by Brandi Savitt – March 29, 2012
Dollars and Sex
Former IMF chief/Sex-Scandal Magnet Dominique Strauss Kahn was back in the news again this week. And the fact that he is being investigated for his involvement with sex workers in France wasn’t the most intriguing part of the story…. Reading about his latest PR debacle, I realized for the first time that while profiting as a pimp or madam is against the law in France, paying for sex is perfectly legal. In fact this is true of many countries around the world – including Canada!
So, that got us wondering: Is the United States’ conservative stance protecting women’s rights or hurting them? Is it worth the government missing out on multi millions of taxable dollars to uphold a moral code by turning a blind eye on reality? Or, could legalizing the oldest profession bring much needed regulation to those who partake -while increasing the government’s profit margin?
What Happens In Nevada…
Minus the rest of the United States, prostitution is legal in certain counties of the state of Nevada. Because Nevada only legalized prostitution in counties with low populations, it means it is still illegal in Las Vegas…
In the counties where it is legal, revenues are produced through the same avenues as other businesses – license fees, taxes etc. So, extrapolating these fees to a mass market like Vegas – and you’re talking potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues. Like so many other “sin taxes” (cigarettes, alcohol), it doesn’t seem quite as sinful when you think about putting those dollars towards health care, social services and education …
Okay, so aside from government revenues, what about the individual sex worker? Pro-legalization points to the fact that legalizing prostitution includes many heath regulations – meaning the workers would be better off due to regulations requiring the use of condoms and weekly STD testing. In addition, with legalization of industries of course comes unions, which many argue would greatly empower sex workers and help protect their interests…
In addition to financial considerations, there is another very big cost – the cost of freedom of choice for adults of legal age. Even among our own group of friends there is a huge debate on this topic – are women victims of prostitution? Or are sex workers really in charge of their own destiny and own decision making? Though these questions are not in and of themselves financial, they are the moral queries behind what makes this profession illegal in the first place.
Paraphrasing the lawyer in the Strauss Kahn case, you can think that something is morally reprehensible, but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal… OR should it?
Is our country missing out on millions of taxable revenue dollars and the opportunity to help better protect the millions of people who now illegally engage in sex for money? Or should we continue to ignore an age old practice and legislate based on our moral code and ethics?
We want to know what you think!