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Should Prostitution Be Legal?

A tricky question as news from Maine unfolds

By Rich_Maloof Oct 15, 2012 5:21PM

The prostitution scandal in small-town Maine has been deteriorating into a case of she said/he paid. The question of who broke the law has already taken a second seat to who should be shamed, the alleged prostitute at a Zumba fitness studio and her business partner or the dozens of male customers on the Zumba Plus plan. Photo: Chas Ray Krider/Getty ImagesConcurrent news on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the defamed former IMF director, revolves around the fairness of “criminalizing lust.”

For a country with a strong Puritanical streak, America has proven remarkably tolerant of sex workers and their clientele. Hugh Grant is still a movie star, Heidi Fleiss enjoyed as much celebrity as notoriety, and Eliot Spitzer navigated a transition from disgraced politician to nightly political commentator. In the Kennebunk, Maine, case, attorneys for the male johns are fighting to protect the release of their names, characterizing them as victims of privacy invasion.

The case for decriminalizing prostitution has not held sway in the United States, despite the apparent leniency in the court of public opinion. With the exception of laws in parts of Nevada, lawmakers maintain that prostitution is inherently demeaning and that legalization would contribute to the expansion of human trafficking. Even with regulations in place, women could not be adequately protected against exploitation and the violence perpetrated by johns, pimps and traffickers. Poor women desperate for income might find themselves with no option other than turning tricks, and ever-younger girls would be drawn into dark and dangerous circles.

Proponents, meanwhile, have said that prostitution should be sanctioned and regulated in part because the world’s oldest profession will never go out of business. It is inevitable, the argument goes, so we’re better off improving the conditions  than pretending we can control the trade. Unionizing sex workers would yield legal rights protecting them against traffickers and regulating health standards to stem the tide of sexually transmitted diseases. While those opposed to legalization (notably Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times) cite the rampant victimization and increased risk of HIV in countries such as India and Cambodia, those in favor point to Germany, the Netherlands and our own state of Nevada for evidence that legalization would not increase human-slave trafficking.

If ever the United States were to rethink prostitution laws and regulations, they might look something like the law Sweden enacted in 1999. The Kvinnofrid law made it legal to sell sex but not to buy it. That is, prostitutes couldn’t be charged with a crime but their clients would be charged, as would traffickers, pimps and brothel operators. Hotly debated, with even advocates of women’s rights on both sides, the law was passed based on the belief that prostitution would always prevail with or without a ban. As our slack-jawed nation watches the news unfold in a scenic, tourist-friendly town in Maine, that much seems to be beyond debate.

Photo: Chas Ray Krider/Getty Images

Bing: Get the latest on the Zumba scandal.

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Jun 16, 2013 5:05PM
I understand the intentions to protect youths, and I certainly agree with the current laws in place with regard to PRE-pubescent/adolescent individuals.


But any psychological/emotional/physical harm to a minor from sexual acts, I believe, is the result of the three conditions I mentioned earlier not being met--NOT because he/she simply was below an arbitrary age threshold and the other person above it.


It's a placebo effect.  The media, politicians, etc have been for so long pressing the idea that certain minors--even though 1) they've reached puberty/adolescence, 2) have completed and passed sex-ed, and 3) were NOT forced, coerced, intimidated, deceived, extorted, etc--are "victims."  Many people have been brainwashed, unfortunately.

Jun 16, 2013 5:03PM

I believe that current "age of consent" laws here in the USA are arbitrary, too complex, too costly, and too punitive--punishing too many harmless individuals and branding too many others as "victims."


Therefore, my opinion is that we should replace all current "age of consent" state laws with the following single law at the FEDERAL level (we are ONE country, not 50):
*****That an individual could legally consent to sexual acts with whomever, as long as:
1) Said individual has reached puberty/adolescence
2) After reaching puberty/adolescence, he/she completes and passes sex-ed in school

3) There is no use of force, intimidation, extortion, coercion, fear, deceit, etc.*****

Also, I think sex-ed should be improved to be more comprehensive--covering not only STDs, pregnancy, safe-sex, and anatomy, but also relationship types, stages, how to communicate, etc.  And the students should see, in person or on video, intimate acts by couples.  But current sex-ed is sufficient, in my opinion, to fulfill the 2nd condition above.

Jun 16, 2013 5:01PM

Last October, under the ID "VitoM1981," I posted that I was in favor of legalizing prostitution.  In the postings I also gave my views about "age of consent" laws.  However, I did a BAD job with the wording, and thus deleted the posts.  


In two recent Today.com articles regarding two Florida teen girls, I also posted my views about "age of consent" laws.  However, I didn't do a good job wording in those instances either, resulting in many self-corrective posts (Today.com won't let me edit and/or delete).


So, please disregard all my prior posts.  The following are what I should have posted from the start, and thus are my clear, polished views going forward:

Dec 14, 2012 7:06PM
Florida no-fault divorce is guarantee for wife to cheat and leave husband for another man to receive  permanent life time alimony. Marriage contract does does say it, but  divorce court does. Big surprise to most with normal thinking.
Winners are the lawyers, former lawyers(Judges) and cheating wife that filed for divorce. The losers are tax payers and husband.
Best advice; never marry. You can live together and that will also open the door for State aid and other benefits. There is no good reason to marry unless you have less then your spouse or the spouse is rich. A smart woman will forget about playing the lottery and find a rich guy to married with plans to divorce. Hide the assets and do it again until you feel wealthy enough to enjoy the rest of your life. Look for the guy that will pay the most alimony and have it go through the state for direct deposit.
No-fault means no crime. Lawyers and judges support lying so used the no-fault law. Move to another state if you want, just use Florida for the divorce. Florida is known for alimony whores and corrupt laws against the innocent.
Oct 19, 2012 9:26PM
"California residents add 7 1/2 % sales tax"....
Oct 18, 2012 3:27AM

Men stand up for your rights! We should be liberated and have the right to clean legal prostitutes.

Women "liberated" themselves in the 60-70's we need to liberate ourselves from the burden of putting up with women's crap for sex.

The old adage that says you're not actually paying a prostitute for sex, that you're really paying to shutup and leave after you've had a good romp is absolutely true.  

Legalize prostitution, legalize it now!
Oct 18, 2012 3:20AM
absolutely prostitution should be legal. 
As a successful single heterosexual man I have NO interest to be saddled with an emotional temperamental female.

Women were "liberated" in the 60-70, it's high time men were too.

The only reason why many men put up with women's crap is for the sex. 

Legalized prostitution would free men from that burden.

Legalize prostitution, legalize it now!
Oct 17, 2012 5:05PM
If it was a Homosexual airline stewart, then I can only immagine where He picked it up from, possibly a flight to Africa?Quit being so nieve to listen to unfounded, bogus report's. Why don't you do a little research, and find out where it really originated Doofus!
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