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As Sen. Craig becomes the latest elected legislator to be arrested for soliciting, I wonder at what point we can look forward to a push to decriminalize or legalize prostitution in America.  And I feel an immense frustration that even as we see that the hiring of prostitutes is a common behavior engaged in by even holders of some of the highest offices in America, there has been utter silence from all corners on the importance of making sure that another consensual activity is not considered criminal behavior in our country.

There is no doubt some satisfaction in seeing the hypocrisy of people like Sen. Craig, David Vitter, and Ted Haggard exposed.  But most Americans who engage in prostitution are not hypocritical leaders.  Most buyers in the prostitution market are ordinary Americans.  Nearly all prositutes, male and female, are people at the lower end of the American economy.  Yet, despite being an utterly victimless crime, it is an act where both people involved are considered criminals in 48 states.

So, what are the benefits of legalizing prostitution?  Beyond the savings to law enforcement, it is possible to identify several benefits.

1. It will reduce abuse of sex workers  

All of us know that prostitution is a business which is rife with pimps and organized crime.  In addition, prostitution is responsible for a significant amount of human trafficking.  Every year, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders (some international and non-governmental organizations place the number far higher), and 70 percent are female and 50 percent are children.  Annually, 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country each year is even higher.  The criminalization of prostitution provides a powerful incentive for criminals to engage in this behavior, and the penalties for capture encourage abusive behavior of these victims.

2. It will allow us to mitigate the impact of prostitution on children

Between 100,000 to 3 million teenagers are currently engaged as prostitutes in America.  Due to the breadth and the inevitability of the existence of prostitution, these minors are nearly invisible as a law enforcement priority.  By bringing prostitution out of the shadows and regulating it as a business, we will have a better chance of having law enforcement successfully prevent the proliferation of minors as sex workers.  In pornography, allowing adults to perform in pornography has had tremendous success in preventing the participation of minors in that field.  We can achieve similar success with prostitution.

3. It will help us slow the spread of HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases

This area is where the most evidence exists that the legalization of prostitution can have significant public benefit.  In Australia, where prostitution is legal, the HIV infection rate among prostitutes is so low that it has been removed from the list of known risk factors for HIV infection.  A World Health Organization report from 2001 (Steen, R. Eradicating chancroid. Bulletin World Health Organization. 79(9): 818-826) showed that:

In Kenya, where the importance of chancroid in HIV transmission was first described in the late 1980s, interventions targeting sex workers and STD patients were implemented. Reported condom use by sex workers has since increased to over 80% in project areas and the incidence of genital ulcers has declined. Chancroid, once the most common ulcer etiology, now accounts for fewer than 10% of genital ulcers seen in clinics in Nairobi, Kenya.

In Senegal, HIV prevalence among pregnant women has been below 1% for more than a decade. A strong multisectoral response, an effective STD control programme and early legalization of prostitution have been credited for this low level. Special clinical services, for example, offer regular examination and treatment for registered sex workers. Not only has there been a significant decline in STD rates among sex workers and pregnant women between 1991 and 1996, but genital ulcers are also no longer common and chancroid is reportedly rare.

It seems particularly desperate that nations such as Kenya and Senegal have a more effective policy towards HIV prevention among sex workers than the United States.

4. Legalizing prostitution will strengthen the legal basis for sexual and reproductive freedom for all Americans

Laws prohibiting prostitution are at their most basic a prohibition on one person choosing to have sex with another person in exchange for direct renumeration.  The acceptance of state prohibition on consensual sexual behavior is an implicit acceptance that Americans lack true sexual autonomy from the state.  The landmark Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas was an important first step towards establishing this autonomy.  But laws prohibiting adult incest, polygamy, adultery (which is still technically illegal in certain jurisdictions) and prostitution were not covered by Lawrence.  And as long as those laws are still permissable, new threats to the sexual and reproductive freedom of Americans still can pose a threat.

From prohibitions of the sale of birth control, to laws prohibiting the sale of sex toys and aids, to restrictions and laws prohibiting abortion, all of these gain legal legitimacy from other laws allowing the regulation and prohibition of consensual sexual behavior between adults.  The recognition that you have a right to use your body as you see fit, including for sexual work, would be an important reinforcement to the rights of Americans to be free from state regulation in terms of your sexual and reproductive choices.

I understand that what most of us take from the arrest of Sen. Craig is satisfaction at seeing a hypocrite get his comeuppance, with the added benefit of improving the electoral future of the Democratic Party.  But perhaps we could also think of his actions serving as a notice that hundreds of thousands of Americans would be better off if Sen. Craig and every other American could solicit a prostitute without either of them committing a crime.  In the long run, that would benefit far more people than the humilitation and exposure of Sen. Craig possibly will.

Originally posted to Jay Elias on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Without Campaign Finance Reform (9+ / 0-)

    Prostitution in DC is already legal.

    I'm a lot more worried about Sen. Craig selling himself for money than anything he might be buying as a consumer.

    And the other 99 folks in the Senate as well.

    "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

    by mbayrob on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:27:04 PM PDT

  •  It's an idea that makes many people feel icky (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, Jay Elias, karmsy

    but the time has come.

  •  Legalize it, (19+ / 0-)

    regulate it, and tax the hell out of it.  Same with marijuana.  Just like we do with booze, nicotine, gambling, etc.

    Pimps and drug lords shouldn't derive the benefit of what will occur anyway.  We should.

    Shut up and impeach.

    by HarveyMilk on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:28:11 PM PDT

    •  Cashing in on guilt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Autarkh

      "One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt."

      Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

      Of course, as Harvey demonstrates, once the citizens think that choosing NOT to pay for things they don't want, aka tax evasion, is morally wrong, the government can cash in on guilt even by repealing laws.

      Seek goodness in others and you will find that they are full of it.

      by dscotese on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:38:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for quoting Ayn Rand. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davidseth

        Now we all know where you're coming from.  Sane people usually outgrow Ayn by sophomore year in college (at the latest).

        Shut up and impeach.

        by HarveyMilk on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:03:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  so aside from the ad-hominem, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Autarkh

          what exactly are you trying to say?

          (Speaking as someone who's never read Ayn Rand here.)

          Do you disagree with the quoted statement?  Do you support legislating morality?  Do you believe in treating adults as slightly larger children who need minders to mind them?

          Please, be specific.  

          •  Amen. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm no Rand fan, but why should something like Marijuana be taxed? It grows practically anywhere, naturally. That probably has a lot to do with its illegality.

            Why does the govt have a legitimate interest in regulating it at all?

            "The assumption that what currently exists must necessarily exist is the acid that corrodes all visionary thinking." -- Murray Bookchin

            by Autarkh on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 01:18:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  But that would mean (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HarveyMilk, pfiore8, davidseth

      Not being hypocrites....  GASP!

    •  but about those taxes... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Autarkh, jessical

      "Sin" taxes are also illegitimate, as they are still an exercise in legislating morality.   Sin according to who, exactly?  

      There is a basis for a health risk tax, so long as it is earmarked to cover the added costs of health care to a single-payer universal health system.  I calculated this out once for cigarettes and it came to about $2.50 per pack.  Similar taxes would apply to other risk-associated products and services, including mountain climbing gear and skydiving lessons (yes, I'm serious).  In all cases the tax would be calculated and adjusted every few years based on the actual empirical risks and costs.  NOT on the basis of the moral opprobrium of blue-noses and puritans of various stripes.

      Aside from that one might also impose an "adult access tax" to cover the cost of enforcing age-related laws for products only available to adults.  

      But beyond measures of that sort, the sales tax on all taxed products and services needs to be uniform.  No one has a right to tax morality any more than to legislate morality, and indirect methods are cowardly and disgusting.

      Even under this set of measures, we will find that the taxes generated by all of these products and services, including marijuana and other soft drugs, and prostitution and other adult services, will be more than sufficient to meet any reasonable level of government spending.  

      And no one will be able to complain about others' personal choices costing them money because all of those costs will be internalized to each case.  

  •  Prostitution IS Legal! (12+ / 0-)

    There's just a one-john restriction and a long-term contract is required.

    It's called marriage.

  •  I guess... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay Elias

    ...whenever prostitutes become the biggest donors to politicians.

    An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. -- T. Paine (-6.25, -7.18)

    by DH from MD on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:28:25 PM PDT

  •  It is a shame societies have gone (7+ / 0-)

    backwards.

    The ancient greeks thought highly of prostitutes.  They were the women chosen to escort the men.
    Now, granted their societies were sexist.  But at least women and men who enjoyed sex for the sake of sex were not condemned.

    Sometimes I feel this country has gone so far backwards when it comes to sexuality, it is hard to believe.
    I came of age in the 60s and today Buchanan summed it up.   A part of the  conservative movement was the backlash against those times when free thinkers were screaming "Make love, not war."

    If these uptight bozos would acknowledge their own humanity, maybe they wouldn't need to go public restrooms or even prostitution to enjoy themselves.

  •  Makes sense to me (7+ / 0-)

    So does legalizing drugs.

    Civil unions for all couples.

    Universal health care.

    Public financing of elections.

    La la la la la ....

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:34:27 PM PDT

  •  If he wanted legal sex... (5+ / 0-)

    He could have simply gone to the Bunny Ranch in Nevada...does Tucker have the directions as he seems to like having the people there on his show...as for the Senator he wanted illegal sex and was doing something that would never be legal even if we made paying for sex legal all over the country.

    "Bill O'Reilly: The worse person in the world...now and for all time...although Ann Coulter is a close second"

    by concernednyer2005 on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:36:23 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for writing this... (11+ / 0-)

    have had many friends who were sex workers in various contexts.  The fact we criminalize it makes the people who do this work utterly disposable.  People who argue for some larger moral good should keep in mind they are really talking about disposable human beings.

    It's worth noting  -- for those commenters who argue for taxation -- that a legalization model should be -- to my admittedly biased view -- to the favor of the sex workers, not to people who consider the whole thing in terms of abstractions.  Nevada regulates and taxes this in a limited context, but individual sex workers still get messed over because the barrier to legal entry is still quite high, and women who can't be hired by a "ranch" are in the cold.  Women who are doing sex work to support themselves are also not all working the high end of the market, and don't necessarily have the income to pay "sin" taxes.  Legalize it for public health and individual dignity, not for a tax agenda...

    •  Thanks for a great post... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, irishwitch, jessical

      ...couldn't agree more.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:40:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree/Disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, irishwitch, jessical

      Legalize it for public health and individual dignity, not for a tax agenda...

      Legalize it for both reasons, I say.  I see no reason for prostitution to be tax-exempt.  Factory workers and whores -- all pay it, all take out.

      Shut up and impeach.

      by HarveyMilk on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:42:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps I should have put it better... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jxg, HarveyMilk, G2geek, irishwitch

        ...but I was referring specifically to the "tax the hell out of it" idea; that it should somehow be taxed at a greater rate than any other work.  Ruinious and confiscatory taxes on the self employed are a seperate issue :}

        •  Fair enough. But, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, irishwitch, jessical

          I would say that a certain degree of taxation would be necessary in order to finance the regulation of the industry.  Inspectors, physicians, and security personnel don't work for free.  Kinda like how waitstaff has to tip out their busperson, or their tables don't get cleared for the next client.

          Also, prostitution is currently tax-exempt in most places, because it is illegal.  I'm sure those in the sex trade work hard for the money, but they can pay Federal, State, Local, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, just like the rest of us.

          Finally, when I say "tax the hell out of it," even with the foregoing, it's gotta be cheaper (not the mention more beneficial) than letting the pimp or madam take their cut, and paying the inevitable bail, attorney, and fine costs -- all associated with illegality. I mean, talk about "ruinous" and "confiscatory."

          Shut up and impeach.

          by HarveyMilk on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:51:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  eh... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sequoia, G2geek

            I think we simply disagree, beyond some basic licensing fee, and ordinary taxes (as already mentioned).  I will say your view of it as a managed business where there is financial room to make choices about much of anything applies to only a small percentage of sex workers.   Your view of the industry is also, in my experience, inaccurate.  Many people work independently.  Medical certifications make sense, but those can be obtained within the normal course of a doctor visit, as is done now in Nevada, and don't require a special tax.  Some people will work from home, and I don't see any more need for inspection than is applied to home cookie companies -- hygenics and so on -- again, perhaps relating to the licensing fee, but not onerous.

            In any event, I think we are coming from very different places and I must run for dinner.  I have seen the very human cost of these laws and this all seems rather far away.

    •  Tax effect. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch

      Let's just admit straight up that some people see big government spending as a positive in their lives, so they argue for more taxes.  Tax advocates think individuals are too stupid, selfish, or evil to spend their own money for good.  If government activities were supported on a strictly voluntarily basis, we'd have a true democracy.

      Seek goodness in others and you will find that they are full of it.

      by dscotese on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:59:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  a percentage of sex workers do it not by (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raatz, irishwitch, jessical

      their own choice, they are abused by people who 'own them', hold power over them. For a significant section of sex workers, it's a form of indentured servitude.

      Making it legal will help to eradicate the abuse.

      socialist democratic progressive pragmatic idealist with a small d.

      by shpilk on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:07:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do not understand why police depts waste (6+ / 0-)

    time and money chasing johns and janes.
    its a deal between 2 willing individuals

  •  James Guckert(Jeff Gannon) and Sen. Larry Craig. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay Elias, irishwitch

    They could make a joint statement.
    While joined at the hip.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:42:15 PM PDT

  •  An excellent idea (6+ / 0-)

    one area where I am in total sympathy with libertarian views.

    •  Same here. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raatz, irishwitch, plf515

      I have no respect for scorched-earth, libertarian economic policies, but they are correct on civil liberties and personal freedom.

      I cannot tolerate a nanny government intruding into my personal life unless I ask it to. Same goes for my employer.

      Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

      by Executive Odor on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:06:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've never understood the logic. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skipppppp, mcfly, Jay Elias, irishwitch

    Maybe there isn't any.

    It's perfectly legal to give it away all night long, but don't dare charge a fee for it!

    Like marijuana laws, it's just more holier-than-y'all, American absurdity in action.

    Adult activities that don't harm other people should never be considered "crimes". We actually prosecute people for "sins", or "vices", and that, to me, is our worst breach of church-state separation. I shouldn't go to jail because of somebody else's religious principles.

    Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

    by Executive Odor on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:55:00 PM PDT

  •  Well presented diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay Elias, Albatross, invisiblewoman

    There are problems associated with legalized prostitution but making prostitution illegal only creates more problems. It should be regulated like many other businesses to protect the health and safety of the workers.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 05:56:27 PM PDT

    •  Problems that are easily solved. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical

      We copy Nevada. You have to ahve a license. You have to declare income on your income tax. You must undergo health inspections. ANd we can put he Vice Squad to work complying with regs that require condom use  any time a vagina comes near a cock.  They can psoe as johns, offer  arge tip to avoid the condoim use--and bust her. First offense: hefty fine., Second offense:L loss of license and jail time.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 09:21:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But Craig denies he did anything wrong .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch

    Sex workers have already told their stories about Vitter, and it makes little difference, anyway. If anything, these events will only harden the stance against prostitution.

    (It's so hard to post about this subject without making some sort of pun)

    socialist democratic progressive pragmatic idealist with a small d.

    by shpilk on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:03:09 PM PDT

  •  I heart Libertarians (8+ / 0-)

    on these sort of issues!

    Is there such a thing as a New Deal Libertarian?

  •  Your forgot liscenses and tax money in goc coffer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jay Elias, irishwitch

    coffers

    great for state and national budget

  •  Take a page from the Slots advocates' playbook. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canyonrat, irishwitch, Bronx59

    I keep hearing about how much money Maryland is losing to Delaware and West Virginia because they have slots and we don't. If I ever meet anyone who takes that line, I'm going to ask, "How much does Maryland lose to DC for drugs and prostitution?"

    If MD does legalize slots, we'd be following our neighbors. If we legalize prostitution, we'd be the first east of the Rockies. Is being #1 so dreadful that they don't even consider the economic impact?

    To Gore: If you want to find the cure for cancer, go ahead! But don't ever think that this would change the things that get said about you. -Bob Somerby

    by Judge Moonbox on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:22:26 PM PDT

  •  my biggest concern (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sequoia, mcfly, Jay Elias, irishwitch

    is that the system take the welfare of the workers first and foremost. whether prostitution is made legal or illegal, that is the point where my support or opposition is rooted. how does it treat the workers, can they unionize, what are employer-employee as well as employee-customer relations like and how do they safeguard the prostitute, etc.

    i am well aware that the status quo is atrocious. a legalized system may or may not be an improvement, but i am always willing to give it a listen.

    generally, i agree with libertarians when it comes to the rights and freedoms of the individual, granted they do not infringe upon others' freedoms. it's the economics where we part ways.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:23:15 PM PDT

  •  But... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, Executive Odor

    Should prostitution be an option for a viable career path? Aren't the prostitutes in 90% of cases, desperate people with little to no education with no other means of survival? I don't think that legalization is the answer. Decriminalization for the prostitute? Yes, these people need our help and our compassion. However, I believe that those that take advantage of someone's desperate situation should absolutely be prosecuted.  When you raise the question of legalization... you have to ask, who does this really benefit?

    •  Why shouldn't it be? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raatz, irishwitch, jessical

      Certainly, it will be a career path for some no matter what we do.  And why shouldn't it be?  

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:28:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not necessarily (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raatz, irishwitch

      the most desirable career path (for everybody). But it may be someone's only realistic way of making a living.

      Also, we get deep in the mire of moral policing when we presume that someone is being taken advantage of, rather than making an adult choice.

      After all, if these same individuals chose to have sex in exchange for dinner and a movie, there would be no "crime" as long as that wasn't the business arrangement.

      Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

      by Executive Odor on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:31:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I sympathize with the views presented here. (0+ / 0-)

        On principle, I agree with what everyone here is saying. But in our current society, women are already objectified and prevented from reaching the same levels as men in so many areas. I feel that legalizing prostitution, especially considering the American views of sex, would do nothing but harm to decades of progress.  As I said, no woman should ever be jailed for solicitation in my view... but shouldn't our focus be on improving education and balancing an already unequal playing field? When you think about it, the primary benefactor of legalized prostituion would be men.  Is that really who we should be fighting for right now?

        •  Plenty of strippers (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          irishwitch, jessical

          put themselves or their children through college, buy their own homes, and retire early. No, it's not quite prostitution, but it's legal.

          I sympathize with women (and men) who are forced into illegal, unregulated prostitution to survive. But that isn't always the case, and if an individual considers selling sex beneath their dignity, they shouldn't participate.

          My biggest gripe is the money we waste, and the lives we destroy, by criminalizing personal choices that don't harm other people.

          Okay, I'm here. Now, where's that free government cheese?

          by Executive Odor on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:46:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  that's simply untrue (0+ / 0-)

          you assert the primary benefactor would be men.  I'm not sure why you see it that way.  Because they can buy sex with less risk?  Sure.  But right now, if you're a sociopath, you can take a girl home in any major american city and make a coat out of her or pump her full of HIV and all of her proection is illegal itself, of limited scope suitable only for the control of the stupid and predictable.  The first person to benefit, with an equitable legalization, is the prostitute herself.  There are myriad benefits to that; a ho with a tax return is a ho who can apply for financial aid for school, who can call a cop, who can presumably act to defend herself and report it without gettng a record.  I just don't see how men are the primary beneficiaries, unless one's only criteria is the male orgasm.

    •  Why shouldn't prostitution (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marlboro Lite, Jay Elias, jessical

      be a viable career path?

      Maybe fucking and packing Super Value Meals are the only things I'm good at. Clearly, in this case, my financial opportunities are maximized if prostitution is legal. Fucking should pay better than McDonalds, since sex is worth more than a cheeseburger. Maybe I have the brains to be a physicist, but I like sex better than I like physics.

      Selling sexual services isn't a viable career path because it's illegal. Remove that, and the price will, assuming some basic government regulation, find it's own sustainable level. Once that happens, prostitution will find its natural level on the scale of possible careers. I expect it would be somewhere between Wal-Mart greeter and brain surgeon.

      I could suggest corporate lawyers and Washington lobbyists as a good comparative pay level...

      --Shannon

    •  My married fellow miltiary wife (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical

      wasn't a hooker, but she stripped and paid her way through college.  She's now an R.N. and her clothes stay on. Not a terrific job, but she made a lot more thna she did as a waitress, AND the patrons had to keep their hands to themselves (the waitresses got groped a lot and had to put up with it  to get a tip since they were paid practically nothing).

      Prostitution is undesirable as a career because of the public opprobrium.  We're a puritanical nation.

      No one says it's a great job, but many girls have paid their way through college by doing it.  And theyfound in Nevada, that nsot women worked for a shrot time--no mrothan 3 years-- and because they had a family emergency or illness that required a lot of cash quickly.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 09:17:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you can also... (0+ / 0-)

      ...become a machinist as a desperate person with no prexisting education and few prospects.  It has, implicitly, limits -- while it can be practiced across a wide variety of looks, ages and genders -- because there are markets for virtually everything -- it is NOT a low stress gig, it is a physical profession like any other with a physical toll, and I haven't known many people who continue with sex work for more than a few years, though they may go back to it as a skill set as a pro domme, club manager, or specialist of sorts.

      If you criminalize either party, you drive it underground.  Every time a girl gets in a trick's car or opens the door to a hotel, she's an immediately disposable hominid, unless she has excellent precautions, which are at their best worth very little.  Ever hear of the green river guy?  I know two girls who almost got into his car and I know more who partied at the pig farm (look it up).  Like that bacon?  It came with those laws, and the marginalization of human beings that came with them.  Decriminalize it all.  I'm a transsexual woman and people like myself are very often hos to make ends meet.  That marginalization, and everything that goes with it (when he takes off the condom, what do you plan to do exactly, hon?) has produced an aids rate roughly equivalent to sub-saharan africa.  Those people are like me and under very slightly different circumstances would be (and that's as far as I'm going with that here).  I frankly can't understand a "progress" that would let those women die; it seems the moral equivalent of any other insane war waged for the ideals of far away people..  These women were living lives which were the best they could make them, and while their joys and sorrows might be incomprehensible in your world, they were real.  They counted.  

  •  Once again, George Carlin (6+ / 0-)

    Asks the questions that nobody can give a consistent answer to:

    "Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn't selling fucking legal?"

    "Why is it illegal to sell something that it's perfectly legal to give away for free?"

    There are basic contradictions in all vice laws that those who would continue them must answer in order to justify their position. So far, noone has ever managed to do so. Nobody.

    I've never heard a defense of any vice law, whether it's drugs, prostitution, porn, or shoving an icepick up your ass while beating yourself over the head with a ball-peen hammer, that has justified these laws. It always comes down to "I don't like it so nobody should be allowed to do it" or "God says it's wrong."

    If I can find someone who will, for money, clamp my balls in a bench vice while they fuck me in the ear with a banana, why should I not be able to pay them to do that, and why should they not be able to take my money?

    --Shannon

  •  It's already legal. Ask anyone on K Street. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Executive Odor, invisiblewoman

    "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." --Aristotle

    by java4every1 on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:35:12 PM PDT

  •  where do you get (0+ / 0-)

    that what craig did has anything to do with prostitution?

    This is the BEST DIARY EVER!

    by Marlboro Lite on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:37:49 PM PDT

  •  Ain't Nobody's Bussiness If You Do (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canyonrat, mcfly, Jay Elias, irishwitch

    written by Peter McWilliams is a great, easy read.

    PDF Alert: http://www.bushforpresidentofiraq.co... or read the synopsis and then the entire book online at: http://www.mcwilliams.com/...

    Peter eloquently presses the case for legalization of prostitution and drugs, using common sense and humor. Unfortunately, Peter died several years ago after the government denied him medical cannabis which was keeping his AIDS nausea at bay.

    "I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps himself in the Constitution than someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps himself in the flag!"

    by SomeStones on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 06:46:35 PM PDT

  •  Not only should we legalize it... (4+ / 0-)

    we should help them form unions too!

    I touched the Universe -- And back it slid -- and I alone -- A Speck upon a Ball -- Went out upon Circumference -- Beyond the Dip of Bell --

    by Elise on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 08:32:27 PM PDT

    •  Actualy, that's a good idea (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, Elise, jessical

      Strippers, for instance, get no salary, only tips--and must actually pay management for the priv of stripping, plus tip bartenders and bouncers. And the club gets the over charge plus the profits from over-priced, a watered-down drink.

      I'd like to see sex work legalized, taxed and licensed--the Vice Cops can do something useful like make  random inspections  to make sure condoms are ALWAYS used, even if the john offers extra not to (they go in as johns). Id he doesn't, she can lose her license and face arrest. We could also make money off taxes

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 09:13:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah...house nut makes it hard to unionize... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elise

        ...unless it's a fairly benevolent shop, in which case people are reluctant, for whatever it's failings, it remains the only decent game in town -- and also charges a nut, one night's contract at a time.  To spite this, people are trying to unionize and will continue to do so.  

        Would make a kickin' C&L.

  •  We've still got this puritan hypocrisy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    canyonrat, Jay Elias, invisiblewoman

    where we all know it's stupid to keep prostitituion illegal, we all know it's stupid to keep casual drugs illegal, we all know it's stupid to regulate the sexual behavior of consenting adults, and we all know that equal rights means f*cking equal rights regardless of race, gender, or orientation.

    But the politicians believe they have to pander to this lowest common denominator hypocritical puritan morality. I don't understand it, it seems to be a uniquely American problem, and it keeps us locked into disfunctional and destructive social patterns.

    Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
    --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

    by dallasdave on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 09:38:58 PM PDT

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