Prostitution Essay, Research Paper


Effects of New Legislation on the Oldest Profession

Sex for sell. For some prostitution is a victimless crime while others

fight hard in the hopes of one day abolishing prostitution forever. The

topic of prostitution remains a greatly debated issue even after so many

years of existence. Prostitution existed as far back in time as ancient

Athens and ancient Rome. In Rome, prostitutes were licensed by the state


taxed. Prostitution continued to flourished through out Europe until the

High Middle Ages with the outbreak of the syphilis epidemic and Reformation

morality (Academic American Encyclopedia 91). In most large Western cities

today prostitution is illegal but tolerated, because police there are more

concerned with regulating the crimes, organized by crime syndicates,

associated with prostitution (Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia 94). Other

Western governments combine regulated prostitution with public health

measures to control disease (American Academic Encyclopedia 91).

Prostitution has lasted and survived every attack by civilization to end


Some would say that for as long people have both money and sexual

frustration some will continue to pay others to satisfy them ( Bovard 18).

Existing throughout the world and time, prostitution has managed to


however a growing number of people are beginning to look at the effect

legalization of or strict laws for prostitution would have on a community.

Prostitution in the world is alive and well despite the fact that is it


illegal in most developed countries (Academic American Encyclopedia 91).

Some see it as an issue of safety in out neighborhoods and other take it on

as a moral issue. However, because of the spread of disease and what seems

to be a futile battle, many cities in America and other countries are

considering the possibility of legalization and regulation of prostitution.

In Britain, it is considered legal to sell sex but, the associated

activities including soliciting, advertising, street walking, and running

brothels is illegal (”Green-light areas” 73). The article “Green-Light


talks of how the police in Britain tend to turn a blind eye to prostitution

and go after the pimps and drug-dealers who are connected with the

prostitution (73).This method of policing is different from that in America

where police concentrate on the prostitutes themselves. Brothels are also

given license in Britain. The thinking being that is it allows regular

visits by health officials who check basic standards of hygiene and can

dispose of dirty needles (”Green-Light Area” 73). Canada has similar laws

pertaining to prostitution. The selling of sex is legal, but pimping and

working a brothel is illegal (World Sex Guide 96). Toronto would like to

license prostitutes and relocate to official red-light district. The plan

has little support and most of its critics say it will be ineffectual

(Chisholm 35). Vancouver also has a program that allows streetwalkers to

their jobs uninterrupted as long as they stay outside so called “no-go”

neighborhoods (Chisholm 35). The solution for several countries and cities

who have high levels of prostitution seems to be to open red light

districts. In fact, some cities around the world have already taken that

step. Critics would argue that this is a sort of give up mentality.

Hamburg and Amsterdam are such places that have taken that step. These

places are often cited as models that provide safer environments for

prostitutes. Some would argue that the benefits to red-light districts as

those in Hamburg and Amsterdam are limited because the successful

prostitutes would dominate these zones and others would simply move to

surrounding neighborhoods (Chisholm 35). Hamburg is noted for making

streetwalkers undergo frequent health checks but even advocates for the

legalization of prostitution say that Amsterdam has some problems to work

out (Bovard 18). The most known about place for commercial sex in America


the state of Nevada. Brothels, which are legal in 12 rural counties in

Nevada tend to be safe places to indulge in sexual activities. (Bovard 18).

Those against prostitution state that although the brothels may be not a

health risk there still are downfalls. Anastasia Volkonsky, a columnist for

Insight on the News, says that even the legal brothels maintain a


with the pimping circuit by paying finder’s fee to pimps who discover and

bring in new girls (20). Women in Nevada’s brothels have reported working


hour shifts even menstruating or pregnant, right to refuse a customer’s

sexual demands. (Volkonsky 20). In places such as Budapest, no only is

prostitution legal but is flourishing and now the government wants to tax

it. The average prostitute in Hungary makes around two-thousand dollars a

month. Brothels will probably be allow soon and the only major restriction

is that soliciting is banned near churches and schools. (”The Red Lights of

Italy…and Hungary” 45). Not all places like the if you cannot be them


them attitude taken by many countries and cities. They believe the best way

to stop prostitution is through harsher laws that target certain


and tough enforcement.

Those who want stronger laws against prostitution now want to concentrate

more on the customer more so than the prostitute. Many officials advocate

crackdowns on johns and pimps while providing help for those women who


to leave the life of prostitution (Chisholm 35).

One could argue that as far as crimes go prostitution is victimless crime,

but others would say that it is a matter of public safety and disease

control. Would harsher laws end prostitution or result in a lot of persons

getting their cars impounded? Regardless as to what effects harsher laws

will have on prostitution, new laws are still being tried out in several

states in America. Advocates for legalization say that harsher laws have to

be enforced and that cost money. One Los Angeles official estimated that

prostitution enforcement was costing the city more than 100 million a year

(Bovard 18). Still the trend in America seems to lean toward legislation to

crackdown on prostitution. Supporters feel that targeting the customer


the demand in an area and so the prostitutes are forced to move to another

area. Some ways police enforce these laws are to extreme say some critics


harsher legislation.

In most cases, since neither prostitutes nor their clients complain to

police out the others conduct, law enforcement rely sting operations to

catch offenders ( Bovard 18). In the past these sting operation would give

the offender a minor punishment and send them on their way. Today law

enforcement is beginning to see that it is the customer with their jobs,

money, status in society, clean arrest record, and anonymity that have the

most to lose. This has triggered laws that allows police to seize cars


soliciting prostitutes( Volkonsky 20). Another popular new legal step taken

to shame would-be customers, is to list their name or photo in the town

paper.( Volkonsky 20). These new measure may or may not work, it is still


soon to tell. Prostitution has started to get more and more attention in


last year or so and change in legislation is almost inevitable.

Although change is coming, the world is still divided on where, what, and

when the change is coming. Advocates for legalization believe red-light

districts and regulation is the answer. Others believe new laws that target

and effect would be offenders is the answer. No one can predict the future

and only time will tell. Tomorrow may bring a country that is similar to

Nevada or a place where convicted offenders have their vehicles impounded

and there faces shown on the local news.


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