Social Issues of Prostitution Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, It is defined is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is most often called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including “john”. Prostitution is a growing social problem around the world, and continues to grow here in the United States. The existence goes far back as biblical times to Ancient Greece where it was associated with religion.
Despite efforts to eradicate it, prostitution has the uncanny ability of adapting itself to any institutional system. Whether tolerated as a social evil or outlawed as an illegal act it has always managed to thrive in society. The social problem with prostitution is the exploitation of women and children. The prevalence of both organized and informal forms of prostitution is increasing and includes child prostitution, trans-gender and male prostitution, human trafficking and bonded slavery.
Women in prostitution are exposed to various forms of abuse and societal disapproval and high likelihood of contracting fatal sexually transmitted diseases. Due to the abundance of poor women in prostitution, safe sex is difficult to ensure because of an overwhelming compliance with patron requests by workers who are willing to jeopardize their health to earn a living. In the United States, 49 states make prostitution a crime. The only exception is Nevada, which permits brothels to operate in specific areas of the state. Since the 1970s, advocates of reform have called for either the legalization or the decriminalization of prostitution.
Proponents see these approaches as a way of preventing women from being punished for making a choice on how they want to earn an income. Opponents of these changes dismiss the idea that women voluntarily choose this type of work and claim that prostitution is yet another part of the U. S. commercial sex industry, which systematically subordinates women. It is difficult to estimate the number of persons who currently work, or have ever worked as prostitutes for many reasons, including the various definitions of prostitution.
Arrest figures range over 100,000 every year. The National Task Force on Prostitution suggests that over one million people in the U. S. have worked as prostitutes in the United States. This figure works out to be about 1% of American women. The average prostitution arrests include 70% female prostitutes, 20% male prostitutes, and 10% customers. (http://sex-crimes. laws. com/prostitution/prostitution-statistics)This discrepancy in arrests between prostitute and client represents one of the problems of the criminalization of prostitution.
The male clientele is creating the demand, thereby keeping prostitutes in business. The profession would not exist if the demand were not there; however these men are arrested and punished at much lower rate than the women. A disproportionate number of prostitutes arrested are women of color and a large majority of prostitutes arrested and that are actually sent to jail are women of color as well. Eighty-five to ninety percent of those arrested work on the street even though street prostitutes account for approximately 20% of all working prostitutes.
Street prostitutes are often women working because they are impoverished, drug addicted, etc. The ratio of on-street prostitution to off-street (sauna, massage parlor, in call-outcall escort) varies in each city depending on local law and enforcement. In larger cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco street prostitution accounts for only 10-20% of the prostitution profession, whereas in some smaller, lower income cities and neighborhoods with limited indoor venues street prostitution can account for 50% of the active prostitution in that city. http://sex-crimes. laws. com/prostitution/prostitution-statistics) Prostitution is the start of a bigger picture, in which the cycle continues. The children of women in prostitution suffer in several ways. They are subject to social exclusion, making it difficult for them to be integrated into mainstream society and admitted into government schools. Moreover, as young adults, they suffer severe psychological humiliation and as a result of diminished opportunities for sustainable work, many of them find themselves forced into sex trade.
They may also enter related professions such as pimping and flesh brokering. Society views on prostitution vary from many different perspectives, and opinions and it has become a very controversial issue. Functionalist sees society as being composed of parts that work together in harmony to support the structure. From this perspective, prostitution fulfills a social need for sexual release. If this need cannot be fulfilled within marriage or a mutual relationship, then it can be fulfilled through a financial relationship.
Sexual fulfillment reduces sexual tension and restores balance, a key factor in a well functioning society. Powerful dominant group members who seek to maintain cultural dominance by criminalizing sexual conduct that they consider immoral or in bad taste create the laws that make prostitution illegal. Conflict theorists argue that women become prostitutes because of structural factors such as economic inequality and patriarchy. Capitalism and patriarchy foster economic inequality between men and women and force women to view their bodies as commodities.
They also suggest that criminalizing prostitution uniquely affects poor women, especially poor women of color, who are overrepresented among street prostitutes. Symbolic interactionist perspective examines people’s lived experiences to determine such things as why people become prostitutes, whether prostitutes like their work, and why men seek out prostitutes, and how people define social realities. Entering a deviant career is similar in many ways to entering any other occupation. The primary difference is the labeling that goes with a deviant career.
Public labeling of people as deviant and their acceptance or rejection of that label are crucial factors in determining whether or not a person stays in a deviant career. Integrationists suggest that the need of men to validate their sexual prowess or reaffirm their masculinity is an important factor in their seeking out prostitutes. I feel prostitution is an issue that will always exists in society, and there is really no easy solution, and any solution will come with more conflict. Many suggest that we could greatly reduce the number of victims, if the demand for them was penalized.
If there were no men seeking to buy sex acts, no women and children would be bought and sold. If there were no brothels waiting for victims, no victims would be recruited. If there were no states that profited from the sex trade, there would be no regulations that facilitated the flow of women. Another debate is the legalization of prostitution, Proponents of legalization ultimately believe that outlawing prostitution violates an individual’s civil liberties and one’s freedom to do what one chooses with one’s body.
Like those in favor of legalizing drugs, proponents of legalization of sex-for-money argue that everyone benefits when sex work, which will go on regardless of legality, is monitored and regulated by the government. As a consequence, the spread of STD’s would lessen, as would violent crimes against sex workers. Proponents point to Nevada’s relatively successful bordello system as evidence legal prostitution can work. The Legalization of Prostitution, by James Bovard, September 1998) Opponents of legalization believe prostitution contributes to high crime rates, rates that would only increase if prostitution were legalized. Many opponents believe sex work is amoral, Legalization, in opponents’ eyes, will lead to the downfall of American morality. There is no denying that sex is a major part of society today. It infiltrates all parts of life, we see it in our music, television, movies, and even in our daily lives we often see advertisements that use sex appeal to try to sell their products, often successfully.
When it comes down to finding a successful solution for prostitution, there is not one solution that will fix the growing number of issues, which arise for this social problem in society today. Citations: http://www. nij. gov/nij/topics/crime/prostitution/reducing-demand. htm http://prostitution. procon. org http://www. prostitutionresearch. com http://www. justice. gov/criminal/ceos/prostitution. html http://www. kinseyinstitute. org/resources/FAQ. html Sexual Behavior in the Human Male – Alfred Charles Kinsey