The Instigator
NeoConCommunist
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
masterzanzibar
Con (against)
Tied
7 Points

Legalizing prostitution in the United States

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/15/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,901 times Debate No: 6245
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

NeoConCommunist

Pro

I would like to introduce my point of view by first discussing the so-called "evils" of prostitution.

Prostitution now, as ever, is not an uncommon thing in the world, particularly in the poorer regions of the world. Even the United States, with its amazingly high standard of living, has its share, as by itself the number of scandals involving them and politicians (remember Elliot Spitzer?) proves. Prostitution is an ugly thing - connected to human trafficking, often dominated by tyrannical and often abusive pimps, and fostering the spread of a number of nasty venereal diseases around the world. Obviously, anything that causes that amount of grief and trouble should be illegal, right? However, my argument is not that prostitution today is unproblematic - my argument centers around the idea that legalizing it will solve many of the problems it currently poses.

*1: Prostitution is not uncommon even though it is currently illegal in most of the United States.

As the DC Madam scandal and the Elliot Spitzer scandal prove, even in high social levels this practice is not unknown. The conclusion we can draw is that no matter how it tries, the government can't eliminate prostitution (on its own this point wouldn't stand, but combined with my other points we have a cohesive argument).

*2: The main problem caused for most of society - STD spread - can be mitigated or even eliminated by lifting anti-prostitution laws from the law books.

Prostitutes are hubs of STD spread, since they have sex with many, many different people. Currently, there is no real incentive for them to get STD checks (it would cost money, draw attention to them from law authorities, and scare customers) and even less for the their pimps. There is also little incentive and no way to enforce required STD protection for seeing a prostitute. However, if the government legalized it, they could require regular STD checks and protection and inspect brothels (legalization is not giving up all oversight), and there would be an incentive for prostitutes to obey these rules since they would no longer be in danger of arrest every time they did so, and would be in far greater danger if they did NOT comply. Thus, legalizing prostitution would actually decrease the spread of STDs, if done right.

*3: Prostitutes tend to live in poor conditions (high class ones don't apply to this argument) and have miserable lives

These poor conditions are the result, mainly, of the dominance of the pimp. The pimp, because he/she cannot be sued (without exposing the prostitute to legal proceedings) has a degree of power comparable to tyranny, and will often use this power to force the prostitutes to keep working even when they have every intention of quitting and to siphon money for themselves, to the detriment of the prostitutes. Legalization would solve this problem by providing brothels incentives to submit to government inspection and allowing prostitutes to sue tyrannical pimps without exposing themselves to legal action - breaking the power of the pimps.

*4: Legalizing prostitution would decrease human trafficking.

This argument is easy to make. If human-trafficking brothels compete against legal ones, and the legal ones (as overseen by the government) are safer and cleaner and possibly cheaper since they don't have to hide from the law all the time, illegal brothels will slowly die out since it'd be stupid to traffick when there are simpler and legal ways to achieve the same end, and the price charged by a trafficker would have to be limited by the market price for legal prostitutes (nobody would go to an illegal brothel over a legal one if it was more expensive as well). Thus, the incentive for trafficking would decrease, so the incidence of trafficking would decrease too.

*5: Prostitution has no victims if all decisions are made freely by all parties.

The prostitutes, if completely free (not the case today, but would be the case, as argued above, if legalized), obviously want to do it (or else they wouldn't, since they have a definite choice), as do the people they see. Third parties are not harmed or helped, so, since there are no victims, there should be no crime either. The people involved should deal with whatever consequences (broken marriage, shame in the face of friends, etc) in their own private lives, since they made the stupid decision. For the same reason, the government does not protect me from making other stupid mistakes. From a completely moral standpoint, victimless crimes should not be crimes, and prostitution is a prime example of that (If the government wants to discourage it, the solution is a prostitution tax, which would have the added benefit of raising revenue, as opposed to the current system, in which the government loses money).
masterzanzibar

Con

I will go Neg ---|>Aff
1.Exacerbation of the Problem
My opponent and I agree on one thing, the obvious problems of prostitution. Prostitutes since the commencement of the profession have consistantly suffered from the effects of horrible psychological detriment; not to mention the emotional and physical abuse that usually come with the package. However, what my opponent fails to realize, is that these problems for the most part are not coming from pimps or lack of regulation; they come from the act itself.
According to Ruth in 94,
"The emotional health consequences of prostitution include severe trauma, stress, depression, anxiety, self-medication through alcohol and drug abuse; and eating disorders…Ultimately, women in prostitution are also at special risk for self-mutilation, suicide and homicide. 46% of the women in a study had attempted suicide, and 19% had tried to harm themselves physically in other ways." http://www.uri.edu...
additionally,
"When women quit prostitution, they ... suffer from a broad range of physical and emotional disorders," she said. "Women in prostitution suffer from the same combat stress that Vietnam and combat vets do, http://www.lvrj.com...

These prostitutes in legal brothels are having sex around 30 sometimes even 40 times a day, http://www.lvrj.com... the psychological and emotional detriment are simply unavoidable, and as described in a Las Vegas Travel Log, these prostitutes aren't exactly going to a room for a hug and a handshake.
"[At legal brothels]guests enter into a bar or lounge area and generally all the girls working at the moment are asked to line up and introduce themselves. The guest can choose immediately or he can order a drink from the bar and take his time choosing as some of the girls might do more to convince him of their charms. After the guest and the girl pair up they'll go back to her room and negotiate a price in private for the services requested." http://www.lasvegaslogue.com...
A legalization of prostitution would increase the accessibility of prostitution, thus astronomically increasing the service and use as a whole. This assertion stands true because people in most states, with the exception of those living Las Vegas, do not know where to find a prostitute. Legalization would narrow down legitimate locations where people can easily access prostitution. Additionally, the laws of punishment for illicit sexual activities are an incentive for those who fear the punishment to not have sex with a prostitute. Legalization would rid of this incentive, thus increasing the overall use of prostitution.
Not only would the legalization of prostutition be completely unethical, All of the negative impacts that my opponent and I speak of concerning prostitution are magnified by the preceding facts conveyed within my case, thus the United States should not legalize prostitution.

To the affirmative
"*1: Prostitution is not uncommon even though it is currently illegal in most of the United States."
A: this point holds no legitimate logical ground. This argument lies upon the notion that because something is popular, we neglect the logical, moral, and reasonable argumentation contending it. This point fails.
"STD spread - can be mitigated or even eliminated by lifting anti-prostitution laws from the law books."
A: first off my opponent gives no statistical basis, or evidence to back up his analytics. So right off the bat he does not meet the burden of proving this argument because we have no barometer of the actual severity of Prostitutes spreading aids. However, I do not contend the fact that there are prostitutes increasing the legitimacy of the aids virus in the U.S., but a legalization of prostitution would not solve or even mitigate the aids virus. In actuality, it will make it a lot worse. Remember those statistics that I provided in my first contention, that some of these prostitutes are having sex with 30-40 strangers a day? Do you think that the government will seriously check and test these girls after every day, week, or even month for STDS? Legalization fundamentally increases the risk of getting aids because more individuals visit these sites (explained in Contention 1), and the government cannot possibly monitor these sites every time they have sex, nor is it likely that they will every 500 times they have sex. Thus inherently increasing the chance of getting an STD from a male and passing it on to several others.
"*3: Prostitutes tend to live in poor conditions (high class ones don't apply to this argument) and have miserable lives"
A: Legalization of prostitution would not in any way improve life conditions for these women. Fundamentally, prostitution is in itself physically, psychologically, and emotionally harmful. Legalization would only increase the rates of prostitution, thus increasing the number of prostitutes, thus increasing all of the impacts exemplified throughout both of our cases.
Whats more is according to Terri Miller, director of the Anti-Trafficking League Against Slavery, "Nevada is a ripe environment for human trafficking because it is the only state that has legalized prostitution…. A brothel owner is somebody who, when it gets down to the very essence, is nothing more than a slave-owner.
These brothel owners are just as bad as the pimps. With legalization, the dehumanizing factors of women who are prostitutes would only increase with time.
*4: Legalizing prostitution would decrease human trafficking.
Farley in 08
It is not a victimless crime.
Those who want to leave prostitution have a difficult time finding help, especially in Nevada,
"Most women in prostitution want to escape it," she said. "In prostitution, the conditions that make choice possible are absent. If we really want to say it's a choice, women need a range of options."
im out of characters, but attack pt 5 with last used evidence
Debate Round No. 1
NeoConCommunist

Pro

I thank my opponent for what is obviously a thoughtful and well-researched response to my original proposition. However, I believe he has misunderstood my contention: I don't believe in only loose control of prostitution. I contend that prostitution, though it should be legal, should also be tightly controlled, which I believe is possible. Aside from that, I provide the following rebuttals to his points.

1: "This argument lies upon the notion that because something is popular, we neglect the logical, moral, and reasonable argumentation contending it." My opponent misunderstands my point; my point was that despite the fact that it is illegal, it remains common (in opposition to my opponent's contention that legalization would result in an explosion of incidences of prostitution). In an article (http://economics.uchicago.edu...) about the economics of prostitution, the author states on page 4 that "in stark contrast to illicit drugs, the criminal justice system has a relatively minor impact on prostitution activities", supporting my assertion that legalization of prostitution would result in only a minor increase in its incidence (my explanation is that the main fear of most clients is the social stigma rather than the courts).

2: "Do you think that the government will seriously check and test these girls after every day, week, or even month for STDS? Legalization fundamentally increases the risk of getting aids because more individuals visit these sites (explained in Contention 1), and the government cannot possibly monitor these sites every time they have sex, nor is it likely that they will every 500 times they have sex." I have already rebutted half of this argument (by rebutting Contention 1). I also now provide an example, although it involves a country where prostitution is still illegal. In Cuba, although prostitution is illegal, it is still a major presence, as the rise of sex tourism there attests to. However, even though prostitutes have little incentive to heed the government (as they are already illegal), a massive government campaign has convinced a staggering percentage of sex workers to take precaution against the spread of AIDS and other STDs, and there is evidence that prostitution is a relatively minor force in the spread of AIDS there (http://www.nytimes.com...), since a Cuban doctor stated that "only a handful of [280 AIDS victims he administers to]... are sex workers".

3: Although the article quotes Terri Miller as saying that "a brothel owner is... nothing more than a slave owner", I fail to see the connection under my proposed system, since a prostitute under legalization is free to quit the brothel at any moment, which is certainly much different than a slave, who is held forcibly.

4: I read the article my opponent posted as evidence (http://www.lvrj.com...), and it is not so strong in linking legal prostitution to trafficking as he makes it appear. Although Las Vegas is a problem city in terms of trafficking (much of the trafficking his quote refers to occurs there), (1) prostitution is illegal there, invalidating his argument, and (2) although it is 'more tolerated', this is a 'don't-ask-don't-tell' policy from what I understand, which is wholly different from legalization and government oversight, since it means that prostitutes suing abusive pimps and brothel owners still risk running afoul of the law. In fact, 'don't-ask-don't-tell' is the exact opposite of what I propose; in Las Vegas, prostitution is illegal and government still has no oversight capabilities, while I propose a system in which the government legalizes it and exercises substantial oversight and handles lawsuits against abusive pimps and clients. I also fail to see how "with legalization, the dehumanizing factors of women who are prostitutes would only increase with time", since abused prostitutes would be able to press charges without worrying about their own position with respect to the law.

5: When Farley says that "the conditions that make choice possible are absent", I'm not sure what she means. There is a clear choice: unless it is a truly serious case of trafficking (in which case laws that are only anti-prostitution would not apply since it would fall under the 13th amendment and kidnapping and rape laws, so these cases are irrelevant to our debate). If she means that most women who go into prostitution face extreme poverty if they don't, thus limiting their 'choice', then preventing them from going into prostitution would simply mean that they would have to face extreme poverty, so they wouldn't be any better off. I agree that the fate of these women is deplorable, but the solution is not anti-prostitution laws but strong and effective social welfare programs that will relieve these women of this awful choice. If the contention is that these women are too young and impressionable or simply not well-informed enough to make rational choices, then the solution is, in the former case, a minimum age limit for prostitutes (I'd put it at 21, but that's not the subject of this debate) and in the latter case a public-education program (like Cuba did to combat AIDS) to better inform women of the dangers of entering prostitution. If they are fully informed and not too young, and they still make the decision to go into prostitution, they are not a victim (and obviously the customer and any third parties are not victims either) any more than a guy who willingly drives his car smack into a tree at 90 mph is a victim; less, in fact, since they at least reap the benefits of the extra cash, and, if they were smart and well informed then this benefit ought to outweigh the negatives for everyone who ends up making the choice to go into prostitution (or else they would not have made that choice).
masterzanzibar

Con

masterzanzibar forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
NeoConCommunist

Pro

As my opponent has forfeited his round, I would like to take the opportunity to offer a few new arguments and pieces of evidence, and to clarify my previous post.

First: "Do you think that the government will seriously check and test these girls after every day, week, or even month for STDS? Legalization fundamentally increases the risk of getting aids because more individuals visit these sites (explained in Contention 1), and the government cannot possibly monitor these sites every time they have sex, nor is it likely that they will every 500 times they have sex."

One thing that I forgot to mention was my actual answer to his question, which is YES. A few points that I would like to make: under my system brothels must have licenses to operate and would be tightly contolled and possibly taxed. Any brothel that doesn't comply will be shut down and the proprietor and other guilty parties jailed. The competition from legal brothels would drive illegal brothels (which would probably be dirtier and more expensive) pretty much out of business - thus reducing their share of STD spread. Legal brothels would not spread STDs as much because they would be required to send their prostitutes for regular (weekly) STD checks and to require customers to wear condoms. Any violation would result in immediate jail for the proprietor and others involved (zero tolerance). This would provide a large incentive to actually go for the weekly STD check and to require customers to wear protection, the opposite situation of what happens today, where there is little incentive for either. Also, if the IRS can tax every single business in the country (paying taxes is something very few businesses are eager to do), I fail to see how it would not be possible for the government to regulate prostitution (on things that brothels shouldn't be unhappy to do, like require protection), which would very likely remain a minor industry.

Next, a clarification: in my previous post, I wrote:
"There is a clear choice: unless it is a truly serious case of trafficking (in which case laws that are only anti-prostitution would not apply since it would fall under the 13th amendment and kidnapping and rape laws, so these cases are irrelevant to our debate)." I forgot to finish the sentence after the parenthetical statement. It should have ended with "there is a choice; the person in question can choose either to be a prostitute or not to be a prostitute. Taking the first option away doesn't make them seriously better off (in fact, as I have argued, it makes them worse off)." If we want to reduce prostitution, outlawing it isn't the way to go, since many women who choose to go into prostitution desperately need the extra cash; if a social welfare program can lift them out of the economic region where prostitution is the lesser of two evils (the other being poverty), that will reduce prostitution in a way that makes both the former prostitutes and any remaining prostitutes better off as well.

And, to finish off this relatively brief post, I offer a few quotes (gathered from http://wiki.idebate.org...):

(from Marjan Wijers, LLM. Chair of the European Commission's Expert Group on Trafficking in Human Beings. "Women, Labor, and Migration: The Position of Trafficked Women and Strategies for Support", a chapter in 1998 book "Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance and Redefinition") - "Criminalizing the sex industry creates ideal conditions for rampant exploitation and abuse of sex workers…[I]t is believed that trafficking in women, coercion and exploitation can only be stopped if the existence of prostitution is recognized and the legal and social rights of prostitutes are guaranteed."

(from Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD, Founding Co-Director of Faith Voices for the Common Good. Sex Workers Outreach Project.) - "Prohibition gives cover to traffickers. It allows them to use the laws against prostitution to intimidate, especially when it comes to children. Women and girls being held against their will are afraid to go to police because they will be treated as criminals."

(from "Trafficking in Human Beings - Third Report of the Dutch National Rapporteur." The Bureau of the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking.) - "The fight against THB [trafficking in human beings] for sexual exploitation is often confused with the battle that some people wage against prostitution...[T]here are disadvantages associated with a repressive approach, since such an approach does not distinguish between victims and independent sex workers, and clients will not play a role as a potential source of information on trafficking practices...
It is often said in the media that the lifting of the general ban on brothels has led to more THB. This is not a correct conclusion. Before the lifting of the general ban on brothels, THB and other (criminal) abuses were taking place in all sectors of prostitution. Some of these sectors are now under control and can be assumed to have rid themselves of their former criminal excesses, or are doing so...It is possible that THB is increasing in the illegal, non-regulated or noncontrolled sectors. If this were to be the case, it still cannot be assumed that the extent of THB is now at the same or even above the 'old' level it was at before the ban on brothels was lifted. It is in fact likely that this is not the case, merely because not every client is keen to get involved in the 'secret' prostitution sector."

(from David A. Feingold, PhD, Coordinator of Trafficking-HIV/AIDS Programs, Culture Unit, UNESCO Bangkok) - "Sweden, for example, is much praised by antiprostitution activists for a 1998 law that aimed to protect sex workersby criminalizing their customers. But several independent studies, including one conducted by the Swedish police, , showed that it exposed prostitutes to more dangerous clients and and less safe-sex practices."
masterzanzibar

Con

I sincerely apologize for the round that I wasted by forfeit, due to finals and holiday obligations I had little time to write an adequate rebuttal. I commend my opponent for a well executed debate, and am sorry if he feels that he has wasted his time due to my conspicuous forfeit.
mechanically I believe that I have lost this debate, for my opponent rebutted my arguments while I failed to extend and argue his, and I commend my opponent for doing so. However, I believe that I win this debate on a logical stance, and this is why.

1. my opponent and I agree that there are psychological, emotional, and physical problems, that are fundamental to the business of prostitution, and he has endorsed this fact several times throughout the debate. Please see r1 again if you need any clarification on the specificity of the detriment----\>
2. Anyone in their right mind can see that legalization will result in a exponential increase in prostitution, for it effectively creates an avenue for those seeking prostitution, that would not be there if it we're not for the legalization. Instead of the rare chance of people actually being attracted to a prostitute in a bar or a street corner, a heavily advertised location is established where people who are looking for prostitution can go, which will increase prostitution overall, incredibly.
(see status quo in Nevada)-----|>
3. because there is an exponential increase in prostitution there is an exponential exacerbation of the problems been mentioned throughout this round.
So when my opponent asserts that women will be helped by legalization, he completely neglects the hundreds, perhaps THOUSANDS of new women that will be brought into the business when legalization occurs. in order to avoid a governmental endorsement of this detriment, you should look to the Neg. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by EugeneZ 5 years ago
EugeneZ
thanks for my typo correction:
at least you got the main idea:
If somebody not from US will ask you: Do you have legal prostitution in USA = "yes" or "No"?

The short answer is : "Yes"

if to see a big picture ( the 2 states are part of the USA "body", etc ....)

we have legal prostitution in US :)
Posted by wjmelements 5 years ago
wjmelements
Actually, you are wrong. The wikipedia article you sourced said the OPPOSITE: Prostitution is illegal in all but two states.
Posted by EugeneZ 5 years ago
EugeneZ
Actually, In the United States, we have legal prostitution, In all but two U.S. states (Nevada and Rhode Island)
http://en.wikipedia.org...
A lot of countries have it as well
http://www.sexwork.com...
---
More positive then negative:
-- legalization makes prostitution as any business TAX-able and health regulations make love workers as nurses- weekly checked for infections etc
---
Illegal activity such as sex-slaves (http://www.prostitutionresearch.com...) - etc -will go away (or most of it) - due to competition..
---
Less rapes and Domestic violence due to luck of sexual satisfaction: people will be happier and maybe family life will be better: less divorces as result....
All legal, clean and controlled
---
Now it is illegal , ?clean, and uncontrolled,
TAX$$ are not paid ..
---
For US it is win-win situation: however, prostitution must be under federal\state law regulations and not violate human rights, etc...
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by EugeneZ 5 years ago
EugeneZ
NeoConCommunistmasterzanzibarTied
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Vote Placed by masterzanzibar 5 years ago
masterzanzibar
NeoConCommunistmasterzanzibarTied
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