Should contractual sex be legalized?
Resources used to support "yes"
Until the 1960s, attitudes toward prostitution were based on Judeo-Christian views of immorality.
Researchers have recently attempted to separate moral issues from the reality of prostitution. The
rationale for its continued illegal status in the U.S. rests on three assumptions: 1) prostitution is
linked to organized crime; 2) prostitution is responsible for much ancillary crime; and 3)
prostitution is the cause of an increase in venereal disease. These assumptions are now in
question. Furthermore, strong arguments have been made in support of legalizing prostitution.
Decriminalization would free the courts and police from handling victimless crime, allowing these
forces more time to deal with serious violent crime. The issue of prostitution has been partially
resolved through decriminalization and tolerance. The U.S. remains one of the few countries with
laws against prostitution. In other nations, criminal laws seek instead to deal with the social
problems of prostitution through control of public solicitation and restriction of those who would
This article argues for decriminalization rather than
legalization of all private consenting adult commercial sexual behavior.
[Recommended by Dawn Burden.]
- Prostitution Law
Reform: Defining Terms
This article contains accurate definitions of legalization and
decriminialization - with reasons supporting both. It is easily
understood and very informative. [Recommended by Stacy Baker and
- Prostitution in the
United States - The Statistics
This article consists of statistics regarding
prostitution and the figures, which are based on studies compiled
through the 1980's, reflect current trends. It is very interesting and
informative [Recommended by Stacy Baker.]
- Legalization of
Prostitution: Since Sex Sells, Why Not Make a Profit? by Robyn E.
This article about legalizing prostitution includes some very
good arguments. It also discusses the reasons why people and society do
not want to legalize prostitution; these are based on the "moralistic and
paternalistic" rather than the "legal and practical."
[Recommended by Stacy Baker.]
Workers Alliance of Vancouver
SWAV was founded in 1994 to fight for sex
workers' right to fair wages and for safe and healthy working
conditions. This Web page provides good information for those who are
interested in the decriminialization of prostitution.
[Recommended by Stacy Baker.]
Committee for Prostitutes" Rights: World Charter for Prostitutes
This document presents rules and regulations that
would aid prostitutes and help to legalize their jobs as sex
workers. [Recommended by LaLaunie Hayes.]
- National Task Force on
Information explaining the NTFP, its goals and
how it benefits prostitutes. [Recommended by LaLaunie
- Prostitutes of New York
This is a support group for prostitutes that call
for an end to police sweeps and gives health and legal
referrals. [Recommended by Laurie Matthies.]
- Resolution for
Decriminalization of Prostitution Regarding Immigant Issues
This document is part of the San Francisco Task Force on
Prostitution Final Report for 1996. It discusses problems involved with
making sex work illegal and recommends solutions. [Recommended by
- Carr, S.V. (1995). The health of women working in the sex industry: Amoral and ethical
perspective. Sexual and Marital Therapy, 10, (2), 201-213.
Discusses the health of prostitutes and the legal systems attempts to suppress
prostitution and its effects.
- Clark, C. (1993). Prostitution: Will the neighborhood crackdown curb the sex trade. CQ
Researcher, 3, 507-527.
This article discusses the pros and cons of decriminalizing prostitution.
- Engelstein, L. (1988). Gender and the judicial subject:
Prostitution and rape in the
nineteenth-century Russian criminal codes. The Journal of Modern History, 78, 459-465.
This article centers on the enactment of national Law of
Social Prophylaxis in 1936.
It covers a series of laws designed to move public health laws under national
- Pheterson, G. (1990). Issue II: Feminist perspectives on sexuality. Journal of Sex Research,
27, (3), 397-407.
Explains how society has a negative look toward prostitution. It suggests that the
fact that they are labeled, they are seen as being bad.
- Rijo, L.M. (1991). Psychological and sociological research and the decriminalization or
legalization of prostitution. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 20, (2), 205-218.
Provides information on the pros and cons of the legalization and decriminalization
- Scivelli, P. (1987). Empowering prostitutes: A proposal for international legal reform.
Harvard Women's Law Journal, 10, 117-157.
Discusses the legalization and deregulation of prostitution. It claims criminalization
leaves prostitutes vulnerable to police harassment and abuse by pimps and clients.
- Shaver, F. (1985). Prostitution: A critical analysis of 3 policy approaches. (Journal) Can
Public Policy, 11, 493-503.
Evaluates criminalization/legalization and decriminalization.
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- Heyl, B.S. (1979). The Madam as entrepreneur: Career management in house prostitution.
New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.
- Jenness, V. (1993). Making it work: The prostitutes' rights movement in perspective. New
York, NY: Aldine de Guyter.
- Pheterson, G. (1989). A vindication of the rights of whores: The international struggle for
prostitutes' rights. Seattle, WA: Seal Press.
- Reynolds, H. (1985). The economics of prostitution. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas.