Last updated on: 2/23/2018 | Author:

Is Prostitution Immoral or Demeaning?

PRO (yes)


Joe Vargas, MA, former Captain of the Anaheim Police Department, in a Feb. 26, 2017 article for Behind the Badge OC titled “Vargas: Legalizing Prostitution Would Do Nothing to Curb Abuse, Degradation of Women,” wrote:

“In my police career, I met and even developed working relationships with ‘working girls.’ The work is nothing like Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman.’ It is deplorable and in many ways degrades and robs the participants of fragile parts of their humanity…

I would say the idea that prostitution should be legalized is wrong. For those few who suggest otherwise, I would argue sex for money is illegal not just because it’s immoral, but because it’s just plain bad for women at every level.”

Feb. 26, 2017


Dorn Checkley, Director of the Pittsburg Coalition Against Pornography, wrote “Legalized Prostitution?” on the Wholehearted website (accessed Jan. 22, 2007), which stated:

“Prostitution as an institution is evil. It doesn’t matter if it is the ‘world’s oldest profession’, it is still wrong. However, prostitutes themselves are not evil and neither are their johns. They are usually broken and needy individuals seemingly trapped by the circumstances of their lives. Ultimately, to accept and legitimize prostitutes and johns is not compassionate, it is lazy. Not to undertake the difficult task of leading, encouraging and calling them to the higher way is a failure to love as Jesus would have loved them.”

Jan. 22, 2007


Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired physician, in the Feb. 3, 2005 City Journal article “Welfare-to-Work’s New Thrust,” wrote:

“A few years ago, prostitutes disappeared from the pages of medical journals; they returned as ‘sex workers.’ Nor did they work in prostitution any more: they were employees in the ‘sex industry.’ Presumably, orgasms are now a consumer product just like any other. As for pimps, the correct term is probably: ‘brief sexual liaison coordinators’…

The idea of the state coercing its population into prostitution is, of course, repellent. Even the most liberal of liberals would probably agree with that. This means that there is after all a moral difference between prostitution and washing dishes in the local restaurant or stacking supermarket shelves. And that prostitution is both age-old and ineradicable does not make it any less degrading to all concerned.

Once again, the attempt to remake our moral universe by a change of terminology stands revealed as shallow moral exhibitionism.”

Feb. 3, 2005


Tony Nassif, Founder and President of the Cedars Cultural and Educational Foundation, wrote the July 19, 2005 letter posted on its website, which said:

“Who would ever think that the shameful and dark behavior of prostitution would now be advocated to be ‘mainstream’ acceptable in the popular culture?

How is it that it advanced this far? The degeneration of moral absolutes has been eroded by the jackhammer of existentialism and situational ethics. Years ago it was seen not only as shameful but a stigma for a man to solicit a prostitute…

Some say ‘well, what they do in the privacy of their own bedroom is no concern of mine. I don’t think we should judge. I don’t think we should impose our morals on others.’ Here’s a reality check. Every law on the books is an attempt to legislate morality because morality is a standard of right and wrong. The question is ‘which morals will govern?’ What people do in the privacy of their own bedroom does affect us all. AIDS is epidemic…

The march of the perverse will continue unless people of logic, reason and moral common sense don’t take a stand and take action to resist the movement to legalize that which destroys the souls of those who practice it and is a vehicle to infect a nation and those who practice it.”

July 19, 2005


Bill O’Donnell, former Nevada state senator (R-Las Vegas), was quoted by Alexa Albert in Brothel (2001) as having said:

“It bothers me that we’re [Nevada] making money off the backs of women. Condoning prostitution is the most demeaning and degrading thing that the state can do to women. What we do as a state is essentially put a U.S.-grade stamp on the butt of every prostitute. Instead, we should be turning them around by helping them get back into society.”


CON (no)


Laura Lee, escort, writer, and sex worker advocate, in a Sep. 8, 2014 article for Ravishly titled “Sex Workers Want Rights – Not Rescue,” wrote:

“To understand sex work, we must first define the term. My definition is simply two consenting adults exchanging sex for cash. This definition is important, because all too often sex work is conflated with trafficking, child sex abuse and rape – and it is these conflations that drive the scrutiny and negative attention we in the industry so often face… I believe that morality has no place in any discussion on sex work. It has a way, though, of sneaking in – often through the religious orders who are proposing the further criminalization of our trade…

Sex work is work, just like any other. And those of us in the industry deserve support and respect – not to be reviled and stigmatized. As sex workers we want rights – not rescue.”

Sep. 8, 2014


Ninos P. Malek, PhD, Professor of Economics at De Anza College, in a Mar. 1, 2017 article for titled “Why Can’t You Pay for Sex?,” wrote:

“Consensual sex is legal. But as soon as one party offers cash to another in exchange for sex and that money is voluntarily accepted, it’s considered prostitution, and that is illegal. This is hypocritical, illogical, and wasteful – and it needs to stop…

Perhaps you think sex work is an immoral lifestyle. However, it is arguably no less moral than a lifestyle of random ‘hooking up,’ or the stereotypical lifestyle of the professional athlete or rock star who brags about how many women he has had sex with…

It is the duty of government to protect property rights and to prosecute individuals who coerce or force themselves upon others. However, the government needs to stop wasting resources on voluntary, adult sexual exchanges… It is time to put an end to this hypocritical and wasteful prosecution of sex workers and their clients.”

Mar. 1, 2017


Laurie Shrage, PhD, former Professor of Philosophy at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, was quoted in the Nov. 1, 2004 article “U.S. Feminists Split Over Berkeley Prostitution Measure” written by Kai Ma in the North Gate News Online, as having said:

“For feminists like me, punitive laws against prostitution symbolize one of [the] things I’d most like to change about our society, namely double standards of sexual morality that result in stigmatizing not just prostitutes, but many unconventional women, as sluts or whores.”

Nov. 1, 2004


Alexa Albert, MD, wrote in her 2001 book Brothel that:

“However disturbing the idea of commercial sex may be to some of us, it’s naïve to believe that prostitution can ever be eliminated. The demand will be met with supply one way or another, no matter what is legislated. Turning our backs on the women (and men) who do this work may be far more immoral – even criminal – than prostitution itself. Only when we recognize and validate the work of professional prostitutes can we expect them to practice their trade safely and responsibly.”



Catherine La Croix, Executive Director and Founder of Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE) chapter in Seattle, was quoted in the Oct 1996 Internet Underground article “Love For Sale” by Tommy Ranks as having said:

“Why is it illegal to charge for what can be freely dispensed? Sex work is no more moral or immoral than the chocolate or distilling industries.”

Oct. 1996


The Economist wrote in its Feb. 14, 1998 editorial “Giving the Customer What He Wants” that:

“Prohibition of gambling and alcohol have both been tried in varying degrees in dozens of countries around the world, always with the result of stimulating illegality and sleaze. The sex industry appears to be no different. All developed economies have conceded that the business is impossible to stamp out. Tolerating prostitution while leaving it technically illegal or semi-legal encourages corruption: policemen are paid to turn a blind eye. It also renders the workers helpless against their employers. Until recently, sex slaves who escaped from brothels in most European countries were usually deported as illegal aliens, which hardly helped the authorities nail their oppressors. The inexorable trend, in both law and public morals, is towards legalisation of what is already tolerated.

That would free law-enforcers to concentrate on what is not tolerated, such as the sexual exploitation of children. And it would put the greater part of the sex business where it ultimately belongs – as just another branch of the global entertainment industry.”

Feb. 14, 1998