how the sex industry should approach their business. There are many basic forms of prostitution, each completing the same task but in slightly different ways. Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution. This is the most common form of legalized prostitution. In brothels the prostitutes can be in a safe and familiar environment where all conditions are controlled. This is by far the safest and most prestigious form of prostitution. In escort prostitution, the act may take place at the customer’s residence or hotel room, referred to as out-call, or at the escort’s residence or in a hotel room rented for the occasion by the escort called in-call. Most escorts have partnerships with brothels in countries where prostitution is legal. An escort may be referred to as the delivery driver. The delivery drivers come from the restaurant to the client making it just a little easier for the client to get what they ordered. To reduce the risk of rapes an escort will usually have a guard with her to make sure nothing that is unwanted happens to the prostitute.
Many prostitutes do not have this luxury and have to turn to the streets to find business. Street prostitution is the practice that is widely used in America and by far the most dangerous. Street prostitutes usually have a pimp and are told to make a certain amount of money for the night. These women walk the streets hoping someone will pick them up. This is a very dirty and dangerous way to go about prostitution. These women are often fending for their lives every single night that they work. Elise is a former prostitute, who used street prostitution as a quick way to pay off her student loans. She then went on to get her PhD in communications. She wrote a poem for one of her graduate classes and stated her fears of American street prostitution. “America the bold, America the beautiful. Shouldn’t you treat your women with honor and respect. Out there on your streets doing the deeds unspeakable. O James 4
America won’t you give these women a home?” (Dirty Money). Elise’s poem urges the fact that prostitutes need a safe environment to do their business in which is only acquirable if legalized. She has witnessed first-hand the brutalities that prostitutes in America have to go through. Since they do not have a structured organization protected by the government to work at, most of these women are treated wrongly and do not get their cut of the cash. Many Americans use street prostitution as an availability heuristic of what prostitution must be everywhere. With this form being the only form many Americans see, many have a strong bias against the legalization. Gretchen Lewis is a woman who feels very strongly against prostitution. Lewis defined prostitution as, “A dirty market filled with only the lowest of women who were designed in the image of Satan. This market is becoming a recursive problem that is mirrored in other industries in its growing globalization”. Lewis’s views are small because she was born and raised in a very wealthy Christian home.
In the Bible, prostitution is talked about as being a form of demonized acts. In the Bible God tells the villagers that “he who let his wife be made for profit will see his wife in eternal hell” Genesis. Lewis has been raised to believe that prostitutes are scum and that they should be banished from society. This goes back to Kelly’s research on how prostitutes have been mistreated in history. Lewis would make a valid argument if she was preaching to the congregation. However what really pops out to me in her statement is that she actually says that prostitutes are women. She is humanizing prostitution and then de-humanizing it when she relates it to devils work. It is interesting to note that since she has such a strong background of Christianity where one of the morals is “treat others how you want to be treated” Lewis should then want to seek help for these women who have become so morally corrupt instead of exiling them. In that, Lewis contradicts her faith to saying that prostitutes should not be treated as humans.
This supports the fact that prostitutions are entitled to their right of occupation. Many Christians are not only against prostitution because it is evil in the Bible, but it also poses threats to marriages. The biggest threat for the legalization of prostitution is marriage. People think that if prostitution is legalized adultery will rise. While this could become a fact, society should not put all the blame on the prostitutes. It takes two to keep a marriage going and if one decides they need to stray away, there is something that is not right within the marriage. Many husbands stray away not just seeking sex from a prostitute but also companionship. There are specific “packages” that brothels offer which includes “the girlfriend experience”. This experience is designed for the male to feel wanted and needed. Looking at marriages person by person, there are needs that every person wants in their marriage. When marriage turns to cheating then that means one person is not happy in that marriage and therefore there needs to be dramatic change.
The legalization of prostitution would not end marriages, the simple unhappiness of a person within the marriage will end the relationship. The prostitute should never be blamed for the ending of relationships. With this in view, many people do not want to look beyond this point to see the benefits of prostitution. One benefit for the legalization of prostitution is the gross income that it could produce. Many markets know that to sell a product there needs to be some form of sexual innuendos. A lot of companies that try to market to the American people use sex because sex sells. Weitzer states that, “In 2006 alone, Americans spent $13.3 billion on X-rated magazines, videos and DVDs, live sex shows, strip clubs, adult cable shows, computer pornography, and commercial telephone sex”. This shows that sex is in high demand. An interesting note is realizing that pornography is legal, and all pornography is paid actors having sex in front of a camera. So, while filmed sex is legal, a prostitute being paid for un-filmed sex is illegal. Paid by check, legal, paid by cash, illegal. Prostitution has every right to stand among the American sex industry. The sex industry is very successful and is in very high demand.
These people who buy versions of pornography use these commodities in place of actual sexual intercourse with another physical human being. Ronald Weitzer is a social psychologist who has been researching prostitution. He has done many studies and came up with some estimates about prostitution and the sex markets in the United States. Weitzer’s research showed that, “Rentals and sales of X-rated films jumped from $75 million in 1985 to $957 million in 2006”. The demand for sex industries has exponentially risen. There is a much higher demand for sex now then there was just twenty years ago. Imagine how much additional money could be thrown into the economy if prostitution was legalized.
Prostitution is happening every day whether it is legalized or not. So then it is just a matter of putting a regular sales tax on the dollars per hour that a client would be spending on his escort. Prostitution could be treated as any other transaction that has a sales tax. Not only would prostitution gain money for the economy but it would be saving money also. The public does not want prostitution on the streets, so instead of moving prostitutes to a formal place they just want them to be arrested. Police spend a lot of valuable time and money in persuing and arresting prostitutes. Not only could police be investigating robberies or murders, but the amount of money to pay the police and to house the prostitutes in jail is immense. Bob Herbert has spent fifteen years researching prostitution. Lately Herbert has been focused on the financial side of prostitution. He stated that, “On average states spend over 7.5 million dollars on the regulation of prostitution.” It is hard to believe that there is even a budget for pursuing prostitution.
The budgets for learning and education are being cut, but still the state finds money to arrest prostitutes. If prostitution would be legal, this money could be spent in a more valuable way for the future. Prostitution could be turned into a great financial gain. The legalization of prostitution would save money, and in turn, should just be seen as a transaction in the American life. Prostitution should be seen as a formal way to exchange money. Just like going to a grocery store. In fact, if prostitution is looked at in terms of a grocery store transaction this also shows no harm done. There is little to no risk going to the grocery store and that is exactly how the sex industry should be viewed as. In his article “Sex Markets”, Weitzer shows characteristics of types of prostitution.
There are six categories; Business location, prices charged, exploitation by third parties, risk of violent victimization, public visibility, and impact on community. There are also six types of jobs in the sex industry; Call girl, escort, brothel worker, massage parlor worker, bar or casino worker, and street walker. For every job, besides the street walker, the prices charged are high or moderate, exploitation by third parties were low to moderate, the risk of violent victimization was either very low or low, public visibility is either none or very low, and the impact on the community is either none or little.
This shows many sides to prostitution. He explains that when prostitution is treated like a business that there is little to no harm on the worker herself or on the clientele. It is just a form of service with transactions. Weitzer also mentions that when prostitution is in a business form then it is off the streets and away from public view. Since the business of prostitution would be out of public view it would then be, out of sight, out of mind. This raises another benefit of prostitution. Those who are most affected by prostitution are those that see it the most. If prostitution would be legalized, the amount of prostitutes on the street would be minimal to none. This means that prostitution would be taken out of the communities and into a structured common place, making this beneficial to those who are troubled by the sight of prostitutes. The only place in America with a formal brothel is in Nevada.
Nevada is the only state that legalized prostitution. They have about 30 legal brothels that have existed since 1971. These brothels are located in rural areas of the state and are prohibited in Las Vegas and Reno due largely to opposition from the gaming industry. “In a 2002 poll, 72% of the Nevada population supports legalizing prostitution in the state” (Weitzer.) Since prostitution has been legalized, there has been a significant decrease in the number of street prostitutes within the large cities. Nevada has also seen an economical increase since they legalized prostitution. Their brothels have contributed 14% of their overall gross revenue. With the economy in the gutter, this is a huge contribution. Brothels not only show positive increases in economic standings and decreases in the spread of STD’s. In countries and states where prostitution is legal, the risk of sexual transmitted diseases is lower compared to the countries of illegal prostitution.
This is because prostitutes have better access to doctors, medicines, sex education, and contraceptives that prevent and reduce sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as condoms. Furthermore, countries that legalize prostitution and require periodic testing for STDs have an even further lower rate of transmitting STDs. Brothels would be required mandatory checks for both the escort and the client. Most prostitutes don’t go to doctors because they are scared that they might be questioned. In a recent study that was shown in Bob Herbert’s article, “Having weekly testing’s at brothels have dropped the sexually transmitted diseases and infections rate by nearly 80%. Having the girls and clients both tested before any sexual activities are preformed has been greatly beneficial to the health of the women and their clients.” This is something that cannot be done on street prostitutes, like those here in America. Many prostitutes are carrying diseases unknown to them because they are afraid to go to any type of doctor in fear of prosecution.
With brothels requiring so much frequent testing that means that there must be a doctor on staff that can read the tests. This would be another job opportunity that brothels would create. Weitzer explains that legalization of prostitution would require some regulation such as, “ licensing business owners, registering workers, zoning street prostitution, mandatory medical exams, special business taxes, or officials’ periodic site visits and inspections of legal establishments”. If prostitution was legalized it could create numerous jobs such as doctors, nurses, and inspectors. A brothel, just like any other organization, would need various workers. One of the biggest things that a brothel would need would be security. The girls would need to be protected at all cost and their safety has to be the number one priority. Most girls who are street workers tend to go through abuse and not turn in their attacker because they are in fear that they will get arrested for their illegal profession.
There is a lot of hiding when it comes to street prostitution in America. It’s a battle of hide-and-go-seek with the cops and prostitutes. Is this necessary though? Weitzer states that, “Approximately 80,000 arrests are made in the United States every year for violation of prostitution laws”. Prostitutes are not causing any harm, if anything; prostitution causes more pleasure than anything. Prostitution should be legalized so people don’t have to pay the police to arrest prostitutes and they can instead spend their time arresting people who are causing harm to the community. “It is estimated that if prostitution were legalized in the United States, the rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% for a decrease of approximately 25,000 rapes per year. The analysis seems to support the hypothesis that the rape rate could be lowered if prostitution was more readily available. This would be accomplished in most countries by its legalization” (Herbert). These numbers are shocking.
It is showing that a necessary step to prevent rape is to legalize prostitution by simply carrying it out in brothels or by call-girls provided the sex workers are adults. The more you try to put down prostitution, the higher will be the incidence of crime against innocent women. The amount of substance in this argument is deep. Most rapes happen because there is a need to be a dominating character and fulfill sexual fantasies. If there is a business built around letting the client fulfill their needs there would be no need for randomized rapes or rapes of prostitutes. Hanna Koft has done many investigations herself on the legalization of taboo subjects. She claims that, “People are under the impression if prostitution is legalized that there is going to be some dramatic decrease in rape. Prostitution is a business and there are going to be set prices. These prices are usually too high for most people and especially the type of people to commit a rape.” While her quote raises an interesting issue, I still firmly believe that people will spend whatever amount needed to fulfill certain needs. This can be related to an addiction of drugs. Drug addicts tend to do dangerous tasks like robbery just to get that high again.
So while Koft makes a valid point there still remains the fact that if people want it, they will get it no matter the cost. If prostitution is legalized and it is made okay for the clients to get everything out of their experience I am sure they will pay any amount. When gratifying a fantasy becomes legal, people will follow regulations. The legalization of prostitution has been tried and it has been proven that it works for many reasons. The financial saving and financial success that prostitution could bring to America is immense. Not only is it saving the economy but it would also increase the health of Americans. Decreasing STD’s in any way is positive and with the legalization of prostitution this could be done.
Part of being American is promoting the common welfare, and prostitutes are part of the common welfare. The abuse that prostitutes are taking in the streets right now is something no human should go through. It is immoral of Americans to let that keep happening to their people. Whether it’s legal or not, prostitution will always exist. By regulating prostitution, the amount of street prostitution would decrease, making prostitution to the public eye nearly eliminated. The streets would be safer if prostitution is legalized. Instead of spending millions of dollars fighting prostitution, we could earn millions of dollars by supporting the industry. All of these benefits would come so easily without any hassle from the general public. The legalization of prostitution is full of incentives that the American public cannot miss out on.
“Dirty Money: The Business of High End Prostitution, Interview with Elise, Business, EscortService, Sex for Sale – CNBC.” Dirty Money: The Business of High End Prostitution,Interview with Elise, Business, Escort Service, Sex for Sale – CNBC. N.p., 4 May 2010.Web. 16 Nov. 2012. Gretchen Lewis. “Prostitution: Satan strikes.” U.S. News Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov.2012. Herbert, Bob. “Fantasies Well Met.” N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012. Kelly, Patty. “Should Prostitution Be Legalized?” Chronically of
Higher Education. N.p., n.dWeb. 9 Nov. 2012. Koft, Hanna. “It’s Their Business.” N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012. “The Holy Bible: King James Version. Bartleby.com.” The Holy Bible: King James Version.Bartleby.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www.bartleby.com/108/>. Weitzer, Ron. “Sex Markes.” In Legalizing Prostitution. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012.
Gretchen Lewis. “Prositution: Satan srikes.” U.S. News Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov.2012.<http://web.ebscohost.com.www.remote.uwosh.edu>. This article talks about howprostitution is the word of the devil. She is form a very aristocratic background and herroots are deep in the Bible. Gretchen is a woman activist and believes that no good cancome from prostitution. She has a very biased opinion. “Dirty Money: The Business of High End Prostitution, Interview with Elise, Business, EscortService, Sex for Sale – CNBC.” Dirty Money: The Business of High End Prostitution,Interview with Elise, Business, Escort Service, Sex for Sale – CNBC. N.p., 4 May 2010.Web. 16 Nov. 2012. This interview deals with a real life escort. She shares some personalstories of her cliental and says how happy she is with her life. Elise has a phD in clinicalpsychology but says that she is making more money off of escorting than being apsychologist. She says that just because she is an escort doesn’t mean she didn’t doanything with her life. She shares a poem that she wrote about the feelings she has as anescort, this is what I intend to use to support my views. Her poem goes into detail abouthow she never thought that she’d ever get married and how she never though one personwould ever satisfy her needs and that being an escort is making her feel fulfilled. Herbert, Bob. “Fantisies Well Met.” N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012.<http://web.ebscohost.com.www.remote.uwosh.edu.> This article talks about the pros oflegalizing prostitution and how it can strengthen the economy. Bob talked to the mayor of
Las Vegas and talked about how there is already many pimps out there and that if youjust make it structured and set up laws it can be very beneficial. He
also talks about therate of STD’s lowering in places with legalized prostitution. It’s a great newspaper articleto look at for the plan if prostitution is legalized how it can set up a great economy.
Kelly, Patty. “Should Prostitution Be Legalized?” Chronically of Higher Education. N.p., n.dWeb. 9 Nov. 2012. <http://web.ebscohost.com.www.remote.uwosh.edu.> This is apublished cite where they let their students do a blog on how prostitution should orshouldn’t be legalized. There are many students in this blog that took their blog to thenext level and actually had facts and credentials to back up their response. This cite hasboth the pro prostitution and against prostitution. Andrew Sullivan makes a good point inhis blog saying that if you hired two people to have sex for you in your bedroom itsprostitution but if you hire two people put it on camera to have sex it’s called porn.
Koft, Hanna. “It’s Their Business.” N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012.<http://web.ebscohost.com.www.remote.uwosh.edu>. This article talks about the lawsregarding prostitution and how there is no strict law in the constitution about it. Thisarticle did seem to support my side but then after further evaluation there were manyclaims against it which will be used as a nay sayer. Most of the claims were about howthe crime rates wouldn’t go down and how the rapes wouldn’t go down either. James 15
“The Holy Bible: King James Version. Bartleby.com.” The Holy Bible: King James Version.Bartleby.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www.bartleby.com/108/>. I will usethe excerpts on prostitution. Weitzer, Ron. “Sex Markes.” In Legalizing Prostitution. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2012.<http://web.ebscohost.com.www.remote.uwosh.edu>. This article talks about howlegalizing prostitution wouldn’t be beneficial and it only makes matters worse. He goeson to describe three main points to this. Prostitution will proliferate when legalized,meaning that people still won’t have sex with a prostitute because of the stigma attached.Legalization does not empower sex workers all of the time. And he also states thatLegalization will increase sex trafficking. This would be a
great article to go back andrefer to as a nay sayer.