The United States is not a libertarian country. We have a government that, while it claims to be guided by the principles of liberty and freedom for all individuals, actually perpetuates and upholds an oppressive system where corporations are treated as people, people are taxed out of their minds, and everyone has to obey laws that they don’t agree with or feel infringe upon their rights as individuals.
One issue of particular importance to libertarians is the legalization and decriminalization of prostitution. While we’re on the subject of things that should be legal, marijuana should also make this list; however, I think that’s a topic for another day.
Should Prostitution Be Legal?
Prostitution is illegal in most places, but its illegality doesn’t stop it from happening. If anything, the law makes prostitution more dangerous because prostitutes tend to work in areas that are less policed and therefore at higher risk of violence against them.
If prostitution were legalized, many of these issues would resolve themselves, giving more control over these activities to the prostitute rather than the state. There isn’t really any reason why anyone would need to fear being charged with a crime if they engage in consensual sex, and escorts can market themselves freely without worrying about being arrested.
Another benefit of legalizing prostitution is that it would allow escorts to advertise freely, which would hopefully reduce some of the stigma associated with the industry. While escort sites like exist, they are often shut down, or infiltrated by law enforcement. Many long standing escort sites such as TNA Board exist, where members report escort encounters are easy to find. However, many escorts don’t feel comfortable advertising here, and potential customers don’t feel comfortable using the site due to risk of getting caught up in the law.
Additionally, legalizing prostitution could reduce the number of human trafficking cases occurring in the United States, since there would no longer be a need for pimps or traffickers to force women into the trade. This is especially important considering how much money is spent each year on trying to fight human trafficking while so few resources go towards prosecuting those who profit off of it.
There are other issues that arise when prostitution is illegal, such as the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among prostitutes due to lack of regulations or education around safe sex practices. Also, there tends to be more prostitution related violence and abuse against prostitutes, such as rape and kidnapping. The laws surrounding prostitution do little to prevent these problems, and instead only punish the prostitutes for engaging in business.
Punishing prostitutes for doing something they willingly chose to do does nothing to help eliminate the demand for prostitutes. In fact, the law merely increases the danger associated with the job, increasing the likelihood of physical harm while decreasing the ability for escorts to earn a living.
Escort agencies are able to operate in countries all across the world, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Australia, France, Canada, and Japan, just to name a few. These countries have completely different cultures than the United States, but they still manage to allow prostitution to thrive, despite our differences in culture.
It is true that the United States was founded on principles of individual liberty, yet the way the United States handles prostitution today fails to reflect these values. It is time that we stopped treating prostitution as a criminal activity, and start recognizing it for what it truly is: a job.