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The Contender
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Prostitution should be legalized in the US

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 5/1/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,267 times Debate No: 74368
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (33)
Votes (5)




This debate is for Four Trouble

Resolved - Prostitution should be legalized in the US

This is a shared BOP

Prostitution - the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for money

Legalized - make (something that was previously illegal) permissible by law.

US - United States


1. Forfeiting results in a loss of conduct or possibly the debate
2. Any citations or sources must be used within the character limit of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final round
4. Maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling or semantics
6. No K's of the topic
7. My opponent accepts all of the following definitions and waives his/her right to challenge these definitions
8. The BOP is shared
9. First round is acceptance. This debate has been set to be impossible to accept, so if you wish to do so, say so in the comments. If you find a way to accept the debate without me approving it, you will FF the debate.
10. Violation of any of these rules or of any of the R1 set-up merits a loss of a conduct point and due to the severity of the breach may merit an entire FF of the debate.



I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to FT for taking this. I look forward to an interesting and good debate.

A way this can work would be similar to how it works in other places and in Nevada. There would be legal brothels that are opened. This would run the same as any other normal business, meaning the federal government would regulate it. This includes and is not limited to taxes, paying the prostitutes, and making sure their is proper medical care and pay for the prostitutes that working their.

C1) Regulation

The issue with not regulating something is that you risk the activity still occurring whether or not you regulate it. Meaning even with prostitution being illegal, prostitution is still going to occur. It is estimated that between 84,000 - 150,000 women work as prostitutes yearly in the US[1]. Just in 2007 alone there was nearly 78,000 arrests due to prostitution, and this number is considered conservative because most people are not caught[1]. A primary thing to be aware of is that this occurs with anything that is banned and not regulated properly. Look at marijuana in the US. It is still illegal in quite a few places, but the underground market for it is insanely high. If people can find a way to make money illegally and without paying taxes they are going to do it. Regulating prostitution does quite a few things. It stops violence, keeps prostitutes healthy, and allows us to tax it.

A) Safety

People that often get into prostitution do it because they have no other choice. Meaning they are not educated well enough to get a job that pays enough to sustain them, or they want to do it and don't know what they are getting into. This sadly includes people who were raped, abused, or beaten as children[2]. Once women enter into this job they submit to their pimp. Their pimp pays them, he loans them out, and he basically abuses them. The issue with not regulating prostitution and allowing it to happen that way is it subjects women to all types of abuse and psychical harm. Most prostitutes in the industry tend to get raped in their lifetime[3]. Even more tend to get assaulted or physically abused [3].

Opening up brothels for women that want to be prostitutes allows them to engage in prostitution but engage in it in a safe and controlled manner. With the brothels being regulated like a regular business there is no chance of rape or physical abuse occurring . My adversary may say that prostitution will still occur under the radar which is true, but what regulating does is mitigate that down to a minuscule amount. If a women has the choice to go to a business and get paid like a normal job vs going to pimp, there is a very high chance they are going to go the brothel instead. It gives them guaranteed money by federal law, it gives them medical care, and it reduces the chance of harm to them in comparison to working underground.

Experts actually estimate that if prostitution was legalized in the US , rape would decrease by nearly 25 percent in the us alone which is nearly 25,000 rapes per year[5][6]. Not just that but a study in Queensland shows that when brothels were closed and shut down, rapes increased nearly 150% percent[5][6]. This shows a direct correlation between rapes and non regulation of prostitution.

B) Medical and STDS

Not regulating prostitution also opens up a whole new type of problem. The women tend to get diseases because of lack of medical care. A pimp is not going to care if they have condoms or go to a doctor for check ups. Regulating the Industry allows the government to make sure they are taken care of as business owners would be required to make sure their medical needs are met. Prostitution is legal in Nevada and it is regulated so well that ironically Porn Stars have a higher STD rate that prostitutes[4].

Most studies show that women who had sex with men and worked as prostitutes report sad statistics. 47 % of women expected to have sex without a condom all the time, 73% reported that men offered to pay additional money if they had sex without a condom, and over 40% reported that they were abused when they mentioned using a condom at all[7]. Upon Inadvertently decriminalizing indoor prostitution in Rhode Island from 2003 to 2009, the state saw a giant decrease in rape and STDS[8]

C) Costs

This is a huge impact because you gain the benefit of taxation of the industry and cutting the incarceration rate for those that participate in the industry. Nearly 200 million dollars a year is spent on incarceration rates alone [9]. Per arrest on someone soliciting sex, it generally cost around $2,000 for each individual arrest. You up this to a larger national scale, you are looking at nearly 200 million dollars a year alone we spend in arresting prostitutes. That 200 million could be invested back into proper regulation, thus reducing the harm, and used for other programs. It is far to much to spend on arresting prostitutes, while keeping it illegal to begin with causes a net harm. We are basically paying 200 million dollars to maintain a ban that is a net detriment to society.

Taxation is another major impact. We would gain nearly 20 billion dollars a year by regulating prostitution annually[11]. Prostitution itself is somewhere along a 16-20 billion dollar industry as is [12]. If we regulate it an estimated influx would occur and you would earn nearly 20 billion dollars of taxation alone, and this is just off the estimated influx alone. This number could easily jump to 30 or 40 billion dollars.

C2) Consent

This is a basic argument in itself but 2 consenting adults having sex is just that two consenting adults having sex. The reasons they are having sex is a non factor. In almost any case prostitution acts just like any other job. You do a certain task for money. Prostitution is no different. You are performing an act in which both parties are consenting for that has no negative effects and which is perfectly legal in every other regard, in exchange for payment. Sex is perfectly legal, so performing sexy for money should be allowed as any other task that you do for money as long as it is taxed and regulated.


Legalizing prostitution will

(1) Reduce crime
(2) Reduce rapes
(3) Reduce Stds
(4) allow us to tax it
(5) cut unnecessary spending
(6) Uphold common consent.




Thanks for the debate, Mikal. I'll start with my case and finish with rebuttals.

NOTE: "johns" are "guys who pay for sex."

== Trafficking ==

(1) Experience shows that when prostitution is legalized, sex trafficking increases. [A, B, C, D, E, F] Even in Nevada. [G, H, O] This happens because legalization increases demand. Not enough women want to prostitute, so the only way to meet that demand is through trafficking.

(2) Most "legal prostitutes" are trafficking victims. [E, O] Unfortunately, police can't do anything about that, because police can't distinguish legal prostitutes from trafficking victims, or legal pimps from traffickers. Police also can't arrest trafficking victims, which is a huge problem, because most trafficking victims don't seek help. Pimps manipulate victims to think they're not victims, or to think they'll be killed if they seek help. [I, J, O] So, the only effective way to rescue trafficking victims is arresting them for prostitution.

== Violence ==

(1) Prostitutes are lucky to get out with their lives. More prostitutes are murdered than any other group. The few that aren't still experience an extensive catalog of violence, including assault and rape. Their hair is pulled, faces ejaculated on; they are slapped, pinched, verbally abused, threatened, beaten, cut with knives, burned with cigarettes, and gang raped. Victims of torture describe similar acts. And like victims of torture, prostitutes report mouth and teeth injuries, vaginal bleeding, internal injuries, head injuries, and broken bones. The average life span for prostitutes is four years. [E, K, L]

(2) The psychological harm is just as bad. Prostitutes measure higher levels of PTSD than combat veterans and victims of torture. PTSD results from going through atrocities you cannot mentally sustain. And PTSD isn't the only concern. Studies show prostitutes are at heightened risk of depression, mania, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, dissociative disorders, and drug abuse. This psychological damage stems from the act itself. Prostituted women simply cannot avoid the trauma associated with constant sexual degradation, and with having one's body sold as a commodity. In fact, studies find no difference in PTSD levels between street prostitution and brothel prostitution, which shows that the trauma is intrinsic to the act itself. [E, K, L]

(3) These results are not limited to illegal prostitution. Even prostitutes working where prostitution is legal, in brothels with so-called “safety policies,” experience this extensive catalog of physical and psychological violence. The psychological harms are inherent, so no amount of improvement helps. And the physical harms also persist, because that's what the johns want, and they're willing to pay more for it. And prostitutes don't feel like they have a choice. And panic buttons usually fail. [E, K, L, M, O]

== Rebuttal ==

(1) Regulation

Regulation doesn't reduce illegal prostitution. Over 90% of prostitution in Nevada is illegal. [B, G, H, M, O] Also, see my trafficking evidence from earlier. As Mikal notes, 73% of men will pay more for sex without a condom, and those men create a market for illegal prostitution. Regulating prostitution isn't going to change that.

(2) Safety

First, since regulations don't reduce illegal prostitution, Mikal's "minimization" arguments regarding "safety" and "STDs" have no impact. Most prostitutes are still subject to all the harms. Second, "safety policies" don't work, because prostitution is inherently dangerous, degrading, and psychologically traumatic. [E, K, L, M, O]

(3) Rape

If legalization actually decreased rape, we'd see evidence of that in Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, and Nevada. But there isn't any such evidence. I'd argue that rape actually increases with legalization, because more prostitution means more prostitutes are raped. The reason we don't hear about it is because prostitutes almost never report rapes.

Mikal's sources don't say otherwise. The study in [5, 6] used a regression model to analyze potential correlations between availability of prostitution and rape. The study made no claims about legalization actually reducing rape. Even worse, the study relied on the wrong definitions of rape (this fact was admitted in the study), and the study didn't consider unreported rapes (this fact completely skews the data). Taking those limitations into account, the correct interpretation of the data is that rapists target prostitutes over other women; other independent evidence supports that interpretation, including Mikal's [2] and [3]. When there's more prostitution available, more prostitutes get raped instead. Rape doesn't decrease, but reporting does, because prostitutes almost never report rapes.

Mikal's [8] doesn't apply because it dealt with inadvertent decriminalization; Mikal's arguing for regulated legalization, which is completely different. Finally, Mikal's only other study -- the Queensland study -- is from 1959. It's completely outdated and therefore inapplicable to prostitution today.

(4) Costs

First, designating something as a crime shouldn't turn on enforcement costs and potential tax revenue. No one argues that trafficking, murder, or rape should be legal, even though legalizing them would generate massive savings. So too with prostitution. Money simply shouldn't factor into policy decisions about what to criminalize.

Second, enforcement costs don't go down when prostitution is legal because legalization doesn't reduce illegal prostitution. If anything, enforcement costs go up, because trafficking increases.

Third, Mikal's numbers are wrong. Mikal's [12] says the prostitution industry generates $14 billion a year. [12] There's no way to generate $20, $30, or $40 billion in taxes from an industry that only generates $14 billion. That's literally impossible. Mikal gets his numbers from [11], but [11] is wrong because (a) it assumes all illegal prostitution will be regulated, and (b) it assumes all prostitutes will earn at least $100,000 a year (i.e. earn just as much as the high-class prostitutes in Nevada). Both assumptions are wrong. Most prostitution would still be illegal, competition among brothels would bring prices down, and competition among states would bring tax rates down. So the actual tax revenue isn't even close to $20 billion. Of course, that's not surprising, since [11] isn't a credible source; it's just what some guy on the Internet said.

(5) Consent

First, no amount of consent makes a crime acceptable, because the whole point of criminal laws is to determine which *choices* are acceptable to society. Murder, rape, and trafficking are crimes even if victims consent. So too with prostitution.

Second, prostitutes don't actually consent because they have no real alternatives (or at least they feel like they have no real alternatives). Poverty, homelessness, and past sexual abuse are the top reasons women are prostituted. Pimps often recruit illegal immigrants -- especially Central American women -- into prostitution by stealing their money and threatening deportation. And many women are simply beaten until they "consent" to prostitution. The so-called "choice" is thus only a choice between two evils: homelessness or prostitution, starving family or prostitution, deportation or prostitution, violent beatings or prostitution. Of course, that's not a real "choice." Most prostitutes want to leave prostitution but they feel they can't or don't know how. [E, K, L, M, N, O]

This is not just like every other job. P
rostitutes don't decide to be prostitutes instead of doctors, engineers, lawyers, pilots. Those options don't exist for prostituted women. When intereviewed, prostitutes say prostitution chose them. And they say they'd prefer doing anything else if they could. In Nevada, there are countless stories of legal prostitutes who speak to the public "glowingly of how much fun prostitution was, how rich they were getting, how glamorous their life was." And then -- when the pimps aren't looking -- they ask for "help," "saying she was there under captivity, that he had a gun, had threatened her life," and so on. [O] I urge everyone to read, or at least skim, [O]. It shows that prostitutes don't consent; they're tricked, coerced, and brainwashed by pimps.

In many ways, prostituted women are like battered women. Like battered women, prostituted women depend on pimps economically, fear for their lives, and don't know how to get out. So they stay in prostitution just as battered women stay in their relationships. Think about it this way:
Would we say that a concentration camp survivor who collaborated with the guards to get food and stay alive had consented to his abuse? Would we say an enslaved African in the Americas who became a house servant had done so voluntarily? No. To say there was choice there is absurd. And prostitution is no different.

== Conclusion ==

Prostitution is inherently degrading. "It is the mouth, the vagina, the rectum, penetrated by a penis, sometimes hands, sometimes objects, by one man and then another and then another and then another and then another." Prostitutes don't want to have sex with those men. They do it solely because they're forced (literally or from financial necessity). And as a result, the entirety of their life is reduced to a few sexual orifices. The attendant harms -- harms on par with torture -- cannot be disputed. And legalization only increases those harms, because it makes enforcement harder while increasing trafficking. Only the pimps and johns benefit.

[B] Mary Jones, Making Sex Work
[H] Melissa Farley, Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada
Debate Round No. 2


Mikal forfeited this round.


Mikal said in a PM he's conceding the debate because some stuff came up. We'll probably try doing this another time when Mikal's got the time.

For now, I'll accept the concession and also just say, after doing the research, I've convinced myself that prostitution should be illegal. I hope you guys are convinced too, because it's one of those issues that's easy to ignore if you haven't done the research. And it's something that's important, because it's easy to talk about in this "academic" setting, but prostitution is real for the women who are prostituted, and legalizing it has real effects on them.
Debate Round No. 3


Yeah sorry to FT

I got slammed at work for the past 2 days and my time to write this dwindled. Due to the rules, I have no choice but to concede as it was a FF

Sorry for not being able to get to this


I understand man -- hopefully we'll do this another time when you're less busy.
Debate Round No. 4
33 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Trumpforthewin 10 months ago
I think that prostitution is not bothering anyone its just a way for the government to keep people from making money without them getting taxed from them. Thats all anything is about these days is money. they people recieving the prostitue obviously wants to do it and the it makes no sense to intrude. Stop trying to control others lives.
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
Bit disappointed myself, but Mikal says he's still down to do the debate, when he has more time. So hopefully this will happen.
Posted by BlackVoid 1 year ago
I'm disappointed this went FF'd. This is the only decent argument against prostitution I've ever seen and it'd have been awesome of this got completed. Oh well.
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
yea I do agree time period should be increased for debates -- sometimes I have time but others I really don't either and quality suffers.
Posted by Mikal 1 year ago
Trafficking was the rebuttal I was working on.

That would have taken some time, but I could have got around it. The rest was the same in the status quo so the response wasn't that bad. Granted the way I was going to try was to compare the regulation in other countries vs how it would be regulated in america. I got through one country and then went to play leagues

too time consuming to do it all in a day sadly. I would push it off and then get slammed. This debate by itself is reason enough to up the time period to 7 days lol
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
dude no source you bring up is gonna defeat [F]... prostitution 100% increases trafficking cause it increases demand. That's been 100% proven. No argument there. Only way Pro on this to win is arguing other stuff outweighs those impacts.
Posted by Mikal 1 year ago
I'm not glad lol, I hate losses but what can I do. I ran into the same problem with my 16k debate. To many sources, and not enough free time anymore to go through them all. I managed to get through about 10 of your studies and had a case about the issues being the same in the status quo

meaning everything you said is already present via it being illegal. I just could not get to the damn rebuttals
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
haha glad to be the first -- most of my losses are forfeits actually. Or really bad voting (my free trade debate with roy I 100% should have won).
Posted by Mikal 1 year ago
rip if you want to we can always copy and paste the rounds lol

I needed a week to do this which is why I want the time cap increased

I had all my stuff written except for the rebuttals, and I just could not get to it. This is my first FF ever I think
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
it's okay man -- I need the free elo for my rise to the top.

I wish I had been playing leagues wiith you guys --
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by xXCryptoXx 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: FT had a good rebuttal that addressed all of Mikal's points and then Mikals forfeited, so FT wins. FT, thank you for your research. I thought it was very thourough and it has helped strengthen my own position on prostitution.
Vote Placed by kbub 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: FF