Criminal Justice – Assignment Example
Introduction Prostitution, commonly referred to as the oldest profession, is a topic that evokes controversy the world over. This is due to a raging debate that pits two camps against each other. One camp champions for its legalization while the other seeks to criminalize prostitution.
The argument that prostitution is a form of male violence against women is fundamentally flawed. This is because it wrongly assumes that people who sell their bodies as a way of earning income are but helpless victims left at the mercy of their customers. Such an argument from those in the anti prostitution camp is self destructing since it conjures an image of a prostitute as a person who has lost the power of choice and is nothing short of a zombie who needs to be rescued.
Each person is entitled to free choice on what to do with his or her own body as long as it does not harm or infringe on the rights of other people. Prostitutes undergo stigmatization for selling their bodies yet the media glamorizes models, athletes and actors when they sell their bodies as a form of income. Women should have the right to break free of the repressive patriarchal mindsets that pervade today’s societies and laws. Laws that criminalize prostitution almost invariably target the women who conduct this trade. To permit women to sell sex is thus a way of empowering them as it liberates them from control by men and even helps to assert their sexuality as having great value. Research has shown that in societies where gender inequality exists, sexual coercion is inevitable. This promotes domestic violence and increases the risk for the transmission of HIV (Raymond, para12).
In his article on the legalization of prostitution, Bovard posits that police waste their time chasing and arresting semi naked women instead of pursuing serious felons such as murderers. He further argues that laws against prostitution cause police to employ questionable tactics in their investigations. One such tactic involves video taping people in hotel rooms to acquire evidence of the transaction. However, in this process, they also invariably end up videotaping married couples, which is very unethical.
He further quotes a study published in the Hastings law journal, which showed that police in the previous year in the states of Boston, Cleveland and Houston had arrested twice the number of people for engaging in prostitution than they did for all murders, rapes and thefts combined, while the offenders escaped arrest for more than 90% of these crimes. The jailing of prostitutes also works against the prison reform system that seeks to try to de-congest prisons across twenty states and filling prisons with prostitutes instead of felons beats this purpose (Bovard, para14).
It is noteworthy to point out that in countries where there is legalization of prostitution such as New Zealand, coercion and assault of prostitutes has gone down, as has exploitation by clients. In other countries such as the Netherlands, prostitution is an important source of revenue for the country contributing to 5% of the GDP.
Bovard, J (1998). The Legalization of Prostitution. Retrieved 10th May, 2010, from http://www.fff.org/freedom/0998d.asp
Raymond, J et al (2001). Sex Trafficking of Women in the United States: Links Between International and Domestic Sex Industries. Retrieved 10th May, 2010, from http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/issues/prostitution_legalizing.html