However, the legalization of prostitution has had positive benefits for sex workers across Europe. The best-known country that has legalized prostitution is the Netherlands, where sex work has been legal for nearly two decades. Taking the industry out of the black market and imposing strict regulations has improved the safety of sex workers. Brothels must obtain and renew safety and health licenses to operate, and street prostitution is legal and highly regulated in places like the Red Light District. Not only does sex work become safer when regulated, but legalization also helps eliminate the black market in prostitution and make women safer overall. In addition, sex workers are not labeled criminals, so they have better access to the legal system and are encouraged to report behaviours that pose a danger to themselves and other women in the industry. Finally, the legalization of sex work will bring many other positive externalities, including tax revenues, the reduction of sexually transmitted diseases, and the redistribution of law enforcement resources. The legalization of sex work per se remains a mystery. For example, an option to legalize sex work could use urban zoning centres where prostitution is allowed (although this strategy has yielded dismal results in the UK).
Alternatively, sex workers could be allowed, but this could encourage discrimination and prejudice based on identity (e.g. caste) and violate the privacy of sex workers. The benefits of legalizing prostitution do not extend only to those involved in the sex industry. Keeping brothels legally and publicly operated also generates significant revenue for the state. The situation of many sex workers in the Netherlands has improved considerably since the implementation of new reforms and regulations. The legalization of sex work requires sex industry businesses to comply with labor laws. Meanwhile, in the United States, we are cracking down on the tools sex workers like to use backpage.com. The website that allowed escorts to list their services was shut down earlier this month, and the co-founders and others associated with the company were accused of facilitating prostitution. Attorney General Jeff Sessions described the site as “the dominant market for illegal commercial sex, a place where sex traffickers often advertise to children and adults.” (One co-founder pleaded guilty to conspiracy to facilitate prostitution; the other co-founders pleaded not guilty.) The Law Against Online Sex Trafficking (FOSTA) promises to further reduce the legal protections of these websites, meaning more of them are likely to be shut down in the future. Illegal street prostitutes could be pressured by pimps and clients to stop using condoms. But states that legalize prostitution can force sex workers to use condoms and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. On Trans Day of Remembrance, we should honour those who have been killed and dismantle the structures that cause anti-trans violence.
Illegal prostitution businesses in America, of course, don`t pay taxes. If these brothels were legalized, state and county governments could generate significant revenue. This new law in the Netherlands has decriminalized both sex workers and businesses. Local authorities monitor the conditions under which prostitution is permitted. Industry standardization implements mandatory health and safety regulations such as running water, access to condoms, and fire escapes. Most importantly, these reforms grant prostitutes all the legal, social and labour rights that meet many, but not all, requirements of sex workers` organizations to work under legal and satisfactory conditions. So what`s the difference? Why are these examples socially acceptable, even encouraged, when prostitution is considered so appalling? Why people are uncomfortable listening to sex workers talk about legalizing prostitution has nothing to do with concerns about women`s health and safety. If that were the real concern, prostitution would now be legal in the United States. The reason people don`t agree with legalizing prostitution is because prostitution is considered amoral because it involves (mostly) women selling their bodies for financial gain. However, telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies does not come from a place of morality: it comes from a place of control. Legalization should be compared to decriminalization, which removes criminal charges from a prosecution, but leaves related laws and regulations intact.
Countries like New Zealand, which have decriminalized all acts of prostitution, seem to have better luck in terms of the well-being of sex workers, perhaps because they have focused on creating laws that “protect the human rights of sex workers and protect them from exploitation.” Instead of forcing sex workers to run their businesses in unregulated black markets where their lives are in danger, all with the mislabeled purpose of “saving” women, take concrete steps to save women. Legalize prostitution, impose strict regulations, and put in place comprehensive support systems that allow sex workers to do their jobs safely. An April 2012 study by the Urban Justice Center found that New York City police officers had actually used women`s condoms as evidence in criminal prostitution cases against them. It is easy to imagine how this practice could deter sex workers from wearing protection. International laws and conventions such as the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) put sex workers at risk. Article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women requires States to “take all appropriate measures to prevent all forms of trafficking in women and exploitation of prostitution of women”. Such measures threaten counterproductive anti-trafficking laws that could seriously harm sex workers. There will always be lonely or kinky men in America who will pay for sex, and there will always be women willing to rent their bodies. As anthropologist Patty Kelly wrote in the Los Angeles Times, prostitution has become “a part of our culture” in the United States. The sexual exploitation of children is a serious problem that Congress should address. The EARN IT Act is not a solution to this problem.
To prove this, researchers at the London School of Economics conducted a quantitative empirical analysis of more than 150 different countries and their prostitution policies. Their study found that “the economies of scale of legalizing prostitution lead to an expansion of the prostitution market and thus an increase in human trafficking.” On average, countries where prostitution is legalized experience a higher influx of human trafficking.  It is true that the current efforts of different European countries to legalize prostitution are far from perfect. In the Netherlands, elements of the legislation, such as requiring sex workers to register and setting the minimum age of prostitution at 21, could push more sex workers into illegal markets. Not only that, but studies suggest that legalizing prostitution can increase human trafficking. But even those who criticize the legalization of prostitution can see the benefits the legislation can have on sex workers` working conditions. When countries with existing laws spend more time listening to current sex workers, the results of decriminalizing prostitution include safety and respect for a population that has traditionally been deprived of such things. The growing support for women`s rights as workers is an important step for the stability and protection of prostitutes. The Netherlands is just one example of a successful regulatory system in which prostitution is legalized and health and safety standards are enforced.
This type of public policy on sexuality allows the government to enforce codes and regulations that benefit both the worker and the client. Legalization does not necessarily mean public approval of prostitution practices, but it does guarantee sex workers a decent life and a safer working environment. The overall benefits of legalizing prostitution are considerable and could prove to be an advantage in the fight against global poverty. Prostitution does not allow the general public to take advantage of these pretexts. On the contrary, the industry is honest about how sex and money are directly related. And for many people, it`s an uncomfortable idea. It is even more uncomfortable for some people to believe that women should have control over their bodies that would allow them to voluntarily engage in prostitution; You cannot afford to believe that women would choose such a profession. But instead of acknowledging this reality, those who oppose the legalization of prostitution advance with arguments about concern for women`s safety. They don`t realize that criminalizing prostitution doesn`t help sex workers, and their arguments lead to legislation that harms women while operating under the morally motivated pretext of wanting to protect them. Amnesty International has also advocated for the decriminalisation of prostitution, saying that sex workers must not only push for policies that protect sex workers from harm and coercion, but also “sex workers must have a say in making laws that affect their lives and safety. But without decriminalization, they cannot expect equal treatment before the law to achieve these goals. Researchers estimate that there are up to 31,000 people in legal sex work in the Netherlands.
There are still problems with the living conditions of illegal prostitutes, but for those with residency papers, life has improved considerably.