The Link Between Prostitution and Sex Crimes
Much of the debate regarding the legalization of prostitution concerns rape and sexual abuse. Advocates on both sides of the debate have compelling arguments on whether legalizing prostitution decreases the number of abusers and rapists attacking women in the street. Those who are in favour of decriminalization argue that legal avenues for sex workers do decrease such rates of abuse. However, there are those who disagree. The article below will provide a summary of some arguments.
Research has begun to look at this phenomenon, and various preliminary results have been reached. A study conducted by researchers at Baylor University and UCLA concluded that decriminalization in Rhode Island led to a 31 percent decline in rape in the state. This result would align as evidence with those who argue for the decriminalization of prostitution. Such advocates claim that sex work allows for those who have sexual desires to fulfill them with a professional sex worker, and not a non-consenting victim. It works by providing legally permissible ways to seek sexual activity, and keep the sex worker safe as well.
Not everyone agrees with the above argument. Opponents claim that decriminalization of prostitution does not reduce the abuse of women, legally or illegally. The women involved face an increase in demand, and imposed regulations may not actually lead to them being able to set the expectations of the sexual exchange. Furthermore, if someone has a violent tendency to attack women and commit sexual violence, they would do so anyway and would not be deterred by legal prostitution.
The controversial debate receives well-reasoned arguments from feminists on both sides, and will continue to spark discussion as various cities deal with the legality of sex work. While both advocates cite evidence as proof that their side deserves recognition in public policy, it is still a complicated path to follow.