Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly did a segment with John Stossel in which they discussed Stossel's view that prostitution should be legalized. His point was that legalizing prostitution would reduce the number of street prostitutes and the ill effects of being a street prostitute. He claimed that most prostitutes are engaging in victimless crimes. Finally, his last word on the subject was "If a boxer can rent his body for money, then why can't a woman?"
His thoughts are based on several assumptions. 1. Those engaging in pimping are of reputable character and will follow the laws set by the legalizing of prostitution. 2. Prostitution is a largely victimless crime. 3. This has worked for other countries.
Here are my problems with his thoughts. Let's take them one by one.
1. A person who pimps is not of reputable character. A person who can buy a woman, rape her, enslave her and sell her over and over again without any thought of the effects of his treatment of her is not of reputable character. A person who illegally buys a woman and commits all the aforementioned actions, is not all of a sudden going to claim this person as income, pay taxes and treat her like a human being. A person like this is never going to follow the laws.
2. Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Women who have been tricked into forced prostitution and sold repeatedly and raped repeatedly are victims. A minority of women may choose to be prostitutes, but why do they choose this way of life? Could self esteem and histories of physical and sexual abuse be involved? These women too are victims. Aside from the women who are prostitutes, the men that buy sex with these women have issues of sexual addiction and do not want to be seen in legal arenas. They will find other ways of having their desires met in ways that are not publicly seen. The people that end up with STDs, AIDS and other health issues are victimized by prostitution. The wives and children of the men who engage in this activity are victimized. Again I say, prostitution is not a victimless crime.
3. Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands. Following the formal toleration of prostitution there, "the slave traders leaped at the easy money of destination-point sales in an open sex market that grew by 25 percent in the following decade.....In 1988, three mafia syndicates had infiltrated the Netherlands. Four years later, they numbered nearly one hundred." (A Crime So Monstrous, p.185) An explosion of unregulated escort services and abuses occurred as well.
Doesn't sound so successful does it? I'm going to have to disagree with John Stossel.