Legalized Prostitution
Regulating the Oldest Profession
by Mark Liberator (e-mail: [Updated: December 8th, 2005]

The following page is a fact-based positional paper on prostitution, not a scientific study. Use this piece to gain insight into to the many potential benefits of legalizing and regulating prostitution. Few people in the United States (and some people in other countries) appear to believe in the legalization of regulated prostitution despite a considerable body of convincing evidence that may support such a view.

Be aware the information presented here contains ideas some people could consider to be sexist or immoral. However, one may have to temporarily suspend certain mores in order to fully appreciate the details of this view. As it is with many controversial articles on The Liberator, the views allow others to form a more comprehensive understanding of the difficult problems that must be faced as members of the global community.

This document exists in research form as a Word file and can be accessed at Also, to cite this body of work, use the reference below by simply copying and pasting it within Word or the text editor of choice.

Liberator, M. (2004) Legalized Prostitution: Regulating the Oldest Profession. The Liberator. Accessed on [insert date here] at:

The remainder of this document is in HTML form and has been indexed below with active hyperlinked text to aid the reader with the investigation of this issue.

  1. Introduction
  2. Cultural Differences
  3. Sex Within Monogamous Societies
  4. The Effects of Prohibition
  5. Benefits of Legalization
  6. Health-Safety Issues
  7. The Role of Government
  8. Comparing Prostitution Rights to Abortion Rights
  9. Religion Shapes the Economy Through the Family
  10. Scientists May Find Answers Through Research
  11. Data Driven Analysis
    1. Crime Analysis
    2. Healthcare Analysis
    3. Social Conditions Analysis
    4. Summary
  12. Management vs. Abandonment
  13. Prostitution as a Career Choice
  14. Conclusion
  15. Resources
  16. Related Articles on The Liberator

  1. Introduction
    With the invention of males and females came the constant need for negotiation, as history indicates. Some civilizations were based on male dominance and rewarded those who possessed strength, innate tactical intelligence and traits generally present in males. This explains why many civilizations have not been kind to women. A small number of civilizations did honor women, but women have never been able to achieve equal status with men.

    Women have not always been able to escape the role of housewife or gain a political voice. Only in recent human history have women been able to obtain relative equality. They have been able to make great gains through a considerable amount of achievements, no need to list here. Yet to this day, men and women have specialized roles within societies, differing only slightly in some countries and greatly in other countries.

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  2. Cultural Differences
    Each culture deals differently with heterosexuality. Most cultures encourage monogamy, while countries like Saudi Arabia have adopted polygyny. Even within societies that safeguard or promote monogamous relations, there are allowances for citizens to have many types of sexual relations. People can remain monogamous to one person at time or date multiple partners simultaneously. People can have open marriages (a.k.a. swinging) or exist within monogamous relationships and be covertly promiscuous (Hughs, 1990). There are also people who frequent prostitutes regardless of the law.

    “Instead of managing the problem through the medical and social interventions accompanied by regulation of the industry, critics of legalized prostitution would rather adopt prohibition and cold abandonment.”

    When we examine sex as a trade, the combination of philosophy, cultural precedence, religious influence and politics made each country select how to handle it in its own way. In Singapore, sex for money is open and commonplace. Denmark women can be legal prostitutes so long as it is not their sole means of income. Canada, France and Mexico allow it. Prostitutes must be contained within brothels in the Netherlands, unlike within England and Wales where prostitution is limited to individual providers. Israel, the historical stage for the Bible, allows it, too. Meanwhile, the United States has made prostitution illegal (misdemeanor) in all states, except certain counties of Nevada (Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition, 2000).

    Even though it is quite natural on a biological level for males and females to host desires and have intimate relations with many partners (Hughs, 1990), it would probably be a very unproductive line of reasoning when considering the legalization of prostitution. Humankind no longer succumbs to animal behavior and has built infrastructures that depend on us expunging primitive mannerisms. Unlike the animal kingdom, we deal with sexuality without force. Nevertheless, there is still room for prostitution within civilized societies, since sex can be considered to be a service traded for goods, services, relationships, and money.

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  3. Sex Within Monogamous Societies
    Sex sometimes becomes a bartered service even within the sanctity of marriage. One provides sex for love, while another provides love for sex. Someone else finds warmth and attention within the act of sex. Like ants who send chemical messages to each other to convey both intricate and basic messages, sex becomes part of that type of communication even within civilized relationships (Pines, n.d. & Malick, n.d.). It is also a healthy outlet, too. We may not be animals who forage in forests but our desire for sex, or at least the actions, thoughts and feelings that come with it, are deeply part of whom we are.

    A primal desire must not be ignored or suppressed, but instead managed. Within the sanctity of marriage, balancing acts must be performed to ensure each member of the team is getting what he or she needs. From cleaning the house, buying new furniture, displaying one's affection and releasing stress, sex gets caught up in the mix and can sometimes become a bargaining chip. It is as normal as doing a favor or performing an act of kindness, when one is not in the mood. Much like when a chore must be done, one may choose or not choose to do it, depending on extenuating circumstances or immediate pressing demands.

    Sex, like everything else, is up on the table for 'sale' within marriage and other relationships. It is not a foreign concept to anyone who has ever been in a sexual relationship over an extended period of time. Usually there is no direct exchange of money, but natural exchanges in a give-and-take situation do occur when things are normal and healthy. So long as there are no heavy demands and freedom of choice exists, sex is a commodity of sorts.

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  4. The Effects of Prohibition
    The United States is rooted on freedom of speech, religion and trade. The first two are specifically mentioned early on within The Constitution. Those inalienable rights are not given to us by The Constitution, but are instead protected by it. So why violate the premise by prohibiting relations between consenting adults?

    Some people believe that governments can make better choices for us, but it wasn't a vision the Founding Fathers had when they created The Constitution. The U.S. government is designed mainly to be run by the people, which is in direct opposition to modern liberalism that insists it control people. Yet, morally conservative groups that adopted this liberal view of government passed the Eighteenth Amendment to prohibit the distribution and sale of alcohol.

    Recall prohibition from 1920 to 1933 and remember the affects it had on alcohol consumption. Home producers created whiskey and bathtub gin. The price of alcohol skyrocketed in black market sales due to heavy demand and the greedy public officials who secretly monitored it, so it was believed. Bootlegging became an underground industry (Nixon, 2001). As a result prohibition did literally nothing to actually prevent alcohol from being consumed by the public.

    The government, and ultimately the public, suffered huge losses from prohibition. The government lost considerable amounts of tax dollars from bootlegged alcohol and it became impossible to regulate the quality, i.e. safety, of the product. In attempts to prohibit alcohol consumption through the Volstead Act, spending by the Bureau of Prohibition went from $4.4 million to $13.4 million annually. Spending by the Coast Guard was an average $13 million per year in the 1920s for prohibition alone (Thornton, 1991). In fact when per capita costs are analyzed, spending more to curb behavior did literally nothing against consumption, making a total mockery of law enforcement efforts.

    Social irresponsibility of this magnitude during the depression was horrific when considering how these monies could have been spent to do good for society. Programs could have been developed to help the unemployed. Healthcare could have been expanded to include social programs to drive down high suicide rates.

    It was thought prohibition would put an end to many social problems but it actually created many more. Increasing the number of laws runs a risk of creating more criminals, and that is exactly what had happened. Jails became filled. Government spending to pay for the housing and maintenance of these criminals went up (Thornton, 1991). Compounded by the lack of intake from alcohol tax, it placed huge dents on public coffers.

    Prohibition caused many problems related to criminal activity. There was a causal link between prohibition and an increase in homicides. During prohibition, homicide rates increased over 66%. After prohibition was repealed on Dec. 5, 1933, the homicide rate immediately dropped and eventually reached pre-prohibition levels in the mid-1940s (Thornton, 1991).

    The philosophy of prohibition came from many 'dry groups,' but the Anti-Saloon League working closely with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union were the driving forces in establishing prohibition (Ohio State University, 1997). Politics, which is really about solving the problems society faces, became victimized by morally conservative lobbyists. They held a belief that a desire for spirits could be repressed instead of managed. We will see over the course of human history that the philosophy of repression and abolition bears no merit.

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  5. Benefits of Legalization
    Currently most everywhere in the United States, our legal system penalizes prostitutes and their customers for what they do as consenting adults. Money is still spent on law enforcement efforts to catch prostitutes and their customers. Once caught, justice departments have to process these people through very expensive systems.

    What are the end results? Police personnel and courtrooms are overburdened with these cases, having little or no impact on prostitution. The prostitutes and their customers pay their fines and are back to the streets in no time in a revolving door process. Catch and release may work for recreational fishing but it has no deterring affect on prostitution.

    Making prostitution legal will allow the act to be managed instead of ignored. Pimps and organized crime figures, who regularly treat their workers on subhuman levels, would no longer control women. In some countries, prostitute rings buy and sell women on the black market, force their women to comply through violence and create unhealthy working conditions. When prostitutes operate independently and in secret, many times they become abused by their own customers.

    Legalizing prostitution would prevent underground prostitution that occurs today. When men want to pay for sex, they find prostitutes. These people work in massage parlors, escort services, strip bars and modeling agencies or still work corners as traditional streetwalkers. There are legitimate parlors, dating services, bars and agencies but of the hundreds that exist within newspaper classified advertisements and telephone directories, there are a large number that provide sexual services. A routine search through Google's Internet news engine for 'prostitution' routinely reveals connections between prostitution and these falsetto agencies (Google, 2004).

    It is estimated that 100,000 to 3 million teens are nearly invisibly prostituted per year in the United States (Walker, 2002). If we allow prostitution to remain hidden from view and basically invisible to the law as it is today, we allow a number of teens to be swept up into prostitution every year. When adult women decide to exchange money for sex, it is a personal choice open to them under the philosophy of a free, democratic society. When troubled minors who do not yet have the social survival skills decide to prostitute, they are often manipulated by opportunists who exploit these teens, typically leading to horrific ends. Legalizing prostitution will help prevent these instances through regulation.

    Legalized, regulated prostitution has many benefits. Encounters can happen within controlled environments that bring about safety for both the customers and the prostitutes. Prostitutes would no longer be strong-armed by pimps or organized crime rings. Underage prostitution would be curtailed. There would also be health-safety improvements.

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  6. Health-Safety Issues
    The status quo is a poor health-safety plan. With sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes, prostitutes must be monitored to prevent the spread of these afflictions. Chancroid, a STD typically found in third world nations, is occurring in places throughout the U.S. due to transmission brought on through illegal prostitution (Schmid, Sanders, Blount & Alexander, 1987). Chancroid makes ulcers in the vagina that assist with the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    A Public Health Review of Chancroid from the World Health Organization stated:

    In Kenya, where the importance of chancroid in HIV transmission was first described in the late 1980s, interventions targeting sex workers and STD patients were implemented. Reported condom use by sex workers has since increased to over 80% in project areas and the incidence of genital ulcers has declined. Chancroid, once the most common ulcer etiology, now accounts for fewer than 10% of genital ulcers seen in clinics in Nairobi, Kenya.

    In Senegal, HIV prevalence among pregnant women has been below 1% for more than a decade. A strong multisectoral response, an effective STD control programme and early legalization of prostitution have been credited for this low level. Special clinical services, for example, offer regular examination and treatment for registered sex workers. Not only has there been a significant decline in STD rates among sex workers and pregnant women between 1991 and 1996, but genital ulcers are also no longer common and chancroid is reportedly rare. (Steen, 2001)

    Steen cited a practical example of how government can help its citizens. It makes practical sense to monitor prostitution and what better way is there to monitor it than by legalizing it and regulating it? Legalization would require prostitutes to undergo regular medical examinations. STDs would be prevented from being spread as well as other communicable ailments like hepatitis and tuberculosis. It would also reduce gender violence, allow women to escape prostitution, if they so choose, and prevent women from becoming infertile as a consequence to obtaining certain STDs (Gavin, 2001).

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  7. The Role of Government
    Whether one is a liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, the role of government is to carry out necessary duties its citizens cannot perform. Politicians are elected to government positions to solve the problems countries face. Some Democratic politicians insist government should be designed to act as a safety net for people who need help, by providing citizens with various social programs including public safety and healthcare entitlements. Other Republican representatives believe in freedom of choice through responsible action and rather institute high standards in education and healthcare to enable citizens with opportunities. Libertarians feel compelled to ensure civil rights and allow citizens to be self-governing members of society.

    In these cases, the issue of morality aside, it can be plainly seen how each political view contains strong elements supporting legalization. Maintaining the status quo has the U.S. throwing tax dollars away by spending it on law enforcement, criminal justice and prisons. The U.S. healthcare system is currently reactionary at best; it passively handles STDs after they occur instead of instituting mechanisms to prevent them from happening in the first place. Political philosophy has not changed from immaturity and clings to a prohibitory model from the 1920s, even though it was proven to be devastating to its citizens [see The Effects of Prohibition above].

    The best way to understand the current state of affairs concerning prostitution is to entertain an analogy. Pretend government is a business. Politicians would be the managers and prostitution would be a certain procedure the company had to manage. Would a successful business ignore a procedure when it performed poorly? Would it allow a poor procedure to continue or would a successful business instead rethink its position and improve it? All successful companies must evolve over time if they are to stay in business and excel. Fortunately, the U.S. Constitution allows its citizens to view government like a dynamic business because it is a work in progress. Laws can change and adapt to meet the demands of a modern civilization. It is a far better strategy than hoping it will go away and clean up itself.

    Where are the limits for two consenting adults in privacy? How government is shaped to handle that question will decide how women's rights, social programs, public healthcare, the safety of youth and possibly the general safety of citizens are valued. If moral obstacles prevent citizens from obtaining a government that helps its people while preserving freedoms, then a paradigm shift must be considered. A movement away from values that are harmful is difficult only if one decides to cling to outdated, self-destructive traditions.

    Politicians should be careful how they address the philosophical limits of adult privacy. A number of people believe government should have no right deciding how adults conduct their sexual lives, even when an exchange of money is involved. Public debate has already addressed a women's rights issue that is connected to a similar freedom.

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  8. Comparing Prostitution Rights to Abortion Rights
    Abortion was decided to be legal by The Supreme Court in 1973 in a landmark case: Roe vs. Wade. Intellectuals have weighed the issue and decided in favor for women's rights in part due to public safety.

    “If modern society rests itself on principles claiming to assist those who cannot help themselves and create structures where opportunities, not dead ends, are the norm, then these lower strata prostitutes do not deserve the abandonment from which they are suffering.”

    Considering the safety gains, the decision was proper, despite perpetual moral objections from religious groups ignoring longstanding facts to this day. Pre-1973, 17% of all deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth were the result of illegal abortions. Pre-1973, 1.2 million women resorted to illegal abortions yearly and botched illegal abortions caused as many as 5,000 deaths a year. Untrained physician in unsanitary conditions using primitive methods often performed illegal abortions (Planned Parenthood, 2002).

    As with the treatment of alcohol in the '20s, prohibiting abortions did not stop them. In fact, illegal abortions were commonplace and hazardous to the health of women. Again we see the outcome of a prohibitory philosophy [see The Effects of Prohibition above]. The facts indicate we must abandon abolitionist thinking and insist society rest on what is best for it. Traditionalists would disagree, but what evidence do they use to support their opinion?

    The Christian group partly responsible for prohibition in the '20s now takes an interesting view concerning abolition. The Women's Christian Temperance Union states on its official website "Temperance may be defined as: moderation in all things healthful; total abstinence from all things harmful" (Women's Christian Temperance Union, n.d.). Originating from a religious group that played a part in the prohibition disaster, it appears to have undergone a paradigm shift.

    The quote is an interesting one, coming from an organization having ties to values generally thought to be moral. Certain religious groups insist society not be corrupted by negative behaviors and consequently ban them. This group must now see the futility of such a position, which brings us hope for other morally centered organizations. Regardless, the quote was from the insightful Greek philosopher Xenophon (400 B.C.), who lived in a time when prostitution was legal and often performed within temples (Baldwin, 2004).

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  9. Religion Shapes the Economy Through the Family
    Either by observing nature, tackling the problems of humankind or listening to persons claiming divine inspiration, religionists proclaim they know what is good for us. Consequently, they seek to shape society. Sometimes they shape society through dogma or lobby politicians to pass ordinances and laws. Their strength comes from an ability to mobilize groups and form organizations.

    It was probably thought pairing men and women while punishing those who stray from monogamy was a way of keeping people productive. Purpose does tend to fall to the wayside when people are constantly at odds due to promiscuity. Families on the other hand promote other families and the dependence on those families creates stabilization.

    When societies are stable, religionists may argue, greater deeds are possible to accomplish. We invent tools, find medical cures and create works of art that elevate the human spirit. It enables humankind to manufacture materials, offer services and develop trade locally or abroad. Monogamy, it is seen, gave birth to the present-day economy.

    Religionists, economists and successful philanthropists want to preserve the status quo model. 'Why change a good thing?' would be their argument. To that, one would have to point to the futility of prohibitionist philosophies. Alcohol consumption of the 1920s along with present-day indicators (like homicide rates, divorce rates and continued women's rights issues) might tell us a different story. Is a desire for a steady-state economy at the expense of citizens a good long-range plan?

    Maybe the entire economy depends on the family, or does it? In a capitalistic country, like The United States, the economy is tied mainly to the goods it sells. The more consumers and the more they purchase, the better off the country is as a whole. Having and promoting families is a way of continuing the steady-state economy.

    However, the only guarantee from this attachment to a steady-state model is the production of children, not the production of families. Let the statistics of marriage speak for themselves. The average length of a marriage is 7.2 years. 50% of marriages fail, while 60% of remarriages fail. Roughly 1 million children per year become directly affected by divorce (Divorce Magazine, n.d.). It is clear too many marriages end poorly for a high number of children in the United States, making the mainstream religionist's premise within the U.S. faulty.

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  10. Scientists May Find Answers Through Research
    There are bigger questions here that go beyond the scope of this investigation into legalized prostitution. Is the pursuit of the elusive family dependant upon having children? When many marriages fail, what value is there to families? What are the societal consequences of producing so many children without the structure of two-parent homes? There appears to be a need for change of the way religionists and society handles monogamy, marriage, and the family in the not so distant future.

    Population scientists agree there are already many concerns related to having too many people. The very model that sustains a modern capitalistic country -- goods combined with an increasing consumer base -- is having a detrimental impact on ecological levels. Pollution of air, water, land and sound is already evident and is no longer mere theory.

    Humans, unlike successful species, never left a colonization mode, which needs to be altered. Producing large quantities of offspring is necessary only when natural conditions, like numerous predators or inhospitable environments, prevent young from producing offspring of their own. This is no longer the case. Now, human survival may already depend on decreased growth or zero population growth. Moves toward that goal would require a different worldview with different mores.

    One social dynamic to consider is serial monogamy. When people are left to naturally gravitate toward relationships without strong economic, moral, or legal forces, serial monogamy is often chosen and the lifelong monogamous relationship ideal is abandoned. There is even biological and psychological justification to defend this practice (Casad, n.d.).

    Other social dynamics to consider are of a non-monogamous nature. Only 2% of all species are monogamous. Chimpanzees, the closest relative to the human species, practice "group marriages". With socio-biological urges guiding humans toward sexual diversity, maintaining monogamy as the social norm can be viewed as peculiar at best (Hughs, 1990). It certainly explains divorce rates and the problem of promiscuity in countries holding monogamy to unwarranted high regard.

    Yet if the current, haphazard child production model is abandoned, where will social scientists look for a replacement model? Globalization may have them looking at other countries to see what works and what does not work while still preserving women's rights and maintaining high healthcare standards and other important social factors.

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  11. Data Driven Analysis
    If society must accurately decide whether regulated prostitution is better than illegal prostitution, then scientists must analyze the wealth of information that exists. Social scientists and common voting citizens must look at data from countries having legal prostitution and compare them to The United States. Canada, the Netherlands, Mexico, and France have legal forms of prostitution as does Israel, Greece, Denmark, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Saudi Arabia allows polygyny and Iran offers "temporary wives". Examining these countries in the broad areas of crime, healthcare, and social conditions will help determine if prostitution should be legalized.

    Note: All statistics, save for two, are per capita. One statistic indicates government spending on education as a percent of gross domestic product. The other is a mean age for life expectancy. Standardizing these values with the use of rates (indicator per 1000 members), percents, and means allows one to compare these countries without a need to introduce differences in population. Entries of "X" indicate values that were either unreported by respective governments or were unavailable by statistics agencies used by Nation Master (n.d.).

    1. Crime
      Crime is a word used to describe taboo behaviors in a society. Each society defines it and enacts punishments to counter it differently. In Table 1 below, we will find comparative statistics on serious crimes and information on how criminals are pursued. Murders, rapes, the number of adults prosecuted, and number of prisoners per country are listed.

      Serious crimes are high in the United States. The U.S. places second on the murder list. The only country with a higher rate is Mexico. The U.S. has nearly half the murders as Mexico, but has two and a half times as many murders as Canada. When looking at rape data, the U.S. is second on the list, with Canada topping it. The U.S. rate is slightly less than half of Canada's rate, but more than double France's rate. The United States sits firmly in second place with these two violent crimes.

      The United States has problems with violent crime despite great efforts to prosecute criminals and imprison them. The U.S. prosecutes almost five times the number of people as Canada and over eight times the number that Mexico reports. The U.S. is also unrivaled in terms of imprisonment. France comes the closest to the U.S.'s number of inmates, confining one-sixth the number as the U.S.

      It is unknown if there is a correlation between laws that prohibit sex and higher crime rates, but the reverse appears to be more enlightening. The countries where prostitution is legal do not suffer from a high number of violent crimes. It appears legalized prostitution does not make societies more of a crime hazard. Contrary to the prohibitionist's philosophy, this data may give reason to implement and regulate prostitution to reduce crime because crime in countries where prostitution is legal is lower than the U.S.'s rates.

      Table 1: Crime
      per 1000
      per 1000
      per 1000
      per 1000
      Saudi Arabia00X1
      United Kingdom0.010.1425.21.1
      United States0.050.3250.66.4

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    2. Healthcare
      We recognize the general level of compassion and technological ability of a country in part by its ability to provide healthcare to its citizens. Laws, societal trends, and healthcare distribution also determine how a country will react to these variables. In Table 2 below, we will find data on HIV/AIDS rates and life expectancy levels for various countries.

      The United States is tied at first place with the U.K. when it comes to the number of people per capita who live with HIV/AIDS. In Israel, where prostitution is legal, they suffer from nearly an eighth of the U.S.'s number. The U.K. aside, legal prostitution does not appear to have a negative impact on the spread of HIV/AIDS. In fact, there is evidence [see Health-Safety Issues above] to support the positive effects of legalizing prostitution on the spread of HIV/AIDS.

      The U.S. is number one on the list for number of people dying of HIV/AIDS. There are many reasons to explain this fact even though the U.K. has an equal number of people infected with HIV/AIDS living in the country, but none of those reasons have to do with the legalization of prostitution. It may be a bit perplexing to prohibitionists when a country with legalized prostitution, like Canada, has a seventh of the number of HIV/AIDS infections as the U.S.

      When looking at mean life expectancy by country, the result is less than special. There appears to be no causal relation between life expectancy and prostitution laws. However, the six countries that have higher life expectancies do have legal forms of prostitution, making it clear that prostitution does not negatively affect longevity.

      There is a strong rationale for legalizing prostitution by regulating the industry, thereby monitoring sex workers and consequently the clients they serve. Allowing prostitution to remain invisible only perpetuates the spread of sometimes-deadly sexually transmitted diseases. A containment model based on managing the problem is better than an abolitionist model based on ignoring it, hoping it one day goes away all by itself.

      Table 2: Healthcare
       People Living
      with HIV/AIDS
      per 1000
      HIV/AIDS Deaths
      per 1000
      Mean Life
      Saudi ArabiaX068.4
      United Kingdom3.00.0178.0
      United States3.00.0777.4

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    3. Social Conditions
      One way to get a general idea of social structures within a country is to look at money spent on education, suicide rates, and divorce rates. In Table 3 below, details regarding that information can be found, which sheds some light on preparedness for the future, happiness, and monogamy within each country.

      How a country views education tells us how its people value children and how its people plan for the future. It is a measure of how evolved its society is as well. The U.S. is fifth on the list even though it has the greatest GDP ($10 trillion, 2001) of all countries -- even of those that are not listed in Table 3. However, Saudi Arabia and Denmark's statistics are over 50% more than the U.S.'s value. Denmark allocates a huge percentage of their limited resources on education, telling us how much its people value education. It is possible that Denmark, along with other countries, have legalized prostitution as a result of the education they receive.

      A measure of the overall citizen happiness may be obtained by looking at suicide rates for each country. The U.S. is third highest on the list and has over 50% more suicides per capita than Denmark. Only Greece and Mexico have higher rates, which may be a result caused by the low socio-economic conditions permeating those countries. Also, we see a trend occurring for countries that have legal prostitution; they have lower suicide rates, suggesting yet another benefit of industry regulation.

      If we compare divorce rates between countries, we will understand the success of institutional monogamy under different social conditions. The United States is second highest, with eight times the divorces as Mexico, twice as many as Canada and 55% more than Denmark. It is clear that the U.S. has a high turnover rate. Meanwhile, most countries with legal prostitution have less of a problem with institutional monogamy.

      Table 3: Social Conditions
       Spending on Education
      % of GDP
      Suicide Rates
      per 1000
      Divorce Rates
      per 1000
      Saudi Arabia7.2%XX
      United Kingdom4.7%3.45.1
      United States4.7%4.55.0

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    4. Summary
      Given the three broad categories above (Crime, Healthcare, Social conditions), the countries having legal prostitution enjoy many benefits the United States does not. Crime is higher within the U.S., despite severe laws, intense prosecution rates and a high number of imprisonments. People infected with HIV/AIDS are higher, as is the number of HIV/AIDS deaths in the U.S. Even suicide rates and divorce rates are disproportionately high in the U.S., too.

      Upon a close examination of the Netherlands reveals interesting findings. Amsterdam is the capitol of the Netherlands and is internationally known for its redlight district. Critics to prostitution might be stunned to learn that the Netherlands has the least number of murders and rapes. It prosecutes a considerable amount of criminals but has a low number of prisoners. It does not suffer from an HIV/AIDS epidemic, like the U.S. and the U.K., and has the second lowest suicide rate listed. This news will literally stop critics (who are open to reason) in their tracks when they are confronted with such information.

      A scientific study may be able to prove a causal relationship between legalized, regulated prostitution and the benefits of lower crime, better healthcare, lower suicide rates and lower divorce rates. However, this positional paper shows beyond a doubt that legalization of prostitution certainly does not create an environment causing critical country indicators to wane. Therefore, there exists a strong probability of countering teenage prostitution and helping women leave prostitution through specially targeted social programs, all at no risk. It is likely there will be improvements for the nation as a whole, since all citizens are immeasurably tied to the larger community.

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  12. Management versus Abandonment
    The critics of legalized prostitution insist sex for money is wrong because it is harmful to prostitutes. They claim prostitutes are victims of physical abuse and frequently suffer from homelessness, alcoholism and dependency on other drugs. These critics report that prostitutes have often been sexually and/or physically abused while growing up.

    What critics do not report is a plan to help these workers. Their rationale is a status quo model, which does absolutely nothing to help these women. Instead of managing the problem through the medical and social interventions accompanied by regulation of the industry, critics of legalized prostitution would rather adopt prohibition and cold abandonment.

    When critics mention neighborhood safety, they do not offer meaningful alternatives. Their plan is to heighten police patrols, encourage undercover sting operations, and stiffen penalties. We have seen the results of prohibition in the 1920s [see The Effects of Prohibition above]; it drives the industry further underground, making it harder to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS (McElroy, 1999) and various other sexually transmitted diseases in a community.

    If critics of prostitution wanted to truly help prostitutes and the neighborhoods where prostitution occurs, they would reconsider their position. Prohibitionists retain their view as a result of moral codes, not because of unbiased scientific study. Research shows the many benefits of legalization. Allowing prohibitionist propaganda to drive laws and the way civil liberties are viewed will guarantee: drug dependency will not be abated, physical abuse will continue, and STDs will spread. Most important, the women who need help will continue their lives on the same harmful paths.

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  13. Prostitution as a Career
    Prostitution has been in existence for millennia, going back to the Byzantine, Roman, Greek, and Egyptian Empires. Ironically, the ancient religions of those eras dealt with the needs of the group and consequently developed protocols for dealing with sexual relations that have propagated throughout time to the modern era. As a result, prostitution is not about to disappear anytime soon, despite relatively recent local laws.

    There are three strata of prostitutes. Within the top layer rests discrete call-girls for the affluent, much like the services Heidi Fleiss offered (Copeland, 1997). The middle layer holds bordello-dwelling prostitutes or others in less subtle environments such as strip clubs and massage parlors that offer backroom services. Streetwalkers (harlots, hookers, nightwalkers, ...) occupy the lowest layer. Some people entertain a controversial notion that the role of wife is akin to being a prostitute (Mechelen, 1992); their placement within the strata may depend on what socio-economic class they reside once married.

    The lowest layer prostitutes are plagued with the most problems. It is the group that usually remains perpetually vulnerable. They work in conditions that make them prone to violence due to a lack of supervision. And, there are healthcare risks due to unsafe sexual contact with unscreened clients.

    These lower strata prostitutes are the women who require help. The others benefit from physically safe environments, decent to lucrative wages, and operate among clients that are more likely to be healthy. Lower strata prostitutes cannot afford decent medical services and are frequently physically assaulted by pimps or clients. These women are either lured into the industry by drugs or they turn to drugs as a means to cope with their hellish lives (David, n.d.). Most lower strata prostitutes exist within economically static careers. They contribute large portions of their revenue to pimps or drugs, making their condition inescapable.

    Bottom strata prostitutes remain trapped, but the upper two-thirds are far less constrained. For the upper two strata of prostitutes, free will is present. They are able to carefully parlay their gains into real estate or financial investments even within localities having laws against prostitution. They can choose to leave prostitution for other careers or simply retire. Since it is impossible to stop prostitutes, the upper two-thirds will continue to make a fiscally respectful living from it and the lowest third will suffer.

    If modern society rests itself on principles claiming to assist those who cannot help themselves and create structures where opportunities, not dead ends, are the norm, then these lower strata prostitutes do not deserve the abandonment from which they are suffering. Instead, politicians and community activists have become influenced by religious dogma and modern day Elmer Gantry's. The entities that long ago managed prostitution, like Swaggart, Bakker and even leaders of The Catholic Church (Google, 2003), hypocritically exile prostitutes to lives they may identify as depraved; yet, they use their services, engage in adulterous relations and cover up widespread pedophilia. Prostitutes continue to suffer due to these long-standing traditions maintained in part by such religionists. No longer do these traditions serve humanity.

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  14. Conclusion
    Sexual relations are handled differently in countries around the world. Most countries encourage varied forms of monogamy, others polygyny. Even in the case of monogamy, there are numerous countries that impose no restrictions on prostitution, unlike a majority of the communities within the United States.

    In order to discover if legalization is proper, one has to first familiarize oneself with the U.S. prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and the legalization of abortion in the 1970s. The implementation of prohibition was a result of an abolitionist philosophy and caused great harm to the country through lost taxes, increased crime rates and higher suicide rates. Similarly, when the U.S. abandoned its abolitionist stand on abortion, the country benefited from fewer deaths from botched back alley abortions. This proved prohibitionist thinking to be baseless and actually detrimental to communities.

    There are many benefits to legalized prostitution. The benefits include (1) allowing law enforcement agencies to respond to more important crimes, (2) freeing justice systems from nuisance cases, (3) helping women who are trapped by prostitution, and (4) preventing teens from being ensnared into prostitution.

    When data from countries that ban prostitution is compared with data from countries that do not, many startling discoveries can be observed. Countries without anti-prostitution laws have less murders, less rapes, and prosecute/imprison less people. HIV/AIDS is less of a problem; suicide rates are lower as are divorce rates, too.

    Critics of the legalization of prostitution offer no alternative to a troublesome problem. These people would rather adopt the status quo model, which virtually abandons lower strata, low socio-economic prostitutes. Instead of managing the problem, these critics view the continued downward spiral of this subgroup as acceptable.

    The critics of legalized prostitution rest comfortably within relatively new moral codes. The religions that now reject prostitution once used to manage it. However, even though religionists publicly denounce prostitution, too many hypocritically entertain like services and commit adultery. The Catholic Church has covered up institutional pedophilia at the expense of demeaning religious values and the lives of those who aspire to follow them.

    Enlightened people within civilized societies pride themselves on the contributions made to others who are less fortunate. Low strata prostitutes clearly rest within the domain of the less fortunate, but the countries who cling to anti-prostitution laws choose to abandon these people and thereby negatively affect the crime, health, and general safety of those nations. One must reconsider whether or not those countries are truly civilized.

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