Has Society Benefited From Keeping Prostitution Illegal?

The exchange of sexual favors for gifts and or money has been part of human existence for centuries if not millenia. Even the act of giving gifts to the parents of a potential bride in exchange for their daughter is reminiscent of the practice. In modern society there are many women who may not consider themselves to be commercial sex workers but still decide who they will exchange sexual favors with based primarily on how much they can profit. Regardless, prostitution is illegal in most countries with very few steps being taken to amend that. This paper looks at the concept of the sale of sex as illegal and seeks to answer the question of whether this has benefited society or not.

Yes it has

Sex is a difficult topic for many people to discuss in a mature fashion. In very religious societies, the views on sex that are most commonly held tend to be influenced by religious doctrine. This may state that any sexual congress that occurs outside of marriage is sinful and especially any acts that are conducted in exchange for money. By keeping commercial sex illegal, this sin is not legitimized. It can also serve to drive the criminal element away from open areas where children may see women soliciting their trade and come to the conclusion that what they are doing is acceptable.

No it has not

Despite being illegal in most countries, prostitution is found in almost every country. Sex is a drive, so much like hunger, people will pay to satisfy it if they cannot get what they want by more acceptable means. They will risk prison terms if that is what it takes. Many women have no other skills and are only able to feed their families because of their participation in this illegal trade. Where they could have been protected if their job was legitimized they are instead often forced to work under pimps. These men may be abusive and take the lion’s share of their profits. Without regulation, there are also no industry standards. Clients may demand unprotected sex and spread STIs throughout a country. As an underground trade, it also becomes possible for minors to be exploited by unscrupulous pimps.

Many of the people who would have the sex trade legalized are not in fact fans. They merely see that if things were different, society in general might benefit.