ChurchETHOS

Should We Legalize Prostitution?

Posted in christian thought, cultural relevance, social justice by Nathan Creitz on April 21, 2009
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image courtesy of wili_hybrid

Should we legalize prostitution? As far as I can tell the answer to that question in most people’s opinions is basically either “yes” or “no”. An astute observation on my part as you can see. But maybe there’s another response to the question? Before we can arrive at a conclusion let’s look at the various complexities and reasons for these two choices.

Yes! Let’s legalize prostitution.

The major legitimate arguments in favor of legalizing prostitution are summarized as follows:

1. What two consenting adults choose to do behind closed doors is their decision, regardless of the consequences. Prostitution is a victimless crime.

2. Legalized prostitution would allow better regulation and protection for women who would otherwise keep quiet if they suffer abuse in any way.

3. Since prostitution is outlawed it is often done in shady locations. Legalizing prostitution would cut down on “back-alley deals”. Besides, our jails are overcrowded. We should focus on the real crimes.

No! Prostitution should remain illegal.

The major legitimate arguments in favor of keeping prostitution illegal are summarized as follows:

1. To decriminalize prostitution would send a mixed message to society that this is acceptable behavior.

2. It destroys families. Trust between a husband and wife are broken. Finances that could be used for the family are spent recklessly.

3. The prostitutes themselves are the real victims, often suffering abuse or are the victims of other crimes such as trafficking.

4. Prostitution, for obvious reasons, is one of the major contributors to the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases.

Hopefully, the reasons given above are fair to both sides. In the comments section you are free to add other reasons why you might choose to answer “yes” or “no”, but now I want to give my commentary on the issue and hopefully make a case for a “third way”.

What Do I Think?

At this point, you might expect me to pull out a few Bible verses to support why I would say “no” to legalizing prostitution. However, since our society consistently rejects Biblical values, I want to argue my position on their terms. Secondly, my answer isn’t “no” to the legalization of prostitution…but it isn’t “yes” either. There is no question that prostitution is morally wrong on Biblical grounds. The question is, should it or should it not be illegal? We are not discussing the morality of prostitution, we are discussing it’s legality.

So what is my position? Leave prostitution alone until we’ve done something about the men (primarily) who are raping, demeaning, and enslaving women through prostitution! In other words, I’m not as concerned about the selling of sex (Again, we are debating legality not morality) but paying for sex should’ve been illegal yesterday. Let me explain:

Legislation is passed for several reasons, but primarily it is for the protection of the members of society. The quick “yes” or “no” answers to the question of the legality of prostitution have led to a stalemate. Those who answer “yes” to our question believe the “workplace conditions” would be safer if prostitution were legal. Those who answer “no” believe the practice of prostitution itself is unsafe, and therefore should be illegal to keep more people from engaging in it.

But consider the following statistics:

– 92% of women prostitutes said they wanted to leave prostitution immediately, but couldn’t because they lack basic human services such as a home, job training, health care, counseling and treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. (Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation)
– The average age of when a girl enters prostitution is 14. (Prostitution Research)
– Females in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average. (Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation)
– 68-80% of prostitutes are raped during prostitution. (Prostitution Research)
– A compilation of sources suggests that about 60% of all prostitutes are forced into prostitution against their will, 38% are forced into prostitution due to hardship and economic factors, leaving only 2% that willingly engage in prostitution and (apparently) love their job. (Prostitution Research)

These statistics (and others that could be cited) show that primarily the buying and selling of sex is of most harm to the woman. I would surmise that, emotionally, the person that is harmed most besides the prostitute is the wife of the man who is paying for sex. This isn’t a crime against the man, the man is the criminal. He is primarily the one who is doing the damage to society in this case.

We pass laws to protect society. I’m not suggesting that we legislate every issue that might be harmful to a person or to a society. We all make stupid decisions that may or may not have an effect on others. But the preponderance of issues like rape, drug abuse, physical abuse, adultery, murder, incest, sex trafficking, child exploitation, alcohol abuse, theft, low mortality rate, female exploitation, divorce, and kidnapping that are linked with prostitution give weight to my argument. We need to make it illegal to pay for sex in America.

What Now?

What does this have to do with ChurchETHOS? Remember, ethos has to do with the habits or customs of a group or society, and it also has to do with the character or reputation of an individual, group or society. How we respond as a church to this issue will reveal our character to those outside the church. So, I will be posting a follow up post with some practical things I think the church can do to tackle this issue responsibly that strengthens our reputation with the unchurched. There I will describe exactly why this issue will help us think through our habits and customs and how to improve our relationships with those who don’t share our convictions. Meanwhile, feel free to share why you would say “yes”, “no” or “prostitution isn’t the main problem” in the comments below.

Related Post: The Christian Response to Prostitution ::  Subscribe ::  Why Subscribe?

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19 Responses

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  1. Jon Reid said, on April 21, 2009 at 6.54 pm

    Nathan, I like “third way” thinking. Not selling sex, but buying sex — yes! The Johns are complicit in keeping these women enslaved.

    I am also reminded of a Vineyard church in England that ministered to prostitutes. They gained some notoriety with local Christians because the pastor’s wife led a team of ladies to go meet prostitutes, befriend them, and (gasp!) give them condoms.

    I think it’s brilliant. But I would caution anyone thinking about trying this to also establish a good relationship with local law enforcement, to learn where the danger spots are and increase their own safety, because they could run afoul of the pimps and gangs by befriending the prostitutes.

  2. Russ said, on April 21, 2009 at 6.59 pm

    I find your answer to this question very interesting. Woemn seem to get hurt all around, both as prostitues and as wives of johns. This means that children are also getting hurt, as this is undoubtedly leading to broken up marriages.

    However, I would like to point something interesting out. You mentioned STD’s in the ‘No” column. But in areas where prostitution is legal, I have heard that STD rates are lower. Condom use is basically requited, and regulations require the prostitutes to get regularly tested. Because of this, Nevada is suposed to have the lowest STD rate of any state, and Mexico (often considered a third world, or at best second world country) has a lower STD rate than the US!

  3. Jamie Arpin-Ricci said, on April 21, 2009 at 7.24 pm

    I live and pastor in an inner city community with a significant sex trade presence. It is a truly complex issue that is being addressed by far too few Christians. I really appreciate you addressing it. There are no easy answers or solutions, but that should not dissuade us from working to love & serve those involved.

    As you say, the sex trade is fueled, not by the presence of prostitutes, but by the demand of the “consumer”. Then there are the “pimps”, which are often not different than slave owners. Governments, especially local, contribute by facing the insurmountable problem by keeping the sex trade “controlled and contained” in inner city communities, not only destroying the neighbourhoods, but locating in the places where victims are most likely to be found and exploited. I could go on, but the point is that there are MANY levels of responsibility.

    However, we must be very careful to avoid the common myths about prostitution. While most suffer massive injustice and many are complete victims of an exploiting system, many are voluntarily participating in the sex trade. I am not suggesting they are in any less need of our ministry, but that we must address these realities with our eyes open.

    I look forward to the next post.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  4. kristarella said, on April 21, 2009 at 7.29 pm

    Interesting. I would not have thought to separate the paying for and selling of sex, but it’s a good distinction since some are forced to sell sex, but no one (or very few people) is forced to pay for it.

    I think prostitution is actually legal where I live. I know the locations of two brothels and I’ve never seen or heard of them causing a problem; obviously family problems are generally kept quiet, but they haven’t caused other social disturbances or increased STD spreading (that I’m aware of).

    I certainly think it would be better to not have it — for people to not feel the need for it — so making paying for sex illegal would be fine with me… if we lived in a completely different society. Given the society we live in, I’m tempted to go with yes, it should be legal, because it seems to be a lesser of two evils. The men that use prostitution may feel the need to do worse things if that avenue was taken from them?

    Prostitution being legal here does not seem to give people the message that it’s okay. Movies and television provide a much worse attitude towards sex than any brothel near where I live.

  5. alexad said, on April 21, 2009 at 8.16 pm

    Unfortunately, you disabuse your points of any validity because you’ve taken them from sites that are operated by notoriously anti-prostitution biased authors like Melissa Farley. Her “research” has been consistently debunked by a number of other, legitimate sociological researchers. She uses faulty methodology, selects samples to reflect only one aspect of prostitution, and draws inferences from one subset of the prostitution spectrum to reflect a bogus representation of the totality of sex workers.
    For an excellent example of critiques of her work, see:

    http://deepthroated.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/review-of-prostitution-and-trafficking-in-nevada-making-the-connections/

    Anyone who truly investigated the background on this subject should’ve discovered that rather quickly.

    For example, the “fact” that “…92% of women prostitutes said they wanted to leave prostitution immediately,” is likely true, for street-based prostitutes in the U.S. However, street walkers constitutes only 10% of the total number of women who work in prostitution in this country. The overwhelming majority work from their homes or see clients in their homes and are not begging to get out of the industry as that statistic might seem to reflect at first blush. Many of us not only don’t want to get out of the work, but actually enjoy what we do.

    There are several other issues with the material you present. For example, you state, without qualification, “…the person that is harmed most besides the prostitute is the wife of the man who is paying for sex.” This presumes that all men who see prostitutes are married, when the reality is that only about 60% or so are married (and believe it or not a good percentage of those have wives who’ve given them permission to see prostitutes when they’re on the road continuously).

    Keeping prostitution illegal specifically contributed to the death of a 26-year old woman in Boston here a few days ago. I addressed it in a post I just made on my blog 10 minutes ago. Prostitution is always going to be around, it has always been around, and it isn’t going anywhere, regardless of how many laws there are against it. Decriminalizing it has worked well in many places. New Zealand is an excellent example.

    Many of the “issues” you attach to prostitution are part and parcel of larger, more complex societal issues and not directly related to prostitution as well. For example, you mention human trafficking. Human trafficking is already illegal, and would remain so even if prostitution itself were decriminalized. Many humans are trafficked into working on agricultural farms in this country, too. Are you going to advocate that those industries be made illegal as well based on that alone? Divorce is another example. Very, very few divorces are the direct result of a man visiting a prostitute. So on and so forth.

    With respect to your idea about making the buying of sex illegal, it’s not “brilliant” as Jon Reid suggested. It’s already been done and it doesn’t work. This is what Sweden did a couple of years ago, and all that has happened there is that prostitution has been pushed underground, exactly like what happens when you make selling sex illegal. The fact is, if either side of the equation is illegal, the net result is the same, period.

    It’s one thing to discuss this rationally, and it’s nice that you’ve made the effort. However, you clearly have some more work to do. That is, if you want your opinions to be legitimately informed. 😉

    Let me also address a couple of points your commenters made.

    Russ pointed out that, “…in areas where prostitution is legal, I have heard that STD rates are lower.” This is accurate. As he suggests, in Nevada, there’s never been a documented case of STD transmission between a prostitute (in the legal brothels) and a client, and prostitutes as a whole have a far lower incidence of STD infection relative to the general population. Sex workers depend on being healthy in order to ply their trade, and the vast majority of us take great pains to protect our health.

    Jamie Arpin-Ricci pointed out that, “…the sex trade is fueled, not by the presence of prostitutes, but by the demand of the “consumer”. Our entire economic model is predicated upon this fundamental concept. Companies produce and sell cars because there is consumer demand for them. Companies offer home repair services because there is a demand for them. This is not unique to the sex industry.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment on your blog.

  6. Jamie Arpin-Ricci said, on April 22, 2009 at 8.44 am

    Alexad,

    You make some important points, not the least of which is the dynamics between street workers in North American contexts and the VERY diverse global sex trade. My work has me working with these issues both locally and abroad.

    In respect to you quote of me, I hope you realize that my use of the word “consumer” was very intentionally designed to suggest your very point. In fact, I have often said that unbridled consumerism is a contributing factor to the sex trade. However, just because it acts like any other business does not mean it should be treated as such.

    I also agree with you that the sex trade has always been here and won’t disappear tomorrow. However, while I acknowledge that legalizing prostitution improved issues in many ways, there are many immeasurable factors that are negatively impacted by such approaches that can get missed.

    In the end, while laws and governance are important to protect against the worst abuses in the sex trade, I am convinced that no amount of legislation, etc, will eradicate it. I am convinced that we need to address the root causes, not in a “moral crusade against perverts” as many would have it, but out of a desire to work to grow healthier individuals, families and communities.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  7. alexad said, on April 22, 2009 at 9.35 am

    Hey, Jamie.

    However, just because it acts like any other business does not mean it should be treated as such.

    How would you treat it differently, and why? Why should selling sexual services be any different than, say, selling my mental services to someone to plan an activity for them, or selling my physical services to build a deck for them?

    And you’d need to construct a rationale that doesn’t rely on “Because it is sex,” since many of us don’t view sex as this “sacred” thing that some other people do. You’d also need to avoid using a construct that can be applied to any other business for which you’d not advocate any special circumstances (for example, don’t rely on the “human trafficking” or “coercion by third parties” since both of those are at work in other fields as well and we don’t advocate treating them with special circumstances).

    I have yet to see a valid construction for treating consensual sex work any differently than any other service without using a moral basis for its foundation. Since your morals are not necessarily mine or someone else’s, that isn’t a valid construct. I’d be curious to see how you believe it should be treated differently from any other business.

    However, while I acknowledge that legalizing prostitution improved issues in many ways, there are many immeasurable factors that are negatively impacted by such approaches that can get missed.

    Such as? I can’t think of any factor for which there are not larger, societal issues at play above and beyond prostitution. What did you have in mind?

    I am convinced that we need to address the root causes, not in a “moral crusade against perverts” as many would have it, but out of a desire to work to grow healthier individuals, families and communities.

    Your position here suggests that you believe the mere provision of sexual services is, by default, an anathema to growing healthier individuals, families, and communities.

    What if the legalization of prostitution reduced the incidence of rape? In Queensland, when legalized brothels were closed down, the rape rate went up by almost 150%. One study suggested that rape rates would decrease by 25% if prostitution were legalized in this country (source is available if you wish to see it). I’d suggest that would contribute to a “healthier” community.

    I’ve provided services to individuals while they’re on the road and don’t have access to long-term relationships. I’d suspect you’d get an argument from those individuals that what I am doing for them makes them happier, and therefore healthier. And I know providers who’ve entertained the fantasies of couples (married and not) with respect to threesomes. An open-minded couple comfortable enough with each other to explore such sexual fantasies speaks to a healthy family (for them), in my opinion.

    The term “healthier” is generally subjective, and used by someone to mean “my idea of what I consider healthier.” If you used objective measures, for example, STD transmission rates, prostitution would seem to contribute greatly to a healthier population, as I outlined in my original response to support Russ’ point.

  8. Nathan Creitz said, on April 22, 2009 at 9.48 am

    Thanks all for your comments. Alexad, I’m happy refining this discussion primarily to a discussion about “street-based” workers. I know you aren’t happy with my sources but I’d be interested to know your source that these street-based workers constitute only 10%. Since it is an illegal profession and not one that lends itself to accurate statistics I’m sure the numbers are skewed both ways depending on the viewpoint.

    Here’s a stat for us to consider: “As many as 17,500 people are trafficked to the United States each year,according to the most recent Department of State estimates.” About half of those are used in prostitution. From Francis T. Miko, Specialist in International Relations, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division in a CRS Report to Congress. [Accessed from the US Department of Justice]

    In addition to those 8,750 (half of 17,500) who are brought into the US there are another 293,000 American children who are “currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.” [US Department of Justice]

    Okay, so let’s refine our discussion even further not just to “street-workers” or to prostitution in general (ignoring the stats of how many are forced into it or willingly go into it) and let’s just talk about the children.

    How do we address that problem? Increase our detection of sex trafficking in and to the US? Absolutely. But the problem isn’t the supply, the problem is the demand. There is a demand for prostitutes whether they are children or not, whether they are forced into prostitution or not, whether they love their job or not. The abuses I list in my post of drugs and exploitation and kidnapping and murder and rape and physical abuse are all crimes against the woman or the child. They are an issue of dominance that is demeaning to women. The demand needs to be addressed and the supply will take care of itself.

    Take Sweden for example. They addressed this very issue by making it illegal to pay for sex. The Swedish government considers prostitution to be a form of violence against women. According to Jonas Trolle, an inspector with the Stockholm police who belongs to a police unit dedicated to combating the sex trade: “We have significantly less prostitution than our neighboring countries, even if we take into account the fact that some of it happens underground,” And according to Spiegel International: “hardly any country in the European Union has fewer problems with human trafficking.”

    Sweden has it’s problems. They mostly focused on legal issues and forgot about the needs of the prostitutes. That’s why we need a more comprehensive approach than just passing or “unpassing” laws. Combine the criminalization of paying for sex with the increase in services for women and children to find education and jobs and we would see a decrease in the demand for illicit sex and an increase in options for women to find another line of work.

    Of course, I’m working on my next post which will be how the church can get involved and I will tip my hand by saying one of the major ways the church can help is by providing shelter, jobs, education, and most of all, love for those who feel trapped and enslaved by a lifestyle they never wanted. So, again, I’m happy to refine this discussion only to those people who are involved in prostitution unwillingly but as a Christian I see that the whole sex trade has as its core a depraved view of sex, love, and intimacy. People paying for sex is not harmless, it’s often not truly consensual, and it’s never simply between the prostitute and her john. This is something that affects our entire web of relationships in a destructive way. Focus on the children and the sex trafficking, fine. But let’s not forget that we need a comprehensive approach that includes educating the church on how best to respond to this crisis, providing services and options for women and children, and making it illegal to pay for sex.

  9. alexad said, on April 22, 2009 at 10.52 am

    Hey, there, Nathan.

    I’m happy refining this discussion primarily to a discussion about “street-based” workers.

    Why? When you talk about legalizing it or its effects, the street workers are not the only ones impacted. Prostitution includes not just street walkers, but private providers, brothel workers, erotic massage artists, and a wide variety of other people. See below as well. I hope you don’t think that those who’re coerced or underage only work the streets.

    I know you aren’t happy with my sources but I’d be interested to know your source that these street-based workers constitute only 10%. Since it is an illegal profession and not one that lends itself to accurate statistics I’m sure the numbers are skewed both ways depending on the viewpoint.

    There are several sources, among them the same USDOJ you’ve been citing.

    http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/e05021552.pdf (See page 1)

    You really don’t need a source for it, though. Travel through your city’s areas where the street walkers hang out, then find your city on Craigslist or any of the variety of forums/bulletin boards and ad sites escorts use. See how many providers are advertising there on any given night. You’ll see far more on the net. In San Francisco alone, there are well over 1,000 ads on just Craigslist alone on many days. You won’t see anything near that on the street.

    Quite honestly, I’d be surprised if it was even 10% now, given the prolific nature of the Internet. Just about the only people you’ll see on the street are those engaged in survival sex (i.e., those who need quick money for drugs, generally). The majority of the rest are, as you point out, forced into it by pimps. Even then, the majority of pimps selling the services of minors and other coerced people are doing so online – it’s much safer and not as visible.

    For what it is worth, I agree that streetwalking ought to remain illegal, but largely for issues of safety for the providers, and I realize that there are some quality of life issues for most neighborhoods when it comes to these types of activities. There’s no reason whatsoever to keep private, consensual sex illegal just because it involves a financial transaction, however. I don’t advocate treating streetwalkers as criminals, though.

    Here’s a stat for us to consider: “As many as 17,500 people are trafficked to the United States each year,according to the most recent Department of State estimates.” About half of those are used in prostitution.

    Let’s assume that it accurate. Why aren’t you advocating that we outlaw the activities the other half of those trafficked victims are engaged in? Why just prostitution? The mere fact these people are trafficked is illegal to begin with, regardless of what they do when they get here. If we were enforcing the trafficking laws effectively, the fact that they were forced into prostitution when they got here would be a non-issue.

    In addition to those 8,750 (half of 17,500) who are brought into the US there are another 293,000 American children who are “currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.” [US Department of Justice]

    What was the context of this? What constitutes “currently at risk?” Do they mean runaways? That would be valid, since a significant number of runaway teens end up being forced into prostitution. There are people who specialize in that specifically, in fact.

    The demand needs to be addressed and the supply will take care of itself.

    I don’t know that you understand how naive this makes you seem. At no point in recorded history has there not been a demand for the exchange of something of value for sex. Never. What makes you think you can remotely impact it now?

    The Swedish government considers prostitution to be a form of violence against women.

    That infantilizes women and makes the ridiculous assumption that women can’t knowingly consent to sex. Not that men seem to have a problem making such assumptions, of course, when it is to their benefit. The providers involved are the ones who’re in the position to decide what is or is not “violence” against them. This kind of claim trivializes those who are legitimate victims of violence, by the way.

    And what of prostitution by males and transgendered sex workers? Why is it not “violence” against them?

    “hardly any country in the European Union has fewer problems with human trafficking.”

    Disparities in human trafficking are a function of how well countries control their borders and enforce their immigration laws, not their prostitution policies. Those disparities exist for the totality of human trafficking into those countries, so it should not be a surprise that that would include victims trafficked for sex as well. Someone’s drawing inferences where they’re invalid.

    Combine the criminalization of paying for sex with the increase in services for women and children to find education and jobs and we would see a decrease in the demand for illicit sex and an increase in options for women to find another line of work.

    LOL! What is your basis for such an assumption?

    Just for the record, many of us who work as prostitutes have degrees. I’ll have an advanced degree soon. Many of my peers have advanced degrees (some have Ph.Ds). Claiming that “educating” women is a simple solution really holds no water.

    A more effective solution would be to create jobs for women that pay as well as selling sex does. If I could make $1,200 for two hours worth of work doing something else, I might even seriously consider it. That would be a real feat and actually accomplish what you’re suggesting you can through “education.” Those jobs have to exist, by the way, and unless and until you can create them (and sustain them), you’re not going to make a dent. If a sex worker can make, say, $25 for a 10-minute blowjob, over the course of an hour, that’s the potential for $150 for one hour’s worth of work. You’ll have a tough time creating any kind of job that’s going to entice someone who needs that kind of money.

    Of course, I’m working on my next post which will be how the church can get involved and I will tip my hand by saying one of the major ways the church can help is by providing shelter, jobs, education, and most of all, love for those who feel trapped and enslaved by a lifestyle they never wanted.

    And that is an absolutely laudable mission. I wish more churches would get involved with just such activities.

    … as a Christian I see that the whole sex trade has as its core a depraved view of sex, love, and intimacy.

    Christians tend to see any sex outside a monogamous, committed relationship as “depraved.” I therefore suspect you’ll be unable to examine this topic rationally at all. Sadly.

    People paying for sex is not harmless,

    You don’t get to make such assertions. Only the people involved with the transaction get to make those kinds of determinations (assuming consensuality, of course).

    and making it illegal to pay for sex.

    I guess I’ll use this time to point out that, in the vast majority of states in this country, it is already a crime to pay for sex. Paying for sex is specifically illegal in 38 states. And in none of those states has demand for professional sex dropped one iota. Even when they go to the great lengths to impound the vehicles of those caught buying sex, the demand does not drop.

    And, you’ve mentioned female sex workers. What about male or transgendered sex workers (who in San Francisco alone account for between 25 and 30% of the street walkers you’re so interested in)? Will you provide the same services for them?

    As I said, I think you’ve got a good bit more research to do. Hopefully, at some point you’ll come to the realization that it just isn’t that simple as you believe it to be and actually advocate for something that will work, as opposed to just making it more dangerous for all involved.

  10. Nathan Creitz said, on April 22, 2009 at 11.14 am

    Hey Alexa, I appreciate your thoughts. I think most of your responses forgot my clarification that we were going to take this discussion to a more refined sense. I’ve already done my best not to argue on moral grounds (which I would have to admit it would be my preference that there was no need for any prostitution of any kind). We’ve narrowed the focus down to those who are forced into prostitution through physical or economic factors. You say that’s a very small number, I say it’s a large number, but regardless of how many people that actually is I think something should be done about it.

    Having said all of that, I mention the approximately 8,500 who are trafficked into the US for sex because that is the focus of my post and of this discussion. I can only post about one issue at a time. Sadly, the rest of those 17,500 children being trafficked into the US are used for slave labor. Another important issue that needs to be addressed. Had this post been about “child exploitation” I would have made sure to address that problem. Similarly, when you question my comments about education, I am simply talking about providing opportunities for those individuals who want to leave a life of prostitution that have nothing else. I had no intention of disparaging the intellectual capacity of everyone who is involved in the sex trade. That’s not the issue. The issue is that there are a lot of people who don’t have options. I think we can do a lot to give people more options. Remember, we are specifically talking about those who want out.

    And by the way, I’m not picking on prostitution as the greatest evil of our society. Something I heard prompted me to share my thoughts with my readers about the issue. That’s what my blog often does. I mean no offense to you personally. My heart is to help people in need. If that’s not you then I completely understand. Helping other people find God and experience wholistic fulfillment is the joy of my life and I hope that God will speak to you and show you how much He loves you.

    Alexa, God made you and He loves you. I know you can’t understand my sincerity through a computer screen, but I’m not trying to argue with you, I just want to show you God’s love. If you don’t want that right now I’m not trying to force anything on you. If you say you are content with your life then I won’t try and say you’re lying or are deceived.

    I also want to thank you for making me sharper. I don’t like it when people just blindly agree. Your critique is helpful and points out weaknesses in my thinking that I’m happy to consider. You have a lot to offer and I wish you all the best on your pursuit of a degree.

  11. alexad said, on April 22, 2009 at 11.50 am

    We’ve narrowed the focus down to those who are forced into prostitution through physical or economic factors. You say that’s a very small number, I say it’s a large number, but regardless of how many people that actually is I think something should be done about it.

    I absolutely agree. I’m just not sure how or why you believe simply “reducing the demand” would be a viable solution to that, though, and that is my larger point across this entire discussion. It’s not practical.

    Even in countries where the majority of sex workers are forced into it, and there are harsh laws against patronizing them, it still flourishes. My central problem is that your solution, outlawing the purchase of sex, is akin to killing a fly with a sledgehammer if you’re truly only concerned with just those who are coerced. Doing so would deprive those of us who aren’t coerced of our means of income (assuming the idea worked to begin with).

    I’d prefer…actually, I’d love to see someone come up with a legitimate solution to the problem rather than continuing to try things that have been proven time and time again to not work. Know what I mean?

    I know you can’t understand my sincerity through a computer screen, but I’m not trying to argue with you, I just want to show you God’s love. If you don’t want that right now I’m not trying to force anything on you. If you say you are content with your life then I won’t try and say you’re lying or are deceived.

    Thanks. And I won’t say that you’re lying or are deceived regarding the existence of your deity. We can call it even. 😉

    I also want to thank you for making me sharper. I don’t like it when people just blindly agree. Your critique is helpful and points out weaknesses in my thinking that I’m happy to consider. You have a lot to offer and I wish you all the best on your pursuit of a degree.

    Thank you, sir.

    • Nathan Creitz said, on April 28, 2009 at 6.52 am

      Just for clarification. I haven’t changed my mind on anything…my point is that maybe my writing was weak in some areas and didn’t communicate my ideas clearly. Your comments helped me to refine the debate but the problem is still true. One problem is that this post is only the first in a two part series where I really communicate what the church should be doing (and not doing) to help with this problem. I don’t put a lot of value in legislation but decided I would put out there a counter argument to make people think. I personally am not going to fight for or against the legalization of prostitution. As a Christian, I want to help people in need and it is clear that a lot of prostitutes are in need. If I can help the church eschew public haranguing of anyone who is different from them and begin showing compassion instead then I feel I’ve helped in some small way. Ultimately, we are all in need of God’s love and forgiveness and that’s what I want to help people see.

  12. Edgar said, on April 22, 2009 at 8.31 pm

    The answer should still be no. No to prostitution. Yes to spreading the good news of Jesus – and reaching out to those men that enslave women like these. As a couple of the commentators mention: prostitution leads to broken marriages, abuse women, and men continue in darkness.

    The demand can only be stopped by Jesus. Men and Hormones are hard to beat unless they are part of a new birth.

  13. Nathan Creitz said, on April 23, 2009 at 3.52 pm

    So I’ve completed the follow up post so feel free to comment here or there.

  14. Jamie Arpin-Ricci said, on April 24, 2009 at 6.46 am

    alexad,

    You make discussion difficult because you reject my perspective as biased while suggesting that your rationale is universal. Your rationale and the presuppositions they are built on are equally subjective. I can easily acknowledge many of the measurable improvements that the legalization of the sex trade would have in many respects. However, those are not the only factors at play.

    We come at this issue with very different presuppositions- socially, ethically and morally. Fair enough. However, there is little point debating the issues when we are not addressing those foundations- topics too big for this context. Needless to say we disagree on the impact of prostitution, legal or otherwise. The fact that I cannot address this issue apart from my moral and ethical convictions any more than you can.

    Thanks for the clear and thoughtful responses.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  15. eos said, on September 27, 2009 at 8.02 am

    Alexad, you mentioned you have made your own blog on the issue. What’s the URL?

    • Alexa said, on September 27, 2009 at 10.19 am

      However, just because it acts like any other business does not mean it should be treated as such.

      Why not? You can offer no legitimate reason, other than your opinion that it shouldn’t be. Every other personal contact service is treated just as any other business, and I don’t see you arguing that they shouldn’t be. In this case, specifically because of how you view sex you insist that it shouldn’t be. I’m not sure why folks like you can’t accept that not everyone views sex as you do.

      eos, you can find my blog post at:

      http://www.realprincessdiaries.com/2009/04/society-as-a-whole-caused-julissas-death/

  16. Bible master said, on November 1, 2009 at 8.35 pm

    its like sympathy for the devil. Christians has forgotten that their economic policies are responsible. Jesus preached a form of socialism that was community-based, not at all involved with government. How many Christians can honestly say they live as a disciple of Jesus would in the past? Failing that, if Christians don’t start taking responsibility for those who profess to follow their religion, for instance military and medical industry workers who benefit from death and sickness yet may attend some anonymous mega-church. The culture Christians have created in America is sumptuous and has led to marriages that are sterile. A return to Biblical prostitution and polygamy would be one thing, but letting satanic pimps run the industry will only inevitably lead to the collapse of Christian civilization. Your daughters are on the line!

    Fighting vice is hopeless, apparently. Why is this? Part of it is that technology will inevitably yield to Satan, although also empowering true Christians to find one another as on this board. If the church became a vector for sexual expression and love through marriage, wouldn’t that be amazing? Eliminating age of consent laws, allowing for polygamy, and other reforms could make marriage the utopia it once was.

    Christians have been fooled into a false morality by Disney movies and leave it to beaver. The key component of Christianity is that it is a joyful and exciting religion, and sourpuss fundamentalist ideology has ruined the magic for many. Truly looking to biblical example would have excluded idiots like Reagan or televangelists or mega-churches. It’s clear that Satan drools over the possibility of taking over the American Christian church. Just as the communists once invested in the possibility of a Cuba bristling with weaponry, pimps know that it is government regulation that creates crime. Good people simply want to be free and Christian. Once they have accepted Christ, freedom should reign — never slavery. Satan is for slavery. And so the sterile marriage, due to “conventional morality”. Where does it say in the Bible that nobody should ever swear, that lust should never be consummated as long as all parties involved are consenting? What rape is out of the question, but adultery would be meaningless in a world of biblical polyamory.

    It is conventionally acceptable to rob the Third World and invade the second world should they make a play for any kind of justice. We invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein did to switch away from the dollar denomination for his oil sales; it feels inevitable that supposedly Bible believing America will yawn as its so-called president invade Iran for the same reason. When will Bible believing Christians stand up for their own freedoms against this brutally oppressive government?

    Prostitution is destined to be legal because this government is about to collapse. Satan has one when it comes down to it; he has already softened your children’s minds, he has sent the masses rushing for a poisonous vaccine, he has corrupted government so that FEMA can impose martial law and enslave Christians who dare to resist the mark of the beast. You must protect your daughters. You must allow them to date men who can take care of them. Otherwise, Satan will find a way to enslave them, as anyone can see watching MSNBC specials. is terrible to envision your daughter being anything other than happy, but unless she is protected from a very young age by a lover who has that material and moral means to protect her, she is fresh meat for a pimp! This is where the Bible can protect us. For nowhere in the Bible does it stipulate an age of consent, for instance. It is satanic that we have allowed human trafficking to sprout in our own backyards because the church has been purified of all of its fund. Marriage has become brittle and useless and I’m angry about it and you should be too because it has led to the corruption of the United States. Once this was God’s country! Now it’s just a place that counts is what television rather than the tender love of multiple wives.

  17. Anne said, on January 21, 2010 at 6.40 pm

    Hi all,

    I know this thread is rather old, but I was intrigued to see the issue of legalizing prostituion discussed so coherently and maturely.

    I wanted to present a possible explanation to Alexad for why prostitution is different from other businesses.

    Although you’ve managed to find some way to discredit most of the statistics presented, and not without basis, let’s take a look at some incontrovertible ones: the population of the United States is roughly half male, yes? Also, the vast majority of prostitutes in the U.S. are women, correct?

    To legalize prostitution is to have a government that is entering into a contract with its male citizens, giving them sexual access to its female citizens.

    Your argument for the legalization of prostitution is that the government has no jurisdiction to create legislation on a moral basis – why, then, should it have jurisdiction to create it on a basis of an absence of morality? That is to say, does the government have a right to make legislation at all? If not, I say we err on the side of health. Even if a prostitute is being tested every week for HIV, she will test negative for at least the first 4-6 weeks and possibly the first 12 weeks after being infected. This means that while the test is becoming positive and the results are becoming known, one prostitute may expose up to 630 clients to HIV. -“HIV and Prostitution: What’s the Answer?”.

    For better or worse, the majority consensus is that prostitution is immoral, and I don’t think it’s for the reason you think it is. You’re right when you imply that Puritanical ethics have had influence on society’s view of sex. However, it’s not the sex itself – it’s the sale of it and the inherent implication of the use of woman as an object of male sexual gratification. It’s not about the sex. It’s about whether an individual has the right to purchase a service that is so intimately linked to practices such as trafficking, drug use, and child abuse. Don’t you think these will be encouraged and funded if prostitution becomes legitimate? It’s about money, and it’s about power.

    If we accept the reality that the majority of women pushed into prostitution do so for economic reasons, whether to support a drug habit, a struggling family, or her own survival, it becomes apparent that it has never been an issue about women’s rights. It is, largely, an issue of poverty and necessity. Prostitutes want a ‘right’ to their bodies because it gives them a way to continue their business without retribution.

    Prostitution is sex without love – and I’m not quoting scripture, because I don’t have a specific religious belief. Is it so inconceivable to believe that without love, sex is just physical gratifiation? Is it so condemnable to decry the exchange of money for some kind of orgiastic satisfaction when, in reality, it has been shown to encourage, if nothing else, the cheapening of interpersonal relations and the degradation of how women are thought of in society?

    One last thing : although it’s true that the statistics about women wanting to get out of prostitution were illegitimate in the context provided, I still hold them valid. It’s not the women in high-end dove cotes and homeowning call girls that I want to protect. It’s the streetwalking prostitutes, because God knows no one else is looking out for them.

    I say we do what Sweden did – decriminalize selling sex but criminalize buying it. Give prostitutes protection of the law but let the business wane and help these women find a role that embodies their human enlightenment rather than the animalistic value of their bodies as pieces of flesh.


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