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Prostitution, And Stuff Like That….

Yep, so now that I have your attention…. *laughs*

Today, The Guy I Am Currently Dating posted another article on his FB that got me all riled up. I’m not sure why the Huffington Post has this effect. It’s a liberal publication, and I of course, am as liberal as it gets.

This article happens to be about how it’s unfortunate that we live in a culture that enables prostitution, which is a crime, and that people are being killed and targeted because avenues of advertising for sex trade workers exist. This article seems to believe that by cracking down and attempting to eliminate prostitution, we’re saving lives, which is a valid point…until you remember they don’t call it The World’s Oldest Profession for nothing.

There, of course, is a viable alternative. The U.S. can simply legalize prostitution, and regulate those working in the sex trade by issuing licenses to do so. Countries and cities that ave done this require proof of age and citizenship, and sex trade workers are screened every 3 months for drugs and STDs. This won’t eliminate the problem of sex trafficking, underage prostitution, and people getting killed while meeting strangers for sex, but it empowers those working in that industry to become legitimate business people. Patrons will not feel safe visiting an undocumented, underage girl who posted something on the Internet when they have the option of visiting a licensed professional…unless they’re pedophiles, serial killers, and the like.

But this article is trying to combine a few different topics and say “If we crack down on prostitution, there will be less sex trafficking and rape and murder”. Not so. One of the main reasons prostitutes are targets for serial killers is because it’s way easier to kill someone who’s hanging out with you willingly. A charming serial killer would have the same success trolling the nightclubs in any major city.

The article even clarifies that the unfortunate victims of these crimes were not underage, not sex trafficking victims, they were simply prostitutes who were murdered. Therefore, in my mind, equating prostitution with sex trafficking with serial killers isn’t really logical.

Are prostitutes more likely to be killed than the average person? Yes and no. If you put yourself in a dangerous situation where you’re alone with a stranger, you’re more likely to get killed, period. If you’re involved in criminal activity…which, currently, prostitution is…you’re more likely to get killed simply because chances are, you encounter more criminals. When you add into the mix the fact that prostitutes advertising on Craigslist and Backpage are not the clean, Ivy League educated girls hanging out with the likes of Eliot Spitzer, a serial killer might assume many of these people have substance abuse problems, lack the legal knowledge to keep themselves from getting arrested, and aren’t coming with a driver and a security detail.

Sadly, these unfortunate crimes don’t just happen to prostitutes and homeless people and those in the drug business or the mob. They can happen if you’re jogging alone at night, or out walking your dog when no one else is around. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. That’s why we’re all taught to minimize risk and opportunity.

Yes, it’s horrible when someone else takes away the ability for you to make personal choices regarding your body and your safety. Sex trafficking is one of the most horrible problems we have in America, and throughout the world, and the fact it happens as often as it does is appalling. Clearly, something needs to be done about it. However, that’s not what this article is about. Most sex trade workers are not trafficking victims being held against their will, and being held up as sacrificial lambs for slaughter. It’s not even what happened in the news story being addressed.

That being said, prostitution is illegal in this country, and you can’t participate in it, facilitate it, patronize it, or advertise it without committing a crime. That is, unless you don’t explicitly advertise any criminal activity. I can’t go on Craigslist and say “Hey, I have drugs at my house, come over if you want to buy some.”.(By the way, I don’t, so don’t come over.) That would be stupid. I’d be stupid to NOT expect whoever showed up not to be a cop or someone looking to rob/potentially kill me. If I were a reputable drug dealer, I would never do that. Same goes for all aspects of the sex trade. By legitimizing prostitution as an actual regulated industry, you’re giving the power to the people choosing to participate in it, and reducing crime and exploitation that inevitably happens when something is illegal. Serial killers will stop using Craigslist to find victims, because there will be fewer people putting themselves in dangerous situations.

A lot less women are dead or in jail now that having an abortion is no longer a felony or a form of Russian Roulette. Bringing things out into the open and giving people a choice reduces the secrecy and potential for harm that goes along with any world where everything is secret, because it’s a crime.

People use this exact same argument for why certain drugs should be legalized; it’s a freedom of choice issue, the government shouldn’t regulate our bodies and our personal business, if things are de-criminalized, gangs and mobs and the Cartels will have less power. Of course it’s not a foolproof plan, and of course there has to be some level of regulation, or the country will descend into total chaos and anarchy, because you can’t have millions of people running around doing whatever they want, whenever they want, if what they want to do harms other people. Unfortunately, here’s the problem: People are doing it anyway. The people who are wired to want to do harm to others don’t really care about the law, or the risk they’re running themselves. (it’s not unheard of for a prostitute being targeted to kill in self-defense.) People who commit these crimes are not deterred by such technicalities.

If what you’re doing does not harm other people (except, perhaps, for the wife or husband who might do you bodily harm or serve you with divorce papers when you get caught seeing a prostitute.), it shouldn’t be made a crime. Why? Because making it a crime doesn’t make it happen less often, especially when a properly written ad in a magazine or on the Internet is the difference between committing a felony and running a business. All it does is ensure that more criminals are attracted to the business of selling other people…usually women who feel they have no other options. By giving the women the power over their own bodies and the legal and medical knowledge necessary to help keep themselves safe, you’re raising the standard of life for a whole marginalised group of people in America.

Even the strippers of the U.S. are starting to unionise. A little personal power and freedom of choice goes a long way.

By the way, no disrespect intended to the author of the article inspiring this rant. Covenant House is a really worthy cause, and I believe a lot should be done to curtail sex trafficking and abuse of minors, who cannot legally give consent. But those things, which are criminal activities (kidnapping, rape, etc.), that cause harm to others, do not equate to the same scenario as an adult who willingly gives his/her consent and chooses to work as a prostitute. It’s like compiling a fruit basket, and blaming everything wrong with that fruit basket on the existence of apples. :P

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