Does Law Enforcement Want Prostitution Legalized?

PRO (yes)

Norm Stamper, PhD, Former Police Chief of Seattle, Washington, when asked "What about your position that prostitution should be legalized? What led you to that conclusion?" in the Nov. 2, 2005 In These Times article "Breaking Rank," said:

"Prostitution is more difficult. I know that there are women who are drawn to the sex industry and entered it voluntarily and get quite upset if others say it is a demeaning occupation... I also know that many women are not there by choice. It offends my sensibilities to know that a 16-year-old girl could physically or psychologically be forced into the sex industry.

On the other hand, if you're taking the view that adults can make choices about what to do with their bodies and their lives, you have to have some intellectual integrity on this issue. Then, the more compelling issue becomes the personal safety of sex workers. If you look at the majority of serial killers, they are doing it outdoors and with the use of their cars. Very few states and no major cities haven't experienced the serial killing of prostitutes. For me, the logical solution is to take it indoors and get it off the streets. Even indoor prostitution carries it's own risks, but on the whole it is safer."

Nov. 2, 2005 - Norm Stamper, PhD 

Jim McGinty, LLB, Attorney General of Western Australia at the time of the quotation, was quoted in the June 18, 2007 The West Australian online article, "WA to Legalise Brothels Next Year," as having said:

"We all know that prostitution is the oldest profession, attempts at prohibition have always failed, everywhere in the world, and so there is now a recognition that we need to regulate something that we cannot prohibit."

June 18, 2007 - Jim McGinty, LLB 

Joseph McNamara, DPA, Former Police Chief of Kansas City, Missouri and San Jose, California, in a Jan. 28, 2004 interview "Legalization of Prostitution" hosted by Sakura Saunders on the radio station KDVS in Davis, CA, said:

"My feeling is that it [prostitution] is not in the area of behavior that really can be controlled or should be controlled by criminal laws. It's consensual conduct between two or more people. It has been going on as long as recorded history. Trying to stop it by criminal law has proven to be an enormous failure that has led to corruption, it has led to violence, and it certainly has not lessened prostitution but probably made it much less profitable...

In terms of the philosophy of a free society of America its wrong on that basis and secondly when you look at the pragmatic parts of it, it is unenforceable. And thirdly its an enormous misuse of scarce police resources where we have women and children in danger from violent serial sex criminals and killers, that is what we should be concentrating on, not how many arrests we can make for prostitution."

Jan. 28, 2004 - Joseph McNamara, DPA 

Wade Lieseke, Nye County Sheriff, Nevada, was quoted in the July 20, 1998 Washington Times article "'Go to Vegas,' Chief Tells Johns Seeking Hookers," as having said:

"In my county, I don't have a prostitution problem because it's legalized...

I see a lot of law enforcement agencies pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into preventing prostitution and the crime associated with it. We don't have to do that...

It's like throwing that money down a black hole because prostitution just doesn't go away...

Pimps of street prostitutes are vicious people, whereas, in a legal business the prostitutes are independent contractors and aren't beaten out of their money."

July 20, 1998 - Wade Lieseke 

Pelham D. Glassford, former Police Chief of Washington, D.C. and U.S. Army Brigadier General, wrote a letter to Phoenix, Arizona officials and reprinted in part in May 11, 1936 Time Magazine which stated:

"Prostitution is as old as history. It is in violation of our .laws [sic] and ordinances. It cannot be eliminated by legislation nor by law enforcement.


May 11, 1936 - Pelham D. Glassford 

CON (no)

J. Robert Flores, JD, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice and former Acting Deputy Chief of the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, in the July 17, 2000 Insight on the News magazine article "Symposium," wrote:

"While there certainly may be those who work as prostitutes by what they define as their own choice and who claim to find fulfillment, these statistically insignificant cases should not be the basis for international or domestic law or policy. More importantly, if the global community is to take effective action against organized crime, every avenue of their operations effectively must be closed...

Whether we will stay silent as it opens in the night to release a plague on women and children or whether we will stop it from entering the global gate will say a great deal about us. While it is uncertain that we ever will stop the rich from exploiting the poor, we can at least make certain that we will not, in this instance, institutionalize such exploitation or give it the stamp of U.S. approval."

July 17, 2000 - J. Robert Flores, JD 

Boris Velchev, PhD, Prosecutor General of Bulgaria, was quoted in the Oct. 15, 2007 Sofia Echo article "Precious Thoughts on a Sensitive Bulgarian Subject," as having said:

"For me prostitution equals exploitation and I think we could never be sure what is happening behind the doors of these public houses and no one can guarantee me that the women there are not being exploited. For me, if we make prostitution legal by adopting a law this will mean that that there will be a legitimate reason for someone to legally exploit someone else."

Oct. 15, 2007 - Boris Velchev, PhD 

Joseph E. Schmitz, JD, former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense, in his speech "Military Chaplains as Moral Leaders: A Central Role in Suppressing 21st Century Human Slavery," delivered at the Feb. 9, 2005 XVI International Military Chaplains Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, said:

"Some officials...assert that these women [prostitutes] consent to their employment. According to our Military Police in one country where I inspected, the contracts for these 'entertainers' are sold weekly from one establishment to another. This is human slavery, plain, simple, and morally repugnant...

For the women forced to live under inhuman conditions until they have earned enough money to 'buy back' their freedom – or die from venereal diseases or physical abuse – prostitution is hardly a victimless crime...

I'm sure you've heard people rationalize that efforts to suppress prostitution will inevitably fail because 'It's the world's oldest profession.' For those who suggest legalization of prostitution as a solution, I would suggest they read the most recent U.S. State Department report on human trafficking...

It validates 'a direct link between prostitution and trafficking.'"

Feb. 9, 2005 - Joseph E. Schmitz, JD 

Edmonton Police Services, Canada, in the section entitled "Understanding Prostitution" on its website (accessed Dec. 18, 2007), wrote that:

"If prostitutes are not incarcerated and they continue to ply their trade on the streets, their continued presence will impact the entire community. Whether prostitution attracts other crime or whether other crime attracts prostitution is debated. Regardless of the direction of association, prostitution not only ensures violence towards those involved, it also disintegrates communities and affects the safety of our streets."

Dec. 18, 2007 - Edmonton Police Services 

Charles H. Ramsey, former Police Chief of Washington, D.C., said in a May 11, 1999 interview on "Levey Live," on the Washington Post website:

"I believe that two crimes make a city look totally out of control. That's open prostitution and open air drug trafficking. I was appalled at the blatant prostitution taking place in the District and I have been determined to put an end to it. You're right that often times a problem is simply displaced when strong enforcement action is taken, that's to be expected, actually. The key is to shift resources to the new location and continue to take strong enforcement action wherever the problem crops up. Eventually, people engaged in this kind of activity either stop or leave the area altogether."

May 11, 1999 - Charles H. Ramsey