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how doing it can help the economy
or: jeff argues for legalized prostitution again
by jeffrey d. walker

The other day, I handed my Intrepid Media business card to someone whom I did not know was a freelance journalist. The “chief white house correspondent” title piqued her interest, which forced me to explain how the title was not what she thought. Which then led to me trying to rationalize that I.M. is, indeed, a legitimate website, in spite of my seemingly illegitimate title.

Between this conversation, and the occasional mis-remark from a friend that they’d recently read my “blog” (something that is as much of a sore point with me as it is with Adam Kraemer), I am taking this opportunity to note a few facts:

Fact: it was 2002 when I first proposed legalizing prostitution on the premise that pornography is basically legal prostitution.

Fact: I beat CNN to the punch on this story by over three years.

Fact: I write newsworthy columns. Not blog entries.

Legalized prostitution recently made headlines again, when U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, addressed a joint session of the Nevada Legislature, and suggested that the only U.S. State which permits prostitution should end that practice.

At a time when everyone is screaming at politicians to create new jobs and save the economy, Reid here suggests cutting out an entire segment of Nevada’s workforce. If making jokes about bringing harm to elected officials wasn’t so un-P.C. these days, I’d make one about Reid for his idiocy on this issue.

And so, I am here once again to make the pitch for the legalization of prostitution.

For one, read that CNN article from 2005, which I’ll admit makes a slightly more coherent argument than I did in 2002, that the subtle distinction between pornography and prostitution is subtle enough that the continued outlawing of the latter is tenuous.

For two, job creation. Duh! What’s the easiest way to create jobs than to simply recognize and tax a profession that already exists. In the same breath, law enforcement dollars spent chasing hookers and johns is no longer required. That’s saving government dollars while gaining tax revenue. Genius.

For three, the alternative is, no doubt, the continued and longstanding practice of illegal prostitution. It is often referred to as the oldest profession in the world, and it’s foolish to believe that we will stop it.

Craigslist had to shut down its adult services section this past September, due to the prevalence of prostitution occurring therein. Now, news services claim that prostitution is moving onto Facebook.

Why continue to fight the inevitable? Why should we not, instead, recognize, tax and regulate the industry? Regulating the industry will help put safeguards in place to prevent participants from being harmed. Testing can be mandatory, to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Also, regulation will decrease the chance that the participants will be in danger of becoming victims of other crimes that sometimes occur as a result of prostitution currently being illegal, such as assaults and robberies.

The pros are many. The cons are few. So why do State governments continue to reject this simple solution to a number of problems?

Morality is no doubt the issue. But that doesn’t make the outlawing of prostitution just. Morality was also the cause for many other laws that don’t belong on the books, such as anti-sodomy laws which were designed merely as a pre-text to criminalize homosexuality. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court made unconstitutional a Texas statute criminalizing sodomy, holding that intimate consensual sexual conduct is protected by due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

By that logic, how can the constitutional right to intimate sexual conduct be stripped away simply because money changed hands?

I submit to you that it cannot.

But in the meantime, the answer appears to be: film yourself having sex, pay the "actor" or "actress" for their services, and then sell it online (following all U.S. laws in order to do the same). Under our system, there won’t be anything illegal about it then.


A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.

more about jeffrey d. walker


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published: 8.16.10

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published: 10.21.02


katherine (aka clevertitania)
3.21.11 @ 9:26a

A friend posted similar thoughts on this topic a few weeks ago, when righty-Reid was first pushing his "Nevada shouldn't be known for sin" schtick. I had several comments to add at the time, but the one that's stuck most with me is my postulation that the story of the infamous Texas Chicken Ranch would've ended VERY differently if it happened today, in the era of Facebook and Twitter. I still believe that, & I dare Reid to push this into a national dialog. He'll see how views have changed.

sandra thompson
3.21.11 @ 9:42a

During the presidential campaign of 1968, I met a woman who was a union organizer for prostitutes. Back when I was a graduate student I said in one of those grad student lounge discussions about what we'd do if we flunked out of grad school I said, "I think I'll open up a whorehouse in Memphis." This was because William Faulkner once said he'd like to live in one so he'd have quiet days in which to write and interesting company in the evenings. During the ensuing years whenever I'd meet up with one of my fellow grad students the opening question was always, "You still checking out real estate in Memphis?" to which I always answered yes. I'm ambivalent about prostitution. I'm aware of the horrific millieux of the women involved and concerned about their best interests as well as the often touted public health implications of the profession. Since I'm enthusiastically supportive of legalizing and taxing drugs, I reckon I'll have to throw in with the legalizers of prostitution as well. Perhaps not quite as enthusiastic as with drugs. You guys got a picket line yet?

alex b
3.24.11 @ 6:10p

Prostitution will always flourish in porn, super-secret dungeons, or hush-hush arrangements between two people, no matter what laws get enacted. Much as we would like to collectively apply a moral value to sex and leave that be, prostitution will always be around.

I'm in favor of legalizing prostitution. As it is now, it ain't pretty, but one party doesn't really harm the other in the course of a transaction. And, if we had a legalized, sanctioned sexual system that makes sex a more regular discussion, maybe the sexually dumber parts of society could catch up.

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