Last updated on: 8/15/2013 | Author:

Billy J. Long, PhD Biography

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Ferrum College
Pro to the question "Should Prostitution Be Legal?"

“[L]egalization [of prostitution] will help to protect women from sexually transmitted diseases, pimps, and abusive men. Prostitutes will become more professionalized and women will at least be partially liberated from patriarchal structures because women will be able to use prostitution as a way of escaping violent relationships. Women also will increase their economic power via redistribution of wealth from males to females.

In essence, the draconian laws that seek to prevent willing participants from engaging in normal behavior (in this case sex) are pointless almost to absurdity. Sex is legal; free market capitalism whereby a person is free to sell their talents also is legal. Does it make sense, then, to criminalize the two when they occur simultaneously? To answer this question in the affirmative is a non-sequitur.

Finally, legalization is supported by ethical theory. The deontological ethical tradition argues that in order for a behavior to be considered ethical, it must pass the categorical imperative test. That is, if we are to criminalize a behavior, the criminalization process must be universal otherwise we are hypocrites. …[T]he vast majority of times when sex takes place with reciprocity in mind it is considered legal. It is only when prostitutes receive cash that society lashes out against them. As Immanuel Kant noted, ‘act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law without contradiction”. The criminalization of private prostitution clearly violates that ethical principle.”

“Freedom for Women in the Sex Work Occupation: Twenty-Three Reasons Why Prostitution Should Be Legalized In America,” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Aug. 2012

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Ferrum College
  • PhD, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • MA, East Tennessee State University
  • BS, East Tennessee State University
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Is Prostitution a Victimless Crime?