As a Communication Studies professor, I believe I have heard nearly every subject matter on the planet there is designed to inform and/or persuade others. If I were to identify just a handful of the, “If-I-Hear-This-Speech-One-More-Time-I-Am- Going-To-Kill-Myself-And-Innocent-Bystanders-In-The-Process” type speeches, the list would go something like this:
- Give Blood
- Learn CPR
- Legalize Marijuana
- Practice Safe Sex
- Legalize Prostitution
Of course I kid with the killing myself part…and there are good reasons these subject matters are on the most common list–as they are really poignant and important. I suppose I just love original topics…yet I realize students in the class have not heard these topics delivered over 10,000 times, as I have, so they are certainly allowed to deliver such topics. In spite of the fact I personally abhor the redundancy, I realize these topics NEED to be addressed, particularly giving blood and CPR –as CPR saved my father’s life nearly 3 years ago.
Therefore I find it strange that I feel compelled to write a blog on one of these topics that so bore me…so why now?
I was at the gym on the treadmill (shocking!) watching an MSNBC show on the horrors of Prostitution. Of course it was an overly dramatized, one-sided view that painted all women as victims and all men as scumbags, but what else is new? Our eyeballs are drawn to drama…whether it is true or not. My point of view is this: When will the “World’s Oldest Profession” be honored and acknowledged as such? When do we finally accept it as part of the human condition and let it work better for everyone…solicitor and solitcee alike?
Why are so many human beings such self-serving, goddam hypocrites when it comes to issues of a sexual nature? If one more anti-gay Senator gets caught fondling his young male intern, the only standard we will have left to serve in government is double, as in double-standard.
From Maxine Doogan of the Erotic Services Union: “There…needs to be a shift in attitudes to agree that sexual expression, for the mature, can take the form of negotiating and paying for sexual services; that this activity is a privately protected right and is subject to the equal protection laws, for starters. If someone poses as a prostitute and rips off a customer, that should result in a prosecution for theft. Which is not the state we’re in right now.” These laws hurt everyone involved–from the abused prostitute to the one ripped off by the abusive prostitute.
Do I believe that human trafficking and abuse among prostitutes exists? Yes. Of course I do. Just as I believe exploitation and abuse exists in EVERY industry, be it religion, politics, the workforce, etc. This is why Samuel Gompers, so many years ago, created a union as human beings carry a natural propensity to exploit others. When and where do they exert this propensity of abuse? Whenever they can in whatever circumstances they can.
Yet there is no easier context for exploitation and abuse than the unregulated sex industry. Why? Because it is illegal.
If one were to use the exploited and abused argument to argue against prostitution–which is severely more pronounced in the sex industry than most others–I would contend that this argument provides an even stronger reason to legalize prostitution and allow them to form unions and benefit from law enforcement when needed. Why? Because regardless of one’s personal moral stance on prostitution, it is going to happen anyway, with or without government protection.
Well, one could safely argue that an anti-legalization stance on prostitution is a stance AGAINST the protection and safety of women.
Consider the analogy of abortion, (please do not misunderstand, I hate abortion more than I hate divorce…but this is a different blog for a different day) regardless of one’s stance on this issue, they are going to happen anyway. We can either make it safe for women or not.
I often then get the question, “Well what if one of your daughters wanted to be a prostitute?” Like any job one of my children wanted to pursue, I would definitely want to make sure they have thought it completely through and are certain it is the right path for them. It would be no different for prostitution. I would want to be assured that she has thought it through completely and it is the correct path for her.
“But we cannot just legalize immoral activity just because people are going to do it anyway. People rob banks, should we legalize that?”
Thanks omniscient arguer –though even you cannot argue successfully with Jimmy. Prostitution is a mutually consenting act between adults that benefits both parties–activities like robbing banks hurts other people.
But, hey, don’t take my word for it and why should you? I am not a prostitute. So I went to interview a real, live “escort” of about 3 years, who works in the Southern California area. She happens to be an acquaintance of mine and gladly gave me permission to use her experiences in this blog…as long I did not mention her name.
So, prostitute, what about all those shows like MSNBC who show the dark side of prostitution?
“In every industry there is going to be an exploitation of labor. I am sure it happens in prostitution but it is a small percentage. It has never happened to me. I love my job,” she explained.
And what kind of ratings would a television show get if they interviewed people who are really happy and have no complaints and the fear of the universe was not coerced upon them? Pretty lousy.
So, Lady Of The Night, have you ever had a bad experience?
“Yes, once. About a year ago when a guy started to creep me out a bit. But it was not a problem. I just ran out the door.”
Not a bad batting average for an escort whose encounters are deep into the hundreds.
She explained that the key to successful escorting is finding the right madam (read: pimp) who screens all “Johns” and knows how to make the correct matches.
Of course, since all of this now has to be done in secret, it makes this process much more difficult and far riskier.
“I know this is something I can only do for a small window in my life,” explained the mid twenty-something escort, “I will probably be out of it in a couple of years. But it is good for me right now.”
Wow. She has never been hit, nor pressured, nor hurt, nor trafficked…in fact she is one of the happiest people I know who happens to make really good money. She is not scared, alone, uneducated, nor exploited. Quite the contrary, this self-empowered woman has a Bachelor’s Degree from one of the most prestigious Universities in the world.
Some might contend this particular escort is the exception. Perhaps…but would not the abused and exploited sex workers benefit from being able to climb out from under their rock and report abuse to authorities?
And what’s the downside to prostitution again?
Oh, yes. It’s illegal.
These are my thoughts on college students’ fifth favorite topic to speak about. The best part is that now if you ever want to speak on this matter, you have a really reliable source.
I prefer the term recreational specialist. Also you should learn CPR so you can give blood to make sure you vote to legalize pot. Then we can legalize prostitution and engage in safe sex.
We can always rely on Odos to think far outside the box. I would be curious to see how you would connect the sixth most common topic with these five….global warming. Have fun.
I personally do not agree that legalizing prostitution is a good idea in any way. Yea one might argue on the robbing the bank theory, but I argue that having sex for money is just flat out WRONG. Yea it may not necessarily cause the woman to get hurt but why would it be right to allow woman to basically say its ok to use your body and have sex to make money. Their are plenty of other ways for these woman to make a living the right way. If we make it legal for prostitution to happen, the number is not only going to increase but it is also going to make it seem that it is ok for young woman to make prostitution their career. I would not be ok with any of my friends of family to get involved in prostitution.
For the world’s “oldest profession,” there must be good reason it’s never been legalized in a way that’s been globally accepted; there’s undoubtedly instances where it’s been legalized under extenuating circumstances. The first good reason which comes to mind is power; not for any escort, but for the major players who actually control the game. The big-time contemporary pimps and madams are restricted to playing their game in the shadows. It’s much easier for an escort to escape from the shadows than under someone’s thumb in the light of legalization. It’s easy to envision a trend of legal loop-holes which are immediately taken advantage of; say, perhaps pimps come up with the brilliant idea of offering legal “loans” to girls—with especially low interest rates should they “work” for a while—where escorts find themselves trying to “work” and dig their way out of a completely legal, accounted for debt-hole; think payday loans.
Secondly, there’s a particular kind of safety from Johns in an illegal workplace. A millionaire lawyer—for instance—buying a legal escort for the night would feel more safe in violating said escort’s safety and dehumanizing her for sport, knowing any attempt of legalized justice would be scoffed at in court (my word versus your word) or simply bought off in one way or another; whereas, if the same millionaire hired an escort for the night from a shady-looking pimp who carries a gun, knife, and are not afraid to use it (my knife versus your dead body) would be much more weary to violate said escort’s safety.
For the most part, perhaps escorts would enjoy higher pay, freedom to work, and feel (keyword: feel) safer in their line of work. But the instances of young women and men (legalization would mean every kind of escort) disappearing or being disrespected—with no hope for justice—would likely rise in number and frequency. The sad fact is the customers needs to buy sex more than an escort wants sell it. The world’s oldest profession has managed to find an illegal equilibrium of sorts since the beginning of sexual favors. There’s even prostitution in nature: female bonobos—a slightly smaller chimpanzee—use sex to obtain a male’s favor, and seem to rule despite their smaller size. Whores may not even need legalization; they might be ruling and not even know it.
being an ex navy man I have a 1st hand view on the subject (a girl in every port) and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be legalized
Ok I see your point of view on prostitutes, whores or escorts, but I want to know how do you feel about strippers. Surprisely, some people feel like strippers are in the same category. I beg to differ that. The reason I say that is because for one strippers don’t have sex with there customers for money and If they were suppose to, at that point they would be prostitutes. Stippers just dance for money.
I think strippers are cool!
Me too! glad we are on that same page haha.
You know, this is quite interesting. I am not going to say I am for or against it, but I was just having this conversation with my best friend, months ago. Prostitution is inevitable. The women and children who are trafficked against their will—that’s an entirely different subject matter, however prostitution is evolving and becoming more and more mainstream. Just like Marijuana, you couldn’t have paid me years ago to believe that “MJ” would be sold in “medicinal clinics.” With prostitution, I feel like it is happening all around us and people have this ideation that a prostitute is a dirty, street hooker, when in reality, it is nothing like that. Prostitutes, escorts, whatever term is deemed fitting, are not just on street corners. They are women you cross in your everyday lives. I knew a group of girls who were having sex with older men in exchange to get free travel and clothes for a weekend….and in my eyes, even though they didn’t see it…that’s you selling yourself for “benefits.” Essentially, is that not a subtle form of prostitution?? I agree with you about the sex industry continues to grow, so we should stop trying to prohibit the inevitable and start implementing safety tactics and protection.
But let me ask you this? You don’t feel like your lady friend told you this as a ploy of survival. Sometimes it’s easy to lie than admit the truth because then you have to face the truth. You don’t think it has taken some sort of psychological toll on her and her relationships and it isn’t as healthy and enjoyable as she makes it seem?
I only ask this because I just recently watch this Netflix movie called: Hot Girls Wanted. “They’re looking for escape, empowerment, and easy money. But baring it all online leaves them overexposed.”
It is about amateur porn stars in the industry. As you watch, the girls initially started with the acceptance of the industry, making all this money, and “how they loved their job, too (like your friend),”and it wasn’t true– after a while.
I completely agree that it should be legalized. In some countries, prostitution already is, and as you said, there are many good consequences. Women do feel safer and people don’t get arrested for capitalizing on their own assets.
I have first-hand experience with prostitutes at a fairly young age. A little background about me:
I was 13 years old in my junior year of high school, and i’m always at least 1-3 years younger than my classmates because i skipped kindergarten and i started going to school when i was 2.
So we were in class when a friend of mine asked me if i was a virgin(and i was). I reluctantly said yes, then he proceeds to tell me how he could get me laid almost everyday. He told me countless stories with his experiences with prostitutes and keeps urging me to try it too. Now i was a very horny young boy with only the internet to accommodate my sexual fantasies, and i really wanted the real thing so one day i finally decided to complied to his suggestion. So there we were after class, about 3 miles from school, behind a catholic church, in the squatter area where we were greeted with this lady. My friend introduced me to her and our chat quickly turned into business. After negotiating the price, she took me back to this cramped room where we undressed, and we had sex. I’m not going into detail here, but it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life as a young boy. However, It was the first and last time i came in contact with a prostitute as i later found out from the same friend that she had 2 other jobs and 4 kids. I, being born in a extremely religious environment, realized how dirty my hands were and swore that i will never do it again.
With that in mind,i believe that prostitution should be legal because of what you’ve said that it involves two consenting adults and it generally doesn’t hurt other people.
Jimmy this was a topic that just caught my eye and I could not continue with my homework until I have read this entire post. I think this is one of those controversial topics like “legalizing Marijuana,” because everyone does it already right? And we could benefit by taxing the shit out of it. However, legalizing prostitution in my opinion would set us back morally. More importantly safety would be compromised in my opinion. In my younger days of working as a EMT for Care Ambulance out in Anaheim, I would run 911 calls on Harbor Blvd for these “professional service women” and it would always be for a domestic disturbance or an overdose. I know this does not happen to every professional prostitute but if we legalized it, these emergencies would be at an all time high.
On the upside, if prostitution was legalized how could we guarantee the safety of these professionals other than having a good “pimp?”
Easy. All EMT’s should become benevolent pimps.
I believe that it should become legalized because, like you previously stated.. “Its gonna happen whether its legal or not”. If legalized, escorts and prostitutes can have the an increase in business therefore allowing for a higher chance of abuse, but who knows. I say pass it!!!
When did prostitution become this dirty thing? I agree that it should be legalized! Like you said if two adults both agree with the terms and everything, who is it hurting? People who are in the porn industry get paid to have sex on camera.. isn’t that basically prostitution? Sex workers should be treated equal, hey they’re just doing the job some are to scared to do! Let’s make this legal!
That is not a very good argument Danielle!
I don’t agree with legalizing prostitution. It’s just another way of helping diseases float around this country no problem. It doesn’t matter if condoms are involved or everyone so happens to be tested. Nothing is 100% certain. Innocent people that think they’re in love end up with STDs and its a huge problem in society. Legalizing prostitution would be a nightmare, just imagine one prostitute/escort getting infected and then having a few more dates within the month, that’s however many people being infected just by one person. Gross.
Being a Pimp or Madam should be illegal and conviction should come with very harsh punishment. These are the human exploiters and traffickers. I realize the subject-matter-expert that you interviewed for this blog described having a Madam as advantageous but I still contend that Madams (and Pimps) should be illegal. Limited government regulation would provide protection for the prostitute and the “John.” Being illegal only forces the business to go underground. Legalization without control would be infringing on the general public’s desire to not be exposed to prostitution. If prostitution were not illegal I would still want brothels and street prostitution to be. If a prostitute can’t sell on the street or operate out of a brothel, then what else is there for a “legal” prostitute?
I don’t know.
I would support the legalization of prostitution if only for the beneficial outcomes: the transactions can be taxed, the prostitute gains legal protection, the “John” gains legal protection, the exploiters and human traffickers lose (their power, control, and profits). The comparison to the legalization of drugs is an easy one to make (the drug trade is full of human exploitation too) but hard to determine if it is a good comparison. The fall of the Qing dynasty was accelerated if not effected by that nation’s (China) drug addiction problem. The same drug addiction problem inherited by the tenuous Republic of China. The problem was only solved by the People’s Republic of China whose solution was two-pronged: help addicts, and attack dealers. They didn’t legalize Opium or Heroin to solve their problem. Yet in the United States of America the Prohibition of Alcohol led to the rise of organized crime. Prohibition proved to be “unenforceable” and was eventually repealed. The legalization of Alcohol “solved” our problem with alcohol.
So my argument is to not legalize prostitution but to decriminalize it. No punishment for a prostitute being a prostitute. No punishment for a “John” being a “John.” Human exploitation and trafficking are already illegal but add harsher punishments for specifically being a Pimp or Madam. Brothels and street prostitution should be illegal but the act of “prostitution” itself should not. Not coincidentally I feel similarly about the legalization of Marijuana. Marijuana should not be legalized but it should be decriminalized.
As well as your many good points, legalizing prostitution would likely help the economic situation in many states. Illegal brothels do not pay taxes, because well they are illegal and no one is to know about them. Not only that, but if prostitution were forced more into the public eye, the ladies that do work would be safer, they could likely get better bosses, and feel more comfortable with their careers. I am a bit conservative, but I still believe legalizing prostitution would really be better for everyone; the workers and the economy. Not to mention, once legalized there would be more safety regulations, meaning the prostitutes would likely be safer from contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
As I read your words ( I read many to find one to finally disagree on. I found myself agreeing a lot with your statements) I can so hear your voice in my head. I don’t know why human beings can be such ‘self serving, goddam hypocrites’ But I do see and understand from your prospective, I very much like it but as sad as it is to say people may feel cheated in way to where ‘working hard goes a long way’ or ‘easy come, easy go’, morals and ethics get make-up and take some sort of place, as for the government’s position this is “un-traced” or not benefiting in some way. Its a resort of something “easy”. The topic with marijuana, it became so easy to get that it eventually got legalized so that everyone benefits. So if that were the case, ( its not, of course there is medical reasons and many more) So why not legalize heroin, cocaine because two parties will also benefit the seller and buyer. Just because two parties benefit from it doesn’t mean it should be legal..
” Prostitution is a mutually consenting act between adults that benefits both parties–activities like robbing banks hurts other people.”
Society as a whole will not develop, we will be stuck. We will learn to settle for whats here and not strive for the better. Not strive for the the power we hold as a human being. We can have any life style we desire. What if we legalize selling our children? Its happening, but it is illegal yet still happening.
This is always a really fascinating subject but I think you have the right of it. Because when something is legalized, the dangers of it tend to be vastly decreased. Take a drug analogy for instance. You have a lot less overdoses and other such things in countries where drugs are legal than here because people can take them safely and also seek treatment without the social stigma they get in American society. Sex Work is much the same. If it were seen as a legal, acceptable type of work then the abuses would lessen and everyone involved would be safer. There would probably also be a lower number of STIs, as generally when a more permissive attitude is given towards sex then the tools for keeping sex safe and healthy become easier to get a hold of.
Thanks Sara…the only aspect of this issue that is troublesome is the fact that the city of San Francisco voted to legalize about 10 years ago and it was denied. The reason was that it would encourage human trafficking. Though I would not to do anything to encourage this activity, it seems to me like that is a separate problem altogether. Can’t we enforce human trafficking laws while still allowing prostitution? Thanks for the contribution!