There is nothing glamorous about prostitution.
Most parents—if not all parents—would not want their daughters or sons becoming prostitutes out of survival or out of aspiration. Their child is worth more than any price tag.
The sex industry can be very enticing with its promises of easy cash. Fame and fortune come at faster rates to women who sell their bodies as opposed to women who do not. Many women know this and rely on selling themselves when they are in dire financial situations.
A lot of these women are struggling to take care of their children. Some of them are homeless and have no other viable job options. They are also victims of sex and substance abuse.
Pimps prey upon this vulnerability and desperation to lure women into prostitution.
Nevada is the only state in the United States where prostitution is legal. The state has placed numerous restrictions to help regulate the industry. For example, the only counties in Nevada that can legalize prostitution must have fewer than 700,000 people.
Prostitutes are required by the state to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases before and during their employment with a brothel. Advertising is also limited for brothels to areas where prostitution is legal. Prostitutes can also refuse to service a customer.
Despite this, the majority of prostitutes are still participating in illegal prostitution in Nevada.
Prostitution—legal or illegal—negatively impacts the emotional and physical wellbeing of women. Legalization might make it somewhat safer for women, but it cannot eliminate all the dangers and risks that come with the profession.
According to the CDC, people who exchange sexual favors for money are at a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. In Nevada, legal prostitutes are required to use condoms, but according to Planned Parenthood, condoms only have an 85% effectiveness rate because people use them incorrectly. Condoms used properly have a 98% success rate.
There is also a power dynamic between brothel owners and prostitutes. Women might find themselves in a quid pro quo situation, but it would go unnoticed because that’s the industry.
If it is hard for the average woman to prove that she has been raped, wouldn’t you think it would be even more difficult for a prostitute to prove that she had been raped on the job?
Prostitutes are exposed to a higher chance of potentially being raped because their job is to exchange sex with strangers, and this would not change with legalization. Do you think the owners of legal brothels will admit to the rape and assault cases that occur? Probably not.
Human trafficking demands an increase in areas that legalize prostitution. This disproportionately affects women and children the most. Many women who were trafficked as minors become prostitutes later in their adult life and become desensitized to the trauma they have faced.
Some women find the sex industry empowering, but for many women, they were forced into prostitution against their will and continue to struggle within the system.
According to a 2011 study on sex trafficking, the practice is most common in countries where prostitution is legal.
If prostitution is legalized, it will enable human trafficking pimps who traffic individuals into prostitution to go more unnoticed, which makes it harder to determine what is illegal.
Nothing is empowering about a career that is exploitative, dangerous and stigmatized. Prostitution as a career has a shelf-life because consumers want women who are youthful and beautiful.
Legalizing something does not always make it safe or right — it just becomes legally acceptable. If people are forced into this industry due to a lack of job opportunities and education, then you would think the best option would be to create more of those opportunities available, instead of pushing women into this field through legalization.