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The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Legalized Prostitution: Is it right?

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/31/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,480 times Debate No: 51286
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




I am going to say that legalized prostitution is wrong, because prostitution leads to rape, unwanted pregnancies (I hope you understand what I mean by unwanted pregnancies), sometimes even murder. Prostitution can ruin people's lives and reputations. I look forward to debating against you again whiteflame, I thoroughly enjoyed our last debate. (By the way, when I last checked, you were still winning)


I'd like to thank my opponent for inviting me to this debate. I enjoyed our previous debate as well, wildcat101, and look forward to arguing the Con position on this topic.

Just so voters are clear, though he is Pro on this debate, Pro is against the legalization of prostitution (I'm guessing that we're discussing this within the context of the U.S.). Thus, I will be arguing in support of the resolution, to prove that legalizing prostitution presents with more benefits than it does harms.

As my opponent has only outlined his arguments, I will briefly outline my own. I will be arguing that legalization will improve upon safety for all individuals involved; specifically, safety of prostitutes from STDs, physical injury from Johns, and protect them from much of the exploitation of pimps. My view is that prohibition and the act of enforcement do more harm than good. I will also argue that sex is already being "sold" in a sense that makes it ridiculous to keep it illegal, and that we therefore have limited reason to deny it as a method of acquiring a reasonable income. This will link to sexual autonomy, and control over one's own body and choices.

With that, I leave it to Pro to kick off this debate in style. Whenever you are ready, sir.
Debate Round No. 1


Well, whiteflame, I believe what you are trying to say is that prostitution should be legalized because it would prevent people from being hurt, or from being inflicted with STDs. The problem with that is that we cannot prevent everything. Right now states are legalizing marijuana for medical uses. What is likely to happen with that though, is people will try to lie in order to get that marijuana, and doctors will become dealers of marijuana, like they sometimes are with pain pills and such. Anyway, what I am trying to show you is that you can make it legal, but that doesn't fix everything. I understand that it is our body, and we should be able to choose what we do and do not do with it. Yet, we do not always know what we might be getting ourselves into. Right now in America, we as a nation are finding a lot of teen women having sex out of passion or whatever reason it might be, and those teens are becoming pregnant. I cannot say the pregnancies are what cause those pregnant teens to do things like drop out, get abortions, and other things, but I can say that there seems to be a correlation between them. You said that legalizing prostitution could possibly prevent the prostitutes from being exploited by pimps, or from being hurt by "Johns," but as I noted earlier, we cannot prevent everything. It is just not ever going to happen. As long as we live, we will never be able to experience a utopia where no one gets hurt and everything is great. We as humans are guarunteed to have problems, it is in our nature. I would like to mention one last thing before I finish my argument for this round: how are we to guaruntee the safety of prostitutes if we cannot guaruntee our own safety? Are we going to post bodyguards to follow them wherever they go, including to the bed, to make sure they remain safe? It all just seems kind of hard to believe that things would turn out for the better. I turn the mic over to you. 'Till my next argument, hasta la vista. And good luck!


Thanks to my opponent for instigating this debate and for getting us started with his arguments.

Let's get started with a burdens analysis. I'd say that the burden of proof is shared. Pro's burden is to support the status quo. This means he must present sufficient harms caused by legal prostitution, and defend current enforcement practices. My burden is to show that legal prostitution has fewer harms than illegal prostitution using a similar calculus.

So before I get into my arguments, what does legal prostitution look like? Well, it probably makes the most sense to expand the system currently available in locations in America that already have it legalized. Nevada, therefore, will be my model. This means that legal brothels will be opened and regulated like any other business, including wage laws, employment laws, and taxation. That means that 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. The taxation will ameliorate the cost to the state.

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, meaning that we're currently forcing them into these abusive situations in order to survive.

So let's go through the points individually. Are prostitutes under the Nevada system really safer? Looking as STDs, they have most certainly improved, having lower rates of STDs than Los Angeles porn stars.[2] The protection of physical abuse is even stronger. There are fewer instances of violence, rape and disease in the Nevada system.[3] As estimates of the number of prostitutes who are raped go up to almost 80%, this is a huge problem that needs to be solved.[1] If implemented on a country-wide basis, it's estimated that we would have 25,000 fewer rapes in this country.[4] Murder, which goes at 20 times the national average among prostitutes, would also be ameliorated by the lesser violence and regulation, not to mention that any woman who currently thinks she will be arrested as a result of the illegality of their work isn't likely to approach the cops, and therefore most of these crimes are likely to result in no justice whatsoever.[5]

But let's evaluate the harms. Pro hasn't really stated anything that could really be called a harm. He's presented some arguments of possible harms, but doesn't warrant or source these arguments, and all of them seem to have very weak links. I'll get to those in a moment, but what he doesn't realize is that enforcement is, itself, harmful. Some 80,000 people are arrested each year for solicitation of sex, crowding our prisons and jails at huge cost through both the trial and incarceration.[6] The cost of police time spent enforcing these laws is that our police are simply getting less time to enforce the much more important laws preventing physical dangers.

Worse yet, Pro doesn't even explain why any of the possible harms are unique to prostitution. If a guy decides to take his girlfriend out to lunch at an expensive restaurant, and she decides to sleep with him as a result, is that not an exchange of money for sex? In fact, many of the people who choose to have sex with their significant other do so on the basis that a similar exchange was made. What makes this so different from prostitution as a whole? Is it that the money is being given to them directly with none of the fluff of spending time together in between? It seems like an awfully flippant justification for keeping it illegal.

Pro acknowledges that this is their body, and yet he wants to deny their free usage of it. It's a confusing perspective to have. What makes their usage of having a seductive body any worse than someone's using their strength to get a job in construction? Aren't they simply using physical attributes to acquire the basic necessities of life as well?

Now, I'm going to go through some quick rebuttal.

"The problem with that is that we cannot prevent everything."

I don't see why this is a reason we shouldn't make efforts to do so. It won't be perfect, no, and STDs will still exist following legalization. We recognize that there is a necessity to inform people about birth control methods and make them cheap partially because STD spread is limited by their usage.

Pro asserts that legalizing marijuana is net harmful. That's a nonsequitor, and irrelevant to this debate (though I would argue that legalization has been beneficial). If the only point Pro is trying to get out of this is to show that legalization doesn't fix everyone's problems, he's right. But we tend not to act under the mentality that our outcomes will be perfect. The presence of benefits, no matter how imperfect, are sufficient for me to show that legalization of prostitution is warranted. The same is true for exploitation and injury, which are still reduced in a legal setting. The reality that we don't live in a perfect world doesn't mean we shouldn't ever try to improve upon our preventative systems of regulation. Pro never states why we should let these problems persist, so he admits that they are net harmful.

Pro says that we don't know how this is going to turn out, that the sexual decisions of teens are somehow interrelated. I'm not quite sure where he's going with this, since this would be a practice among legal adults and would involve the usage of protection in the vast majority of instances, but I would argue that these women are often having sex in exchange for things (dinners, gifts, romance) from their boyfriends. That is status quo. How is prostitution really so different?

Pro's questions are interesting, but pointless. We should improve upon the safety of any amount of people if the opportunity presents itself " as long as they're Americans, they are worthy of protection under our laws. We don't need to take it to extremes in order to provide a measure of safety, and there's certainly no need to abridge their privacy to such extremes as Pro suggests.

With that, I hand the debate back to Pro to continue this debate.

Debate Round No. 2


There is truth to what you are saying. But think about extortion, blackmail, and other crimes that could be increased by making it easier to access the women (or men, I believe that there probably are male prostitutes) and then use money, the person's history, etc., in order to force those people to their will. There is still that problem. I want to see your solution to that problem before I finish my arguments.


Extortion, blackmail, and other crimes can only be reported to the police in an environment where a person feels safe from jail time and other penalties as a result of that reporting. If a prostitute is concerned that he/she will be arrested as a result of revealing that they were victimized, they won't do the reporting, especially if that money is necessary for their continued survival.

All of these things will also be ameliorated by basic regulations that all businesses have to deal with. In the status quo, these businesses are criminal in nature and therefore remain unregulated, giving them access to women far too young to consent and allowing them to take whatever funds they wish in return for protecting their operations. Legalization stops these exploitative practices.

In fact, the entirety of what you're talking about here happens under the illegal system, and you've provided no reason why legalization suddenly makes access to prostitutes easier, nor why exploitation suddenly becomes more likely under a legal system. I've already explained why the latter isn't true, but I would say that legalization reduces the desperation of both women and men entering into this system. They're not forced to go under the radar and delve into a criminal environment in order to get the basic necessities of life, nor are they, when they are roped in, forced to stay as a result of fearing their employer's physical abuse. These prostitutes aren't going to be locked into their line of work - the will have the opportunity to leave whenever they please, not to mention a safer and cleaner workplace with much fewer health concerns. Even if more people become prostitutes, we will see migration away from the profession, which is currently almost nonexistent. The reality is, however, that this is likely to produce less prostitutes. It's likely that fewer people will choose to enter the field than are currently forced into what is virtually sexual slavery, often taken from other countries with little to no English after being sold off by various family members. All of those who are under 18 are essentially incapable of consent, as I said before, and are often pressed into their line of work as well. All of these people disappear from the American system, and Pro has to prove that they will all be replaced by willing participants.

I'd say that it really doesn't matter, though. Having more people in prostitution isn't harmful because the profession would cause far less societal harms in a legal system, and I think my last post established this thoroughly. So whether he proves that the population of prostitutes will increase or not (and, as I've shown, I think it won't), it's a net benefit to legalize it.

With that, I'll give the podium back to Pro to finish out this debate for his side.
Debate Round No. 3


wildcat101 forfeited this round.


Well, I'm not sure what happened, but I'll leave it to the voters at this stage to decide this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
Perhaps so, and I've heard many of those arguments before. I'm not certain that the harms of legalization outweigh the benefits, but we didn't get down to those arguments in this debate.
Posted by mccugor 7 years ago
Harm as in violence and sex trafficking, policing issues and cost the tax payer all increases heavily after legalisation in Amsterdam and the Dutch are debating reverting the laws. As I say brothels were shut down so it was not just street walkers but regulated brothels at play here. So I would not agree it to be better than sticking to the status quo.

However I find when I look at these reports, they do really depend on the lay of the land. I think fairly rural areas where the population is quiet small compared to the land mass tend to show better results than heavily populated urban areas such as Amsterdam.

For example, Nevada only has 19 brothels and none in heavy urban areas. Prostitution is still illegal in Carson city and Las Vegas. Making it very easy to regulate and spurn off organised crime.

I think it would be poor model to apply to the whole of America.

Look at Germany. The reports coming out of there are horrendous and it is legalised country wide.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
There are new problems to be faced as a result of legalization, and I get that. Still, it seems as though the current system is, itself, untenable. It's obvious that it's not working, and that it's causing excessive harms. Perhaps full bore legalization is not the answer, but it seems to be more beneficial than sticking with the status quo. The fact that crime will still exist afterward and that it will simply be less in our face doesn't really make for a unique harm, just less of a benefit.
Posted by mccugor 7 years ago
The Pro debater doesn't have a clue what he is talking about making this debate a bit of patsy.

The contender however seems well practised in this subject, refering to the Nevada model which is not legalised prostition in the sense that most believe it to be. Rather it is a system of regulated brothels.

However like the debate this model also a bit of a patsy.

Many of the reports on this model do not report on the increase\decrease and potential harms of dtill illegal street walkers in the same areas... leaving these stastics very skewed.

If we look at a wider system of prostitution such as Amsterdam we see a massive increase in sex trafficing resulting in many brothels being closed in 2010.

On top of this we see an increase in street walkers and the failures of the local government to regulate this. Increased violence and drug use.

We legalised alcahole but there are still alcaholics ruining their lives and running people over. Legalisation is not always the answer. Sure it cuts down on crime. However how many night clubs do you know of that are run by legit business men? The most legalisation on "mass scale" will ever do is drive the crime underground.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tulle 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This was odd. I started off writing a long RFD for this before realizing Pro forfeited anyway. So I'll just condense it down to this: Con's arguments were compelling, but half of his links in round 2 had nothing to do with what he was saying and didn't support his arguments (4, 5, 6). However, Pro not only offered no real arguments (ie. premise, premise, conclusion), but did not respond to any of Con's; failed to support any arguments he made in round 1, added new assertions in round 3, and forfeited round 4. An easy win for Con.

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