ollege students were asked how they felt about prostitution and whether or not they thought prosti-
___ ‘ tution should be legal. Following are some of their
Female: Prostitution should be illegal, because it’s not healthy and morally wrong.
Male: / think prostitution should be legalized. If people want to pay to get laid, and other people are willing to make a career out of it, they should be allowed to. If prostitution was going to be legalized, there should be some rules and regulations and some way to make sure that everyone who is involved is clean and safe to have sex with.
Female: Prostitution should be legal simply because there will always be hookers, so why not tax them? Also, legalizing will decrease STI rates.
Male: I think everyone can do what they want. It’s kinda gross, but if someone wants to sell themselves for money, that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t ever come near them.
Female: Prostitution is disgusting. I don’t think anyone should sell themselves, and I don’t think anyone should be able to buy sex.
Male: Prostitution is one of the dangerous professions because it can spread STIs. I think it should be illegal because it endangers the welfare of the prostitutes and those who go to them.
Female: Prostitution should be illegal, because sex should be something special.
Male: Prostitution could be legal under certain circumstances. If prostitutes were being safe (and could be prosecuted if not), there wouldn’t be a problem.
Female: When people prostitute to make money for drug addictions, this is wrong. If they do it to make money for their kids, then it’s not right, but I can understand it more.
Male: Sex should be an intimate expression of love between two people, not merely a way to make money or have an orgasm.
Source: Author’s files.
are the largest of all the Nevada brothels. Brothels are locally owned small businesses that cater to both local and tourist customers. Although prostitution in Nevada is not a criminal offense, there are laws against enticing people into prostitution, such as pimping or advertising for prostitutes (H. Reynolds, 1986).
Crackdowns on prostitution in other areas of the United States (where prostitution is not legal) often result in driving it further underground. This is exactly what happened in New York City in the 1980s. After law officials cracked down on prostitution in Manhattan, many brothels moved to Queens. Some of the prostitutes began operating out of “massage parlors” or private homes, which were supported through drug money.
There are many groups in the United States and abroad that are working for the legalization of prostitution. In San Francisco in 1973, an organization called COYOTE (“Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics”) was formed by an ex-prostitute named Margo St. James to change the public’s views of prostitution. Today, COYOTE is regarded as the best-known prostitutes’ rights group in the United States. COYOTE’s mission is to repeal all laws against prostitution, to reshape prostitution into a credible occupation, and to protect the rights of prostitutes. Members argue that contrary to popular belief, not all prostitution is forced—some women voluntarily choose to prostitute, and so prostitution should be respected as a career choice.
Delores French, a prostitute, author, president of the Florida COYOTE group, and president of HIRE (“Hooking Is Real Employment”) argues that:
A woman has the right to sell sexual services just as much as she has the right to sell her brains to a law firm when she works as a lawyer, or to sell her creative work to a museum when she works as an artist, or to sell her image to a photographer when she works as a model, or to sell her body when she works as a ballerina. Since most people can have sex without going to jail, there is no reason except old fashioned prudery to make sex for money illegal. (Quoted in Jenness, 1990, p. 405)