Legalization Of Prostitution Essay Research Paper There

Legalization Of Prostitution Essay, Research Paper There are many legal issues in society today that are becoming the topic of numerous controversial debates. These debates involve both the need for personal choice, and the importance of society s morality. These issues include such topics as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, the legalization of drugs, and the decriminalization of prostitution.

Legalization Of Prostitution Essay, Research Paper

There are many legal issues in society today that are becoming the topic of numerous controversial debates. These debates involve both the need for personal choice, and the importance of society s morality. These issues include such topics as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, the legalization of drugs, and the decriminalization of prostitution. Prostitution is the oldest paying profession in history, and it is as ancient as humanity itself. If a topic as controversial as abortion is legal, then prostitution should be as well. Sexual activity between two consenting adults compares to abortion under the same reasoning that a woman can do with her body what she wishes. Some say it is a personal choice to assert the fundamental right of consenting adults to pay for sexual services. It could be considered just like any other professional service, or like buying a good dinner instead of having home cooking all the time. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and Nevada, and these cities are known worldwide for their choices. The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution agrees with the decriminalization of prostitution. In Canada it is legal to be a prostitute, but not to work at it. There are many women who would argue that this is unconstitutional. In 1995, a Florida woman, formerly a prostitute, sued the state saying that the laws that prohibit her from practicing her chosen profession are unconstitutional. Decriminalization would take prostitution out of the Criminal Code. This would allow municipal politicians to step in and introduce bylaws designed to regulate prostitution, particularly highly visible street prostitution, in their communities.

The most prominent example of such laws is in Amsterdam, where, as of January 1, 1997 a designated area has been set aside where streetwalking prostitution is permitted. Some 300 streetwalkers operated across Amsterdam, and a blind eye had been turned to them, but when too many congregated in a given area, they were dispersed by police, and local residents suffered from the nuisance factor. At present there are 200 window prostitution businesses in Amsterdam and 70 closed brothels, and there is an estimated number of over 5 000 prostitutes. All existing operations which meet the demands are eligible for a permit, and no expansion on the number of operations will be permitted. Introduction of a permit system now empowers local government to enforce compliance with strictly stated demands. Failure to comply will make the party illegible for a permit, or result in withdrawal of an existing permit. Enforcing compliance is the task of the police and the city services. The permit policy is designed to protect and enhance the position of the prostitute. The party granted a permit to operate a prostitution business is responsible for the state of affairs in and around his/her premises, while the permit gives him/her a greater degree of certainty under the law than was previously the case.

Typically, the only image the public sees of the sex industry is street prostitution which is the very low end of prostitution, done by desperate women, and for the wrong reasons. The majority of work in the sex industry is now, and should continue to be, in privacy between consenting adults. It is difficult to estimate the number of persons who currently work, or have ever worked as prostitutes for many reasons, including the various definitions of prostitution. Arrest figures range over 100 000. The National Task Force on Prostitution suggests that over one million people in the United States have worked as prostitutes, or about one percent of American women. The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution covers a wide variety of arguments, solutions, and statistics that support, as well as disagree with, the legalization or decriminalization of prostitution. Prostitution has always existed in San Francisco, and it is, indeed, a part of San Francisco s romanticized past. The Task Force concluded that prostitution is not a monolithic institution. Although the majority of sex workers are women, it encompasses people of all genders working in the pornographic media industry, live theater, massage parlors, bordellos and through print advertising, as well as the street workers most commonly envisioned when the word prostitution is mentioned. Due to the fact that it is such a varied industry, the responses from the city must vary as well. The Task Force discovered that the complaints of those who are against prostitution are really only towards a fraction of the total industry, and that those legitimate concerns are not being met by efficient and effective solutions. Yet not only are current responses ineffective, they are also harmful. They marginalize and victimize prostitutes, making it more difficult for those who want to get out of the industry. It also makes it more difficult for those who remain in prostitution to claim their civil, and human rights. The San Francisco Police department does not consistently enforce laws against any sex workers except the most visible, those on the street, as well as those who are most vulnerable, including African American, transgender, and immigrant women. Most of these who are arrested spend no more than a weekend in jail before being released. Though enforcement may increase, there is no evidence that it does any more than force street workers to more from one place to the next. The Task Force concluded that prosecution of prostitution has exacerbated problems in the industry including violence and chemical dependency, while enforcement further marginalizes prostitutes. The Task Force findings indicate that decriminalization of prostitution could eventually reduce street prostitution and would enable the city to address the problems of the vulnerable populations who are currently part of the street economy.

On average, the cost of arrest, court cost and incarceration costs amount to nearly 2 000 American dollars per arrest in San Francisco. Other cities spend an average of seven and a half million dollars on prostitution control every year, ranging from one million dollars in Memphis, to twenty-three million dollars in New York. Adequate state and local laws already exist to respond when noise, trespassing and littering are problems. These infractions are punishable by fines, not by incarceration. Failure to pay fines is a criminal offense, however; those who refuse to pay their fines may be prosecuted. Infractions are therefore a more cost-effective enforcement option than misdemeanors and felonies. Under no circumstance, however, should these infractions be used to harass suspected prostitutes. Harassment and abuse of suspected prostitutes is a serious problem in the San Francisco Police Department, and it is only recently coming to light. The very methods of enforcement encourage abuse. Police officers pose as prospective clients and try to get suspects to say the words that will get them arrested. The police who are most successful are those who most convincingly behave like clients. Many women complain of vice officers fondling them or exposing themselves before arresting them. These women refuse to report abusive officers because they fear retaliation or that they will not be believed. The Task Force heard evidence that prostitutes are afraid to call the police when they are crime victims for fear of being arrested themselves. Despite the difficulty of uncovering and uprooting abuse, in 1994 a police officer was arrested for forcing a massage parlor worker to orally copulate him. The City paid also $85,000 in damages to a registered nurse who was falsely arrested and held when the officers suspected her of being a prostitute.

Once a person gets a rap sheet as a known prostitute, she/he may be trapped and stigmatized for life, and may be unable to pursue other jobs. This can also mean that a woman may loose custody of her children, especially since there is a mandatory jail sentence on a second conviction. Landlords often refuse to rent to sex workers or overcharge them for substandard accommodations. Very often prostitutes lead double lives , forced underground for fear of a break-up of family and other relationships. As well as the fear of being evicted from their homes, losing their jobs, and ending up working on the streets. Also, forced testing assumes that prostitutes represent a threat to public health. There is no evidence that sex workers, as a group, have a greater incidence of HIV infection than the general population or that they spread HIV disease. In fact, evidence shows that San Francisco sex workers are highly educated about safe sex. The U.S. Department of Health consistently reports that only three to five percent of the sexually transmitted disease in the United States is related to prostitution, compared to thirty to thirty-five percent among teenagers. There is no statistical indication that prostitutes are vectors of HIV. Although a small percentage of prostitutes may be HIV positive, William Darrow, CDC AIDS epidemiology official, cites no proven cases of HIV transmission from prostitutes to clients.

A lot of information has been given to support the legalization of prostitution. There are many Prostitution proposals that have been made for legislator. Some ideas that can be found on such a proposal have already been stated. Other ideas are that sex work provides a means by which natural human desires may be satisfied to the mutual benefit of the parties involved. Also, the enforcement of prostitution laws constitutes state interference in private behavior, it is a waste of taxpayers funds and it wastes valuable police resources. And, the recognition of sex work as legitimate work would facilitate the taxation of the sex work, and thus convert sex work from a cost to a profit industry, and it would produce safe working conditions. There are many who would disagree with these ideas, and believe that the common morals and order of society are more important than the right to have such personal choice. This is a very difficult debate, which appears to be the reason that no decision has been reached here yet. Moralizing over prostitution will not aid in dealing with the issue. Politicians must learn to accept prostitution as just another business on a city’s economic landscape. This would enable them to devise realistic solutions to problems stemming from prostitution, rather than create phony fail-safes which don’t. Prostitutes do not expect to be exempted from all controls, all they have ever asked for is to be treated like other freelance entrepreneurs. Therein lies the solution.

There are many legal issues in society today that are becoming the topic of numerous controversial debates. These debates involve both the need for personal choice, and the importance of society s morality. These issues include such topics as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, the legalization of drugs, and the decriminalization of prostitution. Prostitution is the oldest paying profession in history, and it is as ancient as humanity itself. If a topic as controversial as abortion is legal, then prostitution should be as well. Sexual activity between two consenting adults compares to abortion under the same reasoning that a woman can do with her body what she wishes. Some say it is a personal choice to assert the fundamental right of consenting adults to pay for sexual services. It could be considered just like any other professional service, or like buying a good dinner instead of having home cooking all the time. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and Nevada, and these cities are known worldwide for their choices. The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution agrees with the decriminalization of prostitution. In Canada it is legal to be a prostitute, but not to work at it. There are many women who would argue that this is unconstitutional. In 1995, a Florida woman, formerly a prostitute, sued the state saying that the laws that prohibit her from practicing her chosen profession are unconstitutional. Decriminalization would take prostitution out of the Criminal Code. This would allow municipal politicians to step in and introduce bylaws designed to regulate prostitution, particularly highly visible street prostitution, in their communities.

The most prominent example of such laws is in Amsterdam, where, as of January 1, 1997 a designated area has been set aside where streetwalking prostitution is permitted. Some 300 streetwalkers operated across Amsterdam, and a blind eye had been turned to them, but when too many congregated in a given area, they were dispersed by police, and local residents suffered from the nuisance factor. At present there are 200 window prostitution businesses in Amsterdam and 70 closed brothels, and there is an estimated number of over 5 000 prostitutes. All existing operations which meet the demands are eligible for a permit, and no expansion on the number of operations will be permitted. Introduction of a permit system now empowers local government to enforce compliance with strictly stated demands. Failure to comply will make the party illegible for a permit, or result in withdrawal of an existing permit. Enforcing compliance is the task of the police and the city services. The permit policy is designed to protect and enhance the position of the prostitute. The party granted a permit to operate a prostitution business is responsible for the state of affairs in and around his/her premises, while the permit gives him/her a greater degree of certainty under the law than was previously the case.

Typically, the only image the public sees of the sex industry is street prostitution which is the very low end of prostitution, done by desperate women, and for the wrong reasons. The majority of work in the sex industry is now, and should continue to be, in privacy between consenting adults. It is difficult to estimate the number of persons who currently work, or have ever worked as prostitutes for many reasons, including the various definitions of prostitution. Arrest figures range over 100 000. The National Task Force on Prostitution suggests that over one million people in the United States have worked as prostitutes, or about one percent of American women. The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution covers a wide variety of arguments, solutions, and statistics that support, as well as disagree with, the legalization or decriminalization of prostitution. Prostitution has always existed in San Francisco, and it is, indeed, a part of San Francisco s romanticized past. The Task Force concluded that prostitution is not a monolithic institution. Although the majority of sex workers are women, it encompasses people of all genders working in the pornographic media industry, live theater, massage parlors, bordellos and through print advertising, as well as the street workers most commonly envisioned when the word prostitution is mentioned. Due to the fact that it is such a varied industry, the responses from the city must vary as well. The Task Force discovered that the complaints of those who are against prostitution are really only towards a fraction of the total industry, and that those legitimate concerns are not being met by efficient and effective solutions. Yet not only are current responses ineffective, they are also harmful. They marginalize and victimize prostitutes, making it more difficult for those who want to get out of the industry. It also makes it more difficult for those who remain in prostitution to claim their civil, and human rights. The San Francisco Police department does not consistently enforce laws against any sex workers except the most visible, those on the street, as well as those who are most vulnerable, including African American, transgender, and immigrant women. Most of these who are arrested spend no more than a weekend in jail before being released. Though enforcement may increase, there is no evidence that it does any more than force street workers to more from one place to the next. The Task Force concluded that prosecution of prostitution has exacerbated problems in the industry including violence and chemical dependency, while enforcement further marginalizes prostitutes. The Task Force findings indicate that decriminalization of prostitution could eventually reduce street prostitution and would enable the city to address the problems of the vulnerable populations who are currently part of the street economy.

On average, the cost of arrest, court cost and incarceration costs amount to nearly 2 000 American dollars per arrest in San Francisco. Other cities spend an average of seven and a half million dollars on prostitution control every year, ranging from one million dollars in Memphis, to twenty-three million dollars in New York. Adequate state and local laws already exist to respond when noise, trespassing and littering are problems. These infractions are punishable by fines, not by incarceration. Failure to pay fines is a criminal offense, however; those who refuse to pay their fines may be prosecuted. Infractions are therefore a more cost-effective enforcement option than misdemeanors and felonies. Under no circumstance, however, should these infractions be used to harass suspected prostitutes. Harassment and abuse of suspected prostitutes is a serious problem in the San Francisco Police Department, and it is only recently coming to light. The very methods of enforcement encourage abuse. Police officers pose as prospective clients and try to get suspects to say the words that will get them arrested. The police who are most successful are those who most convincingly behave like clients. Many women complain of vice officers fondling them or exposing themselves before arresting them. These women refuse to report abusive officers because they fear retaliation or that they will not be believed. The Task Force heard evidence that prostitutes are afraid to call the police when they are crime victims for fear of being arrested themselves. Despite the difficulty of uncovering and uprooting abuse, in 1994 a police officer was arrested for forcing a massage parlor worker to orally copulate him. The City paid also $85,000 in damages to a registered nurse who was falsely arrested and held when the officers suspected her of being a prostitute.

Once a person gets a rap sheet as a known prostitute, she/he may be trapped and stigmatized for life, and may be unable to pursue other jobs. This can also mean that a woman may loose custody of her children, especially since there is a mandatory jail sentence on a second conviction. Landlords often refuse to rent to sex workers or overcharge them for substandard accommodations. Very often prostitutes lead double lives , forced underground for fear of a break-up of family and other relationships. As well as the fear of being evicted from their homes, losing their jobs, and ending up working on the streets. Also, forced testing assumes that prostitutes represent a threat to public health. There is no evidence that sex workers, as a group, have a greater incidence of HIV infection than the general population or that they spread HIV disease. In fact, evidence shows that San Francisco sex workers are highly educated about safe sex. The U.S. Department of Health consistently reports that only three to five percent of the sexually transmitted disease in the United States is related to prostitution, compared to thirty to thirty-five percent among teenagers. There is no statistical indication that prostitutes are vectors of HIV. Although a small percentage of prostitutes may be HIV positive, William Darrow, CDC AIDS epidemiology official, cites no proven cases of HIV transmission from prostitutes to clients.

A lot of information has been given to support the legalization of prostitution. There are many Prostitution proposals that have been made for legislator. Some ideas that can be found on such a proposal have already been stated. Other ideas are that sex work provides a means by which natural human desires may be satisfied to the mutual benefit of the parties involved. Also, the enforcement of prostitution laws constitutes state interference in private behavior, it is a waste of taxpayers funds and it wastes valuable police resources. And, the recognition of sex work as legitimate work would facilitate the taxation of the sex work, and thus convert sex work from a cost to a profit industry, and it would produce safe working conditions. There are many who would disagree with these ideas, and believe that the common morals and order of society are more important than the right to have such personal choice. This is a very difficult debate, which appears to be the reason that no decision has been reached here yet. Moralizing over prostitution will not aid in dealing with the issue. Politicians must learn to accept prostitution as just another business on a city’s economic landscape. This would enable them to devise realistic solutions to problems stemming from prostitution, rather than create phony fail-safes which don’t. Prostitutes do not expect to be exempted from all controls, all they have ever asked for is to be treated like other freelance entrepreneurs. Therein lies the solution.

340