Pro

Sherry F. Colb, JD, Professor of Law and Judge Frederick Lacey Scholar at Rutgers Law School, wrote in her Dec. 17, 2006 email to ProCon.org:

“Prostitution should not be a crime. Prostitutes are not committing an inherently harmful act. While the spread of disease and other detriments are possible in the practice of prostitution, criminalization is a sure way of exacerbating rather than addressing such effects. We saw this quite clearly in the time of alcohol prohibition in this country…

I would like the government to decriminalize prostitution but to regulate it in the way that other intimate service professions (such as massage therapists and doctors) are regulated on the basis of hygiene-related concerns.

One thing I would add is that there is a double-standard that permeates the enforcement of laws against prostitution. The prostitutes are harassed, arrested, and sometimes prosecuted, while the johns (and often the pimps, who are far more likely to be engaged in violent and master/slave-like treatment of the prostitutes) are ignored. This reflects the view that men who traffic in women are not as bad as the women in whom they traffic. If people are honestly concerned about the wellbeing of women in this profession, then they must begin by removing the status of ‘outlaw’ from these women so that they can come forward and receive help if and when they feel they want to leave a profession that can otherwise be quite difficult to escape.”

Dec. 17, 2006