History

 

  • The earliest civilizations practiced “temple” or “sacred” prostitution in which proceeds benefitted the church or state.
  • Various leaders have established barbaric punishments for prostitution, but this social issue has existed throughout the history of mankind.
  • For most of American history, prostitution has been “tolerated” or quasi-decriminalized in which law enforcement restricted this activity to specified red-light districts.
  • Historians have documented the positive aspects of specific social experiments in which prostitution was officially decriminalized in various locales.
  • Four fiery social movements coincided during the early 20th century and these events were the catalyst for the first official state laws banning prostitution.

Decriminalization

  • This is a personal freedom and civil liberties issue.
  • Learn the background and details surrounding the current lawsuit that could overturn state prostitution laws.
  • Decriminalization protects these women against violence, which is imperative because the statistics for violence against sex workers is astonishing.
  • Prostitution laws are blocking volunteer NGO workers from offering harm reduction services such as free condoms, STD testing, job programs, etc.
  • A few model diversion programs for prostitutes are profiled…These programs exercise common sense by providing resources for prostitutes to find other forms of work, kick their drug habit, and address other needs. Studies have found that these initiatives increase public safety, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer money.
  • There are distinct differences between decriminalization and legalization that are detailed in the text of the book. Decriminalization is the preferred policy, but there are positive aspects to legalization.

(Photo Jenn Farr/Flickr)

 

Human Trafficking

  • Human trafficking is rapidly developing the awful profit-driven flaws of the war on drugs…This has become the popular new way for politicians to be “tough on crime.” In general, existing prostitution laws have been rewritten as “trafficking laws” with increased fines and asset forfeiture.
  • Several bureaucrats and NGOs have a vested interest in conflating prostitution with human trafficking. In fact, some are fighting to remove “force, fraud, or coercion” from the definition of human trafficking.
  • The U.S. has an easily verifiable problem with human trafficking, but there are several examples in which anti-prostitution activists have lied, distorted, sensationalized, and exaggerated the issue of human trafficking to satisfy their agenda.
  • Remarkably, the U.S. media is responsible for much of the hype and misinformation about sex trafficking, but it has widely ignored the more prevalent form of human trafficking -- labor trafficking.
  • Shockingly, our tax dollars continue to fund privately-owned military contractors that have been responsible for numerous cases of brutal labor trafficking. Worst of all, the U.S. government has never punished any of these companies and there is barely any media coverage of this issue.

 

Nevada

  • Overall, Nevada’s licensed brothels have many positives, including high worker safety, tax revenues, and excellent STD control…but there are negatives too.
  • No, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas…Contrary to popular opinion, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas and the laws are widely enforced.
  • There is dramatic contrast in the results between Nevada’s licensed brothels and the illegal prostitution market in Las Vegas.
  • How did Nevada’s legalized brothels come about? One very controversial brothel owner is responsible for this system and the manner in which these events unfolded is quite compelling.
  • In one instance, the federal government was the landlord of a brothel.

(Photo Satori Son/Creative Commons)

 

 

International Perspective

  • This issue isn’t nearly as controversial throughout the world…Most industrialized, developed nations have a form of decriminalization or legalized prostitution and almost every one of those countries has a noticeably lower rate of STDs than the U.S. In fact, some of the ultra-liberal opinions on prostitution throughout the world are absolutely stunning.
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the various systems in the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., Canada, France, and Sweden are examined.
  • There is an emerging trend in international politics in support of the Swedish model, in which only the men who pay for sex (not the women selling sex) are arrested. This has become a very politically-correct public relations campaign and, as a result, the numerous negative consequences have been swept under the rug.
  • You’ll read about how the lives of Swedish sex workers have become much more stigmatized. They’re now routinely extorted and exploited, and they’re less willing to contact the police after being violently assaulted. In addition, a group of adamantly radical feminists were the architects of this policy and they’re general ideology is quite disturbing.

 

(Photo Michela Simoncini/Flickr)

 

 

Feminism

  • Prostitution is often referred to as a feminist issue, but the women who are most directly affected are rarely included in the debate. You will read various perspectives from women working in the industry.
  • Obviously there is a wide perspective among all women and, naturally, feminists label their stance on prostitution as sex positive, liberal, conservative, religious, radical, among several others.
  • Decriminalizing prostitution was one of the early platforms for what is now the largest feminist organization in America.
  • Two of American history’s most trailblazing feminists, Victoria Woodhull and Emma Goldman, were revolutionaries in their day for their support of decriminalized prostitution. They openly commented that prostitution laws were basically an extension of restrictive social norms that limited every woman’s freedoms.

 

Scandal

  • Our elected leaders can’t seem to abide by prostitution laws…An entire book could be dedicated to the “moral crusaders” who were involved in prostitution scandals, but this book only addresses the most relevant examples.
  • There are several reasons why politicians are often compared to prostitutes.
  • One “family values” conservative received sexual services from escorts, in addition to millions of dollars from military contractors in one the most egregious Congressional bribery scandals of all time.
  • One federal bureaucrat who was responsible for implementing an “anti-prostitution” pledge was also guilty of this same crime. That policy has had a devastating effect globally by blocking proven methods for decreasing HIV. 
  • A media corruption scandal that involved clear cases of government propaganda eventually led to a separate political prostitution scandal. As the details surfaced, it revealed a deeper layer of governmental cronyism. These stories and several more expose the greater truth of how our government actually operates.
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© Brian Saady