Last updated on: 2/4/2008 | Author:

Ronald Weitzer, PhD Biography

Professor of Sociology at George Washington University
Pro to the question "Should Prostitution Be Legal?"

“Policy makers often fail to draw the crucial distinction between street and offstreet prostitution, partly because both types are criminalized by law throughout the United States. But since prostitution manifests itself in fundamentally different ways on the street and in indoor venues, it is only sensible to treat the two differently. One model would (1) target resources exclusively toward the control of street prostitution and (2) relax controls on indoor prostitution such as escort agencies, massage parlors, call girls, and brothels…

The two-track model outlined here has advantages over both the current policy of blanket criminalization and the alternatives of decriminalization and legalization. It is arguably superior to the other approaches in satisfying key tests: public preferences regarding the proper focus of law enforcement, effecient use of criminal justice resources, and the harm-reduction principle. Essential ingredients of the policy include (1) redirecting control efforts from indoor to street prostitution, (2) gender-neutral law enforcement, and (3) providing support services and assistance for persons who want to leave prostitution…”

“Prostitution Control in America,” Crime, Law & Social Change, Sep. 1999

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Professor of Sociology, George Washington University, 1988-present
  • Chair, University Committee of Criminal Justice, George Washington University
  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1985
  • BA, Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1975
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Would Legal Prostitution Better Protect Prostitutes from Violence?