The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Prostitution ought to be legalized in more areas of the United States

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/15/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,639 times Debate No: 38935
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




First round is acceptance only.


This seems like an interesting topic. I'll be more than happy to accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting my challenge! I look forward to a fun and interesting debate!

I will start by defining my argument with three contentions.
My contentions are as follows:
A) It is the choice of the person as to whether or not they engage in any activity regarding prostitution (Becoming, or hiring one)
B) Laws against prostitution are invasive to the personal choices of Americans and, therefore, not as the founding fathers intended.
C) Regulations and taxes on prostitution could generate revenue for the US government.
D) Legalization with regulation would help prevent other more serious crimes/troubles such as Human Trafficking, Child molestation, Pimping, and the spread of infectious disease.

My first contention regards the rights of each individual to choose for themselves. Any person wishing to engage in prostitution or to employ a prostitute should have the right to pursue that choice, assuming that they aren't infringing upon the rights of others. A person should not be able to force someone into prostitution, or force them to hire one. If a person chose to become a prostitute for money, empowerment, excitement, etc. that is their choice. The same is true for anyone wanting to hire a prostitute. This also strongly relates to my second contentions

My second contention is that laws prohibiting prostitution are A) usually based on religious morals and therefore against the ideal of separation of church and state and therefore unconstitutional, and B) against the non-interventionist civil libertarian ideals of the founding fathers. This is evident in that laws against prostitution prevent people from their inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. If being a prostitute is what truly makes you happy, or is necessary to reach another happiness, then you should be allowed to become a prostitute.

My third contention is that regulation of prostitution and taxation could bring in extra revenue for the US government. If states put a special tax on prostitution there would be a significant increase in local GDP. Prostitution and pornography account for a whopping $122 billion dollars of untapped GDP in he US.

My fourth contention regards the safety of prostitution. Human trafficking, violent abuse, child molestation, and the spread of infectious disease all spawn from the fact that prostitution is illegal and therefore not under any kind of regulation. (2) With prostitution legalized, the victims of said crimes could be better protected, and said crimes could be prevented, through organizations such as OSHA and ICPR. Prostitutes could work legitimately, and find better job safety. They wouldn't be dependent on a pimp. With licensing and organization, prostitutes could be given health benefits by legitimate employers, and protected from violent customers. Prostitutes AND their clients could be protected from disease through licensing, testing, condoms, and other safety measures that could be achieved through organization, legitimization, regulation, and, ultimately, legalization.

I think I have clearly shown that the benefits of legal prostitution in the US shows great promise.

I await my opponents response eagerly!



Contention 1: Legalizing expands the sex market.

Because of the legalization of prostitution, the sex market in the region will grow. The Netherlands proves. “Over the last decade, as pimping was legalized, and brothels decriminalized in the year 2000, the sex industry increased by 25% in the Netherlands.” [1]

Sub-point 1a: Legalizing prostitution increases human trafficking.

Because of an increase in the demand of prostitutes with the expansion of a sex market, sex trafficking will increase, as the Netherlands shows. “Legalized or decriminalized prostitution industries are one of the root causes of sex report found that 80% of women in the brothels of the Netherlands were trafficked from other countries.” [2] The expansion of human trafficking leads to problems to those involved therein. “A 2006 quantitative study...documented the physical, sexual and mental health symptoms experienced by women trafficked for sexual exploitation (10). In this multi-site survey of approximately 200 women, the majority reported high levels of physical or sexual abuse before (59%) and during (95%) their exploitation, and multiple concurrent physical and mental health problems immediately after their trafficking experience (10). The most commonly reported physical health symptoms included fatigue, headaches, sexual and reproductive health problems (e.g. STIs), back pain and significant weight loss.” [3] “Women who have been trafficked into the sex trade may often not have access to, or are not allowed to use, condoms or other methods of birth control... Such women face the risk of unwanted pregnancies and miscarriages...This type of physical and sexual abuse described above leads to severe mental or emotional health consequences, including feelings of severe guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders. In extreme cases, the mental anguish can lead to self-mutilation and/or suicide.” [4]

Sub-point 1b: Legalizing has the problems of illegal prostitution, child prostitution.

Under a system of legalized prostitution, prostitutes would need to enter into a registry, something that creates problems as pimps find ways to bypass that system and expand street prostitution. “…many women are in street prostitution because they want to avoid being controlled and exploited by pimps (transformed in legalized systems into sex businessmen). Other women do not want to register or submit to health checks, as required by law in some countries where prostitution is legalized. Thus, legalization may actually drive some women into street prostitutionIn the Netherlands...because they must register and lose their anonymity, women are more vulnerable to being stigmatized as “whores,”... Thus, the majority of women in prostitution still operate illegally and undergroundAnother argument for legalizing prostitution in the Netherlands was that it would help end child prostitution. Yet child prostitution in the Netherlands has increased dramatically during the 1990s. The Amsterdam-based ChildRight organization estimates that the number of children in prostitution has increased by more than 300% between 1996 –2001, going from 4,000 children in 1996 to15,000 in 2001.” [5]

Contention 2: Legalizing prostitution doesn't solve the problems faced in prostitution.

The legalization of prostitution fails to solve any of the problems women face in prostitution.

Sub-point 2a: Legalization of prostitution doesn't decrease sexual assault.

It is a cruel lie to suggest that decriminalization or legalization will protect anyone in prostitution…In the Netherlands, where prostitution is legal, 60% of prostituted women suffered physical assaults; 70% experienced verbal threats of physical assault; 40% experienced sexual violence; and 40% had been forced into prostitution or sexual abuse by acquaintances. Most young women in prostitution were abused or beaten by johns as well as pimps.” [6] “In two studies in which 186 victims of commercial sexual exploitation were interviewed, women consistently indicated that prostitution establishments did little to protect them, regardless of whether the establishments were legal or illegal. One woman said, “The only time they protect anyone is to protect the customers.” [7]

Sub-point 2b: Legalization of prostitution does not decrease the risk of health concerns.

The problem of transmission of STDs remains a problem under legalization. “A legalized system of prostitution often mandates health checks and certification, but only for women and not for male buyers. Health examinations or tests for women but not men make no public health sense because monitoring prostituted women does not protect them from HIV/AIDS or STDs... Male buyers can and do originally transmit disease to the women they purchase... In one study, 47% of women in U.S. prostitution stated that men expected sex without a condom; 73% reported that men offered to pay more for sex without a condom; and 45% of women said that men became abusive if they insisted that men use condoms. Although certain sex businesses had rules that required men to wear condoms, men nonetheless attempted to have sex without condoms. One woman stated: “It’s ‘regulation’ to wear a condom at the sauna, but negotiable between parties on the side. Most guys expected blow jobs without a condom (Raymond et al, 2001, p. 72).”” [8] “A UN/AIDS and WHO campaign in Thailand began in the late 1980s to ensure 100% condom use. According to women in prostitution, under this policy they suffered the same social contempt as always but with additional coercive tactics such as being taken to clinics for health checks under police or military escort. The campaign humiliated women by posting their photographs in brothels so that johns could inform pimps which of the women had agreed to have sex without a condom. Johns’ culpability for their own failure to use condoms was ignored.” [9] This is not to mention the problems of mental health for those involved in prostitution, mainly PTSD. “ Aosved and Long (2003), for example, found that women who experience rape resulting from coercive tactics such as abuse of authority, arguments, or social pressure experience the same high levels of depression and PTSD as women who have been raped as a result of force and threat of force...PTSD is characterized by anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, flashbacks, emotional numbing, and hyperalertness. Symptoms are more severe and long lasting when the stressor is of human design. PTSD is normative among prostituted women. Farley et al. (2003) found a PTSD prevalence rate of 68% among those in prostitution in nine countries. Illustrating a severe symptom of PTSD, one prostitution survivor said, “For the first few months I worked [in prostitution] I had a lot of nightmares involving mass numbers of penises”. ” [10]

Contention 3: Legalization of prostitution hurts women’s human rights.

Prostitution violates human rights.

Sub-point 3a: Legalization of prostitution increases discrimination of women.

There is a stark contrast between countries with legalized prostitution and criminalized prostitution in terms of the promotion of gender rights... the abuse of women has become so entwined in Thailand that it makes up 4.3 billion dollars per year."' The sale and abuse of women's bodies that contributes to the maintenance of the Thai government and society for the benefit of men can be described as nothing but exploitation... The result of the situation in Thailand is indicated by the CEDAW Committee's Concluding Observations, namely the concern "[t]hat traditional attitudes that foster discrimination against women and girls continue to prevail and to hinder the full implementation of the Convention.""* Rather than tackling the serious problem of discrimination against women in Thai society, the government compounds the problem by condoning the sale of women as objects for the use of men,... When women are commodities, they need be treated no better than other marketed products...” [11] “Prostitution is not about women enjoying rights over their own bodies. On the contrary, it is an expression of men's control over women's sexuality. It is the hiring out of one's body for the purposes of sexual intercourse, abuse, and manifestations of undifferentiated male lust." [12]

Sub-point 3b: Other conditions constitute that prostitution is a human rights violation.

The European Court of Human Rights has established that filthy conditions, water shortages, skin infections, and sleep deprivation can constitute torture when the suffering is intense... In places where prostitution is legalized, the state not only ignores the conditions, it legitimizes them. Therefore, States must be held accountable under ECtHR for their failure to eradicate torture.” [13]

References provided in comment section.

Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his hasty and well though out response.

Sub-point 1a: Legalizing prostitution increases human trafficking.
Although in certain areas of the world, this does hold true, this does not have to be the case. The red light district of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is a perfect example of the hotbed of crime that a lack of regulation around prostitution can create. With proper regulation and government action, however, these ailments can prevented. Higher levels of monitoring and regulation made by government authorities can reduce and eliminate human trafficking. If all prostitutes were required to bear licenses and go through other bureaucratic safeguards, then it would be much harder for people to be forced into prostitution as my opponent suggests. The Dutch government is actually in the process of reducing the crimes that prostitution has brought on, with some success (1). Furthermore, a large number of human trafficking occurs in poor, eastern European countries. Only one third of Dutch prostitutes are native to the Netherlands (2). Eastern European countries face unique circumstances that encourage human trafficking that most central American and north American countries do not (3). Through close regulation and steadfast application of justice, human trafficking would not be a problem in areas of the United States where it might be legalized.

"Sub-point 1b: Legalizing has the problems of illegal prostitution, child prostitution."
As I have just stated, these are all problems that can be solved with proper regulation and legislature. Systems can't be designed to be perfect and pimps would sometimes find a way around whatever regulations were created, but America in this case ought not to restrict the rights of it's citizens in order to preempt the actions of other criminals. Furthermore, my opponents sources are out of date to my source 1, which describes the actions that the Dutch government is currently taking against the crimes my opponent has pointed out, with success.

Sub-point 2a: Legalization of prostitution doesn't decrease sexual assault.
I find my opponents continued use of the Dutch example convenient, due to the flawed nature of the Dutch prostitution system that is evident in the previous lack of regulations. Furthermore, although my opponent claims that legalization doesn't "help", he fails to state in any way how legalization could "hurt." He presumes to say that legalization doesn't decrease violence, but also never claims that it would increase. Therefore it can be assumed that even if the claims of my opponent were true in the theoretical American prostitution system, America still ought to legalize prostitution in more areas of the US in order to grant individuals more freedom. Furthermore, if prostitution was indeed a legitimate occupation, then prostitutes would be able to seek protection from law enforcement when they are attacked by customers. Physical violence is also not unique to the sexual service industry. Workers rights has been a subject of heated debate since the industrial revolution. Injury is common in the workplace, especially for workers in high risk occupations, such as mining and construction. The difference for prostitutes is that another person is attacking them. however, legalization will protect prostitutes. An example of this is the American strip club business. Strippers engage in a service that is similar to prostitution, and are subject to sexual assault. Strippers, although, are legitimized by law, and strip clubs typically have bouncers and guards who protect the performers. The same could be done in brothels.

Sub-point 2b: Legalization of prostitution does not decrease the risk of health concerns.
The problem presented in this point is actually contains a presented remedy. The article claims that the problem lies within the lack of health and safety checks on the buyer side of prostitutes. This again can be remedied through regulation. One could be required to pass a health and safety check to be licensed to hire prostitutes (much like a drivers license). Furthermore, use of a condom could be legally required.

"Contention 3: Legalization of prostitution hurts women"s human rights."
This is not true. Instead, legalization of prostitution promotes humans rights in general. Men and Women should enjoy the right to become, or hire the services of a prostitute if they so wish as it is the personal choice of those persons as to what they do with their bodies. Prostitution ought to be legalized in more areas in order to promote the ideal that each citizens has the right to make their own personal choices, so long as they do not infringe upon the rights of another. With proper regulation to protect the rights of those involved with prostitution, and to prevent crime, legalizing prostitution would be a step forward in human rights. Women and men should not be forced into prostitution, but they should be allowed to choose it if they so wish. Regarding the quote "it is an expression of men's control over women's sexuality", one could argue that because the men are the ones who have to pay for the sex (in most cases) that it is not exploitation, but instead women capitalizing on certain men's inability to satisfy their sexual needs, therefore putting the prostitute in the position of power.

Furthermore I would like to point out that my opponent only cites the ailments of countries with legal prostitution that also have unique ailments. In the case of the Netherlands, it is the high volume of eastern European human trafficking. Taiwan is a country that is plagued by a myriad of humans rights violations esp. for labor workers. Furthermore, Taiwan is also neighbored by under-developed countries that contribute to the increased crime rate.

I believe that I have sufficiently disprove my opponents contentions, or proved why they are not a problem for the US, or proved that they are easily remedied. I have also sufficiently proved that prostitution ought to be legalized in more areas of the United States. I urge that you vote for the affirmative.

1. "Half of Amsterdam's redlight windows close". The Times (London). Retrieved 27 March 2010.


Due to some unforseen circumstances, I'm actually not going to be able to complete this debate. The response was really great, and the topic is really interesting. However, there are some things that are in the way. Judges, I apologize. Please vote for my opponent if you feel that voting is necessary. I also apologize for my opponent. I'm sorry I wasn't able to stick around, but I hope to debate this topic with you again very soon.
Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for his well though out response and wish him good luck in whatever endeavor is pulling him away from such an interesting debate.


TheSilentHorseman forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TheSilentHorseman 4 years ago
[1] Janice Raymond, "Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution And a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution," Journal of Trauma Practice, 2 (2003): 4,

[2] Ibid., 3

[3] "Human Trafficking," World Health Organization,


[5] Janice Raymond, "Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution And a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution," Journal of Trauma Practice, 2 (2003): 6,

[6] Farley, Melissa. ""Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart":1 Prostitution Harms Women Even if Legalized or Decriminalized." Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress. (2004): 1094-95.

[7] Janice Raymond, "Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution And a Legal Response to the Demand for Prostitution," Journal of Trauma Practice, 2 (2003): 7,

[8] Ibid., 8

[9] Farley, Melissa. ""Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart":1 Prostitution Harms Women Even if Legalized or Decriminalized." Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress. (2004): 1110-1111.

[10] Ibid., 1104-05

[11] Diane Post, "LEGALIZATION OF PROSTITUTION IS A VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS," Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress (2011): 86,

[12] Ibid., 90

[13] Ibid., 82
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Jakeross6 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:43 
Reasons for voting decision: This is the first debate on this entire site that has changed my mind about something. I am quite impressed. Conduct goes to pro, as he thanked his opponent multiple times and was respectful in his arguments as well as the fact that Con could not complete the debate. For S&G, Con gets that point simply because of the many errors in Pro's arguments. For arguments, Pro gets the ticket on this. As for sources, Con provided much more abundant and reliable sources where has Pro did not. In all, very interesting debate.
Vote Placed by Beverlee 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I personally feel that the demand for sex is a constant, and can't be increased or decreased. So it would have been an uphill climb for Con to have changed my mind about that. Con does make me worry about how legalized prostitution could impact women's rights, but Pro (I feel) is on solid ground when he rebuts that women's rights are increased by fewer restrictions on our personal (sexual) freedoms. I ended up giving arguments to Pro, but not conduct for the FF, because he was so gracious.