The Effects Of Sex On The United States

3198 Words13 Pages
Riley Newton
April 15th, 2015
Government and Economics
Mike Franz
The Effects of Criminalizing Sex Work In The United States Sex work and prostitution has long been a taboo topic in many societies, and the United States is not exempt. It is viewed by many people outside of sex work as exploitive, degrading, morally wrong or questionable, and is criminalized in the United States. However, many people who hold these views, including government officials, either are misinformed about the effects of criminalization or simply do not know the extent of negative consequences. Areas of misinformation include the important distinction between sex work and sex trafficking, the safety of those involved in sex work, measures against the spread of
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Police do not have to be present or witness the sex act itself in order to make an arrest.
“Sex worker” is a label used to describe people who work within all trades of the sex industry, which is anything concerning the “exchange of sexual services for material compensation as well as the selling of erotic performances or products” (Weitzer 3). It is preferable to the term “prostitute” in that is is more inclusive to workers who don’t provide “full service” and does not have a history of being used as a degrading insult. People get into sex work for many reasons; while money is usually the biggest consideration, things like documentation or immigration status can also be important factors into someone’s decision (Incite National). The U.S. Government often fails to make distinction between sex work and sex trafficking. In a 2004 publication made by The State Department, ‘The Link Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking,’ “[equates] trafficking and prostitution” (Weitzer 64).
The distinguishing factor between sex work and sex trafficking is consent; refusing to recognize that sex workers choose to engage in prostitution and that it is voluntary invalidates their voices and perpetuates violence against them while wasting resources that could actually go into helping victims of sex trafficking (Ditmore, Urban Justice Center). An excess of
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