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The Financial Aspect Of Prostitution In The United States

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It is said that money makes the world go round, and that there is nothing money can not buy or fix. When you stop to think about it, that statement holds true for everything. With money, you can save an endangered animal, you can donate to great causes, you buy yourself all the luxuries your heart desires, you can lobby policies to your favor, you can even pay for someone to have your child. In this capitalist world, everything has a price, so why is it wrong for people to pay for sex? Why is it that woman get looked down upon for engaging in such acts, while in other places, prostitution is perfectly legal and normal? While there many reasons why people oppose prostitution, prostitution was not always viewed this way, and should not be morally wrong but in fact legalized.

To those who argue prostitution is morally wrong, some of the arguments they use are that prostitution is a degrading job because most get into prostitution out economic need. While that argument seems valid, it is not one that can endure its counterarguments. If people, mainly woman, get into prostitution for economic need, are you really going to believe it was their “only” choice? There are many options that could have been considered before prostitution. If the excuse was lacking educational achievements that hindered these women from getting a job other than prostitution, then that too is a lie. There is a reason why parents and even teachers tell their kids if they do not study, their only job will be flipping burgers at McDonald’s. I am not implying that working at McDonald’s is a degrading job but rather I am showing that there are jobs that do not require any education or experience at all. Women who chose to enter prostitution out of economic need, do have other choices such as McDonald’s and do not have to work in prostitution if they feel it is degrading.

We also have to understand that prostitution was not always viewed as a degrading, and in fact, it may have begun through religion according to The Canadian Medical Association Journal (Clarkson, 1939, pg 296). In this journal, The History of Prostitution, it is stated that prostitution may have started religiously. Some examples of it would be in ceremonies that worship Aphrodite, in which woman “would enter into relationships” just for special celebrations(Clarkson, 1939, pg 297). Another example would be priestesses in Babylon’s temples, who would all be prostitutes. Worshippers could expect to obtain great benefits by having sex with these holy priestesses. But these holy prostitutes were not treated poorly, in fact, they were always treated with “great dignity” and to this day, this custom could be found in some parts of Morocco and some parts of India.

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Another reason used by people who oppose prostitution and its legalization is that they believe it will increase the violence experienced by some prostitutes. But this is simply not true, prostitution is illegal in the United States and as a result, should prostitutes feel unsafe, they have no one to turn to, and this is why there is violence in prostitution right now. According to Martha Nussbaum, a law and philosophy professor at the University of Chicago, legalizing prostitution is more likely to make things “better for women” (Bazelon, 2008)). She states that because it is illegal, it puts the “bad guys” in control. This makes sense, because if it is illegal, they can not file a complaint with their local police department because then they too will get locked up. If they are unable to get help from the police, pimps can essentially abuse them and get away with it knowing the police is not going to come looking for them later. Unfortunately, this is what is happening right now in major US cities, according to a study done by the AIDs Education and Prevention organization, they found out that of the prostitutes in San Francisco’s massage parlors, 62% of them been beaten by customers. More than half of massage parlor prostitutes have experienced violence so legalizing prostitution can help lower that number down because they would have to be afraid of being prosecuted as well.

Prostitution should be viewed just as two consenting adults who agree on the price of a service. Why is it that apps like Tinder and others who are constantly used for hooking up and casual sex able to exist without prosecution but as soon as someone pays or accepts payments it becomes a crime? In this capitalist society, everything is up for sale, surprisingly even sperm and eggs. So if many components used during sex, can be sold, why is that prostitution itself still can not be legal? If a woman wants to “sell” her body, she should have the right to do so. If she wants to make money off of her body, she should be able to do so. At the end of the day it is her body and she has free will to exercise what she wants with it. If the argument is that prostitution is harmful then she is only harming herself and other people worry about themselves and not with what someone else does. If prostitution was legal and viewed as just another job, then like a job, it can be regulated to protect the worker. Legalizing prostitution can improve the overall health of the workers and consumers. Let us look into other countries who have already legalized sex work, like the Netherlands for example. In the Netherlands, according to a study done by the government, after legalization, “the quality of life of sex workers has improved” (Garcia, 2019). The mental state of workers has improved. The overall health of workers has improved. The violence towards sex workers has declined because they are now protected like any other law abiding citizen. So all of these benefits are not theoretical, and have happened and continue to occur in other places who have also legalized sex work. Why has the United States not yet legalized prostitution? In Germany, the legalization of sex work has brought in $18 billion per year into the country (Kirschbaum, 2009). The US is 28 times bigger than Germany so just imagine how much money the US can bring in if they were to legalize prostitution. So not only does legalizing prostitution prove to be beneficial to the worker but also for the government because now they can bring in more revenue into their country.

I started this paper talking about money because money plays a big part in prostitution. The sex industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and the United States has not fully tapped into its full potential. It is just like how some US states legalized the use of recreational marijuana and have now tapped into that once elusive market. Colorado alone has already generated $6 billion in sales revenue and more than $927 million in tax revenue (Daniels, 2019) for the state. If people are going to pay for sex regardless, because that is what history tells us, it is better for the government to help regulate it for the safety of the workers and consumers but also to increase the tax revenue of the country. Instead, the government is wasting taxpayer money on prosecuting individuals who entered into consensual sex for payment. Why should people not benefit from the legalization of sex workers? If you have the money you should be able to pay for someone who consents, after all in many places it is a job and jobs require payments.

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The Financial Aspect Of Prostitution In The United States. (2021, August 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“The Financial Aspect Of Prostitution In The United States.” Edubirdie, 26 Aug. 2021,
The Financial Aspect Of Prostitution In The United States. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2023].
The Financial Aspect Of Prostitution In The United States [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 26 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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