The threshold of what constitutes a victimless crime is met with absolute clarity when it comes to prostitution. First rule of property rights; your body is your property. That being the case, the consensual transaction is being made by two sovereign bodies, that have the right to harm themselves to all their hearts content. The right to instigate the use force and override someone’s preferences for what is perceived as “for their own good” is in essence, a totalitarian state, on which this countries’ foundation supposedly abhors. Look no further then the founding fathers who explicitly wrote in the Declaration of Independence that one of the most sacred beliefs was that of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Prostitution is currently legal in almost every single developed nation albeit with restrictions to control and keep the risks minimal. In the United States it is illegal in all states except Nevada, and with a legal loophole, in Rhode Island as long as the entire transaction takes place in a private residence.
Illegal prostitution, according to recent estimates, is engaged in by roughly two million women while half of them carrying the HIV virus. When prostitution is pushed out of legality and into the black market, then there is the loss of the checks and balances associated with the legal brothels. Specifically, the ones in Nevada. Mandatory weekly testing was enacted in 1986 and to this day not a single state-licensed prostitute has tested positive for HIV. “Free markets” worked, by keeping owners responsible for the conditions of their brothels. Furthermore, should a disease be transferred to a customer, then that owner can be sued and reprimanded. Pimps on the other hand can’t be held liable if a John gets a disease or any other misfortune from the rendezvous.
Another detrimental affect of having the pimps control the woman, is they are often beaten and brutalized into the life of working the streets. Pimps use force and fraud to establish and maintain their power to control these women. They see them as objects instead of human beings with rights. In a legalized society, if the same actions of violence were inflicted onto these women, then they would have the police protection and the legal recourse that all other citizens enjoy.
The beauty of the free market has another economic function if prostitution were legalized. When bordellos compete with each other in a laissez-faire atmosphere, they have strong incentives to make sure the service that their customers receive is efficient and as safe as possible. If they aren’t up to standards, people will ultimately decide the fate of the bordellos by their monetary purchasing power, and can take their business elsewhere.
The current legal situation is reminiscent of the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920’s, that merely led to a booming underground production of alcohol through illegal distilleries. Corruption was also predicated by the prohibition of alcohol, which led to the enormous power attained by Al Capone and Bugs Moran through the illegal sale of spirits. Likewise, prostitution will always have willing buyers and sellers. No matter how much money the government throws at it, in the end, it is wasted resources. It is up to the common citizen to realize these fallacies presented in stopping vices that are subsidized and protected through the welfare system.
Those that have the fear of prostitutes being an integral part of society, and endangering their community and children, have one powerful tool that establishes their rights to not be a part of the prostitution culture. Freedom of association, grants individuals and communities the power to take no part in the legal prostitution. If they want a zero tolerance law, many towns will assuredly pass laws barring bordellos from entering their local culture and economy. The power is also held in the landlords who can decided who they lease their houses and buildings to, further deterring behavior that they deem to be inappropriate.
It is time that we stop legislating personal morality that blatantly infringes on the rights of the individual. The laws are outdated. The penalties are despicable. With erudition and hard work, we must take back our liberty and freedom from government tyranny and return the choice to the people responsible for their own lives. Who knows what is good for me, better than me? Prostitution may be deplorable; nevertheless, it should be legalized to those who wish to partake in that way of life.