by MATT MOLINAR
The global sex trade has become a big industry for prostitutes and a problem for victims of the sex trafficking epidemic.
Prostitution is a taboo issue that has been debated in many countries, including the United States. Some countries have legalized the practice, while others have simply decriminalized it. If regulated correctly, prostitution could be legalized while cracking down on human trafficking.
While humans deserve the free will to sell their bodies as they please, this can open doors for sex traffickers to run underground businesses. The current laws for the sex trade exist to protect and reduce the number of victims.
In the state of Texas, it is a crime to even suggest that you may be buying or selling sex. If you are convicted more than three times for prostitution, you will serve jail time. So what happens to the girls who are stuck in the practice?
Unless they’re lucky enough to live somewhere such as Lubbock, which has a task force that is actively involved in keeping women out of prostitution, they may be out of luck.
This is why prostitution should be legalized. If the goal is to keep these girls off of the streets, we should start by opening up brothels outside of the city limits for those who are seeking a job in prostitution. This way, we can increase tax revenue while reducing the number of those who might conduct business with an underage prostitute or human trafficking victim.
People who oppose the legalization of prostitution believe that legalizing it would create a higher STD rate. But we must take into consideration how brothels in Nevada operate. Contractors who work in Nevada brothels are required to test for STDs and STIs at least monthly.
People who oppose also believe that the human trafficking rate will increase. But there is no logic behind that. At worst, we may see the numbers remain the same if it were to become legalized. Legalized brothels would be state regulated, just as those in Nevada are.
Legalizing prostitution could help combat human trafficking. In Germany, prostitution was legalized, which dropped human trafficking rates by 10 percent during the first decade of 2000, according to a study done by Harvard Law.
With prohibition laws in place, pimps can threaten human trafficking victims with the prostitution laws, making it less likely for them to trust law enforcement. If the practice were legalized, a relationship can be formed between trafficking victims and law enforcement.
According to Donna M. Hughes, a researcher on human trafficking from the University of Rhode Island, legalization of prostitution would mean the practice would be regulated. These regulations would determine where, when, and how prostitution can operate. Decriminalization of prostitution is what I would consider a very bad idea.
When a legal offense becomes decriminalized, all laws regarding the act are eliminated and law enforcement officials are no longer able to intervene. If prostitution were to become decriminalized, the probability of somebody being forced into prostitution would become much higher.
So let’s say the United States legalized prostitution. While the state is regulating brothels, law enforcement can begin to focus on serious sex trafficking crimes. People who voluntarily prostitute themselves would be kept out of jail, while illegal pimps and traffickers are charged for enslaving people.
Morally, I think prostitution is wrong. But who am I to judge somebody for his or her choice of profession? I have had the pleasure of meeting an escort who holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. This person is hard working, determined, and excited about his career in the sex industry. Although it may not be my cup of tea, if somebody is that passionate and determined about a profession, why shouldn’t they be able to do it?
In the United States, $1.2 million is spent each year on enforcement costs regarding prostitution arrests. The spending is not worth it, because prostitutes will pay their expenses or spend time in jail and get right back to it.
While I understand that the prostitution laws are in place to protect children and reduce human trafficking, prostitution should be legalized in order to truly combat human trafficking and reduce the amount of dedicated prostitutes in jail and in the streets.