You know, I used to not care about prostitution. I used to not care less if prostitution was legalized or not. However in the past 3 years that I’ve been researching prostitution as it relates to craigslist and other online venues I’ve come to the conclusion that legalizing prostitution is not the be all and end all to solving all the problems that come with prostitution.

For example let’s take two places where prostitution is legal.

First off let’s go to Nevada. Brothels are legal in most parts of Nevada. Where it’s not legal is Las Vegas. That doesn’t stop women from walking the streets in Vegas. Some of the regulations are so stringent on the girls working in the brothels that a lot of them think that it’s easier to work the streets in Vegas than it is to work the brothels in the outlying counties.

Now let’s go overseas to the infamous red light district of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Not only does Amsterdam have the same problem as Vegas with girls operating outside of legal prostitution zones but they also have a large problem in human trafficking. Not to mention the organized crime organizations that run the human trafficking rings.

Most importantly legalizing prostitution would do nothing to stop child prostitution. That should always be illegal and unfortunately the demand will always be there as evidenced by the so called child sex tours that happen overseas in places like Thailand.

Drugs are another crime that goes hand in hand with prostitution. Either the girls are using which in some cases is why they turned to prostitution or in a lot of cases the john is using. Legalizing prostitution would do nothing to curb illegal drug activity that goes along with it. Let’s take strip clubs for example. They’re perfectly legal and the closest thing you can get to prostitution without it being prostitution. How many employees of your local strip club are either users or dealers? A lot more than you might think. And not just weed either, in my personal experience I’ve found that a lot of them either use coke, speed or meth.

The typical argument for the legalization of prostitution is to regulate it and tax it. While that may work in a perfect world the reality is that it would be a bureaucratic nightmare for all parties involved. While the government may collect taxes from legalized prostitution they would also probably be taking a chunk from the taxpayers as well to fund the services required to regulate it. Not to mention the taxes needed to keep illegal prostitution off the streets. History also shows us that government organizations that are supposed to regulate a certain occupation or activity are not always the best staffed or funded operations. Take children protection agencies for example. How many stories do we hear that CPS or Social Services visited a residence right before a child died from abuse or neglect? Too many. So in my opinion a government organization designed to regulate prostitution would be equally if not more disastrous allowing others to take advantage of the prostitutes in the ways they’re already being taken advantage of.

Lastly the most common argument I hear for the legalization of prostitution is that it’s a victimless crime between two consenting adults. Let’s take child prostitution out of the equation for a second. I find the definition of consent to be loosely interpreted in these situations. Between supporting drug habits and coercion under the treats of violence among other mitigating factors I think consent when it comes to prostitution is a relative term.

(Trench Reynolds blogs about craigslist and other classifieds related prostitution at Trench Reynolds’ Crime News.)

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