The Instigator
whiteflame
Pro (for)
Winning
14 Points
The Contender
kasmic
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The United States Federal Government should legalize prostitution.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
whiteflame
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/16/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,080 times Debate No: 73625
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (36)
Votes (2)

 

whiteflame

Pro

Well well, it's been a long time since kasmic's been active, and it's my pleasure to be one of the first to debate him following his return. I look forward to a great debate on this hot button issue.

Just a note to voters: the ELO minimum has been set to 2500.

I think this resolution is relatively straightforward, but I'll be as clear as possible. This is a policy-based resolution, and as such, it is my burden to present a case. The burden of proof is on me, as I am seeking to change policy, though if my opponent decides to present a counterplan, our burdens will be shared.

The United States Federal Government: In this case, since we're referring to U.S. policy and what it allows for, we're necessarily referring to what should be done by the U.S. Legislature. To be clear, we're not talking about the political will for this to be done, but rather the positives and negatives of the legislature passing my proposed bill into law.

Legalize: "make (something that was previously illegal) permissible by law."

Prostitution: "the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment."

This debate will have a total of 4 rounds. The usual rule of no arguments in the final round still applies as always, first round is acceptance, and the opening rounds may include no rebuttals, in order to balance the debate.

With that, I await my opponent's acceptance.
kasmic

Con

Having the opportunity to debate the DDO legend Whiteflame makes me feel much like a cow in tall grass.... Utterly tickled! Bad jokes aside... I accept and eagerly await my opponents arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
whiteflame

Pro

Thanks again to kasmic, and let's kick this debate off in style!

I'll start by presenting my policy, which expands the system currently available in U.S. a state where prostitution is legal (Nevada) to all states by federal legislative means. This means that legal brothels will be opened and regulated like any other business, including wage laws, employment laws, and taxation. Brothels will be required to allocate a fair amount of money to their prostitutes rather than taking out a huge cut for themselves, as is currently the case. They will be required to have clean facilities, hire only adults, get their prostitutes tested regularly for STDs, and require the use of contraception to prevent the spread of disease and pregnancy.

Now that that's out of the way, let's move into advantages.

1) Safety

The reality is that prostitution is alive and well in this country, and that it will happen whether or not we do anything about it. That system, however, allows the widespread harms that currently exist for them, and as this encompasses as many as 2 million people, it's not a problem we can ignore. The women involved in this system are often so afraid to leave it due to abuse by their pimps that even those who find it untenable cannot leave.[1] Beyond that, many women are simply dependent upon the money they earn in this system as other job opportunities are not available to them, often because they have suffered so much abuse as children, including rape and incest, that they simply don't have the wherewithal to take on another job.[2] This means that we're currently forcing them into these abusive situations in order to survive.

Enforcement is, itself, harmful. 62,668 people were arrested in 2010 are arrested each year for solicitation of sex, taking up valuable police time and crowding our prisons and jails at huge cost through both the trial and incarceration.[3] This isn't just a cost issue (more on that later). There are actually two substantial problems with this. The first is a lack of reporting actual crimes like rape and forced sex, both things that happen in the current system. In many countries, police are actually contributing to the problem, and police in the U.S. have actively shut down information services that would ameliorate the problem.[4, 5] The second is that the psychological implications go well beyond the duration of imprisonment. Whether we're talking about PTSD, diminished self-worth, severe difficulties with reintegration into society, social withdrawal, interpersonal distrust, or any of the many other documented psychological harms to prisoners, this is a tremendous problem, and one that leads to breaking down families and lives.[6]

The law also consigns prostitution to being a criminal enterprise, which is the reason why things like human trafficking are such tremendous concerns " an industry built on crime is not going to care if they add a few more illegal practices to the mix. A legal industry has a lot more to lose by engaging in blatantly illegal activities. Criminalization of prostitutes has actually done more harm than good, as "anti-trafficking discussions on demand have historically been stymied by anti-prostitution efforts to eradicate the sex work sector by criminalizing clients," which means that these efforts have simply "not reduced trafficking or sex work".[7]

Looking at STDs, even the World Health Organization advocates for decriminalization for the sake of public health.[8] Nevada has substantially lowered their prevalence and incidence, to the point that a job that's more broadly legalized, namely porn stars, are actually in worse shape than prostitutes.[9] Even decriminalization, a very basic response that is only the most basic part of my policy, has been effective in other states like Rhode Island at reducing STD rates, as well as rape.[10, 11] Please note that this isn't just a benefit for the prostitutes themselves " sexual violence and STD incidence both decreased in the state population as a whole. Other studies have found that reduced homicide and rape rates country-wide are "anti-correlated with the availability of prostitution. It is estimated that if prostitution were legalized in the United States, the rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% for a decrease of approximately 25,000 rapes per year."[12]

The protection from physical abuse is even stronger. There are fewer instances of violence, rape and disease in the Nevada system.[13] I solve for a great deal of this just by allowing prostitutes mobility out from under abusive pimps and johns, who are responsible for an average of 16 and 33 reported rapes per year, respectively.[14] 82% are physically assaulted, 83% are threatened with a weapon, and nearly 70% have been raped since becoming a prostitute.[15] If implemented on a country-wide basis, it's estimated that we would have 25,000 fewer rapes in this country.[14] Murder, which goes at 20 times the national average among prostitutes, would also be ameliorated by both regulation and dramatically improved reporting structures.[15, 16]

All of these impacts to life loss and suffering are dramatic.

2) Justice

There are a number of reasons why prostitution should be legal for the sake of justice. But in order to understand this, I first need to frame what a job is.

Fundamentally, a job is a negotiated task agreed to by legally consenting individuals, usually involving some pay being given to the person completing the task. As adult human beings, we have the freedom to take on any number of jobs, ranging from the mundane and safe to the extraordinary and dangerous. And the only thing that gets in the way of any individual adult's ability to acquire these jobs is finding someone who will hire you for the purpose.

I would say that the ability for these negotiations to proceed is itself a civil liberty. Human beings have a fundamental right to work, something that can easily be established by looking at international law. We can look to any number of sources. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states it plainly in Article 23.1.[17] The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is unequivocal as well, and this can be found in Part III, Article 6.[18] I think these all firmly establish the right to work quite clearly, and as long as this right exists, it must be extended to all adult, capable human beings.

So what does it mean to deny this right? It's dehumanizing. Denying work to people who would otherwise be able to get it denies their agency as individuals. The law is currently engaging in this dehumanization, engaging in the unjust decision to illegalize a line of work that 1% of all American women have engaged in at some point in their lives.[9] Since this is an industry dominated by women, it's even more unjust, as it's a discriminatory practice that predominantly affects a single sex.

3) Costs

This breaks down into 2 sources of cost savings included in my policy.

A) Arrests, court and incarceration fees

Taken together, these average roughly $2,000 per arrestee. For cities, this means an average of $7.5 million on prostitution, and taken country-wide, that cost adds up to roughly $200 million per year.[19, 20] While the costs of regulation replace some of these, those costs are already built into basic regulation systems already in place, and the cost of expanding them to a new industry are minimal by comparison.

B) Taxation

Prostitution is an $18 billion industry, and even if we assume 0 growth following legalization, the government stands to earn $6 billion in federal income taxes and $2 billion in licensing fees.[21]

In both cases, the resulting finances are substantial. Most of the costs and bureaucracies of regulation, as in Nevada, are borne by the brothels themselves, creating a barrier to entry that also ensures that unsavory owners simply cannot even start in the industry.[22] But these costs aren't the only ones that affect the capacities of criminals to engage in basic harms like human trafficking.

A black market keeps prices high. Legalization reduces the pricing schemes for prostitutes, mainly as a result of competition and increased availability.[23] As such, those engaging in human trafficking garner reduced compensation. results in much reduced revenue for human traffickers. This might seem like a small issue, but a human trafficker is doing it for the money, and it costs quite a bit to kidnap someone, hold them against their will, transport them over long distances, and keep them docile after they arrive. These are not small concerns, and these costs are actually enhanced by regulations that would screen many of these women regularly, regulate these brothels directly, and allow these women contact with police that doesn't result in their incarceration. All of these reduce the economic benefit of acquiring sex slaves, and thus reduce their value.

All of this means the government is receiving billions in revenue and paying hundreds of millions fewer to boot. Those funds can be spent on better enforcement of human trafficking, more effective education systems and rehabilitation facilities to give these women more job options, better health care systems, the list of possible options is tremendous. Any of them is a more effective choice than a failed system of enforcement that drives prostitution underground, leading to pimps controlling law enforcement with sexual favors and feeding organized crime.[24, 25]

Over to Con!

1. bit.ly/1yfSJuL
2. bit.ly/1E7wL4w
3. bit.ly/1CVL5rx
4. bit.ly/1G2q1Dj
5. bit.ly/1ITpOpo
6. 1.usa.gov/1FOkAu5
7. bit.ly/1ETll3H
8. bit.ly/1qLoOpK
9. huff.to/1E7wpLI
10. on.wsj.com/1n3kAx5
11. wapo.st/1G4iy9E
12. bit.ly/1xjgS8z
13. bit.ly/1EI2KU2
14. bit.ly/1Cfg4Ra
15. bit.ly/1xDkByi
16. bit.ly/19pV7YM
17. bit.ly/1bnFjmW
18. bit.ly/J1E1V3
19. bit.ly/1HO6Yzy
20. bit.ly/1BPdv4F
21. bit.ly/1FOjv5h
22. read.bi/1H2Rggx
23. ti.me/1cU8ICJ
24. bit.ly/1Bx22Yz
25. bit.ly/1m3Hllw
kasmic

Con

Thanks Whiteflame. For those who are curious, the sources Whiteflame used can be found in round 2 of this debate. http://www.debate.org...

Resolution: "The United States of America should legalize prostitution."

I appreciate the opportunity to debate such a controversial topic. "Prostitution must be exposed for what it really is: a particularly lethal form of male violence against women.” (1)

Argument 1: States Rights

I will address the full resolution which indicates we are talking about a country wide legalization of prostitution. This would be a violation of States rights.

“The regulation of prostitution in the United States is not among the enumerated powers of the federal government. Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, it is therefore exclusively the domain of the states to permit, prohibit, or otherwise regulate commercial sex…” (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Ergo the resolution that “The United States of America should legalize prostitution” is negated in so much as the United States Federal Government does not have the authority to legalize prostitution. Therefore the United States Federal government should not legalize prostitution.


Argument 2: Prostitution should be considered a crime as it creates victims.


The crux of why I stand opposed to the resolution is simple. Prostitution should be considered a crime as it creates victims. This argument will be in two parts. First showing definitively that prostitution is dangerous and second showing that the legalization of prostitution does not change its danger.

In addition to this argument I will address the full resolution which indicates we are talking about a country wide legalization of prostitution. This would be a violation of States rights.

I will be referencing this table through-out. (4)

The Prostitution Statistics You Have to Know
Argument 2 Part 1: Prostitution is dangerous

A: Prostitution spreads disease

As the table above indicates 50% of prostitutes have HIV in the world. In the USA it is estimated that 20% of prostitutes in America have an STD.

“In the United States, the rate of HIV infection among prostitutes varies from state to state. In New Jersey, 57 percent of prostitutes are HIV-positive” (1)

B: Prostitution is psychologically harmful

“Many prostitutes experience post-traumatic stress disorder because of rape and other assaults as well as the trauma of daily sexual contact with dominant strangers.” (1)

C: Prostitution has a disturbingly high mortality rate

“Mortality in a long-term Open Cohort of Prostitute women” a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found the “death rate among active prostitutes of 459 per 100,000 person-years, which is 5.9 times that for the (age and race adjusted) general population. This corresponds to an occupational fatality rate more than triple that of fishing workers (the highest fatality profession tracked by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics).” (2)

D: Violence against prostitutes.

“Eighty-five percent of prostitutes surveyed in Minnesota had been raped, according to a 1994 study of violence and prostitution. In another study, Farley and Kelly found that of 475 women interviewed in South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United States and Zambia, nearly 75 percent had been physically assaulted and 62 percent had been raped. A 1994 study by the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland, Ore., found that prostitutes were raped an average of once a week.”(1)

Due to the spread of disease, the psychological damage, the high mortality rate, and the direct violence against prostitutes, it is empirically evident that Prostitution is dangerous.

Argument 2 Part 2: Legalization of prostitution does not change its danger.

As it has been established that prostitution is harmful we can now address if legalizing such a practice impacts the danger.


“The U.S. Government adopted a strong position against legalized prostitution in a December 2002 National Security Presidential Directive based on evidence that prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanizing, and fuels trafficking in persons, a form of modern-day slavery. Prostitution and related activities, including pimping and patronizing or maintain brothels fuel the growth of modern-day slavery by providing a façade behind which traffickers for sexual exploitation operate.

Where prostitution is legalized or tolerated, there is a greater demand for human trafficking. Few activities are as brutal and damaging to people as prostitution. Field research in nine countries concluded that 60-75 percent of women in prostitution were raped, 70-95 percent were physically assaulted, and 68 percent met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder in the same range as treatment-seeking combat veterans and victims of state-organized torture. Beyond this shocking abuse, the public health implications of prostitution are devastating and include a myriad of serious and fatal diseases, including HIV/AIDS…

State Attempts to regulate prostitution by introducing medical check-ups or licenses don’t address the core problem: the routine abuse and violence that form the prostitution experience and brutally victimize those caught in its netherworld. Prostitution leaves women and children physical, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually devastated. Recovery takes years, even decades, often, the damage can never be undone.”
(3)

Conclusion:

The Federal Government does not have the authority to legalize prostitution on a federal level. Such an action is a clear violation of States rights. Aside from this implementation issue, it is empirically evident that prostitution is dangerous. This is due to the spread of disease, the psychological damage, the high mortality rate, and the physical violence that accompanies prostitution. Legalization of prostitution does not change its danger. I conclude as the U.S. Government did in 2002…. Whether legal or not, “prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanizing.” The United States Federal Government should not legalize prostitution.


Back to Whiteflame.


Sources

(1) http://womensenews.org...
(2) http://aje.oxfordjournals.org...
(3)http://www.defense.gov...
(4)http://sex-crimes.laws.com...







Debate Round No. 2
whiteflame

Pro

Alright, thanks to Con for an intriguing case, and I'll launch into it.

Just a note at the top: I did alter the sourcing from that debate, removing and adding several, as well as altering the order. Please use the sources as I've presented them in the previous round, and not the ones in that link.

Con's arguments break down to three key points: that the federal government doesn't have this authority, that prostitutes are victimized by dangers inherent to the system, and that legalization does not solve for those dangers.

R1) States Rights

Multiple responses.

1) Let's be clear that the resolution says "should" and not "could." Con is arguing that there's an inherent barrier that prevents the federal government from engaging in this action. That doesn't matter. The question was posed as a "should" in order to explore the outcome of the federal government taking this action. Con cannot simply argue that there are impediments, otherwise we'd never get to the basic question of the debate. He has to show why the federal government circumventing those impediments is actually harmful. He hasn't presented any such harms, merely asserting that the tenth amendment is a barrier and we shouldn't pass it. He'll need to do more than that to win on this point.

In fact, I would argue that having the federal government act invites beneficial discussion, as it results in nationwide engagement in the discussion of both prostitution and the duties of the federal government. That discussion, both by the populous at large and the Supreme Court justices, would provide a much needed examination of an issue that has been stuck in the past for far too long, as well as updating views on the limits of federal policy and duties of the federal government for the better.

2) The tenth amendment is incredibly vague. It doesn't afford any specific powers to the states, it only says that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." On that basis, why should we assume that states should have this power? Why shouldn't the power of choice go to the people, allowing each individual to make the choice? Pro doesn't provide any reasoning, he just says that the tenth amendment wills it to be so. That's not enough to dismiss my case as impossible.

3) The vagueness of the tenth amendment has led to numerous abridgments of it, most notably regarding interstate commerce. Congress has actually passed constitutional laws criminalizing prostitution from this perspective,[26] so they have intervened in the prostitution issue before, and as that law is still on the books, they continue to play an important role. There's no reason why that role cannot be reasonably expanded. In fact, it has been before:

"federal power has extended into many areas of the economy... The commerce clause has been interpreted to authorize many laws whose real purpose was not truly to regulate commerce between the states but for which it was possible to point out some way in which the effect of the law would or could affect commerce.

For example, the Supreme Court struck down California's attempt to legalize marijuana for medical uses and upheld the federal government"s right to outlaw marijuana nationally (even though the California law affected marijuana that would be cultivated and consumed in California and therefore would not directly be part of interstate commerce). The logic was that legalizing marijuana in one state would effect the national market for marijuana and therefore federal preemption of a state's right to decide what drugs are legal within that state was permissible as a regulation of interstate commerce."

This shows evidence of how such a law would be regarded by the current USSC, and therefore how a tenth amendment challenge would be ineffective. Moreover, since the tenth amendment has only presented as a successful challenge to new federal laws twice in the last 78 years, and since those cases required that the federal government actually "commandeer" state legislature for its own purposes (something my case is not doing), it seems unlikely that this would be ruled as unconstitutional.[27]

5) Even if you buy that a challenge might be successful, international law would still supersede it. Cross-apply my advantage 2. The basic justice that I talk about there outstrips any potential harms in this disadvantage. The U.S. population would view it as atrocious if states were to randomly eliminate jobs and thus stymie the capacity of their constituents to earn a wage. There is no difference here.

R2) Prostitution creates victims and is dangerous

All of these harms are ameliorated under a system where prostitution is legal. I've presented evidence that shows this.

A. Disease

Con's only support for this point is that HIV is common among prostitutes. I agree, it is common, but it's far more common in states like New Jersey than it is in Nevada. Look to my sources [8-12]. They show that disease reduction isn't just a likelihood - it's a certainty. The U.S. system has led to substantial reductions in the incidence of STDs. That's not to mention that, since my policy requires the usage of contraception, it prevents the spread of any STDs that do persist.

If disease is the major concern, though, then there are plenty of other jobs that should also be eliminated based on this same concern, such as nursing staff, coal miners, and just workers in general. [28-30] If likelihood of acquiring an illness is the standard by which we determine if an occupation should be legal, then why aren't these other positions put under the same lens?

B. Psychological

I did address this to some degree in my R2, pointing out that psychological problems accompany the prison sentences that these women get in a system where prostitution is illegal.[6] I would argue that the physical violence they face, as well as the prison experiences, account for the vast majority of the mental concerns, and since both are substantially lessened in the absence of laws against prostitution, it's a big deal.

But generally, Con will have to offer more proof than he's given here that prostitution inherently causes these problems. Can prostitution, as a profession, be blamed for past sexual abuse? Can prostitution be blamed for those women who don't have the disposition required for the profession? And, even if it can, is this reason enough to keep the profession banned? It's been well-documented that numerous jobs cause PTSD as a result of various traumas.[31-33]. Is Con suggesting that these should be banned as well?

C/D. Mortality and Violence

Again, I agree that morality and violence are common among prostitutes. However, it is far more common under a system where it is illegal. Look to my sources [1, 2, 4, 5, and 10-16]. They all provide evidence that a) locations where prostitution is illegal have high incidences of these problems (especially rape), and b) that locations where prostitution is legal have reduced incidences.

But again, going back to the basic question, is this reason enough to keep this profession banned in many states? Con hasn't done any work to prove this. There are many other risky professions that are allowed in status quo, and for which we would find a ban to be abhorrent. An example would be a worker on an oil rig, where explosions, fires, fatigue, heavy machinery, bad weather and choppy seas put many of these workers at great risk.[34] Extensive studies have been done detailing these harms, which include many mental illnesses.[35] Oil rigs are male dominated, and despite safety improvements, continue to be a great source of physical risk.[36] Why should oil rig workers be allowed, whereas prostitution should remain illegal? This is going back to my point on justice, which showcases the harms of making such arbitrary delineations.

R3) Legalization doesn't solve

Con really doesn't put much time into this. He doesn't address my case, instead posting 3 paragraphs that fail to prove anything of note from a fact sheet that provides little more than the outline of a case against prostitution, drawing only limited evidence from two papers that Con himself doesn't cite, neither of which do research to compare countries where prostitution is illegal with countries where it is legal. Again, cross-apply my second advantage, which showcases how keeping prostitution illegal is inherently dehumanizing. The document Con's provided here merely asserts that legal prostitution is dehumanizing without warrants or evidence. He'll have to show that traffickers operate behind the scenes in U.S. brothels, something that I've already argued against in R2 and supported with my source [7]. Having the capacity to report trafficking also does a great deal to prevent this, none of which is at all likely in the status quo.[4, 5, 37]

The only evidence that he provides here is is with regards to rape, physical assault, PTSD, all of which I've already responded to. The only point I haven't addressed yet is this argument that "the routine abuse and violence that form the prostitution experience and brutally victimize those caught in its netherworld, and I would argue that keeping prostitution illegal keeps these women confined to that netherworld. Keeping prostitution illegal allows for numerous criminal enterprises to exploit women and further their own agendas, making for the worst possible outcomes. Con is allowing a terrible system to perpetuate itself, while I seek to solve for many of the harms, something my policy will most certainly accomplish.

Back to Con.

26. http://bit.ly...
27. http://bit.ly...
28. http://1.usa.gov...
29. http://1.usa.gov...
30. http://bit.ly...
31. http://bit.ly...
32. http://bit.ly...
33. http://bit.ly...
34. http://bit.ly...
35. http://bit.ly...
36. http://bit.ly...
37. http://bit.ly...
kasmic

Con

Well-argued Whiteflame.

First I would like to apologize… I did not mean to add confusion to the debate by directing sources to a separate debate. I noticed that the links did not light up in blue and assumed that they were copied and pasted without the full url. Sorry about that.

1) Safety- Pro claims “Enforcement is, itself, harmful.”

Naturally, as is true with every type of law enforcement. Is pro suggesting that no law should be enforced if it is harmful?

Pro argues that “It is estimated that if prostitution were legalized in the United States, the rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% for a decrease of approximately 25,000 rapes per year." The same source he took this from states “There are, of course, many problems with this data. Rape is a crime that regularly goes unreported and what is considered rape in one countries data set may not be considered rape in another. The homicide rate also suffers from being defined differently in different countries.” It seems that Pro’s source while willing to speculate admits many issues with the data provided. As such these numbers are mere speculation and not a reliable model to base a policy change.

Legalization of prostitution does not lower the harm of STD’s as pro suggests.

“In one of CATW's studies, U.S. women in prostitution interviewed reported the following: 47% stated that men expected sex without a condom; 73% reported that men offered to pay more for sex without a condom; 45% of women said they were abused if they insisted that men use condoms. Some women said that some establishments have rules that men wear condoms but, in reality, men still try to have sex without them. 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(1)

This shows the reality, whether there is enforcement of a condom policy or not, it ends up being left to the individual women in prostitution. This becomes less realistic when coupled with the offer of extra money as incentive.

“So called "safety policies" in brothels did not protect women from harm. Even where brothels supposedly monitored the "customers" and utilized "bouncers," women stated that they were injured by buyers and, at times, by brothel owners and their friends. Even when someone intervened to control buyers' abuse, women lived in a climate of fear. Although 60% of women reported that buyers had sometimes been prevented from abusing them, half of those women answered that, nonetheless, they thought that they might be killed by one of their "customers" (1)

It seems idealistic to assume that legalizing prostitution would decrease harm as Pro suggests. Legalizing does not eliminate the demand to have unprotected sex. Which,due to monetary pressure and fear, is likely to happen frequently as indicated above. The stats provided by pro that suggest a decrease in abuse and rape is weak as even the source acknowledges errors in the data.

2) Justice-- The justice argument is entirely specious. As Pro has defined the right to work, any and all illegal activity could be deemed a right in terms of a job. Pro’s source states “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” The source also endorses the idea that Prostitution is a type of slavery. (2) So which is it? Does the right to work supersede the right to not be a slave?

3) Costs

Part A asserts that the enforcement of the status quo is expensive. This is true. Something being expensive is not enough of a reason to dismantle or reverse a policy position. Though perhaps it is grounds to observe and restructure how such laws are enforced. Fighting cancer is expensive, this does not make me want to endorse cancer. Likewise, enforcing prostitution laws as outlawed may be expensive but that does not make endorsing it desirable.

Part B asserts that money can be made for the government. I don’t deny it. However, to conclude that because money could be made we should make something legal is ludicrous. Millions could be made by legalizing slave labor as well… should we legalize that?

In terms of Utility many things worth preserving cost a great deal. Likewise many deplorable acts could make money. Neither case is sufficient reasoning to implement a policy.

States Rights:

1) Pro says “Con is arguing that there's an inherent barrier that prevents the federal government from engaging in this action. That doesn't matter.” Actually my rebuttal is that the Federal Government Should not because it does not have the authority. The U.S. Government has done many things in the past despite not having authority to do so. (IE, Indian removal act deemed unconstitutional, yet still implemented. Etc…) I did not argue that the U.S. Government is not capable but rather if it did so it would undermine States rights.

I am in support of the Status quo position on States Rights.

The Constitution of the United States limits the Federal Government; Each of the first 10 Amendments lists what the Federal Government CANNOT do. Including “The regulation of prostitution in the United States is not among the enumerated powers of the federal government. Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, it is therefore exclusively the domain of the states to permit, prohibit, or otherwise regulate commercial sex…” If the Federal Government was indeed in absolute control, why does the Constitution restrict it and not it's "subordinates" (States)? It behooves my opponent to accept the burden to provide evidence of why circumventing this restriction is beneficial as he is arguing against the status quo.

His only point addressing this is that “having the federal government act invites beneficial discussion, as it results in nationwide engagement in the discussion of both prostitution and the duties of the federal government.” This is an incredibly weak argument as the federal government acting is not the only way to invite a beneficial discussion on the topic. Indeed, we are having this discussion despite the federal government not having acted on this issue.

2) Pro argues that “The tenth amendment is incredibly vague.” I concede that many portions of the U.S. Constitution are in fact vague, it is clear however, that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Whether it should be left to the States or the people is vague… not vague is that it is not in the realm of federal jurisdiction. Again as Pro is arguing against the status quo, it is up to him to provide reasoning as to why the federal government should do something explicitly against the law.

3) Pro argues here that the Federal government “most notably regarding interstate commerce. Congress has actually passed constitutional laws criminalizing prostitution from this perspective most notably regarding interstate commerce.” This is within the rights of the federal government as regulating commerce is within the parameters that the federal government may act.

He concludes thats "Thisshows evidence o
f how such a law would be regarded by the current USSC, and therefore how a tenth amendment challenge would be ineffective.” It does no such thing. Regulating commerce is within the realm of federal power via the constitution. Prostitution directly is expressly not. Therefore the Tenth Amendment argument stands.

Legalizing prostitution on a federal level is not within the realm of Federal power and is expressly stated in the 10th amendment that it is left to the States respectively or the people. This is an argument that the federal government Should Not and not that they Can not.

Other thoughts:

Pro says “If disease is the major concern, though, then there are plenty of other jobs that should also be eliminated based on this same concern, such as nursing staff, coal miners, and just workers in general. [28-30] If likelihood of acquiring an illness is the standard by which we determine if an occupation should be legal, then why aren't these other positions put under the same lens?”

This is a clever retort. Perhaps those other positions should be put under the same lens. Out of curiosity I put the question to pro what would be a reasonable reason to outlaw a type of job? Do you believe such an argument could be made?

Pro says The reality is that prostitution is alive and well in this country, and that it will happen whether or not we do anything about it.” This is true of any if not all crimes. Following this logic should we legalize all crime or any activity that is “alive and well.” Pedophiles are alive and well, should those activities be legitimized just because they and their actions are “alive and well.”

Pro “it's not a problem we can ignore.”

I agree with this sentiment. I confess I do not know, nor desire to create a burden on myself to defend an alternative. What I do know is that the policy promoted by pro should not happen for numerous reasons as argued throughout.

I conclude as I did in my previous round.

The Federal Government does not have the authority to legalize prostitution on a federal level. Such an action is a clear violation of States rights. Aside from this implementation issue, it is empirically evident that prostitution is dangerous. This is due to the spread of disease, the psychological damage, the high mortality rate, and the physical violence that accompanies prostitution. Legalization of prostitution does not change its danger. I conclude as the U.S. Government did in 2002…. Whether legal or not, “prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanizing.” The United States Federal Government should not legalize prostitution.


(1)
http://www.icasa.org...
(2) http://www.ohchr.org...
Debate Round No. 3
whiteflame

Pro

Thanks again to kasmic, really appreciated this stirring debate.

What I'm going to do here is crystallize my arguments while providing some counter-rebuttal, going in order of importance through the arguments, and shoring up my arguments against Con's case.

1) Safety

I think Con is misunderstanding much of this argument, and I think this becomes clear with his question. No, I'm not suggesting that no law should be enforced if its harmful. I'm saying that if the enforcement of a law does more harm than good, then the law should be removed. No one would argue, for example, that laws against murder do more harm than good, since they prevent countless deaths. I'm arguing that laws against prostitution do.

Con grants all of the harms I've stated result from enforcement, so all of the points I made regarding the contribution of police to a lack of safety in prostitution flow straight through. More importantly, though, Con failed to address incarceration and its harms - PTSD, diminished self-worth, severe difficulties with reintegration into society, social withdrawal, interpersonal distrust, etc. - as well as the issue of reporting structures. If the legal system is actually standing in the way of protecting against illegal enslavement, trafficking and abuses of women, then that law is beyond flawed.

But even where Con is responsive to my points, he's not doing anywhere near a complete job. Con fails to realize that those same problems (unreported rape and differences in perception) are the same across all studies of this nature (i.e. studies that compare rape rates between countries with legal and illegal prostitution). But even if that's reason to dismiss the point (and it would be reason to dismiss his [3] as well), he's ignoring my other sources [10, 11, 13-15] that also support the same point, many of which look directly at single cases. In either instance, my case is better supported by the data.

Con does present a new argument here: that regulations are ineffective at preventing unprotected sex. Sadly for Con, this is just mitigation. What Con fails to recognize is that "The decision and ability to use condoms is a complex one that depends on many factors."Negotiating safer sex can be affected by money, if business is slow or clients offer more money for unprotected sex. Clients may use violence to enforce unsafe sex. Sex workers may use drugs before or with clients, which affects decision making and ability to use condoms. Sex workers may also be targeted by police if they are carrying condoms."
[38] My policy at least partially solves for all but the first of these, and yet all of them are major problems in status quo. And, since engaging in prostitution without protection would be against the law, clients will have to offer more money to overpower the legal concerns, excluding more instances of this occurring. I don't expect to solve for this problem completely, but I do solve better than status quo.

The reality is that regulations, access to police resources, and legally-run businesses are likely to reduce instances of abuse. This isn't idealism " I supported these arguments thoroughly in R2. That reduction in abuse and rape is very real, as is the reduction in the incidence and prevalence of STDs. Con never challenged those sources, nor the logic behind their relevance.

2) Justice

Tossing this argument callously aside is a big mistake. Con has not addressed any of the logic of this argument, dropping the warrants and impacts completely. The dehumanization argument I gave there is reason enough to vote Con, since this is a pervasive problem that affects 1% (1.5 million) of the female population in the U.S. Instead, he asserts that my source says prostitution is a type of slavery. I can't find that anywhere in my sources, and his link doesn't work, so I can't check where he's getting it from.

But even if it's true, the idea that prostitution is a form of slavery is absurd in a legal system. These women are entering into it of their own free will and they have the capacity to leave. Neither of those things are true in the status quo. If prostitution is slavery, that's only in the illegal system that Con's endorsing. Yet another reason to vote Pro.

3) Costs

Con just grants these arguments, and says they're not significant enough to change policy. I disagree. Practically ending human trafficking and thus the kidnapping and enslavement of women is not a small impact. Providing improved access to better education and health care systems systems and rehabilitation means is no small impact. Con is so concerned with the plight of these women, yet he seeks to close off a route to health, safety, and self improvement that would grant them the capacity to take up other jobs. Yes, this is reason enough by itself to vote for the proposal.

With that, I'll get back to the main points brought forth by my opponent.

States Rights

1) Feel free to look over his counter rebuttal here and his original point back in R2. Nowhere does he state any harms that result from "undermin[ing] States rights". He agrees that the federal government CAN do this, and so his entire argument is reliant on showcasing the harms of their taking this action, and yet he has completely failed to do so. He hasn't explained why these rights are important to any degree, or why, if they are important, this particular undermining does great harm to them. Con has placed no impact on this argument whatsoever. So even if you're buying that there's a negative effect to state's rights, there's nothing here to pick Con up on.

2) Con's missing the point here. If the people should have the power to choose, then prostitution should be legal. Keeping it illegal refuses them the right to that choice. So even if Con's right and the tenth amendment is paramount, there's a 50/50 chance that it supports my view.

3) Con is basically not responsive to this point. I showed through a case analysis of California's legalization of marijuana that the USSC can and does prefer national law to the state law when it comes to commerce. Last I checked, prostitution was a business. Prostitutes do cross state lines, so there's an effect on interstate commerce, something Con concedes the federal government retains control over.

4) (sorry, just realized this was mislabeled as 5)) Con drops this. The fact that international law supersedes national law is enough to turn this point in my favor. The U.S. must follow basic humanitarian laws, which far outstrip some minimal issue of states rights.

Other thoughts

Is Con really suggesting that we should consider making coal mining, oil rig work, nursing staff, and numerous other positions illegal? A reasonable reason, from my perspective, to outlaw a type of job is to assess its impact on those who do not consent to be a part of it, even when it's placed under substantial regulation. Prostitution doesn't meet that threshold.

Con brings an infinite regression argument into the mix, arguing that my argument could be used to legitimize acting on pedophilia. I would beg to differ. Children cannot consent, ergo they do meet my threshold for illegality.

The fact that Con agrees with my sentiment that this is a problem we cannot ignore, and yet makes no effort to solve for it, is an important aspect of this debate. Let's be clear that Con has only run a negative case throughout this debate. He has furnished 0 evidence and made no arguments for the status quo or even for keeping prostitution illegal. He hasn't shown that the status quo has solved, even partially, for any of the harms I've presented. Running an entirely negative case has its benefits, but this is a huge problem when most of my evidence and practically all of his showcases harms to the status quo. These are guaranteed to persist in Con's world. Only mine solves for any portion of those concerns.

Conclusions:

The major reason voters should be siding with me in this debate is that I'm the only one with any solid offense on the table. The only offense Con presents is this states rights issue, but since it never gets any impacts, since it's unclear and uncertain, since there's precedent agaisnt it, and since the justice point overwhelms it, this argument just goes nowhere.

The rest of Con's points have all been mitigation, and none of that has been all-encompassing. He practically ignores my costs and justice points, both of which are substantial arguments in favor of the resolution. Con cannot simply dismiss them by asserting that they are unimportant without addressing my impacts. So even if Con somehow mitigated my safety point into oblivion, it's not enough to win him the debate.

But he hasn't done that either. All of his responses simply showcase that legalization doesn't solve completely for every harm that prostitutes face today. But absolute solvency is unnecessary for me to win this debate. I'm the only one who's directly compared status quo to my plan, showcasing that legalization substantially improves on the situation for these women and their clients. Any positive impact here, which affects the basic safety of these women, is enough to vote Pro on this alone.

Taken together, my case presents numerous advantages that remain mostly uncontested. We all recognize that the current system is untenable, partially as a result of enforcement itself being harmful, and as such, we must take an action that would ensure that those harms are minimized. That means removing the harmful enforcment, and allowing regulation to solve for many of the problems thatillegality cannot. My case accomplishes these goals. Con's support of status quo entrenches these harms.

Vote Pro.

38. http://caps.ucsf.edu...

(Yes! There's only one this round!)
kasmic

Con

This debate has been both enjoyable and challanging. Thanks again to Whiteflame.

As stated by Whiteflame in round 1: “This is a policy-based resolution, and as such, it is my burden to present a case.”

Summary of Whiteflame’s case:

1) Safety

“Enforcement is, itself, harmful.”


“I'm not suggesting that no law should be enforced if its harmful. I'm saying that if the enforcement of a law does more harm than good, then the law should be removed.”

Pro does share evidence that enforcement is harmful, he even shares stats that may indicate enforcement is not effective at addressing the problem. Indeed he states that the “law is beyond flawed.” Unfortunately for Pro, he does not fill the burden that such enforcement is doing more harm than good. Thus he has left this claim hollow. In addition claiming that the status quo is flawed is not support for his policy, it is merely criticism of current conditions. This entire argument does nothing to help him fill his burden of proof in this debate.

2) Justice

Pro’s closing statements here are amusing.

He says “The dehumanization argument I gave there is reason enough to vote Con”

I am happy to endorse his exhorting you to vote con, (as you should) though I think he meant to say pro. That aside, he does point out that my link did not work. I apologize, here is a link attached to Pro’s source that lists prostitution as a type of slavery. (1) I again state as Pro’s source does
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”


3) Costs

Pro Concludes this part of his argument saying “Practically ending human trafficking and thus the kidnapping and enslavement of women is not a small impact.”

If pro’s policy had the impact that he here claims… of course I would endorse it. Unfourtanetly it does not. As I stated in previous rounds It seems that Pro’s source while willing to speculate admits many issues with the data provided. As such these numbers are mere speculation and not a reliable model to base a policy change.

So far as the financial incentive I again reiterate In terms of Utility many things worth preserving cost a great deal. Likewise many deplorable acts could make money. Neither case is sufficient reasoning to implement a policy.

As this ends the portion of his arguments it is clear that Whiteflame has argued well, though at best he has only shown issues with the status quo. The burden that he accepted is to show that his policy is worth implementing. This has not been done.


Summary of my case:

States Rights

Pro is right, When he says “Nowhere does he state any harms that result from "undermin[ing] States rights.” I did not, and will not now in keeping with not making new arguments in a concluding round. It is also worth note that Pro does not deny, in fact his words seem to imply, that this action is a violation of States rights.

Other thoughts:

Pro states “Let's be clear that Con has only run a negative case throughout this debate. He has furnished 0 evidence and made no arguments for the status quo or even for keeping prostitution illegal.”

Correct again, Pro accepted a full burden of proof in round 1. A burden that he has not filled. My role in this debate was to show your burden unfilled, this was simple as your whole case only attacks the status quo, it does not endorse in any solid way your policy change.

Conclusions:

The Federal Government does not have the authority to legalize prostitution on a federal level. Such an action is a
clear violation of States rights. Even without showing impact pro essentially accepts this argument. Aside from this implementation issue, it is empirically evident that prostitution is dangerous. This is due to the spread of disease, the psychological damage, the high mortality rate, and the physical violence that accompanies prostitution. Legalization of prostitution does not change its danger. I conclude as the U.S. Government did in 2002…. Whether legal or not, “prostitution is inherently harmful and dehumanizing.” The United States Federal Government should not legalize prostitution. As
the burden that pro accepted has not been filled…

Vote Con!

Thanks for reading!



























Debate Round No. 4
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
*now that I can actually say it* thanks for the votes, guys! I appreciate the input!
Posted by 16kadams 1 year ago
16kadams
Whiteflame pretty much won every major impact. Kasmic gave reasons why prostitution may not be legalized due to the constitution, but whiteflame offered the most compelling reasons in favor of legalization. It harms women, it harms the economy, and it is immoral. Kasmic had a bad habit of not responding to huge parts of each argument and, as a consequence, lost the debate. Whiteflame fulfilled the BOP in this debate: prostitution should be legalized. Pro won.
Posted by 16kadams 1 year ago
16kadams
- Economics: The economic costs for arrests is pretty high. The tax revenue, especially on a local level, is pretty important. And whiteflame argues that his estimates are low because, with legalization, demand will increase due to decreased costs. Kasmic argues two points: (1) the costs are worth it, (2) The economic costs aren"t worth it. But throughout the debate the negatives which make it not worth it would be ameliorated or significantly reduced if legalized because of government involvement. It would not be involved in making the activity underground; it would work on making it safer and accountable. Kasmic pretty much concedes the cost reduction and revenue increase, which is a pretty big impact. His arguments on safety and such were won by Whiteflame via safety.

- Justice: Whiteflame argues that prostitution is a matter of freedom. Kasmic drops it pretty much. Comparing slavery to prostitution doesn"t make sense. Slavery is forced. Whiteflame argued that prostitution, when a woman *chooses* to do it, should be legal. Under a legal system they would be able to flip off their employer and quit. You can"t do that for slavery. I mean Kasmic shows that some prostitutes are forced into the industry, but from the logic of Whiteflame"s C1 we can assume that the coercive phenomena would likely improve under legalization. And we can also say that, even assuming 99% of prostitution is forced, we can still legalize for the 1%. SO this argument is won by white.
Posted by 16kadams 1 year ago
16kadams
- By far the largest impact is safety. The majority of Kasmic"s arguments revolved around safety. Prostitution is bad. Prostitution causes violence, etc. Whiteflame spends a considerable amount of time in his argument, too. Kasmic"s points seem to use studies from areas where prostitution is illegal. Kasmic claims, for example, that prostitutes get STDs. But Whiteflame points out how STD rates among prostitutes decline after legalization; legal prostitutes do not have STDs like illegal ones. Whiteflame in his opening also lays out evidence of extensive worker protection laws the US and other countries have, and notes that they would apply to prostitution if it was legalized. What is now an unregulated industry would become regulated and protected. Kasmic claims, countering Whiteflame"s argument that enforcement is evil, what whiteflame offered no evidence for that. But Whiteflame made good points, noting how the violence women face when placed into jail is just as bad (if not worse) when illegal than it would be legal (and this is assuming that violence carries over. White noted how regulations would protect their rights). Whiteflame also noted how other jobs also carry unwanted stress. If you go through this point whiteflame pretty much deconstructs everything Kasmic says and is able to uphold his assertions from his case. Whiteflame clearly wins this point " and kasmic drops a lot of it in the final round.
- States rights: Kasmic never offers proof that violating states" rights is bad. And whiteflame noted how this debate is whether or not we *should* legalize it, not whether or not we *can* legalize it. Kasmic pretty much allows this impact to be small and it is shown to be irrelevant. So this point wasn"t a big factor in my vote.
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
FourTrouble
btw I just started a prostitution debate with Mikal that you guys might be interested in.
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
Thanks FourTrouble for the feedback and for voting.
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
FourTrouble
btw there's a lot more I could say but I'm lazy about typing up all my thoughts, so if there's anything specific you want to know about, feel free to ask.
Posted by FourTrouble 1 year ago
FourTrouble
== RFD ==

(1) "States rights" is a non-starter. The federal government can regulate prostitution under the Commerce Clause. Pro wins this.

(2) Safety. Pro argues enforcement harms and incarceration harms. There's strong evidence showing that legalization increases human trafficking, and that prostitution results in psychological harms regardless of incarceration, but Con doesn't cite or properly marshal that evidence (the 2002 directive wasn't convincing; I needed to see recent studies so that I could compare them with Pro's). Surprisingly, Con doesn't push the inherent psychological harms of prostitution as hard as he could, and that's the strongest counter to the incarceration/enforcement harms argument Pro runs.

I also really hate giving Pro his argument that anti-trafficking efforts are hurt by anti-prostitution efforts, because it's so wrong and there's so much empirical evidence against it, but I have to grant him his impacts here. And it' a massive impact, since the biggest concern with prostitution is its relation to human trafficking. So Pro could arguably win safety on that point alone. Con should have spent more time countering this. Instead, Con focuses on physical and psychological harms from prostitution. But Pro responds that harms are reduced with legalization. Neither side wins there. Con also attacks Pro's source -- and yes, the source admits potential flaws -- but it's not enough to fully negate its impact.

(3) Justice. Neither side wins this. Many potential jobs are illegal for a reason (e.g. human trafficking). Con draws enough attention to that argument to negate Pro's impact.

(4) Costs. Pro completely wins this. Con grants the financial savings from legalization, and while I agree that alone financial savings isn't enough to legalize something, it's certainly a relevant factor. Pro needs more than this to win the debate, but combined with other factors, it helps his case.

Overall, Pro wins on safety and costs.
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
Very much so, thanks for the feedback Fuzzed.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
I appreciate that, Fuzzed, and I'm sure kasmic does as well.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 1 year ago
16kadams
whiteflamekasmic
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: See I didn't forget.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 1 year ago
FourTrouble
whiteflamekasmic
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Comments.