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The Legalization of Prostitution

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/2/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,018 times Debate No: 35223
Debate Rounds (3)
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The prohibition of money-for-sex has failed and should be ended for the sake of protecting women and individual freedom.


I thank my opponent for introducing this topic. I'm going to play devil's advocate here, and will argue against the legalization of prostitution. I wait for his side of the debate.
Debate Round No. 1


As was seen with alcohol prohibition, the criminalization of a demanded vice does not remove it from society, it only funnels now greatly swollen profits into violent organized crime syndicates. As crass as it may sound, prostitution is an extension of capitalism; a service in exchange for capital, and violating this market has not stopped the market. The sex industry is very much alive in America and going strong with an estimated one to two million prostitutes on American streets despite the outlawry. Also, these prostitutes are no longer able to get the protection of the law since their very profession is against the law, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and assaults. The operating of brothels was actually legal until America"s Progressive Era (1890-1920) when the "white slavery" scare campaign began putting out that prostitutes were dying at the absurd number of 60,000 a year and needed to be replaced annually in order for the industry to continue. The actual case was much different, where brothels were allowed to compete with each other as free businesses they were forced to have safe, clean working environments in order to attract "employees".
This plays out today where, in the rural counties of Nevada, brothels operate legally, quietly, and virtually free of disease. While the prostitutes there may face a just moral condemnation for their occupation at least they are there willingly. This is in stark contrast to the kidnapped, drugged, and beaten sex workers of Eastern Europe-one out of four sex slaves in the world originates from this bloc of countries where the industry is supposedly illegal! By making prostitution a black-market activity, the price of it is driven up enormously and the once expensive process of trafficking then becomes affordable. Legalization should not be confused with endorsement; legalization could and should happen for the sake of protecting women and respecting the individual rights of adults.


prostitute: a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money; whore; harlot.

I will commence by outlining the scope of this argument as seen by me. My opponent seems to be concerned about the impact of laws against prostitution on the society as a whole. He freely admits to prostitution being a vice- there is no doubt about it. This must logically imply that my opponent considers prostitution to be immoral, and therefore it appears to me that he has decided to take a pragmatic stand on the entire affair. To the extent of my understanding, he asserts that the laws against prostitution seem to have made no difference in the amount of illegal activity that is observed even after their implementation.

I will assume the empirical data provided by him to be correct, for the sake of argument. However, to be taken seriously, he should also be able to procure enough data to prove that were prostitution not illegal, the number of prostitutes would either diminish or at least remain nearly the same.

All of this, though, is beyond the point. The trouble with my opponent is that he appears to have lost all hope for bringing prostitution to an end. He believes that since prostitution as an institution does not seem to 'go away', eliminating it is now a moot point. He overlooks the fact that generally women involved in prostitution do not actually desire to be prostitutes. Alcoholism in this manner, is completely the opposite.

What, instead, my opponent should focus upon is eliminating the cause of prostitution instead of prostitution itself. Since prostitution is coitus for money, I believe poverty is one of the main causes of prostitution. My intent is not to iterate each and every such cause, rather to point out the correct path to tackle this problem.

I wait for my opponent to make a valid appeal towards (or against) this direction. Since allowed character count is low, I pass on my argument to the next round.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


The focus of my debate is the legality of prostitution, should government arrest and imprison pimps, prostitutes, and their clients? My stance is that no it should not and that if it does try to interfere with the industry it will result only in creating a violent black-market. Which is why I used the familiar comparison of alcohol prohibition; the alcohol industry lost its legal protection in the courts so in order to settle disputes rum-runners formed gangs and shot it out on the streets. On top of this violent gang culture that was created, Americans paid little attention to the law and kept right on drinking. The repeal of prohibition made sense, it shut down a dangerous black-market and since government was no longer "dealing with it" local community organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous were formed and have had far more success in reducing alcohol consumption than any use of government force ever did. Is there any solid reason to think that these same social results would not also occur for the sex industry upon the repeal of anti-prostitution laws?
I do believe prostitution can be ended but it must be ended through individual choice, not government force. I agree that poverty plays a part in women choosing the industry, but that's no grounds for outlawing it completely; tackle poverty as a separate issue via shrinking government and allowing the free-market to create jobs and wealth. It is true that there are women who do not consent to prostitution, and if that occurs then that is justly punished as rape. Does it make any sense to lock women up in prison to free them from slavery? As I have stated above a competitive market of legalized prostitution would minimize sexual slavery and whatever force does occur can be reported to police and she will receive legal protections as any other person would.
The laws against prostitution have backfired and actually endangered many women, their speedy repeal would protect women by shutting down a violent black-market


i. My opponent is confused and seems to be unable to distinguish consent from desire.

ii. My opponent considers prostitution to be immoral and a vice yet he does not want it to be illegal.

iii. He appears to be under the impression that alcoholism is a perfect analogy for prostitution. He has forgotten that alcoholism is a matter of choice (and even then most governments impose a heavy tax on alcohol as an attempt to counter its ill effects), while prostitution (in most cases) is a matter of helplessness.

iv. He refuses to acknowledge the impact of such a situation on the community as a whole. For instance (and these are just the things that come to mind as I write), the psychological effect on children, impact on tourism (families might not wish to frequent such a place), healthcare (my opponent argues that competition will keep bad hygeine to a minimum and the government would not have to "bother", but I refuse to believe that once the government makes it legal- it is liable to completely wash hands off the matter (i.e.) the government still bears responsibility for it).

v. He argues that the state should not "force" individuals away from prostitution, it should be a matter of choice. By the same logic, he should contend that murder should be made legal as well- in short, he wishes for anarchy.

vi. My opponent, I assume, is not aware of the laws of state or perhaps he forgets that not every country has the same laws. I believe, forcing prostitutes away from "slavery" only to lock them up is indeed unreasonable, but that is an entirely different matter. It is a different debate- whether or not the law of "locking up a prostitute" is sensible.

vii. It is my opinion that support groups like "Prostitution Anonymous" would never exist. What are they going to discuss in these groups? And who will be allowed to attend such meetings? The prostitutes or the clients? It is not an addiction (sans nymphomaniacs) and for the prostitute it is coercion by contingent circumstances.
Debate Round No. 3
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