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Legalization of prostitution – pro and contra

1.1. History of prostitution and modern society

Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual relations in exchange for money or
some other benefit. History of prostitution is very richand many people call it the oldest
profession on Earth. The most interesting examples can be found in Ancient Rome and Greece.
For example, in Ancient Greece, there were different types of prostitutes and all of them were
required to wear distinctive clothes and pay taxes.

In Ancient Rome, prostitution was legal and Romans distinguished registered prostitutes –
meretricesfrom the unregistered ones – prostibulae. Meretrices worked in Forum Romanum
near all sacred statues who celebrated Eros and they were not allowed to wear women’s clothing,
so they wore men’s togas and bright hair colors, which was the way of diminishing their dignity.
Once a woman was registered as a prostitute, prostitution would become her permanent
profession and she would not be able to require deletion from the register even if she married.
Meretrices were not allowed to testify on the court and they were not allowed to inherit property.

However, in modern countries there are many discussions about prostitution, whether it should be
legalized or not. Depending on the culture and other social factors, modern societies have
different views on how this problem should be resolved. Prostitution law varies widely from
country to country and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction – in some countries prostitution is legal
and regulated, in others it is illegal and criminalized, and in some countries prostitution itself is
decriminalized, but surrounding activities1 are illegal.

1Such as soliciting in a public place, operating a brothel and pimping

2. Pro and contra

Article 3 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of European Union reads: “Everyone has the right
to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.”

Despite this fact, many people advocate for legalization of prostitution. However, legalization is
not an appropriate way of resolving this problem since it would represent a serious violation of
fundamental human rights. Human body should not be sold for money or goods and modern
society should adhere to that fact, becausenowadays respecting human rights is being promoted
more than ever.

Although prostitution is performed by females, males, transgender and transvestite prostitutes,

this kind of profession is mostly being performed by women. As a result, gender equality is being
threatened. That is another reason not to legalize prostitution, because it would create a picture
that it is normal that women’s body is a part of the market – marketable good. For example,
unemployed women in Germany over 55 are being offered by employment services to take in
prostitution. If they refuse this job, it can lead to losing certain rights from social program. That is
an unacceptable way of treating women in a modern society.

Furthermore, legalization of prostitution creates ideal conditions for rampant exploitation and
abuse of sex workers. Human trafficking is the most frequent example. Even though many people
say that legalization would reduce this kind of abuse, statistics show that in countries where
prostitution is legalized human trafficking has increased dramatically for up to 25% since the law
was enacted. Criminalization of prostitution in Sweden resulted in shrinking of the prostitution
market and decline of human trafficking inflows. Cross-country comparisons of Sweden with
Denmark (where prostitution is decriminalized) and Germany (expanded legalization of
prostitution) are consistent with the quantitative analysis, showing that trafficking inflows
decreased with criminalization and increased with legalization.
Medical reasons are also important. Legalization brings better health care of sex workers, but
even if a prostitute was tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) every
week, she would wait for the results for at least three weeks. In the meantime, she might expose
her clients to serious health risks.

Even though modern age brings enormous changes in moral system by promoting democratic
and liberal ideas, vast majority of modern society consider sex work rather controversial than
normal and natural. Many people explain that this is a consequence of religious beliefs and
patriarchal social order, but even if it were, it is a part of tradition that cannot be suppressed
Article 15 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of European Union reads: “Everyone has the
right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation.”

Every human being has the right to use their body according to their will. If a sex worker wants
to rent out her/his body in exchange of money, that is her/his right, and according to many law
systems, everyone has a freedom of choice. If prostitution was legalized, labor rights, such as
safety rights, social and health insurance etc, would be improved. Everyone deserves to be
protected by law, no matter what type of work they do and that also includes sex workers.

Legalization of prostitution can also be beneficial for states in many ways, especially in terms of
economy. Once the sex workers and brothel owners obtain a license, they can participate in
business and enjoy their legal income while paying taxes, because, as we all know, prostitution is
a lucrative business. Also, the governments would no longer have to spend enormous amounts of
money for hiring additional law officers to hunt down sex workers and the states would be more
in control of what is happening.

Prostitution is considered a victimless crime as long as the people involved are consenting adults
and no one is hurt. Prostitution does not imply there is always a victim. Moreover, once legalized,
prostitution would empower prostitutes to approach the police if they were in danger or having
problems with their clients and pimps.

Without the illegality and stigmatism of prostitution, more people would work as prostitutes and
with fewer middlemen and pimps, prostitutes would earn even more and the number of
unemployed people would be reduced. Without stigmatism of prostitution, prostitutes would be
able to transition to other lines of work that are more respectable, paid better, and are safer.
Additionally, it would encourage sex workers to start their own businesses without being under
the loop of greedy pimps.
Although medical results for HIV and STDs take time to be done,which can threaten health of
clients, legalization improves health care of prostitutes by making them use condoms, take care
of hygiene, and requiring weekly or monthly blood tests.

In Serbia, prostitution is not regulated in Criminal code. It is regulated in Public Peace and Order
Act as a violation of law. Our current law prohibits the prostitution – if a person violates the law,
he/shemay be either forced to pay the fine or be sentenced to prison from 30 to 60 days.

However, this should be changed – the best way to make a balance between advantages and
disadvantages of legalization is to make the prostitution legal for prostitutes themselves, but
illegal for their clients. Many countries have this kind of regulation and it has showed great