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Friday, June 21, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

American Prostitution Will Probably Remain Illegal

Moral and legal deterrents do not cross U.S. borders

Prostitution, one of the oldest professions, is a practice that varies in legality from country to country and varies in morality in respective cultures. The world is split between countries that allow the exchange of government-issued currency for sexual intercourse and those in which it is completely illegal.

Except in Nevada, sans Las Vegas, no state in America recognizes the oldest profession, some administering criminal punishment for monetarily soliciting a woman or man for sexual acts.

In many respects, the laws make sense, as do most laws that protect citizens from the dangerous collateral that comes with things that seem safe. Keeping prostitution on the illegal side of the law helps to prevent human trafficking, sexual slavery, child prostitution, and violence against prostitutes in each country that has outlawed its practice.

But it seems that in the U.S. there is an inconsistency with the legal status of prostitution and the general attitude toward its decriminalization. Even with marijuana, crime seems to be the most drastic deterrent from use and proliferation. Generally, it seems that prostitution raises fewer blood pressures.

Everyone has a vice, and almost everyone has sex. Perhaps that is why when the two things conjoin themselves, people generally look on with less disapproval than on someone who is a hard drug user.

And why should they? Delicate soupçons of prostitution integrate themselves into modern sex culture despite laws that attempt to regulate their prohibition. Aspects of chivalry hint at favors for women in exchange for intimacy, and buying that girl a drink at the bar could count as paying toward sex.

Perhaps it is illegal because the government loses out on taxes; this kind of work is obviously off the books.

Yet some countries administrate regulated prostitution as a taxed and government subsidized profession. In places like Amsterdam, ladies of the game earn a taxed wage, perhaps even commission, and participate in government-accounted sexually transmitted infection tests.

In places where law enforcement protects prostitutes as it would any other employee, it seems that crimes against sex workers would decrease under its watchful eye. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and many countries dislike the idea that their police are essentially carrying out a pimp's job.

The moral deterrent and the legal consequences of prostitution are what seem most pressing from the American standpoint. Violent crimes that come with prostitution, as well as what many see as a more hygienic attitude toward sex, are what keep many Americans on the side of their government.

But the American non-amateur porn industry sells a product that pays its actors and actresses to have sex. It is another gray area that adds to the list of inconsistencies of the American policy toward prostitution. It is not an uncomfortable subject so much as it is a touchy legal conundrum.

As far as we can tell, prostitution will remain illegal in most of the United States, but American tourists will enjoy the benefits of more lax policy in other countries while on holiday.


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