Prostitution in the USA

Topics: Sexuality

The following sample essay on “Prostitution in the USA” examines the legality of prostitution in the country. The question of its possible legalization in all states and reflections on this topic are also being raised.

Here in America, citizens are very entitled to the property they own. Full responsibility and decision making is left up to the owners themselves. Who they feel is able to be let on to that property, as well as enter is solely based on their decision alone.

Keeping the average American mind set in mind, the United States has contradicted themselves.

In the vast majority of the United States, prostitution is illegal. But if Americans kept their whats mine is mine and I have full control over it mentality, prostitution would not be so frowned upon throughout the Country. The act itself is not illegal under federal law, it is illegal under state law. Meaning each individual state has the power to make the act legal or illegal.

Out of all fifty-two states in the country, only one state has minimal prostitution rights. This state is Nevada, which allows legal prostitution only in the form of brothels.

Meanwhile in every other state, it is considered a misdemeanor in the category of public order crime which is crime that disrupts a community. Not only is the act seen as a crime but is also considered deviant among society. When in fact, it should be neither. Prostitution is a victimless crime when sex trafficking is not involved because it has consent from both parties.

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Every human is a property owner when they are born and their property is their body.

The only person that should stand in between themselves selling their body in order to make a living is that person themself. If the person who is committing the act is comfortable with their actions and is not fearful, there should be no issue. For some, they see prostitution as their job which means thats their source of income. Just like any other American citizen, prostitutes deserve the right to work. To work a job without being seen as deviant or a criminal.

If prostitution was legalized in the United States, people wouldnt look at the profession as an act of deviance because it would become a norm fairly quick in urban cities countrywide. States that legalize prostitution can require sex workers to use condoms and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Sex workers in Nevada have to get monthly tests for syphilis and HIV and weekly tests for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Nevada also requires condoms for all sex in brothels.

This law is posted on the outside of the state’s brothels, according to the paper by Barbara Brents and Kathryn Hausbeck of the University of Nevada. Making sex work a crime can drive prostitutes underground and make them less likely to practice safe sex and get tested for sexually transmitted disease. While brothels in Nevada pay no state taxes, they pay a significant amounts of tax to the rural counties where they do business, according to The New York Times. Nevada Republicans prevented a law several years ago that would have subject brothels to state taxes, as they didn’t want schools and other state services funded by sex work.

Illegal prostitution businesses in America pay no taxes. If those brothels were legalized, then state and county governments could gain a significant amount of money. Legally employed people in America get rights like minimum wage, freedom from discrimination, and a safe work environment. Since prostitutes arent able to work legally, they are not given any of these rights.

It’s high time to legalize and regulate this part of American life, even if a lot of people have ethical problems with it. We legalize and regulate a ton of commerce that’s morally controversial. For example; gambling, alcohol, tobacco, and pornography. Yes, women can be coerced into prostituting themselves. But we’re not helping them by making consenting sex work a crime.

These citizens are trying to make money just as anyone else. There is no reason why we should go by societys idea of what is right and what is wrong. In addition to the statement made previously, we can further argue that sex workers should be able to do what they want if its regulated in terms of STD’s and getting regularly tested. Just like how any other regular job has terms and regulations. You should not respect sex workers and help them gain workers’ rights because of the money that they earn in this line, you should respect sex workers and help them gain workers’ rights because they deserve to have their humanity recognized just as everyone else does. Prostitutes just want to get by in life.

Often, they have no other options to make money to support themselves. Let alone their families and loved ones. Society has the wrong mental image when they think of a prostitute. Often they picture someone on drugs just selling their body. This is not the case with all sex workers. As mentioned previously, many have families and keep themselves well put together in order to maintain their image.

Prostitution became deviant as the 20th century had just begun; social reformers took up the cause of ending prostitution outright, reframing prostitution as a social disease that could, through their efforts, be cured. That is, prohibited and abolished. They encouraged police to lay down the law on brothels and red-light districts. At the same time anti-prostitution policing and social campaigns were stepped up. Cops who had enjoyed bribes and graft for protecting brothels came under increased scrutiny from religious reformers and early women’s rights campaigners. The turn of the 20th century saw the opening of New York’s first women’s jail.

Reformers also pushed for policies that took aim at organized red-light districts, seeking to criminalize the third-party businesses that prostitutes relied on, like rooming houses and saloons. Those campaigns were successful in getting Red Light Abatement laws on the books in most states, making property owners liable and culpable for prostitution on their premises.

By 1916, 47 cities had closed red-light districts. Washington DC-area prostitutes fought back, writing a group letter to the New York Evening Journal. Finally, two key federal policies hastened the end of red-light districts: the passage of the Mann Act, or white slave traffic act, created the first federal law around prostitution in 1910; and at the start of the first world war, a Navy decree demanded the closure of all sex-related businesses in close range of military bases, under the premise of protecting enlisted men from sexually transmitted infections. Based on fear and opportunity, Storyville was closed.

The rapid changes in this 20-year period for a time gave the sex trade a boost into the mainstream of civic life, but ultimately exiled it even further to the margins. Before 1917, most laws had been directed at commercialized vice, rather than at the prostitute herself, writes historian Ruth Rosen in The Lost Sisterhood, her study of prostitution at the turn of the last century. By the end of the war, however, the law had recognized a class of prostitutes who would constitute a social group of criminal outcasts.

For all of the social evils pinned on prostitution crime, decaying property values, disease, violence, and a whole host of supposed moral failings history shows us that none are inherent to the practice of selling sex. In fact, the only constant in prostitution, aside from the exchange itself, is the willingness of people who sell sex to maneuver around the law, discrimination, and social stigma in order to continue to work. Cops, governments and social reformers are part of those environments, too, and in their own ways, each profits from commercial sex.

In these same American cities today, vice cops arrest suspected customers to fill seats in johns’ schools, where the men are lectured by employees of social reform projects that aim to abolish prostitution with scared straight tactics. Vice cops draw a salary from making these arrests, and the anti-prostitution lecturers are paid, sometimes from the fees paid by those arrested and funneled into the programs as a way to avoid conviction. The programs themselves create an incentive for cops to police the sex trade, and they support a professional class of people, anti-prostitution campaigners, who make a living attempting to abolish the ways other people make a living.

In 1999, Sweden made it legal to sell sex but illegal to buy itonly the johns and the traffickers can be prosecuted. This is the only approach to prostitution thats based on sex equality, argues University of Michigan law professor Catharine MacKinnon. It treats prostitution as a social evil but views the women who do it as the victims of sexual exploitation who should not be victimized again by the state by being made into criminals, as MacKinnon put it to me in an e-mail.

Its the men who use the women, she continued, who are sexual predators and should be punished as such. According to the Womens Justice Center, Swedens way of doing things is a big success. In the capital city of Stockholm the number of women in street prostitution has been reduced by two thirds, and the number of johns has been reduced by 80%.

Trafficking is reportedly down to 200 to 400 girls and women a year, compared with 15,000 to 17,000 in nearby Finland. Max Waltman, a doctoral candidate in Stockholm who is studying the countrys prostitution laws, says that those stats hold up. He also said the police are actually going after the johns as ordered: In 2006, more than 150 were convicted and fined. (That might not sound like many, but then Sweden has a population of only 9 million.)

According to a recent working paper by economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh, despite all the fighting and all the preaching, we apparently dont know that much about the specifics of the structure of the sex market how much prostitutes make on average, how many tricks they turn a year, how frequently they and their pimps and johns actually get arrested. To start filling in the gap, Levitt and Venkatesh looked at data from the Chicago Police Department. They found that women working in the streets were making $27 an hour but less than $20,000 a year since they dont log alot of hours.

The risks of the trade were serious: an annual average of a dozen incidents of violence and 300 instances of unprotected sex. There was also a surprisingly high prevalence of police officers demanding sex from prostitutes in return for avoiding arrest. That looks like another argument against the bans on prostitutionpresumably women wouldnt be caught in this particular trap if they werent worried about going to jail in the first place. Levitt and Venkatesh also offer up this statistic: Prostitutes get arrested about once per 450 tricks, and johns even less frequently.A law that isnt being enforced much may not be worth having.

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Prostitution in the USA. (2019, Nov 20). Retrieved from

Prostitution in the USA
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