Society’s Taboo Subject: Prostitution

When most hear this word, many turn their heads or try to change the subject. Prostitution is a topic that people view in poor light, and no child would ever dream of being a prostitute. When most people imagine a prostitute, their image would most likely be a girl who’s dressed in revealing clothes or is drug-dependent. Due to the stigma towards prostitution, information from prostitutes are hard to find in areas deeming this job illegal. As a result, stereotypes are made and are bound to be taken into consideration in the debate.

Because prostitution involves the exchange of sexual interactions for money, people who view sexual interaction as “special” due to religious beliefs and personal reasons are bound to look down upon providers. They claim that it ignores the dignity every human has and has put a cost label on a priceless being. Many have claimed that prostitution allows men to rent women’s body for a service, treating them as products. In early June, around thirty alleged prostitutes were arrested by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Pompano Beach, FL. The jailing of these people takes up unnecessary room in prisons and consumes tax money. Instead, prisons should be used for jailing people of greater offense like sexual assault. Although people view prostitution as an immoral act or an assault against women, the government should consider decriminalizing prostitution as the criminalization of prostitution will neither address the issue of sexual assault nor the issue of poverty.

Prostitutes: Victim, Criminal, Or Neither?

Many feel pity or disgust towards them as they haven’t grasp prostitutes’ viewpoints. Most people don’t pursue prostitution due to interest; instead, it’s due to their limitations. Due to financial and personal issues, they aren’t able to invest in schooling or find an interest that suits them. For example, Polly has quit getting a Phd at an Ivy League University due to her bad mental issues. Later on, she got kicked out of her apartment and ran into a person who suggested for her to help him out with selling by sexually pleasing the customers. It ended up working, and then a man suggested her to come work at his friend’s brothel, which she accepted. Although she’s able to obtain help and turn away from prostitution, there would be times in which she’d felt ashamed and self-loathing, which results from the stigma towards prostitution. As privileged citizens continue to express their anti-prostitution opinion, prostitutes continue their lives underground and are constantly at risk of health issues, sexual abuse, and legal imprisonment. When caught, they’re charged with up to 3 years of prison and/or up to thousands of dollars, which varies due to state’s law; meanwhile, rich sexual assault criminals are often given a slap on the wrist.

Why Legalize?

Although people view prostitution in shameful lighting, prostitution should be seen as a job that needs protection. “As adults in prostitution, 82% had been physically assaulted; 83% had been threatened with a weapon; 68% had been raped while working as prostitutes; and 84% reported current or past homelessness.” These percentages were made based off of the one hundred and thirty people working as prostitutes in San Francisco interviewed around 1998. Because their work is illegal, prostitutes are not protected from misbehaving customers by the legal court. If anything happens, they’re forced to be quiet, silencing the victim while excusing the perpetrator. According to recent statistics, prostitutes get physically attacked approximately once a month. If the government has put more effort into protecting the prostitutes just like how they do with regular stores, then it’s possible that prostitution can be safer. Prostitutes are at risk of health issues as the exchange of body fluids can result into STD or HIV. Unlike pornographic movies which check the health of the movie actors, prostitution doesn’t check if the customer has any STD that could get transferred to them. Prostitutes undergo a lot of risks that most citizens don’t have to worry about due to the fact they don’t carry condoms and must work underground in order to avoid prosecution. Overall, legalizing prostitution will yield more benefits than the imprisonment of prostitutes.

Differentiate The Two

In the world, sexual exploitation may overlap with prostitution, but the difference is that the victim isn’t consenting to prostitution and doesn’t gain any money as the it all goes to the pimps. People tend to correlate prostitution with sexual exploitation as prostitutes can be abused by their pimps, which is inhumane. As a result, the government has criminalized prostitution, in attempt to address the issue of sexual exploitation. Although sexual exploitation can happen to prostitutes, that doesn’t mean that criminalizing prostitution won’t prevent it. Prostitution doesn’t involve the selling of the provider’s body; instead, it’s the service that they are selling. The reason why many view prostitution as dehumanization is due to the lack of protection and the social disapproval of treating sexual interactions casually. Sexual exploitation does not involve the victim’s willingness to be a sex worker; thus, there’s a well-defined life between prostitution and sexual exploitation.

Addressing The Roots

Even when prostitution is legalized, we should open up opportunities for them if they ever decide to change their job. If we want to address sexual assault and poverty, it is important that we address the roots. Most of the prostitutes had to deal with abuse early in their life, and not all prostitutes enjoy their job. Also, not many have access to schooling. According to 2015 Census Bureau report, poverty has a big link to poverty, job opportunity, and people’s mental status. High education level will lead to more educational opportunities that will make use of their skills taught to them. Women are often underrepresented in a lot of professional branches like judicial, STEM, etc., due to the norm of most becoming a housewife after marriage. If we want prostitutes to invest their lives into a different career, then the best approach would be to encourage education and other reforms.

Image Attribute: Pixabay

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and/or student and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of United 4 Social Change Inc., its board members, or officers.
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