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

Prostitution ought to be legalized

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/8/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,282 times Debate No: 58681
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




The resolution is that prostitution ought to be legalized.

Definition prostitution: the act of having sex in exchange for money

Definition legalized: to make legal

First round acceptance, semantics are a no-go, no new information in the final round, and let's go.


I accept.

For the record, the position I'm taking is diametrically opposite to my actual position on the issue. I'm just flirting with the opposing viewpoint.

This will be fun. :D
Debate Round No. 1


An unjust law is no law at all”- St. Augustine

I opened this case with this quote from St. Augustine, which was later repeated by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, in order to begin to illustrate the nature of my affirmation of the resolved. This law that oppresses women by taking away their bodily autonomy clearly cannot be seen as a just law. To be perfectly clear, in supporting this resolution, it’s not that I want women to become prostitutes, but just that I understand prostitution to be an issue of personal choice, and I assume that women and people in general have the agency to make that decision for themselves. Now, while reading this debate, it is important to understand not only this, but also that despite the current illegality of prostitution, prostitution still happens to a large degree, and I sincerely doubt my opponent will deny this fact. So essentially, this debate should be seen with this question in mind- should people be punished for this action that they do anyway?

C1. Self-Sovereignty

From a fundamental standpoint, all major forms of government recognize the concept of rights within their legal systems, and at the most basic level exists the right to self-sovereignty- i.e., the notion that we have ownership over our own bodies. In market economies, people have the right to sell or rent out their property, and to keep the exchange of sex for money illegal, to allow the government to forbid you from monetizing what you rightfully own, would be to claim that the government has more ownership over your body than you do, which is, frankly, insulting.

Additionally, the fact that women are generally more likely to be prostitutes is something that we need to acknowledge here, because it means that laws prohibiting prostitution are essentially targeting women and depriving them of their self-sovereignty, therefore creating an unequal level of oppression as enforced by the government. To have this in place would seem fundamentally wrong if equality or empowerment of women is any sort of goal for society.

C2. Reducing Rape

While discussing the legality of prostitution, it is important to separate genuine negatives of prostitution from negatives caused by the prohibition thereof. For example, there is a problem with prostitutes being raped. So one might ask, why is this problem as bad as it is? Well, it is so bad because with the illegality of prostitution, it creates an incentive against reporting rapes. If you are doing something illegal, are you going to go to the police and say that you got raped and risk punishment for yourself? Though some might be willing to, the status quo heavily discourages it, therefore making it so the punishment for raping prostitutes is essentially moot, making it so the problem is exacerbated. In legalizing prostitution, we would, if not solve for the problem, actually be reducing the problem, making it a safer environment for the prostitutes.

C3. Patriarchy and Rape Culture

When taken together, the previous two contentions form the foundations for this one- patriarchy and rape culture. Just imagine- a world where old men in politics can decree what a woman can and can’t do with her own body, and where that leads to them not reporting rapes. It’s not too hard to imagine, because that’s what we currently have with prostitution being illegal. Making prostitution legal removes both of those problems, and therefore reduces the problems of patriarchy and rape culture.

C4. Reducing the Spread of STDS

Additionally, we can solve for a few other issues of safety if prostitution is legalized, both for the prostitutes and for the consumers. Currently, prostitutes face a dangerous work environment. They are working with pimps who beat and abuse them, and selling to customers without knowing whether or not the customer has an STD. A government cannot regulate something that is illegal, so we must legalize it and regulate it so prostitutes can actually experience the benefits of a safe work environment, as any human being should. The logic from C2 extends here, insofar as if a pimp is abusive, it is difficult for the prostitute to report it under the status quo of illegality without fear of being punished, which only allows the problem to persist. Legalizing solves for that, and also adds potential for regulations that create a safer work environment. Regulations can also insure for STD checks and awareness, making it safer for both the prostitute and the customer.

C5. Political/Economic Costs

Currently, prostitution only represents a cost to society. Police efforts are spent on catching prostitutes, while no tax revenue is being brought in from the industry. If prostitution were legalized, police efforts wouldn’t be spent on stopping it, which removes that cost, and the prostitutes would be paying taxes, which adds a benefit, as this tax revenue could go towards things like education or healthcare. From an economic standpoint, legalizing prostitution makes sense.

C6. Female Empowerment

On a more individualistic level, we need to acknowledge that very often, there are low-skilled female workers who end up working for minimum wage jobs, because a minimum wage job is better than no job at all, right? However, what would happen if prostitution were legalized? It seems more likely than not that this would at least be a moderately high paying job, and it would therefore allow for the empowerment of women, helping them to pay for higher education, better health care, to future business ideas, or whatever else it is that they want. Given the higher amount of spending money, these women would be able to have a stronger path towards upwards mobility. On a fundamental level, we’ve got to acknowledge the potential here. No longer would someone who can’t afford to go to college be forced to live at a low income. No longer would someone born into poverty be stuck in poverty. Legalizing prostitution creates a legitimate path for female empowerment.

C7. Victimless Crime

To be absolutely clear, prostitution has no victim. Someone goes up to a prostitute, and offers to pay her money for sex. The prostitute accepts. They then have sex, and go their separate ways. It was voluntary, no third party was harmed by this, and neither party was harmed, unless there was an issue with one not informing the other of an STD or something (which, as shown before, could be solved for by legalizing and regulating prostitution). Nobody was a victim here, and to say that the prostitute or the customer was a victim would be to say that they have no agency to make decisions for themselves over their own bodies. So given the fact that people are already doing it, there is no victim, and the main harms that can come with prostitution can be solved for by legalization, it seems clear that we should stop punishing those involved and that prostitution should be legalized.


So to conclude this debate, it is absolutely clear that prostitution ought to be legalized. In legalizing prostitution, we can actually regulate it and therefore reduce pimp on prostitute violence, reduce prostitute rape, and reduce the spread of STDs. It means that women will be able to actually have ownership of their own bodies, rather than being told what they can and can’t do with them by disconnected men in politics. It means that low-skilled women will not be forced into working for minimum wage and will have the option available to them. It means that a victimless crime will not be punished, and that we can actually have additional tax revenue that could go to things like education, rather than be solely a cost on government. So to draw the debate back to the initial question, “should people be punished for this action that people do anyway?” it is clear that there is little to gain and everything to lose by keeping it illegal.

Thank you to those who are reading this debate, and to Cermank for accepting this debate.



Thank you for that brilliant round. I'll get right to the case.

The most crucial point in the opponents case is the autonomy of a person's body. He affirms that illegalizing prostitution robs the girls of their right to sell their bodies for money, if they so wish. He links it with patriarchy and the rape culture, and then talks about reducing STDs.

However, that is an extremely idealized view of the problem. A worker does not have complete autonomy over his/ her working conditions. Legalizing prostitution is legalizing the work of *all* the stakeholders in the prostitution rings. It legalizes the work of pimps, of the customers and everyone in the process. Legalization creates an environment where the prostitutes become a commodity. They enter into a contract with the pimp, the person who gives them money. They have a *limited* amount of autonomy over their bodies, if they want the money. In the same way a worker is not always completely in control over his working conditions if he wants the money. the bottomline is that the pimp would be her boss, and her body would be the commodity. She would have a certain say over her working conditions IF she's on the top, or a star prostitute- but everyone starting from the bottom would have to keep up with minor infractions of the contract, just like in every other industry, if she doesn't want to be branded as a problem worker. However, in this case, minor infractions of the contract equal rape, exploitation, and assault.

In the Mustang Ranch of Nevada, located in the county of this state where prostitution is legal, and which is the largest brothel in US has a prison like appearence. Women are still pimped into this brothel, work 12-14 hours a day, have no right to chose clients and are subject to violence and abuse. Similarly in Germany, legalised prostitution has increased the vulnerability of registered prostitutes, causing the police to harrass them anytime. Women are arrested outside their designated work spaces even if they are not solicitating. (D' Cunha, 1991, 1992). It is no surprise that the illegal sector (unregistered prostitutes) of prostitution flourishes even in areas where prostitution is legal, since it helps prostitutes retain the autonomy of their bodies.

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International (CATW) has conducted 2 major studies on sex trafficking and prostitution, interviewing almost 200 victims of commercial sexual exploitation. In these studies, women in prostitution indicated that prostitution establishments did little to protect them, regardless of whether they were in legal or illegal establishments. “The only time they protect anyone is to protect the customers.”

The women, in this case, isn't an independent entity with free will to choose any of the people she wishes to have sex with, sex IS her work. She has to work actively to please men, that is her job. The customer (who is always right, as the saying goes in service industry) has brought the woman, any restrictions the woman puts forth has to be paid by a part of her pay. Or no pay at all. An ideal prostitute is the one who pleases her customer the most, and THAT definitely does not look like woman emancipation to me.

With this basic case in mind, let us have a look at our opponents case once again.

R1. Self sovereignty: There are definitely women who enjoy prostitution, true. Some people enjoy heroin and meth too, but in those cases it is the harm to the people that governs the law and not the consent that is the governing standard. As we saw, legalizing prostitution was harmful to the women because of the very nature of the work- thus it is something that should definitely not be legalized.

R2 Reducing rapes: Proving unwanted sexual assault is difficult when your job is to sell sex. The status quo *still* discourages it. Claiming rape lowers her market value. It hits her pocket, AND there is a high chance that the case wont even be proved considering there would be documents proving her compliance in a sexual act. This is ignoring the fact that many women don't even realize that they were raped, since there is a widespread notion that since they were paid for sex- it isn't rape. In a study conducted by CATW, Philipino prostitutes were asked about whether or not they were ever forced to do something they didn't want to. A number of women accepted performing perverted acts for the pleasure of their customers, even though they did not want to. However they only had a vague notion of this act being rape, since they were paid. They also accepted that pleasing the managers/ pimps helped them get more work, and hence was a catalyst to a lot of their actions.

Patriarchy and rape culture: In a world where prostitution is legal, and pimps and customers are the bosses of the whole prostitution circuit, the only way to earn more is to please men. The better you are at satisfying them, the more you advance. Your entire work life revolves around focussing on how your customers (who are often men) percieve you. This isn't about self identity, definitely not about being individualist and standing up for your rights. This would be a push towards the worse form of rape culture coupled with an unhealthy amount of internalized misogyny.

STDs : This relies on the entire prostitution ring being regulated, i.e. removal of illegal prostitution. As we have seen, however, registering prostitutes causes them to lose their autonomy and increasing their vulnerability. Thus, legalising it actually INCREASES the illegal sector, that excaberates the problem. This has been seen in Australia and Germany, both of which have legalized prostitution.

R5 Political/ Economic costs: If prostitution causes widespread exploitation, rape, violence and viscious crimes against humanity- tax dollars should definitely be used to stop it. That is what we pay tax for, for the safety of our citizens. And as we've seen, legalization of prostitution has actually caused a detrimental impact on ALL these parameters, and further strengthened the problem of rape culture and internalized misogny, so that is definitely no solution. Perhaps we can increase the tobacco taxation to bring in more revenues and subsidize education, rather than trying to milk the prostitution cow. There is something wrong with the society if they are okay with women prostituting themselves just to pay for their education. If the final aim is education, the government should provide affordable alternatives to education.

R6 Victimless crimes: As we have seen, prostitution is definitely not a victimless crime. Rather than going down the same route, and explaining why sex for money is a dangerous precedent for the society- let us look at it economically. Money is a means of exchange. If we are claiming that a woman is entering prostitution because she *wants* to have sex with possibly creepy- stranger customers, there is already the double coincidence of wants. They can just have sex like normal people at a sorority party or a bar. Once money enters the equation, the woman is commodified. It increases the chances of victimization of women. If we truly want woman emancipation, we need to talk about how its okay for women to have sex if they desire to. Not how they can be coerced using money.

In conclusion, legalizing prostitution would lead to commodification of women, increasing dependence of women on their pimps and customers (all of whose actions would be legalized). I struck down the presumption that legalizing would lead to complete autonomy of the prostitute over her body, drawing a comparison with workers working in any other industry- who do have to serve their customers and work under their boss. It would still lead to rapes, there would still be unregistered prostitution circuits (if experience in Germany and Australia is to go by) that would still lead to STDs. There are victims everywhere.

CATW Report:

Debate Round No. 2


Do women have the agency to decide for themselves whether or not they are willing to accept money for the sex acts required? This is not a rhetorical question- I expect an answer from my opponent. If she says yes, then that means that I win this debate, as it is simply a voluntary market transaction, making it victimless, and she has greatly weakened her case. If she says no, then congratulations, she has just claimed that half of the world’s population is incapable of making decisions for themselves. It is important to note, however, that the “no” answer is the logical conclusion to be drawn from her case. She’s claiming that women shouldn’t be able to decide for themselves what they do with their own bodies, which they have full ownership over, because she personally sees it as bad.

So it is important to attack my opponent’s argument for what it really is- a case for why women should decide against being prostitutes, but not for why it should be illegal. She says that the woman’s body is commodified once money enters the equation. That’s true, but this goes back to my original point about self-sovereignty. At a fundamental level, before we own anything else, we own ourselves, and we have ownership over our own bodies. When you own something, you have every right to make money off of it. Maybe a woman shouldn’t become a prostitute, but that line of reasoning is non-topical and is no reason to legally restrict a woman’s ability to be a prostitute, especially given the fact that she has rights that ought to be respected.

And of course, that all goes back to the patriarchal view that some people ought to be able to forbid women from doing what they want to with their own bodies because they morally oppose what those women do with their own bodies. So to go down that road, if a prostitute were to engage in sex for money with a man, what effect would that have on my opponent? What effect would that have on the readers of this debate? It would have absolutely none, because this is simply a voluntary transaction between consenting parties, much like any other market transaction. Essentially what this means is that no matter what moral opposition one may have against prostitution, it gives no real reason to make it illegal, because nobody is harmed based on what the prostitute and customer decided to do.

This being said, much of my opponent’s logic holds, but only insofar as it means that women should largely decide against prostitution. What is important to remember here, however, is that the law is not the women. The law should not decide for the women what they ought to do, because the law should understand the fundamental fact that these individual women are more than capable of deciding for themselves what they want to do with their own bodies.

Additionally, my opponent acts as though keeping prostitution illegal will eliminate prostitution. In my previous round’s intro, I pointed that out as a fallacious assumption- regardless of whether or not prostitution is legal, prostitution is still going to be a large industry. The only real difference with regards to physical consequences when prostitution is made legal is that women now have a safer environment to work in when they decide to work in the legal sector. Rapes are now actually punished, and STD spread is reduced.

To refute my point about rape punishment, my opponent claims that making it legal would still discourage rape reporting, as the rape reporting would reduce the prostitute’s market value. While that could potentially be true, it will still lead to substantially more rape reporting because a disincentive was removed. With prostitution being illegal, prostitutes will not report their rapes because they do not want to risk punishment. Legalizing prostitution removes that risk of punishment, making it so the most substantial disincentive against rape reporting is now a moot point, and that some rapists will actually be held accountable for their crimes, making prostitute rape less likely.

To refute my point about STD spread, my opponent tries to claim that the contention relied on the complete removal of illegal prostitution, which is simply not true. If even just a quarter of the industry were regulated, then the spread of STDs would go down. The majority of the industry, however, would now be legal, would be regulated, and would therefore mean that we would have a reduction of STD spread. Additionally, my opponent’s rationale for how getting the majority of the market regulated would lead to the illegal sector increasing is not explained. I would ask her to explain why next round, because that runs totally counter to common sense.

To address my point about political/economic costs, she simply argues that “If prostitution causes widespread exploitation, rape, violence and viscious crimes against humanity- tax dollars should definitely be used to stop it. That is what we pay tax for, for the safety of our citizens.” That’s great, and I could totally get on board with that- if it were true that prostitution causes “widespread exploitation, rape, violence, and vicious crimes against humanity.” This is an instance where the prohibition of the act is exactly what makes those things happen. It makes rape happen more often because it makes it punishable for a prostitute to report her rape. It makes violence more common because the prostitute cannot report her boss or customers for being abusive towards her. And I would say that it is a vicious crime against humanity to claim that half of the world’s population is incapable of making decisions for themselves over what they fundamentally own. In legalizing prostitution, we actually reduce those problems, because remember, prostitution is not going to stop regardless of its legal status. However, we can’t regulate it unless it’s legal, and if we can regulate it, we can make it safer. So to sum all that up, if legalizing prostitution actually reduces or solves for those problems, it seems like it would make sense, by my opponent’s logic, to legalize it. And why not make some money on it to pay for valuable services like education or healthcare, rather than just punish people who really shouldn’t be punished?

We can make it safer for the prostitutes and the customers by regulating it, so to answer the original question posed in the debate, which was “should people be punished for this action that they do anyway?” it seems pretty basic that the answer would be a resounding “No.” They have ownership over their bodies, so they have every right to exchange money for sex. We can reduce rape by making it something that actually has the potential to be punished, and, in legalizing prostitution, we can actually make it a safe environment for them, instead of an environment run by violent pimps, policemen, and customers. We can make it an environment where a prostitute can switch her place of employment without fear of violence by angry pimps, therefore giving her control over her situation. Additionally, it leaves low-skills women with a higher paying path than a minimum wage job, meaning that if she so desires, she does not have to be restricted to the minimum wage job option, as she had been before. That point was left completely unaddressed by my opponent, and that should be noted by the voters.

So to sum this up, my opponent gives a lot of lovely reasons for why a woman should decide against being a prostitute, but they really just don’t hold up as reasons for why prostitution should be illegal. I, however, have all of the impacts on my side. I have a reduction of rape, violence, and STD spread. I have women’s ability to make choices for themselves on my side. She has her “moral high ground.” I believe it is clear which side of this debate would make an actual positive change for society.

Thank you to Cermank and the readers, and I look forward to the next round.



My opponent hit the nail right in the head with that question. My entire contention revolves around the fact that prostitutes would NOT have complete autonomy if prostitution's legalized. They will not, and that's hardly surprising. Do you, dear voter, have complete autonomy in the place you decided to work for? Do you not think they'll have to encounter douch-ie customers? Do you disagree with the fact that there would sometimes be gray areas in rape where she'd be forced to perform stuff she ISN'T comfortable with in order to increase her market value? Nobody has complete autonomy when they're working for money. You are sometimes (and this is actually many times) forced to make decisions that you're not okay with just because the unpleasantness is paid for by money.

Unfortunately, in prostitution- that'd be rape.

You can't wish this away. This IS the reality- and has been actually *experienced* in countries where its legal. This is not just a hypothetical I’m drawing to strengthen my case.

My opponent agrees that a woman's body will become commodified once money enters the equation. However, he goes on to state that women should have that right- the right to decide to be commodified. Well I don't, because *I* believe that one shouldn't have the ability to pay for rape. It does affect me because it affects them. Just because a woman wants money, does not mean that she should be raped. And allowing legalised prostitution is exactly that. In the study I shared in the previous round, more than 70% of the prostitutes said that they would change their jobs IF they had a choice. They are prostituting even though they dont to. I happen to believe that legally sanctioning this monstrority is not the way to go.

There *should* be better avenues at getting money other than selling your body. If money is the reason they're getting into prostitution, it isn't all that consensual. If sex is the reason they want to get in, amazing. You can have sex at a club, a bar, craigslist, anything. If money is, you shouldn't *have* to consider an option where you can get raped. Get the government to provide legit job opportunities.

My opponent mentions that it wouldn't hurt anyone. Well it would. It would hurt the prostitutes (as it does). It would hurt the prospects of justice.

The law, regardless of what my opponent says, cannot legalize rape. That is the bottomline. Law is the expected standard a society should adhere to. It would definitely not eliminate prostitution, however it *would* give a recourse to correct the ills that result from prostitution. Just because illegalizing something isn't being 100% effective doesn't mean you legalize that. You don't legalize murder. As I already stated in my previous round, you do NOT have safer working environment- in fact EVEN in countries where it is legal- woman prefer to remain unlisted because that helps them reclaim their autonomy.

About rape punishment, my opponent claims that the rape reporting would increase because he believes that the disincentive to report rapes would reduce. That does not take into account the fact that the line between rape and not rape gets blurred too. Rape is a sensitive issue, and teh fact that most of the women interviewed by the CAPW did not know that they were being raped even though they related how they were being forced to do stuff they didn't want to just supports this point. Apparently, they didn't realize that it is still rape even if you get raped. Legalising this is not the way to deal with it. A better (much much better) recourse is providing alternative job opportunities/ skill workshops that'd help them migrate to more pleasant options.

To respond to the STD point, first te illegal sector increases because the entire prostitution sector is larger now, once it gets legalised. Consequently, so is the illegal sector, a part of this relatively larger pool that gives them the luxury of not being harrassed by thhe pimps. That was the experience in countries where it is legal, in any case- a contention i supported in the previous round. My opponent makes the point about how legalising prostitution reduces STD's even if aq quarter of the industry is legalized.

A. That's not true because there is a larger pool of sex workers now, with a larger pool of illegal workers, making spread of STDs easier.

B. Illegalizing prostitution effectively also addresses this. Provide better job opportunities, better workable skills, and you address the root of the problem.

The economic cost point, I've already explained how legalising prostitution would increase the instance of rapes just because a. the line of rape and not-rape gets blurred, as has been the experience. And B. more prostitution = more rapes Also C. women gets commodified (my opponent agrees with this), which adds to the prevailing rape culture on a psychological level. This should not be legalized. It should be reguilated away, by giving actual valid choices to the prostitutes- so that they do not have to resort to getting raped for money. Legalizing it does not get us anything worthwhile- and is a bandaid solution to a more pervasive problem.

To sum it up, no- women would not have complete autonomy if they have sex for money. Legalising prostitution would lead to increasing the pool of prostitutes, increasing rapes and STDs- something that has been empirically observed. If our objective is to reduce these, effective illegalization is the only option- which is a mix of punishment and alternative job opportunities. I feel a majority of th epopulation would be alright with paying tax dollars to rescue women from a profession they do not want to engage in.

I would like to thank classic for this debate, and the readers for going through it. This has been a fun debate :D
Debate Round No. 3


It would seem that my opponent doesn’t believe that women are capable of making decisions for themselves about that which they most fundamentally own- their own body. Her opinion here is clear from the very fact that she is arguing that prostitutes are victims- that them consenting to sex for money can’t be seen as consent. But to be perfectly clear on this, even if the voter buys the faulty logic that a prostitute is a victim, they should still vote for me. This is because of the original question that frames this debate- should prostitutes be punished for something they would do anyway? If you view prostitutes as the victim, then it would seem ridiculous to punish the victim, which is what keeping prostitution illegal would do. If you don’t view a prostitute as a victim, but rather as an adult who is perfectly capable of making decisions for herself, then there is no reason to punish prostitution, as it is a victimless crime.

So now that we’ve addressed the most important issue of this debate, which is whether or not women are capable of exercising their right to self-ownership, which ends up in my favor regardless of whether you see the prostitutes as victims or not, I’ll address some of the finer points of this debate.

My opponent says that you can’t have bodily autonomy when you’re working for money. This is simply not true. Can your boss control what you eat? What you do in your free time? If your boss is trying to do that, then, in most industries, people are perfectly free to leave. As I stated in my previous round, when prostitution is illegal, the prostitute is not as free to leave, as she cannot do so without fear for her safety, and she cannot go to the authorities without fear of punishment. When you make it legal, the prostitute could switch employers, giving her the same amount self-ownership as any other legal worker in America. So if we can make the industry safer for those who decide to exchange sex for money by legalizing it, then we should do just that.

In a world where prostitution is legal, prostitutes do not have to fear violence from customers or bosses because they refuse to do a sex act, same as other workers in other industries do not have to fear violence from customers or bosses.

My opponent then goes on to do a drastic mischaracterization of my arguments when she says “the law, regardless of what my opponent says, cannot legalize rape.” I have never said anything about legalizing rape, and this is a blatantly dishonest statement that should be punished by the voters. I have shown repeatedly that this would increase rape reporting, which makes it so that the rapes actually have potential to be punished. I have shown that once prostitution is legalized, the prostitutes will have the ability to actually say “no” and not fear punishment.

She then goes on to attack my point on STD spread reduction by saying that legalizing prostitution would increase the unregulated portion of prostitution to such a high degree that STD spread would be increased. Lets say for the sake of argument that some prostitutes don’t want the safety that comes with being a part of the regulated industry- let’s say that 15% of the industry is illegal (and that’s a very high number given the incentives). That would mean that the entire industry would have to become almost seven times larger than it currently is for her objection to my contention to stand, which is ridiculous. On top of that, the increase in size would not be instantaneous, and would happen over time, and with that time, lawmakers could learn how to better deal with prostitution.

So to conclude this debate, a vote for my side of the debate is a vote to respect a woman’s right to choose, to reduce the spread of STDs, a vote to make a safer work environment for prostitutes, to not punish a victimless act, and if you buy into her idea that prostitutes are victims (which I have address multiple times as a problem that comes with the prohibition, not with the line of work), a vote to not punish victims.

I strongly urge a vote for Pro, and I thank Cermank for a wonderful debate.



Cermank forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago

It's interesting that a debate with this much detail comes down to one key point, but I'll get that later.

I'll go through each of the 7 points.

1. Self-sovereignty.

There seems to be a strong difference in views here on the basis of what said woman gets to choose. There are two ways in which Con can win this point. The first is to show that there's a need to protect women from themselves and deny them agency in this issue on the basis that it is harmful to them and society at large as a result. This argument wasn't made. The second is to show that women who enter this profession lack the requisite knowledge to make this decision reasonably. This argument wasn't made either. Con got close to making both arguments, but he's essentially just saying that they lack TOTAL agency, not that they're not garnering any agency. Pro shows that agency is gained, and thus that this provides women with self-ownership.

Unfortunately, despite all the discussion here, I don't feel there was anything major coming out of this point. Fundamental as this right might be, I'm given no solid impacts about what it means for governments to act hypocritically in their decision to deny women agency to become prostitutes. There is certainly something to be said about how it engages in hypocrisy, but that's not an impact. Equality and empowerment are impacts, and I see the point that this specifically applies to women more, but without the necessary reasoning on why hypocrisy harms these things (beyond the fact that it's "insulting"), I lack a reason to pull this through strongly.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
2. Reducing rape

This is much more solidly linked to its impacts, as rape is broadly agreed to be harmful. Con's responses are essentially non-unique " there are concerns with regards to rape being recognized by the prostitute, and concerns with the woman's willingly accepting rape for the benefit of their position in their workplace. These are both problematic, but Pro states quite clearly that some of the reasons they might not report are removed, and that's sufficient.

There are another two points here which string throughout the debate. I'm going to leave them for last. But given what's addressed here, I'm seeing this position going for Pro.

3. Patriarchy and rape culture

This is really just an extension on the previous points, and its impact is based on a slippery slope scenario where all reporting of rape effectively disappears. I think the link here is thin, and what part of it isn't is basically a statement of 2.

4. Reducing the spread of STDs

This ends up looking similar to 2 in how it pans out. Con makes a number of good arguments about why it won't be a catch-all solution, and Pro argues that it's still an improvement. I'm buying that there's an improvement, and thus this goes to Pro. This could have been stronger if the effects of those STDs had been explored to some extent.

5. Political/Economic costs

I don't think this pans out into anything big, but it's going Pro. Legalizing prostitution means that police will no longer be involved in policing it in every form. I would have bought arguments that distinguishing between legal and illegal will still take up a lot of time and money, but that argument never comes up. However, as this point is just a cost advantage with a "we could spend this other good places" attached, it seems relatively weak by comparison to the other contentions.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
6. Female empowerment

Both Pro and Con make a lot of good points about what can and does empower women. The issue here is that, in status quo, no prostitute is empowered. Following implementation, a substantial portion of prostitutes can be empowered. In this case, what seems to be meant by empowerment is the capacity to move beyond one's means " essentially a pared down version of the American Dream. I buy that there's upward mobility that wouldn't otherwise exist here, and therefore the ability to escape poverty. I can certainly see benefit there, though as that improved status is not explored for its benefits, it's still a weaker point than reductions in rape and STDs.

7. Victimless crime

The idea of punishing the victim isn't bad, as is the point about punishment for victimless crimes but much like this contention as a whole, I feel there's no solid impacts here. I think that points could have been made about how punishing the victim is harmful, or how punishing indiscriminate of harms is problematic, but without those points, I lack a solid reason to vote here, despite Pro's reasonable arguments.


Con injects a few random alternatives into the debate, saying that we should place our efforts towards providing these women more gainful employment. I find two problems with these. For one, they're never fully spelled out, and a nebulous argument of "we can just focus on making more legal jobs" comes off as weak and uncertain. Pro never points that out, but it certainly comes to my mind, and so it applies. The reason this doesn't end up mattering, however, is that it's not mutually exclusive from the plan Pro presents. I need some reason why we can't both implement Pro's plan and implement a plan to improve job access, which seems to follow the lines of self-sovereignty as well. While Con's plan may, in fact, be best, if both plans can be implemented without concern, there's no basis for me to consider it.
Posted by whiteflame 7 years ago
Increased numbers

Remember how I said it comes down to one key point? Well, this is that point. The problem here is that Con has made it clear that prostitutes live troubled lives, something I cannot ignore. He tells me that since prostitution is becoming legal, there will be an influx into the profession, and thus more people will be faced with those harms. Con did enough to show that a large portion of the rape and STD issues persist, and thus those become harms to Pro's case. The problem is that I don't have a solid idea of what this increase will look like, how rapidly it will occur, and how many of these women will be placed in the illegal market. Pro admits that the number entering is significant, though he says it will be slow (I'm not sure if that is likely to lead to improved regulations to accommodate them). However, without any idea of what this increase will look like in terms of numbers, and the likelihood that they will feed the illegal market, it only stands as a concern, not as a substantial harm, however plausible it may be.


Given the situation on each of these points, I find too little explanation to support Con on that single stance. Lacking that, Pro has the most effective case, and therefore I vote in his direction.
Posted by ClassicRobert 7 years ago
Ryuu, her forfeiting the last round was not her fault (her internet went out). If you wouldn't mind, I think the debate would be most fairly judged ignoring the forfeit.
Posted by Cermank 7 years ago
The rich text got all mixed up. I swear I bolded and italicized stuff.
Posted by Max.Wallace 7 years ago
It should not be legal or illegal, just a matter of free choice. The only reason for legalization is for taxation, just like marijuana. In reality do you feel you have the right to confiscate income from a person for choices they make that only affect themselves?
Posted by Preston 7 years ago
you know It is in some states in the US, but those states have STD issues and high murder counts... it will be interesting to see how he supports it. But how will they regulate prostitution, can you really tax it? will there have to be a set price by the government?
Posted by ben671176 7 years ago
Do you have a lot of lust or something to bring this up?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited the last round, which unfortunately means con dropped all of Pro's arguments.

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