Editorial: Should Prostitution Be Illegal?

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Editorial: Should Prostitution Be Illegal?

Adam Aleksic, Editor-in-Chief

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*The views and opinions expressed in the following piece are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Nest or Albany High School.*

Two lawmakers in the New York State Senate just introduced a bill aimed at getting rid of any legal penalties for sex workers. Titled the “Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act”, the legislation proposes to protect people in a field often mired by violence and trafficking by making it easier to report incidents without police retribution. Obviously, this has led to a lot of discussion about the morality of the trade.

Something about prostitution just feels inherently iniquitous. There’s an enormous negative stigma surrounding it, and associations with the profession have destroyed people’s entire professions. But should it be this way?

The main reason we have these current regulations is the Judeo-Christian values that are the bedrock of our legal system. Prostitution’s illegality is rooted in the belief that it is a sinful crime against nature, and any other arguments against it are auxiliary to that concept.

But it’s happening, whether we like it or not, and when it goes unregulated, terrible things can happen. Sex trafficking, rape, abuse, and violence are all by-products of an unchecked industry, but if we were to allow oversight of a legal trade, those acts would be mitigated at the very least.

For examples of what regulated prostitution looks like, we can turn to the examples of Australia and New Zealand. There, government supervision mandates that all clients undergo an STI check and all sex workers are voluntarily there, treated fairly, and getting paid adequately. Trafficking and abuse are down, and revenue is up.

That brings me to my financial argument: if prostitution is legalized, it could be a boon for the economy, because then the government can tax it. The sex trade is a $2 billion industry in Australia, and could easily bring in much more in America. This would help us prosper as a nation, and with safer conditions for people in a field that’s going to exist regardless of whether it’s legal or not.

Perhaps there’s also a question of civil liberties: restricting prostitution could be interpreted as a violation of our rights to do with our bodies as we will. It’s needless curtailment of capitalism and what could very well be a legitimate trade were our religious values not overlapping with our laws.

It’s time to separate Christian morals with the policies of the state. Legalizing prostitution would provide for safer working conditions, individual freedoms, and an improved economy. Keeping it illegal is illogical.

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