Why should prostitution be illegal? Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn’t selling fucking legal?
Prostitution remains illegal throughout most of the world. Despite the hypocrisy inherent in being forbidden to sell what you can give away for nothing, antiquated morality keeps the industry underground. This in turn creates a host of problems for the prostitute, making her not only a criminal, but perpetuating the dangerous cycle of abuse and drug-addiction so common throughout the industry.
Attitudes are finally changing, however. One indicator of increasing support for legalized prostitution has been the rebranding of the industry. Long known as prostitutes, hookers and in vulgar circles, whores, these plucky gals¹ are now known as sex-industry workers.
A further way in which attitudes have demonstratively changed is in our treatment of the women themselves. Long regarded as ‘unfortunates,’ something perhaps more than animal but less than human, and completely unable to make decisions for themselves, members of the world’s oldest non-farming profession are increasingly being seen as human beings with the accordant dignity and rights such status implies.
Only a few years ago, a sex worker who was brave enough to report being sexually assaulted would probably receive more humiliation than help from the police, and likely never see justice. Today, her assailant would be charged with rape. This is tremendous progress, but still falls short of justice, failing to recognize the complex entity a sex-worker represents. As she is an individual with rights, charging her attacker with rape is entirely appropriate. However, the sex worker is also a business entity, for which reason the unlucky rapist should additionally be charged with theft.²