The economics behind prostitution
In major cities around the world, both time and money are being wasted in the fight against prostitution. Not only are politicians constantly devising new methods of eliminating the prostitutes, but also the mayors of these cities are continuously squandering precious amounts of money in trying to rid the streets of prostitutes. What the politicians do not realize however is that no matter how hard they try, they will never fully eradicate prostitution. Sex is essential to the human being; if one is willing to pay for it, someone else will always be willing to perform it. Moreover, if sex is legal, and paying for services is also legal, then why shouldn t paid sex be legal? In Amsterdam, Holland, prostitution has been legalized. Not only does this allow the city to focus on more important issues as homelessness and criminal activity, it also brings in a large profit from the tourists who come to Amsterdam for the sex.
There are those who claim that establishing brothels in a city will lower the market values of neighboring residential properties. They further maintain that these lower value properties will attract the attention of lower-income people, thereby bringing in the wrong types of people to live in the neighborhood. These wrong types of people would hurt the economy, because they would be relying on the government for welfare. However, a map of Amsterdam shows that in the red-light district (area set aside for prostitution), only 9-13% of the population were unemployed as of January 1, 1999 (Amsterdam, 1). Moreover, a corresponding map shows that there were at least 750 jobs per 1000 inhabitants in that same area as of January 1, 1998. This number of available jobs was far higher than the amount available in any other district in the city. Because of the popularity of the sex industry, the houses of prostitution charge high rates. Thus, the area outside the red light district would not bring in low-income people, but would instead attract the higher income people to live there, which would help the economy.
Opponents of the legalization of prostitution assert that prostitution may be eliminated through the use of 12-step programs for johns and prostitutes. These programs supposedly teach these miscreants about the evils of prostitution, and would slowly back them away from it. They further maintain that if they continually use the police force to push prostitutes off the streets, the prostitutes would eventually become discouraged, and not return to the streets. However, there is not one city in the world that has successfully eliminated prostitution. Moreover, when one craves sex, one will not take no for an answer, even after one has been taught the evils of commercial sex. As the world s oldest profession, prostitution, like a faithful dog, will not leave its owner s side. The owners will continue to call on it even if it is made illegal. In trying to vacuum the streets of prostitutes, the government would just waste increasing amounts money and time into more police officers. In fact, the average arrest, court, and incarceration costs amount to approximately $2,000.00 per arrest. Moreover, cities spend an average 7.5 million dollars a year on prostitution control (PENet: Prostitution Issues: Statistics, 2). By legalizing prostitution, as in Amsterdam, the government could not only save itself 7.5 million dollars a year, but could make a profit off prostitution. In fact, in Amsterdam, the average prostitute charges $50 for a fifteen-minute encounter (World Sex Guide Document: Amsterdam_report1, 2). If this prostitute had 7 customers a day, and worked 365 days a year, this government could make a quite a handsome profit through her income taxes. Furthermore, with over 5000 prostitutes working legally, this government has turned what could have been a huge loss into gigantic gain. However if the government really does wish to curb the spreading of prostitution, it could tax the brothels heavily and raise their licensing fees. In this way, if people still wish to open up brothels, they will have to pay a lot. But if this fails to curb the opening of brothels, the government will only benefit more financially, and not waste money on useless enforcements.
Some people may argue that the legalization of prostitution may encourage more women to start selling themselves for sex, as it is an easy profession that requires absolutely no training or education. Because of the ease of such an occupation, and because of its legality, these people further assert that this would encourage youngsters to start prostituting themselves. However, only the poorest and least-educated women will start doing so out of the lack of money or opportunity to do otherwise. Any women with a decent job will not leave it to become a prostitute. As of now, because prostitution is illegal, many homeless women take up prostitution as their occupation, as they have no other choice to earn money. If they did not do so, they would end up dying on the streets of starvation. However, this situation wastes the government s money, as these prostitutes would most likely end up in prison. At a cost of $2000 per arrest, as more and more women start prostituting themselves, the amount of money wasted would speedily increase. If prostitution were legal, as in Amsterdam, all these homeless women would not only be able to avoid incarceration, but would have jobs, and be off the streets. With a homeless population of around 4000 people out of a population of 727,095, Amsterdam s prostitution trade is a success (HVO and Querido, 1). Thus, the legalization of prostitution would create jobs and help lower the number of homeless people.
If prostitution were legalized all around the world, the prostitute would be accepted as an integral and important part of all wage earners of the world. Other wage earners would rely on her for sexual gratification, helping to relieve their tension, and thus improving their abilities to perform their jobs. Meanwhile, the prostitute is able to deliver without fear of being arrested. Thus, the relationship between the worker and sex worker is beneficial for both parties. Whereas now, the worker would be considered a john participating in illegal activities, and the prostitute would be breaking the law, with the legalization of prostitution, both would be participating in lawful activity.