Prostitutes, hookers, callgirls, streetwalkers, gigolos, johns, ranches, brothels, madams, pimps. We’ve all heard the terminology.
Screwing you: an ode to prostitution and brothels
Prostitutes, hookers, callgirls, streetwalkers, gigolos, johns, ranches, brothels, madams, pimps. We’ve all heard the terminology. And we all know that it’s illegal (except in Nevada and Rhode Island. Yes, Rhode Island. Apparently the act of exchanging sex for money is not illegal, but street solicitation and owning a brothel is). But honestly…why? Some (OK, most) are morally opposed to the exchange of money or goods for sexual favors, and that’s fine and dandy, but why is it illegal?
Since the dawn of time, people have been trading goods and money for physical pleasure. It was practiced by the Sumerians, the ancient Israelites, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans. In the Middle Ages, Augustine of Hippo said, “If you expel prostitution from society, you will unsettle everything on account of lusts.” Even people in the Middle Ages recognized that when compared to rape, prostitution was the lesser of two evils.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s–when the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union made drugs, alcohol and prostitution their pet projects on things to ban–was the act of prostitution and everything having to do with it made illegal in the United States.
Only in the state of Nevada is prostitution and the owning of brothels legal and regulated (although prostitution is still illegal in certain counties, such as Clark County, where Las Vegas is located). There you have many brothels to choose from to satisfy your needs: the Bunny Ranch, Sheri’s Ranch, the Chicken Ranch and more are at your disposal.
In these brothels, the prostitutes work as what some may call “independent contractors.” They don’t receive any health, unemployment or retirement benefits, but do give a cut of their earnings to the brothel owner. Because prostitution is legal in the state, Nevada is able to charge brothel owners a yearly fee depending on the county, how many prostitutes it employs, or how many rooms it has. They also require regular STD testing of prostitutes.
This system apparently works well for Nevada, as it is a win-win situation: the state gets a cut from a regulated, legalized business. The brothels make a good deal of money with no fear of being prosecuted (unless they evade taxes or participate in some other illegal activity). The prostitutes get checked regularly for diseases without fear of repercussion, and the clients can go somewhere to get their rocks off without being arrested. And yet in the rest of the United States it’s verboten.
All one has to do is look at the case of Heidi Fleiss, ex-Hollywood madam to the rich and famous, to see how ridiculous it is to uphold prostitution laws and see how your tax dollars are spent. The LAPD undoubtedly spent an obscenely large amount of money and a significant amount of time investigating and prosecuting her. Last time I checked, Los Angeles had more severe problems than a woman pandering, and yet the police went after her?
Fleiss was found guilty of attempted pandering, money laundering and tax evasion, and spent 21 months in jail (note: she is now out of jail and is setting up Heidi’s Stud Farm, a male brothel, in Nevada). It’s ludicrous that they initially went after her because she was pandering.
The police involved in the case called the women who worked for Fleiss “victims” because they were selling themselves. These women made a minimum of $1,500 per “trick.” Out of that, they got to keep 60 percent of what they made, and gave Fleiss 40 percent because she set up the job. These girls made more in one night than many of us make in a month. How can something that people do willingly be considered victimization?
The only people who were victims were Fleiss and taxpayers. Charlie Sheen, a client of Fleiss’, only had to testify–and out of court. None of her clients were prosecuted. Equate drug dealers and drug users to madams and callgirls. If you deal drugs, you are prosecuted. If you use drugs, you are prosecuted. But in the case of Fleiss, the dealer got busted, but the user was let go. This doesn’t make any sense.
You may be saying, “But Kasey, prostitution is wrong. It’s illegal.” Yes, it is illegal. But it is illegal for the wrong reasons. Laws are supposed to be in place to produce an orderly society and protect its citizens. But this one in particular does nothing of the sort. What exactly is disorderly about prostitution? How exactly are people in danger? There is nothing harmful about the act (I am not talking about sex trafficking or forcing someone into prostitution). It is an act between two consensual adults (or more, depending on the client’s fancy). Why is it OK to have sex or give a blowjob for free, but add money to the equation and it’s illegal? It’s downright absurd.
By making prostitution legal, the government could make it a taxable business. It could regulate it, it could require the workers to regularly be tested for STDs and therefore make the practice safer for the workers as well as for the clients. By making it legal, the money that is spent on enforcing prostitution laws could be spent on getting drug dealers, murderers, rapists and people who are a genuine threat to society off of the streets and keeping them in jail. Honestly, who would you rather have running amok in society: a callgirl or the next potential Jeffrey Dahmer?
The only thing that I can think of as to why prostitution is illegal is because of the people who create the laws, and traditionally, that would be the white male. Imagine if a girl could freely charge for sex. She goes into a bar, and an asshole hits on her. She needs some money and she was going to give it freely, but if she could charge, then why not? He asks her to his place, she holds out her hand and says, “You got $1,000 on you?”
Sex has always been a powerful tool. If the above scenario happened, who would be in control and holding the power?