Sample Sociology Paper on Legalizing Prostitution

Prostitution refers to the practice or business involved in the provision of sexual services to another person in exchange for a payment. A prostitute or a commercial sex worker receives payment in return for sexual services. This practice is one of the branches in the sex industry, and its legal status varies from country to country. It is the oldest profession in the world, even tracing its roots to the bible, and other holy books used in other religions. It has the highest returns in revenue from the business, since there are no control mechanisms in the industry. Sex tourism can also involve prostitution. Furthermore, prostitution has many controversies debated on moral, religious and social levels. Some of them promote the trade, while others condemn the trade (Pitcher, O’Neill and sander 16).

One of the main reasons why people promote prostitution is the economic benefits that come along with it. Prostitution is the oldest trade in the world, where both men and women sell sex in exchange for payments. In countries where there is control of prostitution, for example, through brothels and pimp houses, the economies can generate a lot of income from them especially through taxation. In this case, prostitutes have legal rights and protection from the government (Jeffreys 174). They also receive counseling and treatment services from psychological experts and doctors. However, in most countries where the trade does not have legal backing, the men and women in sex trade do their business in backstreets and dark alleys of major towns and cities at night or during daytime. The prostitute gets all the payments, but has no protection from the law in case they get harassed or offended by their clients.

The main reason why most societies condemn prostitution is the risks that come along with the trade. The main risk is the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes. These diseases are deadly and can eliminate an entire population in a short period. Prostitution promotes the transfer and infection of these diseases because it involves having sexual relations with numerous sex partners. This is very risky because some of them do not practice safe sex, do not have the knowledge of how to protect them, or simply do not care about using any protection as long as they receive the economic benefits that accrue from the intercourse. This eventually robs a nation from its valuable work force necessary to propel the country to its targeted developmental heights. It also creates a pool of dependants. These are orphans, widows, and widowers left behind after the demise of their loved ones. Too many dependants in an economy pull down its development and slow down its growth (Davis 139).

The moral standing on offering sex in exchange for money is another reason why most societies shun the trade. It is morally wrong for one to sell herself or himself to receive money or any other form of compensation or favors. This is a sign of moral degradation in the society as it beats its norms and requirements. A good society requires a woman to live a life of chastity. It lauds virginity and shuns promiscuity. The woman could then get married to a good husband, and be faithful in her marriage. An act of infidelity in the marriage is punishable by societal cord of conduct. Therefore, they do not condone any acts of prostitution. Religious teachings also condemn the act. The bible teaches that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, therefore practice of any vices such as commercial sex degrade and destroy the temple. Furthermore, they require one to have only one sexual partner, and practice faithfulness in the relationship. The only union with permission to have sex is matrimony, where sex takes place between a married husband and wife. The bible condemns adultery and fornication, which are the confines of prostitution (Elias 42).

Nonetheless, promoters of the trade argue that prostitution provides a safety valve for unhappy married men and single men. Some marriages on the rocks end up depriving their partners’ conjugal rights. This lack of services at home pushes married men to seek solace on the streets with prostitutes. Prostitution provides an escape for the men to get their sexual demands satisfied with no strings attached. The single men who have no partners to take care of their needs have an option of contracting prostitutes for their bodily desires. This promotes the trade in the society, and reduces to a large extent extreme case of sex deprivation, e.g. sexual violence and rapes (Spector 1).

Prostitution is not a crime because the act is not inherently harmful. On the contrary, it provides a solution to sexually deprived men to satisfy their desires, and for economically disadvantaged women to get an income to support their families. Prostitution is a commercial enterprise, only that it takes place on someone’s’ body (Lankford 12). As long as the two people consenting to the practice are of legal age and have a mutual agreement, then it is not criminal. What is criminal is when one of the partners uses force, cajole or intimidation to make the other partner have sex with them. It is also criminal to have sex with a minor.

Prostitution also creates a setting that commercializes crimes against men, women and children. It becomes an assault when one forces a prostitute to engage in sex scenes that are sadomasochistic.  In addition, when a pimp forces a prostitute to submit to sexual demands as a condition for employment, it becomes sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, or rape. Furthermore, child sexual abuse, defilement, battery comprise the crimes of prostitution (Weitzer 3). The government should protect prostitutes from such crimes of battery, harassment, and abuse since despite their mode of trade, they are no lesser citizens than their customers who continuously solicit for their services.

In conclusion, legalizing prostitution may or may not provide the right solution that will satisfy all the stakeholders across the social, religious and political divide. Legalizing it gives freedom to the prostitutes to practice their trade under safe circumstances, control the spread and infection of aids, and to treat and protect the prostitutes as well as their partners. Legal prostitution also enables the government to provide social amenities for the prostitutes, control spread of diseases, and even tax their earnings. Denying it legal backing does not stop the social vice. Instead, they continue doing the vice behind the lines, and this increases the risks associated with the practice (Flowers 153). This may lead to massive infections, numerous deaths, and uncountable cases of abortion, rape and sexual abuse.


Work cited

Davis, Nanette. Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems, and Policies. New York: Greenwood Press, 1993. Print.

Elias, James. Prostitution: On Whores, Hustlers, and Johns. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1998.Print.

Flowers, Barri. The Prostitution of Women and Girls. San Joaquin, California: McFarland, 1998. Print.

Jeffreys, Sheila. The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade. London: Routledge Publishers, 2008. Print.

Lankford, Ronnie. Prostitution. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale Publications, 2008. Print.

Pitcher, Jane, O’Neill Maggie and Sanders Teela. Prostitution: Sex Work, Policy and Politics. London: Sage Publications Limited, 2009. Print.

Spector, Jessica. Prostitution and Pornography: Philosophical Debate about the Sex Industry. Palo Alto, California: Stanford University Press, 2006. Print.

Weitzer, Ronald. Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business. New York: New York University Press, 2012. Print.