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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  • Red_Horse gynger.... 2012/08/01 23:51:32 (edited)
  • gynger.... Red_Horse 2012/08/08 17:16:48
    Very true! Looks can only take you so far. Now if you have neither ...back to the cash in hand for the prostitute LOL
  • Red_Horse gynger.... 2012/08/08 17:21:16
  • Paul Mcgrath 2012/07/28 04:09:44
    Paul Mcgrath
    Prostitution already is legal. It has been for a long time. It's called pornography.
  • ☠ Live ... Paul Mc... 2012/07/28 06:16:33
    ☠ Live Free Or Die ☠
    I've been waiting for someone to address the white elephant in the room.

    It's illegal to have sex for money.... unless you do it on film and sell it to millions. That's okay.
  • Red_Horse ☠ Live ... 2012/07/28 06:47:03
  • ☠ Live ... Red_Horse 2012/07/28 13:31:10
    ☠ Live Free Or Die ☠
    Prostitutes are actors. In a sense.
  • Red_Horse ☠ Live ... 2012/07/28 13:33:06
  • ☠ Live ... Red_Horse 2012/07/28 13:34:19
    ☠ Live Free Or Die ☠
    Good point.
  • Red_Horse Paul Mc... 2012/07/28 06:46:37
  • Morgan 2012/07/28 03:11:38
    Prostitution is going to happen no matter if it's legal or not. At least if it's legalized it can be regulated.
  • gunner Morgan 2012/07/28 13:54:39
    There you go, get the political pimps involved.
  • emo-me-rob 2012/07/28 02:59:22
  • El Prez 2012/07/28 02:05:15
    El Prez
    Why not? Wasting time and lives with it being illegal. Pimps rule and beat up the girls, no control of disease! Why, becausae some minority want it banned? Foolish!
  • Joshuadam 2012/07/28 00:47:55
    Any activity engaged in by consenting adults should not be subject to government scrutiny. The prevalence of prostitution within our society makes a somewhat sad statement about our sense of community what on Earth gives us the right to label people as criminals for providing the services they do. Sex workers are already placing themselves in very high risk situations and they deserve the opportunity to do so with the full protection of the law.
  • gunner Joshuadam 2012/07/28 14:00:56
    Only reason the gov. regulates anything is money. The gov. as a governing entity, has no morals. Which the individual members of it demonstrate continually. So, When it becomes politically expedient, prostitution will become legal. As will all the favorite drugs. Just be patient. politicians are not, as a whole, the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. Takes a bit for them to sniff out the safe way to protect their jobs.
  • shanda 2012/07/28 00:31:09
    Yes. I agree that regulation would probably be in place to keep the women (mostly) safe in this profession. This profession would also be taxed, which would help the economy. More jobs could legally be created too for those who want to do it.
  • debhead 2012/07/28 00:30:55
    It is legal in parts of my state Nevada. It doesn't stop the quick fix of someone who wants it cheap and quick. Legalization won't change that. So No.
  • y so serious 2012/07/28 00:24:46
    y so serious
    Lord knows that makes sense!

    I mean, if pirating video's were made legal, allot less problems would happen because of it, and allot less people would do it
  • FISH 2012/07/28 00:03:10
    No, prostitution is wrong, this nations immorality will be its Death as a Great Nation! We will die as a nation as others have in past generations. I hope I'm gone when it happen's.
  • Rob 2012/07/27 23:56:54
    Yes. It is the oldest profession and so unstopable by stupid governments. Let it happen and get the practictioners tested legally.
  • smilinbobs 2012/07/27 23:23:59
    The Stats are interesting because The Bible never condemns prostitution, The only female disciple Jesus has is a prostitute. Yet the Christians are opposed. I think that it would clean up a lot of the nasty aspects of prostitution.
  • shanda smilinbobs 2012/07/28 02:04:09
    True. Also in those days women didn't have many options for employment. Get married, be lucky enough to be a noble or royalty, be a beggar, or be a prostitute.
  • decrepittex 2012/07/27 23:12:03
    One thing is certain, prostitution is NOT going away. So why not make it legal for the protection of the buyer and the seller?
  • voice_matters 2012/07/27 22:10:40
    wow this issue already. has it really been 2 months?
  • Anonymouse ~superdoge~ 2012/07/27 22:03:30
    Anonymouse ~superdoge~
    Why should it be illegal? It's honest work, unlike politicians and bankers...
  • owen Anonymo... 2012/07/27 22:15:30
    Filth is what it is and it goes hand in glove with crime,drugs,violence etc,how many of the so called working girls are forced into it?
  • Anonymo... owen 2012/07/27 22:17:35
    Anonymouse ~superdoge~
    Anything illegal is used by organised crime. Same with drugs, legalise them and the crime and violence dissipates...
  • Common ... Anonymo... 2012/07/27 22:59:34
    Common Sense Conservative
    LOL, that's complete bullsh!t
  • decrepi... Common ... 2012/07/27 23:22:17
    Oh, so crime increased when prohibition ended and crime bosses no longer ran the alcohol business? Complete bullsh!t; I don't think so.
  • Common ... decrepi... 2012/07/28 00:08:36
    Common Sense Conservative
    All it does is make them white collar crimes after it's legal.
  • owen Common ... 2012/07/28 10:11:53
  • owen Anonymo... 2012/07/28 10:07:06
    The State is running the rackets in Australia with lotteries,poker machines in bars along with race meetings,casinos and brothels,all this is on the stock market and most prostitutes are in establishments run by policemen and the likes,its a disgrace and corrupting young lives.What percentage of these girls are a product of abuse and drugs?Their suppliers are usually the pimps that virtually own them.If this vile trade is taxed by the State as it is in Australia,then it becomes even more acceptable and after a short time it wont be just the immoral but clean living folks forced to accept the practice and this is wrong,my country has gone down the tubes in the last twenty years.
  • Random owen 2012/07/28 10:47:17 (edited)
    Excuse me, we happen to have regulations controlling prostitution.
    You can't open a brothel without a permit, you can't have underage girls/boys and you must abide by the health and saftey regulation laws, not to mention they even have their own Union, of sorts. They are still treated like crap by some people, and there's always curruption in police forces anywhere you go. But they're not running it like some seedy back alley brothel, because there would be no point, since you know, it's already legal. legality sort of cuts down on the profit margin, since people won't pay obscene prices, when they can get it anywhere they want to for slightly less. I don't know of many pimps, some women/men who own the brothels are sometimes corrupt and perhaps abuse may happen. But it's not in their best interest when they're wide out in the open, like they are here.
    But I do suppose, there may be a few who have the cops in their pockets, like some politicians. I don't know for sure, though.
  • owen Random 2012/07/28 13:12:08
    Police owning brothels is above board and even welcomed here in Australia,there is always abuse no matter who is running these dens.We have large numbers of Asian girls paying there way through university.They seem to have a business attitude towards prostitution whereas the Anglo-Aussie girls are usually the ones with addictions to feed.If we dont get to grips with this problem soon we will be beyond help.
  • Random owen 2012/07/29 11:16:04 (edited)
    I haven't heard of many Police owned brothels here, but I suppose, it probably happens alot.
    I don't like to pay attention to generalizations, there are probably alot of Anglo- Aussies who have a business attitude towards it as well. But then again, alot of American girls of all races probably pay their way through college as an Escort, sometimes even prostituting and at strip clubs.
    I can't say there is no abuse, but there's probably less than countries who don't regulate it, like we do.
    Drug abuse is drug abuse, it can be found in every single profession, providing you have the money and your job is stressful.

    A lot of actors, especially child actors all grown up, often go for stints in rehab, even jail. There are of course, the professionals, who steer clear, but there are just as many who do like to party a bit too much.
    We need to help child actors just as much as we have to help the self destructive prostitute (of any race or creed.) But you don't see anyone jumping to ban acting.

    Of course, prostitution may carry more risks, but isn't life full of risks?
  • owen Random 2012/08/01 03:19:39
    Hollywood has always been regarded as an immoral place,even Judy Garland was a sex toy for Mayer and the boys,our Aussie Errol Flynn was a preditor ,he had a thirteen year old girlfriend.
  • Random owen 2012/08/01 03:36:24 (edited)
    Do you have proof of these allegations? (Yes, I'm far too young to even know of Errol Flynn, sue me.)
    If you think Hollywood is immoral, you should look at our past ideas of "entertainment" they make Hollywood look squeaky clean!
  • owen Random 2012/08/01 03:41:26
    The stories were circulated in all the main newspapers here in Australia
  • Random owen 2012/08/01 03:43:49 (edited)
    And? The newspapers like to have stories, they jump on any minute detail of an actors life and vilify them for it. I don't doubt their integrity whilst reporting actual news, but when it comes to celebs, they don't seem to mind blowing things out of proportion or even ignoring context. It has always seemed to happen.

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