Legalization of Prostitution

August 25, 1971

Report Outline
Growing Problems of Prostitution
American Prostitution and the Law
Controversy Over Issues of Legalization

Growing Problems of Prostitution

Relation of Rising Incidence to Vd, Drugs, Crime

The world's oldest profession is thriving. Though reliable figures are larking, it is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 American women engage in prostitution on a full-time basis and that many times more work on a part-time basis. FBI Uniform Crime Reports show that the total arrests for prostitution increased 61 per cent between 1960 and 1969. For women under 18 years of age. the increase was almost 120 per cent during that time. The number of both male and female prostitutes in the United States is clearly growing. And so is public concern.

Closely connected with prostitution are the problems of venereal disease, drug addiction, and various crimes against persons and property. According to Judge Morris Schwalb of the New York City Criminal Court. “Venereal disease has reached epidemic proportions, and streetwalking prostitutes contribute to the disease in large measure.” As many as nine of every 10 full-time prostitutes are infected with venereal disease at some time during their careers. Drug addiction among prostitutes has soared. It is estimated that up to 50 per cent of all prostitutes in the nation's larger cities are addicted, usually to heroin. Addicted prostitutes are frequently involved in other criminal activities, especially robbery, assault and blackmail, to support their habit.

Prostitution and the problems associated with it have led some to argue that communities should make prostitution legal so that it could be supervised and controlled. Arguments for legalization are that it would bring about close medical supervision and thus lessen venereal disease and drug addiction; that it would keep prostitutes off the streets and place them in segregated districts; that it would tend to eliminate pimps and others who live off the earnings of prostitutes; that it would save the police considerable time and money: and finally that it would be a far less hypocritical way of dealing with a problem that will not go away.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Sexual Behavior
Feb. 22, 2019  Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Apr. 28, 2017  Sports and Sexual Assault
Oct. 21, 2016  Pornography
Apr. 15, 2016  Decriminalizing Prostitution
Oct. 31, 2014  Campus Sexual Assault
Apr. 27, 2012  Sexual Harassment
Jan. 22, 2010  Sex Scandals
May 23, 2008  Prostitution Debate
Nov. 04, 1994  Sex on Campus
Jun. 11, 1993  Prostitution
Jul. 13, 1984  Sexual Revolution Reconsidered
Aug. 25, 1971  Legalization of Prostitution
Apr. 01, 1970  Sexual Revolution: Myth or Reality
Dec. 30, 1963  Sex on the Campus
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process
Sentencing and Corrections