Last updated on: 2/20/2009 | Author:

Lisa Wondolkowski Biography

Former Graduate Student in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Prostitution Be Legal?"

“In short, there is little evidence that current laws or enforcement attempts will rid a community of either the prostitutes or those who manage them. As noted in the case of Boston, zoning appears to be ineffective in ridding communities of prostitution and, in fact, seems responsible for generating a considerable amount of ancillary crime. Although informal sanctions, involving efforts to induce shame or social isolation, are sometimes institutionalized as methods of controlling the behavior of prostitutes or their customers, these sorts of efforts are rarely practiced in the United States where there are no institutionalized mechanisms for conducting this sort of effort. Some communities have organized, often in collaboration with local police departments, to harrass streetwalkers enough to rid their communities of them. Without providing them with any social services, offering them shelter, counseling, and educational and occupational training, it is common for them simply to ply their trade in another nearby neighborhood.

Because most Americans do not consider prostitution a serious social problem unless it confronts them at their own front doors and because those doors generally are not those of the wealthy and powerful, the aim of legislation and enforcement strategies is mostly symbolic. The goal is to control prostitution, not to eliminate it. The participant in prostitution most likely to cause a problem is a customer who has been robbed or otherwise injured at the hands of, or while in the company of, a prostitute. If law enforcement seeks to protect any one of the actors involved in prostitution, it is usually the customer. It is clear that efforts to regulate prostitution in this way leave the prostitute herself vulnerable to exploitation by the pimp, the customer, and the police.”

“The United States,” Prostitution: An International Handbook on Trends, Problems, and Policies, 1993

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Former graduate student, Department of Sociology, College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)
  • Attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)
  • None found