Legalized Prostitution: Is it right?
Debate Rounds (4)
Just so voters are clear, though he is Pro on this debate, Pro is against the legalization of prostitution (I'm guessing that we're discussing this within the context of the U.S.). Thus, I will be arguing in support of the resolution, to prove that legalizing prostitution presents with more benefits than it does harms.
As my opponent has only outlined his arguments, I will briefly outline my own. I will be arguing that legalization will improve upon safety for all individuals involved; specifically, safety of prostitutes from STDs, physical injury from Johns, and protect them from much of the exploitation of pimps. My view is that prohibition and the act of enforcement do more harm than good. I will also argue that sex is already being "sold" in a sense that makes it ridiculous to keep it illegal, and that we therefore have limited reason to deny it as a method of acquiring a reasonable income. This will link to sexual autonomy, and control over one's own body and choices.
With that, I leave it to Pro to kick off this debate in style. Whenever you are ready, sir.
Let's get started with a burdens analysis. I'd say that the burden of proof is shared. Pro's burden is to support the status quo. This means he must present sufficient harms caused by legal prostitution, and defend current enforcement practices. My burden is to show that legal prostitution has fewer harms than illegal prostitution using a similar calculus.
So before I get into my arguments, what does legal prostitution look like? Well, it probably makes the most sense to expand the system currently available in locations in America that already have it legalized. Nevada, therefore, will be my model. This means that legal brothels will be opened and regulated like any other business, including wage laws, employment laws, and taxation. That means that brothels will be required to allocate a fair amount of money to their prostitutes rather than taking out a huge cut for themselves, as is currently the case. They will be required to have clean facilities, hire only adults, get their prostitutes tested regularly for STDs, and require the use of contraception to prevent the spread of disease and pregnancy. The taxation will ameliorate the cost to the state.
The reality is that prostitution is alive and well in this country, and that it will happen whether or not we do anything about it. That system, however, allows the widespread harms that currently exist for them, and as this encompasses as many as 2 million people, it's not a problem we can ignore. The women involved in this system are often so afraid to leave it due to abuse by their pimps that even those who find it untenable cannot leave. Beyond that, many women are simply dependent upon the money they earn in this system as other job opportunities are not available to them, meaning that we're currently forcing them into these abusive situations in order to survive.
So let's go through the points individually. Are prostitutes under the Nevada system really safer? Looking as STDs, they have most certainly improved, having lower rates of STDs than Los Angeles porn stars. The protection of physical abuse is even stronger. There are fewer instances of violence, rape and disease in the Nevada system. As estimates of the number of prostitutes who are raped go up to almost 80%, this is a huge problem that needs to be solved. If implemented on a country-wide basis, it's estimated that we would have 25,000 fewer rapes in this country. Murder, which goes at 20 times the national average among prostitutes, would also be ameliorated by the lesser violence and regulation, not to mention that any woman who currently thinks she will be arrested as a result of the illegality of their work isn't likely to approach the cops, and therefore most of these crimes are likely to result in no justice whatsoever.
But let's evaluate the harms. Pro hasn't really stated anything that could really be called a harm. He's presented some arguments of possible harms, but doesn't warrant or source these arguments, and all of them seem to have very weak links. I'll get to those in a moment, but what he doesn't realize is that enforcement is, itself, harmful. Some 80,000 people are arrested each year for solicitation of sex, crowding our prisons and jails at huge cost through both the trial and incarceration. The cost of police time spent enforcing these laws is that our police are simply getting less time to enforce the much more important laws preventing physical dangers.
Worse yet, Pro doesn't even explain why any of the possible harms are unique to prostitution. If a guy decides to take his girlfriend out to lunch at an expensive restaurant, and she decides to sleep with him as a result, is that not an exchange of money for sex? In fact, many of the people who choose to have sex with their significant other do so on the basis that a similar exchange was made. What makes this so different from prostitution as a whole? Is it that the money is being given to them directly with none of the fluff of spending time together in between? It seems like an awfully flippant justification for keeping it illegal.
Pro acknowledges that this is their body, and yet he wants to deny their free usage of it. It's a confusing perspective to have. What makes their usage of having a seductive body any worse than someone's using their strength to get a job in construction? Aren't they simply using physical attributes to acquire the basic necessities of life as well?
Now, I'm going to go through some quick rebuttal.
"The problem with that is that we cannot prevent everything."
I don't see why this is a reason we shouldn't make efforts to do so. It won't be perfect, no, and STDs will still exist following legalization. We recognize that there is a necessity to inform people about birth control methods and make them cheap partially because STD spread is limited by their usage.
Pro asserts that legalizing marijuana is net harmful. That's a nonsequitor, and irrelevant to this debate (though I would argue that legalization has been beneficial). If the only point Pro is trying to get out of this is to show that legalization doesn't fix everyone's problems, he's right. But we tend not to act under the mentality that our outcomes will be perfect. The presence of benefits, no matter how imperfect, are sufficient for me to show that legalization of prostitution is warranted. The same is true for exploitation and injury, which are still reduced in a legal setting. The reality that we don't live in a perfect world doesn't mean we shouldn't ever try to improve upon our preventative systems of regulation. Pro never states why we should let these problems persist, so he admits that they are net harmful.
Pro says that we don't know how this is going to turn out, that the sexual decisions of teens are somehow interrelated. I'm not quite sure where he's going with this, since this would be a practice among legal adults and would involve the usage of protection in the vast majority of instances, but I would argue that these women are often having sex in exchange for things (dinners, gifts, romance) from their boyfriends. That is status quo. How is prostitution really so different?
Pro's questions are interesting, but pointless. We should improve upon the safety of any amount of people if the opportunity presents itself " as long as they're Americans, they are worthy of protection under our laws. We don't need to take it to extremes in order to provide a measure of safety, and there's certainly no need to abridge their privacy to such extremes as Pro suggests.
With that, I hand the debate back to Pro to continue this debate.
All of these things will also be ameliorated by basic regulations that all businesses have to deal with. In the status quo, these businesses are criminal in nature and therefore remain unregulated, giving them access to women far too young to consent and allowing them to take whatever funds they wish in return for protecting their operations. Legalization stops these exploitative practices.
In fact, the entirety of what you're talking about here happens under the illegal system, and you've provided no reason why legalization suddenly makes access to prostitutes easier, nor why exploitation suddenly becomes more likely under a legal system. I've already explained why the latter isn't true, but I would say that legalization reduces the desperation of both women and men entering into this system. They're not forced to go under the radar and delve into a criminal environment in order to get the basic necessities of life, nor are they, when they are roped in, forced to stay as a result of fearing their employer's physical abuse. These prostitutes aren't going to be locked into their line of work - the will have the opportunity to leave whenever they please, not to mention a safer and cleaner workplace with much fewer health concerns. Even if more people become prostitutes, we will see migration away from the profession, which is currently almost nonexistent. The reality is, however, that this is likely to produce less prostitutes. It's likely that fewer people will choose to enter the field than are currently forced into what is virtually sexual slavery, often taken from other countries with little to no English after being sold off by various family members. All of those who are under 18 are essentially incapable of consent, as I said before, and are often pressed into their line of work as well. All of these people disappear from the American system, and Pro has to prove that they will all be replaced by willing participants.
I'd say that it really doesn't matter, though. Having more people in prostitution isn't harmful because the profession would cause far less societal harms in a legal system, and I think my last post established this thoroughly. So whether he proves that the population of prostitutes will increase or not (and, as I've shown, I think it won't), it's a net benefit to legalize it.
With that, I'll give the podium back to Pro to finish out this debate for his side.
wildcat101 forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tulle 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This was odd. I started off writing a long RFD for this before realizing Pro forfeited anyway. So I'll just condense it down to this: Con's arguments were compelling, but half of his links in round 2 had nothing to do with what he was saying and didn't support his arguments (4, 5, 6). However, Pro not only offered no real arguments (ie. premise, premise, conclusion), but did not respond to any of Con's; failed to support any arguments he made in round 1, added new assertions in round 3, and forfeited round 4. An easy win for Con.
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