Pro

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), wrote in its 2007 Policy 211, faxed to ProCon.org on Apr. 30, 2007:

“The ACLU supports the decriminalization of prostitution and opposes state regulation of prostitution. The ACLU also condemns the abuse of vagrancy or loitering laws or licensing or regulatory schemes to harass and arrest those who may be engaged in solicitation for prostitution. While there are both male and female prostitutes, laws against prostitution most frequently refer to, or are applied to woman. Despite the statutory stress on female prostitution, the ACLU’s policy is applicable to prostitutes of both sexes…

Such laws have traditionally represented one of the most direct forms of discrimination against women. The woman who engage in prostitution is punished criminally and stigmatized socially while her male customer, either by the explicit design of the statute or through a pattern of discriminatory enforcement is left unscathed.

Prostitution laws are also a violation of the right of individual privacy because they impose penal sanctions for the private sexual conduct of consenting adults. Whether a person chooses to engage in sexual activity for purposes of recreation, or in exchange for something of value, is a matter of individual choice, not for governmental interference. Police use of entrapment techniques to enforce laws against this essentially private activity is reprehensible. Similarly, the use of loitering and vagrancy laws to punish prostitutes for their status or to make arrests on the basis of reputation and appearance, is contrary to civilized notions of due process of law.

Since the ACLU policy is that prostitution should not be made criminal, solicitation for prostitution is entitled to the protection of the First Amendment.

The ACLU reaffirms its policy favoring removal of criminal penalties for prostitution and in support of total sexual freedom among consenting adults in private.”

2007