by Jeffrey A. Miron
In a novel approach to punishing men who attempt to hire prostitutes, Nashville and other cities are sending first-time offenders to a one-day class where they learn from former prostitutes, health experts, psychologists and law enforcement officers about “the risks of hiring a prostitute.”
This is a waste of time.
Prostitution is “the oldest profession” for a reason: sex is a biological imperative. A day of anti-sex school will have no effect on the demand for prostitution.
The better approach is to legalize.
Under legalization, the vast majority of men would patronize legal establishments. This would also allow quality control, since competition would encourage prostitution services to certify their employees as free from STDs and above the age of consent. Legalization would help the women who serve as prostitutes by reducing the violence they suffer from johns and pimps. In particular, legalization would mainly eliminate forced prostitution.
The claim that prostitution encourages sexual assault does not pass the sniff test. Many countries, plus Nevada and Rhode Island, allow legal prostitution to varying degrees, but no evidence suggests they have a higher incidence of violence toward women.
Read the debate on OpposingViews.com: Should Prostitution Be Legal?