PUBLIC OPINION > Prostitution Should Be Legal

Living 2012/07/26 21:00:00
The Global Commission on HIV and the Law issued a report suggesting that nations eliminate laws banning "consensual sex work" -- i.e., prostitution. It's an interesting claim coming from an organization aimed at preventing sexually transmitted disease, but their hope is that legalization would lead to regulation and safer practice. We asked the public if prostitution should be legal.

Nearly two-thirds of the population admitted that it thinks prostitution should be legal. However, it's important to understand that this doesn't necessarily reflect the public's moral opinion of the topic. The question is explicitly legal. Most people think it should be a choice. One commenter wrote, "By legalizing it, mandatory health screenings can be required for the safety of the prostitute and the buyer. Trying to keep it illegal only keeps the thing in the dark where roaches like to live. Bring it into the light of public attention and those roaches will scurry."

Men Are More Willing

Should we be surprised that men were more likely to support the legalization of prostitution? Of course, the Global Commission was not referring solely to female prostitution, but it is more often thought of as a service targeted at men. Actually, the difference wasn't that big. Men were only 11% more supportive than women. Women were still more likely to support legalization than refuse it.

Christian Resistance

Religion and politics provided the biggest defenders of criminalization -- Christians and conservatives. Both demographics were significantly less supportive than the rest. Since religion and politics are often closely related, it's probably not too much of a leap to assume that religion drives this one. Allowing the nation to embrace something that Christians consider to be immoral is a tough call to make.

Older Voters Are For It

Typically, older voters respond similarly to conservative voters. In this case, that means we would predict the older a voter got the less willing they would be to support the legalization of prostitution. Not so. Actually, most age groups were relatively similar. The only one that stood out noticeably was the 55-64 group, and they were 11% more likely to support legalization.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about legalizing prostitution. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • Jiorgia 2012/07/26 21:30:50
    Seriously Christians, you see transactional sex between two consenting adults as worse then the rapes, abuse and murders that you are allowing to happen by keeping it illegal...

    Women in sex work cannot go to the police about rapes or abuse because of their profession and that is plain and simple WRONG.

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  • TheTruth1313 2012/07/30 07:42:03
    No question about it. It is time to legalize it, regulate it and tax it. The so-called "War on Prostitution" is a failure and a farce.
  • CatX3 2012/07/30 05:01:08
  • Pug For Huck 2012/07/30 01:15:21
    Pug For Huck
    Just shows where are society is headed.
  • Starchild Pug For... 2012/07/31 12:19:56
    Yes -- toward more freedom, tolerance, and sex-positive values. Yay!
  • Pug For... Starchild 2012/09/10 03:29:53
    Pug For Huck
    Towards depravity, immorality, and degradation of women. Yeah, "yay" for that.

    I don't think so.
  • Kidasha 2012/07/29 22:55:03
    who cares? its their body let them do what they want
  • shydreamguy 2012/07/29 22:35:57
    make it legal they can pay taxes too and if legal they will have to get checked regularly to make sure they dont have stds
  • Alex shydrea... 2012/07/29 23:57:35
    Which "cleans" up the business, literally and figuratively speaking
  • GrumpyCat 2012/07/29 18:19:59
    It should be legal. Making it legal would create more regulation and generate more revenue for the city and the state. They could use that money for public schools and etc.
  • Starchild GrumpyCat 2012/07/31 12:24:26
    With the job the "public" (i.e. government) schools are doing, better to tax the schools and use the revenue generated to help people pay for prostitutes.
  • GrumpyCat Starchild 2012/08/07 19:39:51
    Or we can use that money to improve public schools.
  • Starchild GrumpyCat 2012/08/08 12:15:42
    What makes you think more money will improve government schools? The U.S. government already spends more taxpayer money per pupil on education than do governments in many other countries whose students are doing better than U.S. students.

    government education
  • bob h. 2012/07/29 14:56:35
    bob h.
    Not legalized. Decriminalized. If it's legalized, they'll suddenly be so many laws controlling it, all the profit will be sucked right out of it, and it'll make itself illegal, just like bootleg cigarettes. If it's decriminalized, it'll regulate itself.
  • paul 2012/07/29 07:11:45
    Legalize it.......then TAX it! hooker paying tax hooker paying tax
  • DDogbreath 2012/07/29 07:11:17
    Dinner, drinks and a movie? Either way you "pay" for it.
  • AZTEC WARRIOR 2012/07/29 02:15:02
    work is work
  • Joker~RWAC/CFM 2012/07/29 00:48:53
  • Dawn Joker~R... 2012/07/30 19:35:26
    So a woman can't decide who she has sex with?
  • Joker~R... Dawn 2012/07/31 19:22:34
  • Dawn Joker~R... 2012/08/03 15:11:33
    Progress will be allowing not just women but all people to do whatever they want with their bodies.
  • Starchild Joker~R... 2012/07/31 12:26:14 (edited)
    So criminalization, arrests, and fines are the way to "help" them, in your opinion?
  • Joker~R... Starchild 2012/07/31 19:25:25
  • Kae Kam Joker~R... 2012/07/31 22:25:05
    Kae Kam
    There are many, many women who CHOOSE to be prostitutes. They aren't victims in the slightest.
  • Brandon 2012/07/28 23:13:32
    I think that it is against God and should be illeagal. But heck, strip clubs, Homosexual marriage, and bestiality are leagal in some states. So what does this country know? Not many morals...
  • kobidob... Brandon 2012/07/29 00:28:47 (edited)
    The laws of men I would say are immoral. War is immoral. Doing bad to humans calling it good is immoral.
  • Brandon kobidob... 2012/07/29 00:46:45
    Verdict: This country is immoral
  • kobidob... Brandon 2012/07/29 01:05:52
    You in your soul do not have to be immoral loving whoever as yourself.
  • Starchild Brandon 2012/07/31 12:27:13
    If by "this country" you mean the United States, for criminalizing prostitution, unlike many more sexually enlightened jurisdictions, you may have a point.
  • Briahlen Brandon 2012/07/29 01:12:26
    Your grammar could use some work as well.
  • bob h. Brandon 2012/07/29 14:58:39
    bob h.
    Good, more for us Atheists. Let the Christians throw another oil war.
  • ivegotl... Brandon 2012/07/30 14:23:36
    Catholic priests touching children is against God too. Not many morals there....
  • NeutronBomb 2012/07/28 21:17:42
    I think prostitution is damaging and unhealthy, if however it keeps people safer then maybe it should be legal but I think the message that would send is that perhaps its ok to sell your body for sex and ultimately I dont think it is.
  • Windy Neutron... 2012/07/29 08:42:01
    If one cannot sell one's body for a sexual encounter than who owns your body? if you are forbidden to do it, you certainly are being told you do not own yourself. The same analysis can be applied to ALL vices and consensual acts, regardless of what kind of acts they are. Either you own your body or the government owns it. If the government owns your body the government has enslaved you and can make you or forbid you to do anything with or to your body which the government arbitrarily chooses to mandate or forbid. So yes, it IS completely within one's personal, Constitutionally guaranteed, liberty and self-ownership to sell one's body for a few minutes, an hour, (as in prostitution) or a lifetime (as in marriage) or parts of it (such as hair, blood, stem cells, skin cells, part of your liver, a kidney, etc.).
  • Neutron... Windy 2012/07/29 08:58:07
    Thats true but I still think it causes a lot of damage to people and also it would not be as simple as a transaction between 2 people as if it was legal it would become a business and then other people are making money out of someone selling their body. Now is that really acceptable? Its nothing but slavery, nobody really wants to become a prostitute they do it out of necessity or desperation.
  • bob h. Neutron... 2012/07/29 15:10:50
    bob h.
    Right now, the country is increasingly privatizing prisons. These prison are populated by inmates convicted of victimless crimes. They work for cigarette money. The owners have them taking phone orders on internet stores, keep the money, plus charge the taxpayer $50-$75 per day each. But this is legal.
  • Neutron... bob h. 2012/07/29 15:17:44
    what would you class as a victimless crime?
  • bob h. Neutron... 2012/07/30 22:24:02
    bob h.
    Smoking pot.
  • RevBH Neutron... 2012/08/01 05:17:53
    Prostitution. Gambling. Drugs.
  • Dawn Neutron... 2012/07/30 19:38:27 (edited)
    Many women choose to be prostitutes in countries where it's legal. Your right though (almost) no one chooses the profession where it's illegal. I'm not criticizing your opinion you have your right to it and I don't exactly disagree with you. I'm just saying some women (where it's legal) choose and even enjoy that line of work. There's an episode of National Geographic's show Taboo about it I think could help you form a stronger opinion on prostitution.
  • Neutron... Dawn 2012/07/30 20:29:59
    My opinion is strong enough thank you.

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