The Instigator
Pro (for)
21 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Prostitution should be illegal.

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/1/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 828 times Debate No: 64339
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (3)




This debate is about prostitution. I believe prostitution should be legal, but I've chosen to argue a side I don't believe in, to keep things interesting. This should be fun!

There are three rounds. The first is for acceptance. The second is for arguments. The third is for rebuttals.

I have made the voting open to members with a minimum Elo of 2500. I also ask voters explain their decision. That should keep randoms from voting and ensure a fair assessment.


Prostitution is already illegal.
Debate Round No. 1


Prostitution should be illegal for four reasons: (1) prostitution causes irreparable physical and psychological harms, (2) legalizing prostitution will not eliminate violence in prostitution, (3) prostitution increases human trafficking, and (4) prostitution perpetuates gender inequality.

1. Women who prostitute are irreparably harmed both physically and psychologically.

The average life span for a woman entering prostitution is four years. No other population of women has a higher death rate. [1] Prostitutes are often murdered. But this high death rate is not just the result of homicide; it's also caused by the incredible violence and brutality that prostitutes face every day.

Prostitutes experience an extensive catalog of violence. Their hair is pulled, their faces are ejaculated on, their breasts are squeezed; they are slapped, pinched, verbally abused, threatened, beaten, cut with knives, burned with cigarettes, and gang raped. [1] Victims of torture describe very similar acts. [2] And like victims of torture, prostitutes report injuries such as bruises, mouth and teeth injuries, vaginal bleeding, internal injuries, head injuries, and broken bones. [3] Moreover, these results are not limited to illegal prostitution. These results include prostitutes working in countries where prostitution is legal, in brothels with so-called "safety policies." [4]

Prostitution also has psychological consequences. For example, prostitutes are at a heightened risk of depression, mania, suicidal thoughts, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders and chemical dependence. [1] Prostitutes report a sense of "splitting," of "leaving my body" or going "someplace else mentally." The result is a higher incidence of dissociative disorders. [5] Without surprise, prostitution also leads to a higher incidence of PTSD.

The psychological damage stems from the act itself. Even women who choose to prostitute cannot avoid the trauma associated with constant sexual degradation, and with having one's body sold as a commodity. The psychological damage is often unconscious and manifests after-the-fact. Thus, no amount of "improvement" to the conditions of prostitution can eliminate its psychological consequences.

2. Legalizing prostitution will not eliminate violence in prostitution.

Rates of assault and rape against prostitutes remains extremely high even in countries that have legalized prostitution. [6] Legalization would draw thousands more women into prostitution without any demonstrable decrease in violence. For example, in European countries where prostitution has been legalized -- or had elements of prostitution legalized -- the number of prostitutes has more than doubled after legalization. [7] Yet violence towards these prostitutes has not decreased. In fact, studies have found that women working in brothels and other indoor facilities have less control because the owners control what sex acts they do and with whom. [1] Often, the result has been more violence towards prostitutes than in places where prostitution is legal.

Legalization has been tried. It has not eliminated violence in prostitution. Sometimes, it has even led to more violence towards prostitutes. Thus, prostitution should not be legalized.

3. Legalizing prostitution would increase human trafficking.

We can all agree that human trafficking is bad. It poses serious health issues for women and girls worldwide, weakens the rule of law, and may even compromise international security.

Studies have found that legalizing prostitution increases human trafficking. For example, a 2012 study published by World Development found that countries with legalized prostitution have higher human trafficking inflows than countries where prostitution is prohibited. [8] The International Organization of Migration attributed the rise in trafficking to the rise of prostitution in Europe. [9] And the U.S. Department of State recognized that legalized prostitution makes anti-trafficking work more difficult. [9]

Everyone agrees that trafficking is a violation of basic human rights. But trafficking would not exist without prostitution. The two go hand-in-hand. Without dispute, all the empirical data we have suggests that legalization of prostitution leads to increased trafficking.

4. Legalizing prostitution would perpetuate gender inequality.

Prostitution is about men's control over women's sexuality. The prostitution industry exploits the economic, physical, and social weakness of women and children, in order to service men. To put it bluntly, legalized prostitution exists for the benefit of men. Which in turn ends up perpetuating gender inequality.

Think about it this way: Prostitution is like female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation is often represented as something that women choose, either for themselves or for their female children. Indeed, the practice is usually carried out by women alone. But does that make female genital mutilation okay? No. But why shouldn't female genital mutilation be legal if its carried out by women alone? Because like prostitution, female genital mutilation exists solely for the benefit of men. Male ideas of female sexuality are what underlie the practice, and it is those ideas that female genital mutilation attempts to satisfy.

Prostitution perpetuates gender inequality in the same way that female genital mutilation perpetuates gender inequality. Degrading, patriarchal ideas of female sexuality underlie both practices. And both practices are thus an expression of men's control over women's sexuality.

For all the above reasons, prostitution should be illegal.


[1] Melissa Farley, "Prostitution in Five Countries: Violence and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," published in Feminism and Psychology.
[2] "Nigerian women tortured by prostitution ring in Greece," Associated Press, August 15, 2005.
[3] A Comparative Study of Women Trafficked in the Migration Process: Patterns, Profiles and Health Consequences of Sexual Exploitation in Five Countries,
[4] Patricia Hynes and Janice Raymond, "Put in Harms Way: The Neglected Health Consequences of Sex
Trafficking in the United States."
[5] C.A. Ross, M. Farley, and H.L. Schwartz, "Dissociation Among Women in Prostitution."
[6] I. Vanwesenbeeck et al, "Professional HIV risk taking, levels of victimization, and well-being in female
prostitutes in the Netherlands."
[7] Joan Smith, "Why British men are rapists."
[9] J. Raymond, "Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution and a Legal Response to the Demand for


Dewotthero forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


It seems Con has forfeited. Please vote Pro.


Dewotthero forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Envisage 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: FF.... Was hoping for a con win... Oh well.
Vote Placed by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: FF