Prostitution and the Pollution of Moral Ecology

Moral Philosophy, Politics — By on March 11, 2008 at 1:11 am

The news of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s dalliances with high-priced prostitutes fills me with sadness, regret, and dread. Sadness over the Governor’s shaming his family in such a public way, regret at having to listen to the smirking schadenfreude of his political enemies, and dread that we’ll have to suffer the tedious and inevitable articles and blog posts asking, “What’s the problem with prostitution?”
Always ahead of the curve. Matthew Yglesias leads the meme with his post, “Thinking About Prostitution”:

Whenever a politician gets caught up in a prostitution scandal, I do need to return to the fact that at the end of the day I don’t really think the exchange of sex for money is serious wrongdoing in the sense that justifies criminal sanctions. Obviously, in most cases such conduct will be a form of private wrongdoing against one’s spouse, etc., but that’s not a matter of public concern. [emphasis in original]

The unstated reason why it is “not a matter of public concern” is because no one is harmed by prostitution, at least not in a way that would necessitate intervention by the state. This is a view commonly held by social liberals and libertarians who believe that the primary (if not sole) purpose of the law is the protection of rights (however narrowly or expansively defined).
In contrast, a traditional conservative view is that law and public policy should be concerned with public health, public safety, and public morality. The first two are shared in common with our left-leaning political cousins; it is the last item that sets us apart. While they have discarded the concept as antiquated, we maintain a view held by thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas to Robert George that the promotion of virtue–”making men moral”–is a proper, though subsidiary, role of the government.
As George notes in The Clash of Orthodoxies, “public morals laws, like health and safety regulations, regulate private conduct insofar as it harms or threatens to harm, the public interest.” For instance, using the example of prostitution, George argues:

Assuming, again, that prostitution is indeed immoral, then the availability of prostitutes is going to facilitate immoral acts by individuals–prostitutes and their customers. Of course, the commercial sex acts will likely take place in “private,” that is, behind closed doors and it could be the case that there is no highly visible publicizing of the prostitutes’ availability (though unless there is some way of getting the word out publicly, there won’t be much work for the prostitutes). Still, public interests are damaged. The public has an interest in men not engaging prostitutes: for when they do, they damage their own characters; they render themselves less solid and reliable as husbands and fathers; they weaken their marriages and their ability to enter into good marriages and authentically model for others (including their own children) the virtue of chastity on which the integrity of marriages and of marriage as an institution in any given society depends; they set bad examples for others. In short they damage what I have referred to as the community’s “moral ecology”–an ecology as vital to the community’s well-being, and as such, as integral to the public interest, as the physical ecology which is protected by environmental laws enacted pursuant to the police powers to protect public health.

Although commonsensical, liberal-libertarians will scoff at such talk of “moral ecology.” The concept is simply too foreign, too abstract, too pre-modern (i.e., pre-’60s era sexual mores) for them to grasp. While they could connect the dots between the “private wrongdoing” of littering and the inherent public concern with protecting our environment–they know why Iron Eyes Cody is crying–such talk of legislating sexual activity because of public moral harm seems…bizarre.
Regrettably, the same holds true for many people who consider themselves to be “conservatives.” Because of a misunderstanding of the concept of limited government, many conservatives today have sided against their own tradition and with the liberal-libertarians on this point. They simply can’t comprehend either the concept of moral ecology or the idea that government has any role in making citizens virtuous.
This post is a lament, not an argument so I won’t try to defend virtue jurisprudence here. (Besides, if conservatives ignore the wisdom of Aristotle or Russell Kirk why would they listen to me?) The shame is not just that weak and ineffectual men like Spitzer succumb to temptation. No, the true regret is that we have such strong and capable apologists for sanctioning vice. We can survive the individual moral polluter. It’s the people who deny that we a duty to protect our moral ecology that will be our downfall.



  • heisman

    Yes we are harmed by his corrupt actions. The man is a hypocrite and a pig.
    Why aren’t people up in arms about this?
    http://newyorkhope.net/blog/2008/03/08/eliot-spitzer-day-433-nothing-changes/
    No matter how you cut it, this is a man who cannot be trusted!

  • Marie

    As I posted to some libertarians over at Free Republic, who were lamenting our tired old morals:
    Why is using prostitutes so evil?
    1. Because not everything is physical. Why is rape considered such a heinous crime? It is possible for a woman or child can get raped or molested with NO physical damage. And yet she is horribly damaged. Why is that? In what way was she violated? Her soul was violated, that’s why. To sell your body to plant cotton, or to can tuna, or to sing on a stage does not violate your soul. To sell your body for sex, does.
    Try telling a horny guy that not everything is physical, and you will get an impatient dismissal. However, the truth stands.
    2. Prostitution (and porn) make men absolute terds. Rather than protecting and defending women and children, they pay them to destroy themselves. It’s the worst of a man.
    3. NO woman chooses prostitution like any other career choice. Almost uniformly, they do it because:
    - they are addicts and need to get high
    - they were molested as kids and have a psycho sickness to keep punishing themselves
    - they are sexual slaves or victims of pimps
    If you think it’s a valid and exciting lifestyle for women, consider pimping our your wife or daughters. If that doesn’t give you pause, you are sick in the head. That reluctance or disgust you feel at the notion? It’s an unwillingness to kill a woman you love. Even if a prostitute is not physically killed from her activity, her spirit is killed.
    4. Prostitution destroys families by encouraging and legitimizing fornication and adultery. This damages society at large and children in particular.
    5. There are of course the social costs of the spread of STDs.

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/ Collin Brendemuehl

    What concerns me in this particular case is this: If we wink at *international* prostitution as an industry (of a sort) then we very easily will wink at international slave prostitution. We will because there is no real way for the *john* to know the difference. It’s not so much about the solicitation (as the “news” focuses) but on the industry.
    I’m still waiting to hear the feminist *outrage*.
    Collin
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/ Collin Brendemuehl

    What concerns me in this particular case is this: If we wink at *international* prostitution as an industry (of a sort) then we very easily will wink at international slave prostitution. We will because there is no real way for the *john* to know the difference. It’s not so much about the solicitation (as the “news” focuses) but on the industry.
    I’m still waiting to hear the feminist *outrage*.
    Collin
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The problem with the moral ecology argument is that it doesn’t address how far gov’t's proper place is in policing it. Should gov’t also crack down on men who have affairs? Affairs, after all, are probably more damaging to a marriage than a visit to a prostitute. The visit to the prostitute (leaving aside the STD concern) is much more contained and isolated. The affair requires setting up a type of parasite marriage that sucks (no pun intended) resources from the actual one.
    I wonder if the illegality of prostitution actually backfires on Joe….if it results in more men having affairs which in the long run is probably more damaging to ‘moral ecology’. After all, who do you think has the better moral ecology; Las Vegas where prostitution is illegal or the rest of Nevada where it is not?
    The slavery argument also cuts against the ‘moral ecology’ argument. It being illegal promotes and encourages slavery, the use of violence and other abuses. I think the moral good of preventing a few husbands from straying hardly balances out the moral evil of essentially greenlighting such abuse.

  • http://www.evaneco.com Don Bosch (evaneco.com)

    Interesting.
    The constitutional basis for environmental regulation is not preservation of ecology or public health for its own sake, but the Commerce Clause (hazardous waste shipped across state lines, pollution in rivers or air currents leaving one state and entering another, etc).
    I know little about the Spitzer case, but the strongest indictment appears to be not merely prostitution, but that prostitution crossed state lines (NYC to DC).
    In this sense, the notion of regulating moral ecology isn’t too far off.
    *[for ex:

    Affairs, after all, are probably more damaging to a marriage than a visit to a prostitute.
    I don’t think many wives would agree with this assessment (mine wouldn’t), nor do I think many daughters would.
    The affair requires setting up a type of parasite marriage that sucks (no pun intended) resources from the actual one.
    So does use of a prostitute. It consumes money and time, and I suspect it evens consumes “emotional capital”, even though there is ostensibly no emotional attachment.
    I wonder if the illegality of prostitution actually backfires on Joe….if it results in more men having affairs which in the long run is probably more damaging to ‘moral ecology’
    You are assuming that use of a prostitute is less damaging to a marriage than an affair is, I don’t agree with this assumption. Not to be snarky, but ask your wife or mother which she thinks would be more damaging. I think you will find that either would be equally damaging to the relationship

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Marie makes good points, to which I would add this: Whenever we discuss prostitution–a perversion of sexual conduct–we must discuss marriage–God’s design for sexual conduct.
    The government has an interest in regulating marriage because
    (1) sustained interaction of men and women inevitably produces children, and society has an interest that they are raised in the best way;
    (2) children are best raised by their own father and mother, so society must develop social mechanisms and institutions to bind parents to their children; and
    (3) the concept of “anything goes” in marriage and family produces chaos, producing irresponsible men, exploited women, and neglected and undisciplined children. Yes, there are plenty of irresponsible men, exploited women, and neglected and undisciplined children even where two married parents are present. Marriages are not perfect because people are not perfect. But all parties–men, women, and children–are most likely to benefit from the institution of marriage.
    Returning to prostitution, this question is often asked: Shouldn’t sex be permissible as long as it’s between two consenting adults? What people do with their bodies in the bedroom is their business.
    This view ignores the harms produced by some activities of “consenting adults.” Adultery involves two consenting adults, but obviously it harms others (spouses and children). Prostitution has victims, such as the women whose “services” are bought by customers seeking singular sexual satisfaction. The sex business degrades all individuals involved, even if all consent. The point is this: When an activity produces a generally degrading effect on a society, that society can ban that activity, even if engaged in only by consenting adults.
    Boonton raises an interesting distinction between affairs and prostitution (setting aside concerns about STDs), but I think he misses the point: sin is sin, regardless of artificial degrees that we attach to it. Both activities damage and can destroy marriages and both should be prohibited.
    Also, there is an underlying selfishness in this entire discussion of prostitution and individual “rights,” isn’t there? Shouldn’t we be talking about individual responsibilities, instead? When we remember that the Bible instructs husbands to truly love their wives as Christ loved the Church–even to the point of laying down their lives–this whole discussion about individual rights and varying degrees of deviance seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?

  • http://www.webguy-prod.com/stimpfam/mike/applied.html Mike Stimpson

    Boonton had a valid point that so far hasn’t been answered, though. How far do we go with this?
    I agree that the government needs to rein in human moral failings, lest they destroy us all. And I agree that sin is sin. But I don’t agree that the government should be trying to control all sin.
    I want the government to control murder. I do not want the government to even try to control coveting. I do not want the government to control idolatry, or to enforce that “You shall love the Lord your God.” Purely pragmatically, the results of such attempts will be horrible – worse than the problems, and ineffective.
    See, the government can (try to) prevent murder, but it can’t take the murder out of people’s hearts. Only God can do that. So at the point where the external behavior stops being (too) harmful to others, that’s where I think the government should stop trying to control sin.

  • anonymous

    Marie wrote: To sell your body to plant cotton, or to can tuna, or to sing on a stage does not violate your soul.
    It certainly can. Going to a job every day where you find little to no job satisfaction and despair of anything ever changing, simply because the paycheck is way too good, can rot your soul.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Mike,
    You raise a valid point. I agree that government cannot and should not regulate ALL human conduct; we don’t want the vice police around with the ability to establish an Orwellian state. That said, we all recognize that the law cannot possibly cure all of mankind’s ills–only God can and only He will–so we try to err on one side or the other. In this instance, I think it’s important to remember that almost all behavior that is harmful to one person is harmful to others…
    Drugs- If someone uses drugs in his bedroom, he’s still providing a demand for drugs and that harms others.
    Pornography- If he watches porn on his computer, he’s still providing a demand for that pornography, which degrades and harms others…And it harms him at present and will harm him in future relationships with women.
    Sex- If he’s an adult and has sex with another consenting adult outside the context of marriage, he’s harming himself and her because it is outside God’s design for sex.
    The ultimate question for a Christian should be NOT whether a particular activity harms anyone else, but whether it harms at all.
    Your thoughts?

  • ex-preacher

    I would like to see someone seriously address Boonton’s question. Should the government outlaw affairs? I would think affairs are far more damaging to marriage than visits to a prostitute.
    Even more damaging is divorce. Shall we outlaw divorce? Maybe we could at least pass a law that anyone who has ever been divorced (unless for a scriptural reason) cannot serve in elected office. Well, maybe not since that would rule out McCain (and the Republican saint Reagan).
    Interestingly, the Old Testament Torah (AKA God’s perfect law) doesn’t seem to have a big problem with prostitution unless it is in the context of cult prostitution in which foreign gods are being worshipped.
    Further, adultery laws in the Old Testament were aimed at keeping married women from having sex outside of marriage. It was fine for married men to do so. A man could have multiple wives, concubines, prostitutes. But a married woman was considered to belong to her husband. This is why David was not rebuked for having seven wives, but for taking another’s man wife. Nathan told David he could have more women, just not any married women. David compounded the problem by having Bathsheba’s husband killed. (Sidenote: Under the Law, David should have been killed, but God had a soft spot for him so he killed his child instead.)

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    “Should the government outlaw affairs?”
    Actually, adultery–sex between two consenting heterosexual adults who are not married–is illegal. This covers affairs and prostitution. It’s a misdemeanor in 22 states (plus D.C.) and it’s a felony in 5 others. It’s rarely enforced but sometimes it is. Laws against adultery, sodomy, and fornication are reminders of our country’s founding. In Mass., for example, adultery was a capital crime, punishable by death. People’s sex lives were considered a matter of public concern, not something to be protected within the modern invention of a “zone of privacy.”
    So I guess the better question would be, should the state governments enforce laws outlawing affairs?

  • ucfengr

    I would think affairs are far more damaging to marriage than visits to a prostitute.
    Why would you think that? Ask yourself a question, do you really think your wife would be less hurt by a visit to a prostitute than she would an affair with a co-worker? Do really think one would be more easily forgiven?
    Maybe I am misunderstanding Boonton and you, and your comment is really about the damage to marriage as an institution, as opposed to individual marriages, is that the case? If so, that is a bit harder to quantify because the damage caused by prostitution is limited by its legal status and its illegality is driven in large part by its links to criminal activity as opposed to its ability to damage marriage as an institution.

  • psr

    Joe concluded: “We can survive the individual moral polluter. It’s the people who deny that we [have] a duty to protect our moral ecology that will be our downfall.”
    I seem to have missed that period of history when all the public decency and prostitution laws were repealed, can someone help me out?
    The whole argument boils down to the notion that law can produce morality, doesn’t it? Or is moral ecology only the appearance of morality and if so is the appearance of morality without actual morality really a “good”? Is regulated behavior moral behavior?
    Either way how could the moral landscape with regards prostitution (in this instance) have changed so dramtically if all the attendent laws have remained in place and in force because that suggests, to me anyway, that it ain’t law creating moral ecology, merely that law is a reflection of an existing moral ecology.
    In which case the argument is misguided because law doesn’t come before virtue or create virtue, at best it merely draws the defining line between virtue and not-virtue for those unable (or unwilling) to discern it for themselves.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ucfengr
    So does use of a prostitute. It consumes money and time, and I suspect it evens consumes “emotional capital”, even though there is ostensibly no emotional attachment.
    This may be true but it doesn’t alter the fact that while a prostitute MAY also consume emotional capital, money and time it would almost always be less than what a relationship would consume.
    You may or may not be right about how a wife would respond emotionally to learning that her husband cheated on her with a prostitute versus that he cheated on her through an affair. That isn’t the end all in this calculus, though. I think on average affairs are more damaging in the long run because they are more likely to break up marriages and even when they aren’t their resource drains are more serious.
    To see how that is imagine cases where the wife never learns of the husband cheating. The affair draws away a lot more in terms of time and emotions. The prostitute may or may not draw off more money. I would suspect that more often than not the affair draws off more in terms of money unless you’re talking about someone whose addicted to prostitutes.
    Not to be snarky, but ask your wife or mother which she thinks would be more damaging. I think you will find that either would be equally damaging to the relationship
    Ahhh but if we are talking about something like ‘moral ecology’ then the wife doesn’t get all the say does she? An affair brings a lot more complication to the table. Not only is time and emotions taken out of the marriage but you also get a lot of other potential problems ranging from social humilation (“what do you mean he’s your husband! He comes here with his girlfriend every week!”) to having kids. Not only that, the affair provides a ‘fall back’ if the marriage breaks up because of it. While maybe using a prostitute can cause equal emotional pain to the wife, it usually does not have all those other drawbacks associated with an affair. STD’s may work to even out the equation a bit but I’m skeptical that they do…especially since they can be reasonably controlled for.
    Daniel
    Boonton raises an interesting distinction between affairs and prostitution (setting aside concerns about STDs), but I think he misses the point: sin is sin, regardless of artificial degrees that we attach to it. Both activities damage and can destroy marriages and both should be prohibited.
    Leaving aside the theological question of whether all sins are equal (Catholics for example have mortal sins and veneal sins) the question is what should and shouldn’t the gov’t be involved in regulating. In other words, the question isn’t should affairs and prostitutes be prohibitted but who has the jurisdiction in policing that prohibition? To use another concept that Joe has talked about in previous posts, marriage is its own ‘sphere of authority’ as is government. The two have different areas of authority and while there is sometimes some overlap the two are not one in the same. Gov’t shouldn’t be policing the extramarital affairs of married couples anymore than it should hand out fines to spouses who forget anniversities (and NO I’m not saying the two are the same).
    Actually, adultery–sex between two consenting heterosexual adults who are not married–is illegal. This covers affairs and prostitution. It’s a misdemeanor in 22 states (plus D.C.) and it’s a felony in 5 others…
    Such laws may technically still be on the books but are unconstitutional.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ucfengr
    If so, that is a bit harder to quantify because the damage caused by prostitution is limited by its legal status and its illegality is driven in large part by its links to criminal activity as opposed to its ability to damage marriage as an institution.
    You completely missed the other question of whether the good done by outlawing prostitution outweights the evil. Use Spitzer as an example. His marriage has been marginally improved by the fact that it is illegal. By improved I mean his wife is now aware of the truth, the issue is on the table and both members of the marriage can confront it on an equal footing. Before one partner was in the dark about the truth.
    On the flip side, it being illegal creates an environment where women are victimized by it, subjected to violence, put at unnecessary risk of STDs and more. All of that is a very big negative and I’m not really sure it would be cancelled out by ‘fixing’ the Spitzer marriage. And let’s face it, even if prostitution was legal it wouldn’t be accepted. Imagine if it came out that Spitzer was a huge consumer of porn and spent just about every night hanging out at strip clubs. While his behavior would be perfectly legal such a revelation would likewise hurt his marriage and be politically costly. The argument that if prostitution isn’t illegal then it will be able to willy nilly destroy all standards is a false choice. There are plenty of things that are legal but are socially unacceptable.

  • ex-preacher

    Honestly, I don’t know exactly how my wife might react differently to a visit to a prostitute as opposed to an affair and I’m not stupid enough to ask her. I’m basing my assumption on the notion that a visit to a prostitute is mainly a physical encounter while an affair generally implies a physical and emotional betrayal. I seem to have heard or read somewhere that women are more hurt by emotional affairs that their husbands have, while men are more hurt by physical encounters that their wives have. But that could just be stereotype. I would agree with you that both are extremely damaging. Still, do you think the government should prosecute adulterers?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ex,
    I think ucfengr is limiting himself to the imaginary conversation where one has to ‘come clean’ after being discovered. In that limited time I think both might be equal. The wife might throw one plate at you when you tell her you’ve had an affair and likewise she might throw one plate at you when you tell her you saw a prostitute.
    All that illustrates, though, is that people have a ‘max’ setting on their level of rage. More important from the standpoint of trying to assess damage is the long run and yes over the long run I think affairs on both sides are more damaging for the reasons I gave.

  • Philip H. Luter

    The statement is often made by liberals that “you can’t legislate morality.” I submit that the only thing you should legislate is morality. We make murder and stealing against the law because they are not moral. We make perjury punishable by law because lying is immoral. When the war crimes trials were being held after WWII the defendants held that they were illegal because they had not broken the laws of their country and the laws of other countries did not apply to them. The judges ruled that there is a law written on the heart of men, a natural law, that tells us that such actions are wrong and should be punished. Those men paid with their lives for violating that inner law. The relativistic position that what is wrong for you may be right for me and each should live by their own conscience is called anarchy and leads to violence, fear, inhumane treatment of others, and life at an animal level. The problem is that many have dismissed the standard of morality, the Word of God, and thus they no longer have anything to measure actions against. In addition that inner voice that tells us what is right and wrong had been dulled by repeatedly violating its urging. Perhaps those who condone the behavior of people like Spitzer are saying more about themselves than about him.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Yeah! What Mr. Luter said! :o) Good stuff.
    I totally and wholeheartedly concur, sir.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    ucfengr,
    What a woman feels is not objective truth. Objectively speaking, using a prostitute is not a relationship, it is a sinful financial transaction. An affair is, objectively speaking, a wholesale violation of the marriage vows by shifting love, attention, energy and sex to another party. In terms of violent crime, prostitution is simple assault, an affair is at least attempted murder.
    You’re right, there are many women that don’t see a difference between prostitution and having an affair. However, there are many women who would far rather hear that their husband went to a hooker than a mistress because at the end of the day, odds are, he doesn’t want to have anything else to do with the prostitute.
    One of the things that society has fallen down on, and the Christian church is almost as bad for this as secular, feminist-friendly society, is expecting women to be sexual in a marriage. I wonder how many men are actually driven to adultery of any form by a sexless marriage, or a marriage where the woman openly has no interest in having sex. In such marriages, part of the blame does indeed fall upon the woman because like it or not, she has as much of an obligation to provide for his sexual needs, as he does to provide for her and her children’s material needs. Just as he gave up claim to full control over his income, she gave up claim to full control over herself in that respect.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen any serious Christian writer in the blogosphere other than Vox Day point out that women have as much of a duty to their husbands’ needs as vice versa.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    That should have read “is not expecting women to be sexual in a marriage.”

  • ex-preacher

    I actually agree that most laws are based on morality. But the question remains – should every immoral action also be illegal? I think McMansions are immoral. Shall we pass a law against them?

  • http://viagraandoxycontinfans.com Rush Limpballs

    The big question”
    Does Spitzer take a “wide stance”?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The statement is often made by liberals that “you can’t legislate morality.” I submit that the only thing you should legislate is morality.
    But it doesn’t follow that all morality shall be legislated.

  • ucfengr

    On the flip side, it being illegal creates an environment where women are victimized by it, subjected to violence, put at unnecessary risk of STDs and more.
    Simply making prostitution legal would not change this, Boonton. From a State Department article,
    “The Link Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficing”
    “Legalization of prostitution expands the market for commercial sex, opening markets for criminal enterprises and creating a safe haven for criminals who traffic people into prostitution. Organized crime networks do not register with the government, do not pay taxes, and do not protect prostitutes. Legalization simply makes it easier for them to blend in with a purportedly regulated sex sector and makes it more difficult for prosecutors to identify and punish those who are trafficking people.”
    What a woman feels is not objective truth.
    But it is rather important if we are discussing prostitution’s impact on marriages vs. extra-marital affairs.
    Just as an aside, I remember not to long ago that liberals used to argue for the criminalization prostitution, and its cousin porn, based on its encouraging of men to treat women as sexual objects, instead of as people. Now we have liberals arguing, in essence that prostitution is good for marriage and by extension women, because, it encourages men to treat women (other than there wives, I guess) as mere sexual objects. What a crazy time we live in.

  • ucfengr

    On the flip side, it being illegal creates an environment where women are victimized by it, subjected to violence, put at unnecessary risk of STDs and more.
    Simply making prostitution legal would not change this, Boonton. From a State Department article, “The Link Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficing”
    “Legalization of prostitution expands the market for commercial sex, opening markets for criminal enterprises and creating a safe haven for criminals who traffic people into prostitution. Organized crime networks do not register with the government, do not pay taxes, and do not protect prostitutes. Legalization simply makes it easier for them to blend in with a purportedly regulated sex sector and makes it more difficult for prosecutors to identify and punish those who are trafficking people.”
    What a woman feels is not objective truth.
    But it is rather important if we are discussing prostitution’s impact on marriages vs. extra-marital affairs.
    Just as an aside, I remember not to long ago that liberals used to argue for the criminalization prostitution, based on its encouraging of men to treat women as sexual objects, instead of as people. Now we have liberals arguing, in essence that prostitution is good for marriage and by extension women, because, it encourages men to treat women (other than there wives, I guess) as mere sexual objects. What a crazy time we live in.
    Just as another aside, boy is this going to be a tough day for the “spam filter”.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    Seems like the Moonlight Bunny Ranch has done alright for the women that work there. What you’re not seeing ucfengr, is that no one is saying that you can just legalize it and stop there. You would have to legalize it, and then enforce laws against human trafficking and sexual slavery, just as you have to enforce laws against smuggling alcohol and cigarettes. In fact, one could make a convincing case today that the very fact that prostitution is illegal gives prostitutes incentive to not cooperate with the police when there is sexual slavery involved.
    You’re going to have a hard time arguing that a country with as large of a hardcore porn industry as the United States is going to have a hard time finding women who want to be prostitutes. Commercial porn is, after all, nothing more than an act of prostitution with a video camera taping the evidence.

  • ucfengr

    What you’re not seeing ucfengr, is that no one is saying that you can just legalize it and stop there. You would have to legalize it, and then enforce laws against human trafficking and sexual slavery,
    I guess you missed the quote from the State Department paper I linked to. Here it is again (emphasis mine):
    “Legalization of prostitution expands the market for commercial sex, opening markets for criminal enterprises and creating a safe haven for criminals who traffic people into prostitution. Organized crime networks do not register with the government, do not pay taxes, and do not protect prostitutes. Legalization simply makes it easier for them to blend in with a purportedly regulated sex sector and makes it more difficult for prosecutors to identify and punish those who are trafficking people.
    So, legalization actually makes it harder to identify and punish human traffickers and slavers.
    In fact, one could make a convincing case today that the very fact that prostitution is illegal gives prostitutes incentive to not cooperate with the police when there is sexual slavery involved.
    One could make a convincing case that the facts on the ground indicate otherwise. The phrase “works on paper” springs to mind.

  • ucfengr

    In fact, one could make a convincing case today that the very fact that prostitution is illegal gives prostitutes incentive to not cooperate with the police when there is sexual slavery involved.
    I’m guessing you’ve never watched “The Sopranos”. Ask yourself a question, if you were a legal prostitute and Tony Soprano opened an illegal brothel next door, would you call the police and risk being fitted for a pair of cement galoshes?

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    So, legalization actually makes it harder to identify and punish human traffickers and slavers.

    Where is the state department’s evidence for this?

    One could make a convincing case that the facts on the ground indicate otherwise. The phrase “works on paper” springs to mind.

    Except that the facts on the ground in Nevada point otherwise, with the success of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch. The facts on the ground in Sweden have no bearing on the facts on the ground in the United States if our experience is different from theirs.

    I’m guessing you’ve never watched “The Sopranos”. Ask yourself a question, if you were a legal prostitute and Tony Soprano opened an illegal brothel next door, would you call the police and risk being fitted for a pair of cement galoshes?

    Would most people have a different reaction to having a violent mobster do this with any means of making money? Swap out prostitute for liquor store here with the Russian Mafia and you have another example of where this falls apart. There is no easy solution to violent organized crime. The only the thing the state can do is to mercilessly root out and eliminate violent criminals. I wholeheartedly advocate bringing back firing squads and hanging as methods of execution for this very reason.
    Your side is just ignoring the fact that these criminals will always exist, regardless of whether or not the state legalizes the vices that they sell. Furthemore, you’ve provided no argument for why it is easier for them to operate openly. Our own experience with alcohol prohibition shows that under a prohibition policy, criminals quickly take over the market, but that in a legal market, they’re marginalized.
    I agree with you that it’s a thorny issue, but the sort of men who do these things are the problem. The government has to take them out whenever they give the government a legal and just excuse to eliminate them from society.

  • Tlaloc

    ucfengr:
    “I’m guessing you’ve never watched “The Sopranos”. Ask yourself a question, if you were a legal prostitute and Tony Soprano opened an illegal brothel next door, would you call the police and risk being fitted for a pair of cement galoshes?”
    If prostitution is made legal then it is far less likely that Mr. Soprano *will* open a brothel at all, much less an illegal one.
    Notice that since we ended prohibition the number of speakeasys has declined precipitously. There’s a reason for that. Organized crime gets involved with illegal products and services because they can charge a lot for them. That makes them attractive despite the risks of being caught. Making them legal means that the price comes way down. No longer nearly as much reward.

  • ucfengr

    Where is the state department’s evidence for this?
    Did you follow the link in comment 27? The State Department paper provide 8 sources in the paper and also provided links to their Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons which has a lot of other information.
    Except that the facts on the ground in Nevada point otherwise, with the success of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.
    From the State Department paper cited in comment #27: “Legalization of prostitution expands the market for commercial sex, opening markets for criminal enterprises and creating a safe haven for criminals who traffic people into prostitution.” The success of the Bunny Ranch is a non-sequitor.
    If prostitution is made legal then it is far less likely that Mr. Soprano *will* open a brothel at all, much less an illegal one.
    See the bolded comment above.

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/ Collin Brendemuehl

    If prostitution were legalized it would develop like any other industry.
    Consider these:
    1) Scion, Chevy, Mercedes
    2) Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Macy’s
    3) gitney, Yellow Cab, Limousine
    Brothels would still open. You would pay for the particular quality of service that you would prefer.
    Collin
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/

  • ucfengr

    If prostitution were legalized it would develop like any other industry.
    No, the economics of prostitution are different from the economics of Macy’s or Wal-Mart. The reality is there are only a very few people willing to enter a life of prostitution. Prostitution is really not as glamorous as Hollywood tries to portray it. The reality is much darker. The article I cited in comment 27 and some of the other information elsewhere on the cite paints a very different picture than the one in “Pretty Woman”. From the article cited in comment 27: “Few activities are as brutal and damaging to people as prostitution. Field research in nine countries concluded that 60-75 percent of women in prostitution were raped, 70-95 percent were physically assaulted, and 68 percent met the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder in the same range as treatment-seeking combat veterans and victims of state-organized torture.” Unfortunately, the demand is much greater than the supply of people willing to provide the service. This what creates an opening for organized crime to bring in sex slaves. Legalization increases the demand without increasing the supply.

  • oclarki

    Given the advances in Artifical Intelligence and robotics, what will the morality be in the not too distant future when sophisticated robots can replace human beings? There was a bit about this in the blogs a month or so ago when some expert in robotics stated that humans would be able to have robotic sex partners in his lifetime. Woul there be anything morally upsetting if men were using robots? It takes out the emotional and exploitive aspects of the transaction, but is it still bad for society?

  • ucfengr

    I do find it troubling the number of Christians here that are willing to sanction the “commodification” of women.

  • Tlaloc

    ucfengr:
    “The reality is there are only a very few people willing to enter a life of prostitution.”
    You are letting your personal preference color your perceptions. The *fact* is that there are quite a lot of women and men who voluntarily become sex workers of one sort or another. Quite a lot. Take a peak at any of the bazillion personal webcam sites set up by young women to make money. Take a look at the various strip clubs. Those women are not slaves, they choose to do what they do because they can often make very good money at it.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    a traditional conservative view is that law and public policy should be concerned with public health, public safety, and public morality
    Nonsense. The “traditional conservative view” is to yell “Stop!” regardless of the morality of the consequences, and to want a government so weak and ineffectual (and incompetent) that you can strangle it in a bathtub.
    It’s a joke to suggest that “traditional conservative views” involve public health and public safety. Those, would involve, y’know, socialized medicine.
    Conservatism has been discredited by the fruits of the Bush regime.
    I’d suggest a new word. Maybe “liberal?” Progressive’s been taken, you know.

  • ucfengr

    You are letting your personal preference color your perceptions. The *fact* is that there are quite a lot of women and men who voluntarily become sex workers of one sort or another. Quite a lot.
    Sorry, no sale. I am not going to accept the premise that setting up a webcam or even stripping is equivalent to prostitution. By that standard you may as well say that being a Hooter’s girl is equivalent to being a prostitute. Sorry, not biting.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Stripper not equal to prostitution.
    Having sex for pay when a camera is on you not the same as prostitution.
    Having an affair is no worse than seeing a prostitute.
    Gov’t, always wrong*
    * State Department reports infallable (**)
    ** Except when they say Iraq had no WMD.
    Just making notes for my “ucfengr ethics for dummies” book.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    I do find it troubling the number of Christians here that are willing to sanction the “commodification” of women.

    I find it troubling the number of Christians who are obsessed about men “manning up” and looking after women and children, but who have nothing to say about the very real damage that women have done to sex and marriage. If anything, women are to blame for virtually every trend that you decry because they demanded that the old order be torn down in the name of “freedom.”

  • ucfengr

    State Department reports infallable
    You got me Boon. We at the State Department ginned up that report and all the sources to keep normal, red-blooded American He-men like yourself from selling their wives and daughters into prostitution. Cause that’s the American way.
    i>If anything, women are to blame for virtually every trend that you decry because they demanded that the old order be torn down in the name of “freedom.”
    Sounds like you got some “Mommy issues” there Bubba. So, have you always found women threatening?

  • Tlaloc

    ucfengr:
    “Sorry, no sale. I am not going to accept the premise that setting up a webcam or even stripping is equivalent to prostitution. By that standard you may as well say that being a Hooter’s girl is equivalent to being a prostitute. Sorry, not biting.”
    No they aren’t the same. There is one big difference- prostitution is illegal (with few exceptions in the US). Other than that they are the same in the ways that matter for the argument. Clearly a good number of people find performing sexual acts to be an acceptable job. hence your argument that there is not a sizable population of people *willing* to become prostitutes is false.

  • ucfengr

    There is one big difference- prostitution is illegal (with few exceptions in the US). Other than that they are the same in the ways that matter for the argument.
    So, is being a Hooter’s girl the “same in the ways that matter for the argument as a prostitute? What about a nude model for an art class?
    Clearly a good number of people find performing sexual acts to be an acceptable job. hence your argument that there is not a sizable population of people *willing* to become prostitutes is false.
    Clearly it’s not clear at all. How many people in the US perform sex acts for money? No need to be exact, just round up to the nearest hundred. Also what does “good number of people” finding a job acceptable have to do with anything. Clearly “a good number” of people find selling crack to school kids to be an acceptable job. That doesn’t make it an acceptable job.
    BTW–Here’s an interesting article on prostitution in Nevada (not from the State Department), It’s Like You Sign a Contract Be Raped. In the article it states that “Nevada’s illegal prostitution industry is already nine times greater than the state’s legal brothels.”. Even in the legal establishments, work conditions can be quite harsh. Again, from the article:
    “The women are expected to live in the brothels and to work 12- to 14-hour shifts. Mary, a prostitute in a legal brothel for three years, outlines the restrictions. “You are not allowed to have your own car,” she notes. “It’s like [the pimp's] own little police state.” When a customer arrives, a bell rings, and the women immediately have to present themselves in a line-up, so he can choose who to buy.”
    and
    “brothel owners typically pocket half of the women’s earnings. Additionally, the women must pay tips and other fees to the staff of the brothel, as well as finders’ fees to the cab drivers who bring the customers. They are also expected to pay for their own condoms, wet wipes, and use of sheets and towels.”
    I’m done for the moment, please feel free to resume your defense of the exploitation of women.

  • ucfengr

    There is one big difference- prostitution is illegal (with few exceptions in the US). Other than that they are the same in the ways that matter for the argument.
    So, is being a Hooter’s girl the “same in the ways that matter for the argument as a prostitute? What about a nude model for an art class?
    Clearly a good number of people find performing sexual acts to be an acceptable job. hence your argument that there is not a sizable population of people *willing* to become prostitutes is false.
    Clearly it’s not clear at all. How many people in the US perform sex acts for money? No need to be exact, just round up to the nearest hundred. Also what does “good number of people” finding a job acceptable have to do with anything. Clearly “a good number” of people find selling crack to school kids to be an acceptable job. That doesn’t make it an acceptable job.
    BTW–Here’s an interesting article on prostitution in Nevada (not from the State Department), It’s Like You Sign a Contract Be R*ped. In the article it states that “Nevada’s illegal prostitution industry is already nine times greater than the state’s legal brothels.”. Even in the legal establishments, work conditions can be quite harsh. Again, from the article:
    “The women are expected to live in the brothels and to work 12- to 14-hour shifts. Mary, a prostitute in a legal brothel for three years, outlines the restrictions. “You are not allowed to have your own car,” she notes. “It’s like [the pimp's] own little police state.” When a customer arrives, a bell rings, and the women immediately have to present themselves in a line-up, so he can choose who to buy.”
    and
    “brothel owners typically pocket half of the women’s earnings. Additionally, the women must pay tips and other fees to the staff of the brothel, as well as finders’ fees to the cab drivers who bring the customers. They are also expected to pay for their own condoms, wet wipes, and use of sheets and towels.”
    I’m done for the moment, please feel free to resume your defense of the exploitation of women.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com MikeT

    Clearly it’s not clear at all. How many people in the US perform sex acts for money? No need to be exact, just round up to the nearest hundred. Also what does “good number of people” finding a job acceptable have to do with anything. Clearly “a good number” of people find selling crack to school kids to be an acceptable job. That doesn’t make it an acceptable job.

    When all else fails, resort to bad comparisons, right?
    See, here’s the thing… there’s a world of difference in morality between selling crack to kids and selling crack to adults because kids are neither in biblical or secular sense responsible for their decisions. Adults, are. Same goes for adults and prostitution.
    Let me give you a little perspective here.
    There are a lot of pornographic sites out there that rely on paying women $300-$500 for a single sex act. They have no problem recruiting new women to do these videos and photo shoots.
    Here’s another example.
    My university used to have an escort service run out of its president’s office about five to ten years before I went there. The President matched up a number of good looking college girls to clients of his, many of whom ended up having sex with them. In exchange, he winked and nodded at admissions, and they got their tuition wiped clean.
    You have the example of girls gone wild, where girls will show off for beads. Beads, ucfengr. Beads. Not cash, but little pieces of plastic on a string. It’s like the purchase of Manhattan on a small scale.
    American women have given themselves a very bad reputation around the world from Europe, to Africa, to Asia, for their loose sexuality. I don’t think it’d be much of a stretch to find many women willing to be prostitutes at least part-time to make extra money.

  • ucfengr

    See, here’s the thing… there’s a world of difference in morality between selling crack to kids and selling crack to adults
    Really? So “selling crack to a 17 year old = morally reprehensible”, but “selling crack to an 18 year old = not so bad”? Interesting.
    There are a lot of pornographic sites out there that rely on paying women $300-$500 for a single sex act. They have no problem recruiting new women to do these videos and photo shoots.
    You seem to have a lot of insight into the business; do you mind if I ask what you do for a living? Let’s look at your statement for a moment, these sites have to pay $300-$500 for a single sex act, hmm. From the Guardian article I cited in comment 45, a prostitute in a legal Nevada brothel nets about $20 ($50 – brothel owner’s 50% cut – tips and incidentals) for a Bravo-Juliet (read only first letter in each word), so essentially what you have is a web site that has to offer 15-25 times the going rate for a single act. Imagine you are already a prostitute, wouldn’t that seem like a pretty good deal. You seem to be working under the assumption that these websites draw in people not already in the business to “perform”; I think that is a mistaken assumption. It is more likely that the people “performing” for these sites are already in the business and are doing this as a way to increase their income. It is also probably safe to assume that many of the women performing are forced to do so, in the same way many are forced into prostitution. In essence, the two businesses have a symbiotic relationship in which they use the same “performers”, much like Larry Flynt uses the same woman in his magazine as he uses in his clubs.
    My university used to have an escort service run out of its president’s office about five to ten years before I went there. The President matched up a number of good looking college girls to clients of his, many of whom ended up having sex with them.
    Mike, you and Tlaloc keep talking about numbers without actually using any. How many women were run out of this university president’s office and what was the size of the student body? Which university was it? How many of the women involved were already “in the business” before they ever attended this university?
    You have the example of girls gone wild, where girls will show off for beads.
    Yeah, I’ve been to Mardi Gras too, what’s your point? That woman who’ve had a lot to drink and are under a significant amount of peer pressure will do stupid things? I concede that point, but it is a big stretch to compare a bunch of drunk women acting stupidly to women engaged in prostitution.
    Just as an aside, Mike; have you ever considered joining the Muslim religion? The Quran allows you to beat women to enforce modesty and submission. This seems to better comport to the feelings you have expressed towards women in this thread than Christianity does.

  • ucfengr

    Joe, I am breaking this comment up to try to find out what is causing the spam filter to hold, so forgive the multiple posts.
    See, here’s the thing… there’s a world of difference in morality between selling crack to kids and selling crack to adults because kids are neither in biblical or secular sense responsible for their decisions.
    I personally don’t think God sees much of a difference between a dealer selling to a 16 year old, or even a 13 year old (Jewish age of majority) and one selling to an 18 year old. Maybe he sees a difference between selling to a 6 year old and an 18 year old, but even at that you would have a hard time finding Biblical justification for the position.

  • ucfengr

    You have the example of girls gone wild, where girls will show off for beads.
    Of course, it is important to remember what you don’t see in your “Girls Gone Wild” videos, the number of woman who aren’t willing to show off for beads, in other words the women who say “not just no, but He(double hockey sticks) No” or the ones that toss a drink in his face. They don’t make the cut.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’m done for the moment, please feel free to resume your defense of the exploitation of women.
    Glancing through the article you cited the problem that seems to exist with Nevada’s legalization of prostitution is that it really isn’t legal. It’s basically legal where there’s essentially a tiny market (counties with less than 40,000 population) thereby allowing a few employers to monopolize the legal market. In other words, employers are essentially allowed to create sweatshop-like brothels.
    No legalization doesn’t solve all the problems. You still need to enforce employment laws, still need investigate allegations and so on. Some of the items cited in your article, though, do not appear to be horrible violations of human rights. For example, the legal prostitutes in Nevada have to buy their own condoms and split their fees with the brothel owners? That seems less like a human rights violation to me and more like the dynamics of a labor market.
    It is hardly obvious to me that legalization could not work to limit the problems. For example, legalization alone could eliminate underage prostitution as legal businesses would be required to collect social security numbers and confirm ages of their employees. The adult video industry, for example, has to now collect birth certificates and other documents and keep them on file to keep anyone under 18 out after Tracy Lords caused a huge ruckus in the 80′s and 90′s when she revealed she had lied about her age.
    Do videos of underage people exist? Of course but it’s better that law enforcement concentrate its resources on them than to try to tackle all videos.
    Ucfengr’s argument seems to be that legal prostitution cannot avoid the human trafficking and violence problems because there are just no women on earth who would willingly be prostitutes. I disagree, there’s many that would never be prostitutes. There are many that would be prostitutes if the pay was right. And there are many that are prostitutes today. The high priced escorts the Gov. was using were probably banking thousands and no one was holding a gun to their heads and they probably were not kidnapped from some innocent peasent village in the Ukrane or south Asia.
    Ohhh and another thing
    You got me Boon. We at the State Department ginned up that report and all the sources to keep normal, red-blooded American He-men like yourself from selling their wives and daughters into prostitution. Cause that’s the American way.
    Cut and paste the exact same thing into a post two times again ucfengr and I’ll show up at your house with a tire iron and pry ctr-v off your keyboard!

  • smmtheory

    American women have given themselves a very bad reputation around the world from Europe, to Africa, to Asia, for their loose…

    I have trouble believing it has been American women by themselves that have been giving themselves that bad reputation (if it is any worse than the reputation other women around the world have gotten). I think it has been the men exploiting them as much as anything else. How about estimating how much money would be spent around the world by men on videos of “Women Going Modest!”

  • ucfengr

    Ucfengr’s argument seems to be that legal prostitution cannot avoid the human trafficking and violence problems because there are just no women on earth who would willingly be prostitutes. I disagree,
    I would agree, if that were my argument; it wasn’t. What I said in comment 35 was “The reality is there are only a “very few people willing to enter a life of prostitution”. See the difference, “very few” is different from “no women on earth”. This is the dynamic that drives the human trafficking problems associated with prostitution. The number of women willing to enter prostitution is not enough to supply the demand in even when prostitution is legal, let alone illegal. This also explains the treatment of even legal prostitutes highlighted in the Guardian article cited in comment 45. When women discover that the life of a prostitute bears no resemblance to Julia Robert’s character in “Pretty Woman”, many, quite understandably, desire to leave the business. If it were easy for brothel owners to replace them, they would not make it so difficult for them to leave.

  • ucfengr

    Couldn’t agree more, smm.
    Cut and paste the exact same thing into a post two times again ucfengr and I’ll show up at your house with a tire iron and pry ctr-v off your keyboard!
    Wise man say, “never bring tire iron to gunfight”;).

  • ucfengr

    The high priced escorts the Gov. was using were probably banking thousands and no one was holding a gun to their heads and they probably were not kidnapped from some innocent peasent village in the Ukrane or south Asia.
    I don’t know that you can safely assume this. It’s probably true that the girls working for the “Emperor’s Club” weren’t peasant girls from Thailand or the Ukraine, but it is probably also true that that the people that ran it also ran less reputable outfits that did kidnap peasant girls from Thailand and the Ukraine. It also probably true that they had similar employment constraints as their less well paid Las Vegas counterparts. In other words, their cages were probably mink-lined, but they were still cages. It is hard to find out much about the owners of the Club, but it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that they maintained the service primarily as a way to curry favor among powerful politicians and business leaders and so to shield their more lucrative outfits. Kind of like Las Vegas casinos that offer big perks to high rollers to better allow them to tap the more lucrative downscale markets.

  • pinhead

    Number nine……number nine…….number nine…..
    somebody crank up the Beatles..

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I would agree, if that were my argument; it wasn’t. What I said in comment 35 was “The reality is there are only a “very few people willing to enter a life of prostitution”.
    Do you mean very few willing no matter what or very few willing at a particular rate of pay? They are two very different things.
    The number of women willing to enter prostitution is not enough to supply the demand in even when prostitution is legal, let alone illegal.
    Demand always equals supply. There is not a single demand point (as in 100,000 men want one prostitute encounter per week) but a series of points that tie demand to price. (more like 100K at $25, 110K at $20, and so on…even that’s a simplification since we make no allowance for quality).
    That is true of illegal as well as legal markets.
    When women discover that the life of a prostitute bears no resemblance to Julia Robert’s character in “Pretty Woman”, many, quite understandably, desire to leave the business.
    Hmmmm

    “The physical appearance of these buildings is shocking,” says Farley. “They look like wide trailers with barbed wire around them – little jails.” The rooms all have panic buttons, but many women told her that they had experienced violent and sexual abuse from the customers and pimps.

    So when they were walking up to this place with its ‘help wanted’ sign did they still think they were taking over the position Julia Roberts left when she hooked up with Richard Geer?

    Then there is the fact that legal prostitutes seem to lose the rights ordinary citizens enjoy. From 1987, prostitutes in Nevada have been legally required to be tested once a week for sexually transmitted diseases and monthly for HIV. Customers are not required to be tested. The women must present their medical clearance to the police station and be finger-printed, even though such registration is detrimental: if a woman is known to work as a prostitute, she may be refused health insurance, face discrimination in housing or future employment, or endure accusations of unfit motherhood. In addition, there are countries that will not permit registered prostitutes to settle, so their movement is severely restricted.

    To me it seems rather difficult to maintain there’s large populations of people doing this with guns to their heads if they got to report periodically to police stations and show up to a medical office every week. The article is not very clear on how brothels ‘legally imprison’ their prostitutes. I suspect it’s more like how Wal-Mart ‘imprisons’ their workers by forbidding them to leave the store and less like people are imprisoned in 3rd world brothels. A lot of the article reads less like legalization is the problem and more like Nevada has horrible labor laws and seems to be stuck in, say, 1910 in regards to its law enforcement in small communities.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    It’s probably true that the girls working for the “Emperor’s Club” weren’t peasant girls from Thailand or the Ukraine, but it is probably also true that that the people that ran it also ran less reputable outfits that did kidnap peasant girls from Thailand and the Ukraine. It also probably true that they had similar employment constraints as their less well paid Las Vegas counterparts.
    I wouldn’t be so sure. In the high end of the market there are lots of ‘independent contractors’. Women who either work entirely for themselves or use outfits like the “Emperor’s Club” the way a movie star uses a talent agent.
    Interestingly that illustrates what I’m talking about. Immigration enforcement and the IRS alone would work to dramatically limit a lot of that stuff from the upscale “Emperor’s Club” type outfits and there are many men who would even be willing to pay a premium to use a service that they know is legal. That would free law enforcement resources to concentrate on the real problems of slavery & abuse just as law enforcement does not have to divide its porn resources going after Playboys and Penthouses today.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Ohhh for Collin Brendemuehl;
    I’m still waiting to hear the feminist *outrage*.
    Try http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/nyregion/12prostitute.html?hp. spitzer was something of a hero to Equality Now. As a prosecutor he took on, at their behest, a sex tourism company that was operating in NYC. The previous prosecutor claimed NYC had no jurisdiction over acts of prostitution that happened overseas. He managed to get the business shut down and its operators indicted as well as new laws passed. While the group (whose supporters include Gloria Steinem and Carolyn Maloney) isn’t saying they are outraged they are clearly disappointed in him.

  • ucfengr

    Do you mean very few willing no matter what or very few willing at a particular rate of pay?
    The former.
    Demand always equals supply.
    You didn’t understand what I said. I said that there weren’t enough women “willing to enter prostitution”. That’s where organized crime steps in, to fill the demand with, shall we say, less than willing women.
    To me it seems rather difficult to maintain there’s large populations of people doing this with guns to their heads if they got to report periodically to police stations and show up to a medical office every week.
    Again, from the article, the illegal prostitution population is 9 times the size of the legal. Those woman don’t periodically report to police or medical offices.

  • ucfengr

    To me it seems rather difficult to maintain there’s large populations of people doing this with guns to their heads if they got to report periodically to police stations and show up to a medical office every week.
    Not if you are paying off the police, etc. Remember, many of these operations are run by organized crime, not AT&T or Wal-Mart.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    The former.
    OK, so there are many women who would be prostitutes if the pay was different. Pay here meaning everything together, including working condiditions.
    You didn’t understand what I said. I said that there weren’t enough women “willing to enter prostitution”. That’s where organized crime steps in, to fill the demand with, shall we say, less than willing women.
    The best way to understand organized crime is the line from Goodfellers which went something like “we were the cops for people who couldn’t go to the cops”. An illegal market has no less need for regulation than a legal one, the only difference is who does the regulating and what methods they use.
    Even among street walkers, one of whom I’ve meet and antoher I know about second hand (I assure NOT as a client in any way) there is competition even for pimps. Do horrible things happen? Yes but it’s a bit of a fantasy to say this entire market was created by innocent women who were kidnapped and made to work as prostitutes. There’s a large degree of choice in this mix. Granted choice corrupted by drugs, mental problems and all other ugly things but that doesn’t change the truth about things.
    So, ucfengr, it costs to obtain an unwilling employee base. Maybe you don’t have to pay as much for wages but you have to pay more for those who obtain and police forced labor. Since, as you say, there are pleny of women who would work as prostitutes (in contradiction to your earlier posts) if the pay was higher why wouldn’t the market respond simply by raising the pay rather than using the services of ‘enforcers’ who bring with them all sorts of additional legal and practical problems?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Not if you are paying off the police, etc. Remember, many of these operations are run by organized crime, not AT&T or Wal-Mart.
    It sounds to me like Nevada’s law was designed to keep as much organized crime as possible in ‘legal prostitution’. It’s problems do not seem to be tied as much to the idea of legalized prostitution.

  • ex-preacher

    There is an interesting interview with a call girl over at the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times site.
    I want to clarify that I do not in any way think that prostitution is a good thing. To me, the question we are debating (at least some of us) is whether or not it should be illegal. There are many bad and even immoral activities that are perfectly legal.
    The principle I try to hold to is that laws exist to protect us from others who might do us direct harm. If one, two, three or more consenting, mentally competent adults want to have sex or do anything else together that does not cause harm to others, that’s not my concern.
    Please, Joe or ucfengr or others who favor criminal prosecution of prostitution, tell us if you think the government should have and vigorously enforce laws that outlaw adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, masturbation, lust or any other behaviors between consenting adults.

  • Mr. Brown

    “Please, Joe or ucfengr or others who favor criminal prosecution of prostitution, tell us if you think the government should have and vigorously enforce laws that outlaw adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, masturbation, lust or any other behaviors between consenting adults.”
    If the answer is yes, you just put Congress out of business.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    OK so let’s try to stay on track by pro/coning this:
    Pro:
    Illegal prostitution probably limits the use of prostitutes which improves some marriages.
    Illegal prostitution probably limits, shall we say, “too much sex” in our culture thereby improving this notion of a ‘moral ecology’.
    Con:
    Illegal prostitution might encourage more affairs which are more damaging to marriage….or at best equally damaging per ucfengr’s isolated argument.
    Illegal prostitution probably facilitates slavery, abuse, and other unacceptable ‘employee relations’.
    In regards to ‘labor relations’…a brothel can respond to a shortage of prostitutes in two ways; spending on ‘forced’ labor or spending more for willing labor. I suspect less developed countries where the rule of law is weaker and without traditions of individual freedom find it easier to resort to the first while more developed countries would rather opt for the second*. Looking at the whole picture, then, we can add another con. If prostitution is illegal in the developed country the impact might be to increase the use of prostitutes from less developed countries (either imported illegally or by ‘sexual tourists’).
    I think the pro side only wins if you ignore the prostitute entirely. It’s all well and good that the Spitzer marriage has been improved by more honesty but I don’t see how that compares to the horror of a single woman needlessly getting AIDS or taken captive (either in the US or anywhere in the world) due to a misguided policy.
    * Why would a developed country’s brothels opt for willing labor over forced labor? Here’s a few reasons:
    1. Even if you’re running an illegal operation it is still a good idea to minimize the number of crimes you can possibly be charged with. The penalties for assault, kidnapping, etc. are pretty harsh when compared to a simple ‘facilitating’ charge.
    2. In general willing labor produces better ‘service’. While some men will not care many will.
    3. Since you’re running an illegal operation…it’s a good idea to keep the number of people who might have a motivation to rat you out to a minimum.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Let me note that all of the above has nothing to do with ‘moral relativism’ or saying gov’t shouldn’t try to regulate morality. All of the above applies if you start with an assumption that prostitution is morally wrong.

  • ucfengr

    OK, so there are many women who would be prostitutes if the pay was different.
    No, that was the latter choice of the two. I said “the former”. In other words “very few no matter what”.
    Since, as you say, there are pleny of women who would work as prostitutes (in contradiction to your earlier posts) if the pay was higher why wouldn’t the market respond simply by raising the pay rather than using the services of ‘enforcers’ who bring with them all sorts of additional legal and practical problems?
    No, you misread my post or don’t know the difference between “former” and “latter”.

  • ucfengr

    Yes but it’s a bit of a fantasy to say this entire market was created by innocent women who were kidnapped and made to work as prostitutes.
    Of course, I never said the “entire market was created by innocent women..”, what I said was that “innocent women…kidnapped and made to work as prostitutes” make up the difference between the supply of women who “willingly” enter the market and the demand that exists.
    Please, Joe or ucfengr or others who favor criminal prosecution of prostitution, tell us if you think the government should have and vigorously enforce laws that outlaw adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, masturbation, lust or any other behaviors between consenting adults.
    Now I am not a lawyer, but I would be very surprised if there are actually laws in the US that outlaw divorce, especially since it is the state that grants divorces. Perhaps you could help out by pointing out specific examples in US federal or state legal codes that outlaw divorce.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    OK but there are women who have sex for money on camera….paid for by large corporations with deep pockets that could easily be sued big time if they were using forced or coerced labor.
    Unless you’re going to argue, bizaarly, that having real sex on film for money is not prostitution it would seem the supply of prostitutes resonds to compensation as does any other market.
    As a matter of fact, you more or less gave your game away when you talked about prostitutes who were supposedly disappointed that the real thing is not like the Julia Roberts movie. If just about no woman would be a prostitute no matter what the payoff then it wouldn’t matter even if the real thing WAS like the movie!
    Your view of women seems to be like Ivory Saop….99.94% pure. I think in reality human nature applies to both genders.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Of course, I never said the “entire market was created by innocent women..”, what I said was that “innocent women…kidnapped and made to work as prostitutes” make up the difference between the supply of women who “willingly” enter the market and the demand that exists.
    OK, let’s work with this model. Whether or not it is true isn’t very relevant because it does generate some interesting conclusions that I think are valid.
    A brothel owner is confronted with a labor shortage. He has, as I said, two general strategies:
    a. Increase compensation (more money, better conditions, benefits whatnot)
    b. Use forced or unwilling labor.
    The fact is unavoidable that both involve more cost. Assuming the owner cares only about profit it doesn’t matter to him what option he must choose. Both simply represent increased costs for his business.
    Your assumption is there is some small portion of women willing to be prostitutes and then the rest of women totally unwilling no matter what the cost.
    Under legalized prostitution the owner would apply choice a until he recruited as many willing women as he could. He would then apply b only to the degree that the cost of b is less than the additional profit he could make. The cost of b would, of course, be the money he has to pay to hoodlums, kidnappers, traffickers etc. as well as the costs of dodging law enforcement, the risk of the punishments if caught etc.
    Since under legalized prostitution law enforcement would not be expending resources on a it would be able to concentrate on b. Since that would raise the cost of b the same result would hold. Legalized prostitution lowers the amoount of forced labor used. That positive has to be netted out agaisnt the positive of supposedly better marriages created by keeping prostitution illegal. So the same result holds even if your (unrealistic imo) model is true.

  • ucfengr

    Unless you’re going to argue, bizaarly, that having real sex on film for money is not prostitution it would seem the supply of prostitutes resonds to compensation as does any other market.
    In comment 47 I made the point that the “prostitution industry” and the porn industry are likely symbiotic, with “workers” crossing between industries as opportunities present, much like Larry Flynt uses his magazine’s models in his clubs and vice versa. So, no I don’t make a distinction between the two.

  • ucfengr

    OK so let’s try to stay on track by pro/coning this:
    You probably need to provide some data to support your assumptions. From the CDC, Nevada has the highest divorce rate in the country (they also have the highest marriage rate). If the availability of prostitution had a positive impact on marriage, as you appear to assert, marriage would tend to be more stable in Nevada; instead the opposite if true.
    As an aside, I know why marriage rates in Vegas are high, and I know why in the past divorce rates were high, but with “no fault divorce” common among the 50 states, it would seem that divorce rates would be comparable with the rest of the nation, but they tend to be much higher.

  • ucfengr

    As a matter of fact, you more or less gave your game away when you talked about prostitutes who were supposedly disappointed that the real thing is not like the Julia Roberts movie. If just about no woman would be a prostitute no matter what the payoff then it wouldn’t matter even if the real thing WAS like the movie!
    One doesn’t follow the other. It is possible both that a very small number of women are willing to be prostitutes and that some number of those who were willing, were seduced by the glamorous prostitutes featured in movies like “Pretty Woman”.

  • ex-preacher

    Ucfengr,
    I didn’t say there were laws against any of those. I’m asking if there should be. IOW, are you going to be consistent and take the position that it is the job of the government to outlaw all behavior that “pollutes the moral ecology”? If it is only the government’s job to outlaw some morally polluting behavior, which ones do you so designate and how do you arrive at that conclusion?

  • ucfengr

    I’m asking if there should be. IOW, are you going to be consistent and take the position that it is the job of the government to outlaw all behavior that “pollutes the moral ecology”?
    I don’t accept the premise that consistency requires I accept that position, but let’s throw the ball back in your court for a moment. If prostitution, even legal prostitution is as bad as the various international agencies (not just the US State Department) that monitor it say it is, do you favor its legalization in the US?

  • ex-preacher

    Why can’t you give me a straight answer? Even though you have refused to even address any of the questions, I will answer your question. Yes, I favor decriminalization of prostitution.

  • ucfengr

    Why can’t you give me a straight answer?
    I did.
    Yes, I favor decriminalization of prostitution.
    So you’re in favor of the sex enslavement of, perhaps millions of women. I’ll have to remember that.

  • smmtheory

    I hope you were just generalizing ucfengr, because I don’t think that it’s just about women since there are male prostitutes also. The slavery and degradation also apply to them as well.
    As my Criminal Law professor put it ex-preacher, laws are codified when social deterrence no longer works (at least in this country). So I’d say you are making a good case for why laws should be codified against prostitution.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You probably need to provide some data to support your assumptions. From the CDC, Nevada has the highest divorce rate in the country (they also have the highest marriage rate). If the availability of prostitution had a positive impact on marriage, as you appear to assert, marriage would tend to be more stable in Nevada; instead the opposite if true.
    I know enough about econometrics to know that such a calculation is beyond both of us. Just to begin with, for example, you have to adjust for the fact that Nevada has lots of ‘transient marriages’ due to Las Vegas, it probably produces its share of ‘transient divorces’. (If you want to marry the showgirl even in Nevada you have to divorce your current wife first).
    Out of curiousity, why would you attribute Nevada’s high divorce rate with legalized prostitution? As you said, only 1 out of 9 prostitutes bothers to go the legal route. It would seem that most acts of prostitution in Nevada are no more legal than they are in most other states.
    Speaking of Vegas, don’t you think that perhaps Nevada has gotten its experiment with legalized prostitution backwards? Instead of legalizing it in its back corners where it seems any hick with enough money to buy a trailor is rich enough to be a ‘tycoon’ who can pay off the local police, they should have legalized it in Vegas only and made its residents travel there to indulge in it where law enforcement is professional enough to resist a bribe payable in Jack Daniels. Many of your arguments against it sound like the arguments against legal gambling….
    If prostitution, even legal prostitution is as bad as the various international agencies (not just the US State Department) that monitor it say it is, do you favor its legalization in the US?
    I’ll bite. Yes if legalized prostitution did turn out to be as bad as illegal prostitution then I’d have to say the experiment was a failure and we should revert back to illegal prostitution.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ucfengr caused me to think more about the economics of free versus forced labor. I played around with Google docs and have my thoughts on it here:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhstx2f_6hqx9dqg2
    A few simple supply-demand curves can save a thousand words.

  • ucfengr

    I hope you were just generalizing ucfengr
    I was.

  • ucfengr

    Just to begin with, for example, you have to adjust for the fact that Nevada has lots of ‘transient marriages’ due to Las Vegas, it probably produces its share of ‘transient divorces’. (If you want to marry the showgirl even in Nevada you have to divorce your current wife first).
    This was true in the days before “no fault” divorce became common, but now it is common, so I discount that hypothesis. I did get married in Vegas, and while I saw dozens of 24hr wedding chapels, I saw no 24hr divorce courts. Speaking from experience (not with “the Vegas wife”), it is harder to get divorced than it is to get married, especially if you’re trying to get divorced in a state you weren’t married in.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    There might not be any ’24 hour divorce courts’, but that still isn’t a measure of how easy it is to get divorced. Also easier or not the fact remains if you are going to marry someone new (or just hook up with someone new) you’re going to be inclined to ditch the old person.
    My impression is that Nevada attracts lots of people who are in one sense or another ‘passing through’. Since the ground is unstable there it is probably easier for people to break old bonds and forge new ones for better or worse.
    When you get a chance please let me know if my attempt to publish using Google docs works!

  • ucfengr

    There might not be any ’24 hour divorce courts’, but that still isn’t a measure of how easy it is to get divorced.
    Without going into detail, even a “quickie divorce” takes several weeks due to the time needed to serve papers, obtain consent to transfer the venue (assuming out of state marriage), getting a court date, etc. This tends to argue against your “transient divorce” hypothesis.
    When you get a chance please let me know if my attempt to publish using Google docs works!
    I did look at your paper and apparently Google docs works. Needless to say, I disagree with some of your assumptions, but at the same time I don’t want to initiate another long exchange, so I will leave it at Google docs works.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    My point is that I suspect Nevada is more likely a place where people find reasons to break old binds.
    In other words, it isn’t so much about how easy divorce is. It’s about how easy is it to find reasons to get divorced. Say Nevada’s laws are no easier or harder than any other state. The fact still remains if people are meeting more ‘showgirls’ in Nevada that will begin the process of them getting divorces. If that is less likely to happen in, say, Utah, then Nevada will have more divorces per 1000 people than Utah even if their laws are exactly the same.
    You haven’t really explained why legalized prostitution woudl be the cause with Nevada. As you’ve already stated, it would seem almost all of Nevada’s prostitution happens illegally so in that regard it’s little different from the other states.
    I think there’s other demographic factors at work as well. One possibility, I would suspect that Nevada has a higher portion of ‘young marriages’ (meaning marriages that haven’t lasted very long) than other states. I think you’ll find that marriages that have lasted only a year have a higher divorce rate than marriages that have lasted five or ten years. A state that, for whatever reason, finds itself with lots of 10 year marriages will then have a lower rate than a sister state with more 1 year marriages.
    I also suspect Nevada has other types of instability. Nevada has lots of poverty. That drives divorce. I also suspect that Nevada has more of what I can only call ‘bad poverty’. Two people might be poor in income but if one person has a stable family, good friends, a decent lifestyle low income may not be so harmful to him. Nevada, maybe because of the gambling or maybe because of its history or maybe just because it is more of a transient place might have less ‘good poverty’ and more ‘bad poverty’.
    As you can see really trying to figure that out is not a project I want to undertake unless someone’s going to reward me with a phd when I’m done!

  • ex-preacher

    Sorry, ucfengr, I missed your straight answer to the following questions.
    In post # 11, I asked: “Should the government outlaw affairs?”
    From post #17: “Still, do you think the government should prosecute adulterers?”
    From post #23: “But the question remains – should every immoral action also be illegal? I think McMansions are immoral. Shall we pass a law against them?”
    In post #63 “Please, Joe or ucfengr or others who favor criminal prosecution of prostitution, tell us if you think the government should have and vigorously enforce laws that outlaw adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, masturbation, lust or any other behaviors between consenting adults.”
    And, from post #74: “IOW, are you going to be consistent and take the position that it is the job of the government to outlaw all behavior that “pollutes the moral ecology”? If it is only the government’s job to outlaw some morally polluting behavior, which ones do you so designate and how do you arrive at that conclusion?”
    Please point me to the post(s) where you gave a staright answer to these questions. Thanks!

  • ex-preacher

    Sorry, ucfengr, I missed your straight answer to the following questions.
    In post # 11, I asked: “Should the government outlaw affairs?”
    From post #17: “Still, do you think the government should prosecute adulterers?”
    From post #23: “But the question remains – should every immoral action also be illegal? I think McMansions are immoral. Shall we pass a law against them?”
    In post #63 “Please, Joe or ucfengr or others who favor criminal prosecution of prostitution, tell us if you think the government should have and vigorously enforce laws that outlaw adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, masturbation, lust or any other behaviors between consenting adults.”
    And, from post #74: “IOW, are you going to be consistent and take the position that it is the job of the government to outlaw all behavior that “pollutes the moral ecology”? If it is only the government’s job to outlaw some morally polluting behavior, which ones do you so designate and how do you arrive at that conclusion?”
    Please point me to the post(s) where you gave a staright answer to these questions. Thanks!

  • ucfengr

    ex, I gave you a perfectly straight answer, it just wasn’t the answer you wanted. You wanted an answer that would allow you to characterize me as either a hypocrite or a fascist. Sorry, I am not going to give you that.
    In other words, it isn’t so much about how easy divorce is. It’s about how easy is it to find reasons to get divorced. Say Nevada’s laws are no easier or harder than any other state. The fact still remains if people are meeting more ‘showgirls’ in Nevada that will begin the process of them getting divorces.
    You are missing my point, Boonton. Let me try again, if you are going to get divorced, it makes no sense to get divorced in a state where neither you nor your soon to be ex-spouse live. In this case, where you made your decision to divorce is irrelevant, because the legal process is still going to take several months in which you have to visit lawyers, file papers, go to court, etc. Plus, unless you were married in Nevada, the Nevada court has no jurisdiction to grant the divorce unless both parties agree. It just makes no sense logistically to file for divorce in a state in which neither party lives.
    You haven’t really explained why legalized prostitution woudl be the cause with Nevada.
    I don’t have to. You were the one who asserted that prostitution is good for marriages because it reduces the likelihood of affairs. If this were true, you would expect to see lower divorce rates in places where prostitution is legal. You don’t. The burden is really on you to explain why, because your hypothetical on why people divorce in Nevada really doesn’t play out when you look at what getting a divorce requires vs. what getting married requires.
    As you can see really trying to figure that out is not a project I want to undertake unless someone’s going to reward me with a phd when I’m done!
    Then I suggest you let go of this line of argument.

  • ex-preacher

    Please tell me where you answered my questions.

  • ucfengr

    Sigh..
    In comment 76, you asked:
    are you going to be consistent and take the position that it is the job of the government to outlaw all behavior that “pollutes the moral ecology”?
    In comment 77, I replied:
    I don’t accept the premise that consistency requires I accept that position [that government outlaw all behavior that "pollutes the moral ecology]
    Is there a specific word that you are having trouble with; because Dictionary.com is an excellent reference for that.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I don’t have to. You were the one who asserted that prostitution is good for marriages because it reduces the likelihood of affairs. If this were true, you would expect to see lower divorce rates in places where prostitution is legal.
    Maybe or maybe not. Divorce rates are a very crude metric to measure the health of a marriage. Imagine a doctor trying to figure out how healthy you are by only being told whether or not you died in the last year.
    Look at the Spitzer marriage. Their odds for divorce in the near future have gone up dramatically. Using that as a metric would lead to the conclusion that it would have been healthier if prostitution was legal and Mrs. Spitzer never learned of her husband’s activities!
    This is like the old joke about the guy looking for his car keys under the street light. He says even though he lost his keys somewhere else, it makes no sense to look where there’s no light. Just because we have easy access to divorce ratios doesn’t mean that they can tell us what we want to know.
    Then I suggest you let go of this line of argument.
    Ahhh but you presented your own argument, that affairs were equally damaging as visiting prostitutes…not more. You too should actually have to present something in defense of that. Especially when, as others showed here, it fails the ‘common sense’ test.
    In regards to Nevada’s divorce rate:
    1. For all pratical purposes, Nevada is not a very good test for prostitution legalization.
    2. The general idea I’m getting at is Nevada has a less stable population in general than other states. That probably contributes to a higher divorce rate no matter what reasonable range of policies it might implement.
    In regards the overall argument here:
    1. Your ‘model’ of supply is very unconvincing. You’ve asserted that only a portion of women would be willing to supply prostitution (which creates a normal textbook supply curve) and then a sudden cut off (producing the verticle line indicating a fixed supply). In other words, women seem to be a minority sluts (just debating price) and majority angels (not for sale at any price). You’ve presented absolutely no evidence for this oddball supply curve. There’s lots of evidence that women are no different from other humans when responding to different market incentives. No that doesn’t mean there are no women “not for sale at any price”. It does mean your binary argument rests on next to no evidence.
    2. Leaving aside #1, you don’t apply the model correctly. In cases where supply is fixed the market dynamic is to clear at a higher price and lower quantity. Using a substitute (forced labor in place of free) only works provided its cost is less than the cost of the primary supply curve (free labor). Legalization of unforced prostitution would work to undercut the forced market since making voluntary prostitution illegal simply serves to harm its supply curve. In other words, you’re actually making forced prostitution look more attractive!
    3. You’re circling around the marriage argument even though I’ve made it pretty clear I’m not betting much on that side of the equation in the big scheme of things. Remember, whether or not the Spitzer marriage is improved, harmed, or neither by illegal or legal prostitution I think that harm (or good) is trivial compared to the harm caused by a single woman terrorized, forced or who becomes infected needlessly with an STD.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I don’t have to. You were the one who asserted that prostitution is good for marriages because it reduces the likelihood of affairs. If this were true, you would expect to see lower divorce rates in places where prostitution is legal.
    Maybe or maybe not. Divorce rates are a very crude metric to measure the health of a marriage. Imagine a doctor trying to figure out how healthy you are by only being told whether or not you died in the last year.
    Look at the Spitzer marriage. Their odds for divorce in the near future have gone up dramatically. Using that as a metric would lead to the conclusion that it would have been healthier if prostitution was legal and Mrs. Spitzer never learned of her husband’s activities!
    This is like the old joke about the guy looking for his car keys under the street light. He says even though he lost his keys somewhere else, it makes no sense to look where there’s no light. Just because we have easy access to divorce ratios doesn’t mean that they can tell us what we want to know.
    Then I suggest you let go of this line of argument.
    Ahhh but you presented your own argument, that affairs were equally damaging as visiting prostitutes…not more. You too should actually have to present something in defense of that. Especially when, as others showed here, it fails the ‘common sense’ test.
    In regards to Nevada’s divorce rate:
    1. For all pratical purposes, Nevada is not a very good test for prostitution legalization.
    2. The general idea I’m getting at is Nevada has a less stable population in general than other states. That probably contributes to a higher divorce rate no matter what reasonable range of policies it might implement.
    In regards the overall argument here:
    1. Your ‘model’ of supply is very unconvincing. You’ve asserted that only a portion of women would be willing to supply prostitution (which creates a normal textbook supply curve) and then a sudden cut off (producing the verticle line indicating a fixed supply). In other words, women seem to be a minority sluts (just debating price) and majority angels (not for sale at any price). You’ve presented absolutely no reason for this oddball supply curve.
    2. Leaving aside #1, you don’t apply the model correctly. In cases where supply is fixed the market dynamic is to clear at a higher price and lower quantity. Using a substitute (forced labor in place of free) only works provided its cost is less than the cost of the primary supply curve (free labor). Legalization of unforced prostitution would work to undercut the forced market since making voluntary prostitution illegal simply serves to harm its supply curve. In other words, you’re actually making forced prostitution look more attractive!
    3. You’re circling around the marriage argument even though I’ve made it pretty clear I’m not betting much on that side of the equation in the big scheme of things. Remember, whether or not the Spitzer marriage is improved, harmed, or neither by illegal or legal prostitution I think that harm (or good) is trivial compared to the harm caused by a single woman terrorized, forced or who becomes infected needlessly with an STD.

  • ex-preacher

    I see. I thought you meant you had actually answered one of my questions. As in previous threads, you equate explaining why you refuse to answer with actually answering. I answered your loaded question, knowing that you would distort it as you did. Why are you so afraid of answering my basic question of whether the government should try to outlaw all “morally polluting” behavior, such as adultery?

  • ucfengr

    Why are you so afraid of answering my basic question of whether the government should try to outlaw all “morally polluting” behavior, such as adultery?
    My comments on prostitution have focused on its connections to organized crime and the way it exploits women and children, often to the point of literally (and by “literally” I don’t mean “figuratively”) enslaving them and to the proposition that it is somehow less damaging to marriage than affairs. What, from that emphasis, would make you believe that I would favor outlawing all “morally polluting” behavior? You’ve set yourself up a nice little straw man there; please forgive me for not wanting to stand in the way while you knock it down.

  • ucfengr

    I answered your loaded question, knowing that you would distort it as you did.
    Actually, I didn’t distort your answer at all. My question clearly asked if you would support legalization even if it included all the bad things, including sex slavery, that the international agencies claim. You said yes. How can I conclude anything else than you are willing to accept the sex slavery of millions of women and children to decriminalize prostitution?

  • ex-preacher

    ucfengr,
    I see now that I should have read your original question more carefully. I did not mean to suggest that I would support decriminalizing prostitution if I knew it would lead to millions being enslaved as sex slaves. I should have made clear that I do not believe that it would have that effect.
    Yes, I have looked at the State Department page and I believe it is not fairly representing all the research. It reads more like a polemic motivated by politics than a carefully reasoned and objective look at the issue. I would even venture to say that the page (though not necessarily the research it cites) was written by a Bush political appointee and not someone who has actually studied this in-depth.
    Since you refuse to answer my earlier questions, let me try another tack. If you knew that decriminalizing prostitution would NOT enslave millions, would you then support it.
    What I’m trying to get at is whether your position is based on some principle about moral pollution is simply utilitarian. I had assumed that you were defending Joe’s point of view that the government should outlaw moral pollutants. Now I’m wondering if you are merely saying that a simple cost/benefit analysis determined your position.
    You wrote: “What, from that emphasis, would make you believe that I would favor outlawing all “morally polluting” behavior?” I did not say I believed you favored this position. I am merely trying to understand if that is your position. Would you favor me with a clear and straightforward answer? I don’t think it’s a trick question (such as “Have you stopped beating your wife?”) I just want to know – Do you agree with Joe’s basic point?

  • ucfengr

    Divorce rates are a very crude metric to measure the health of a marriage.
    Essentially what you are saying is when the evidence doesn’t support your assumption, ignore the evidence.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Errr, no essentially I said divorce rates are a very crude way to measure marriage health. Do you honestly disagree with that? I don’t think you do. Now you’re just spinning. Come on, shape up and snape out of it…be a man!

  • ucfengr

    If you knew that decriminalizing prostitution would NOT enslave millions, would you then support it.
    Are you asking if I would support it if only thousands, instead of millions were enslaved or are you asking if I would support it if you can completely eliminate the slavery part. Problem is, I don’t think you can separate the two because of the laws of supply and demand. In this situation, I think data supports my position that the demand will always exceed the people willing to supply the service which will ultimately lead to the slavery part. Being in favor of prostitution without slavery is like being in favor of cars, but not tires.
    Now you’re just spinning.
    Spinning is trying to explain away data that disagrees with your assumptions. You haven’t provided any data, so what have I to spin away?

  • ucfengr

    I had assumed that you were defending Joe’s point of view that the government should outlaw moral pollutants.
    I think that is a mischaracterization of Joe’s position. Not to put words in his mouth, but I would be very surprised if he thought it the government’s job to outlaw every moral pollutant. I’ve never seen Joe call for a return to Prohibition, for example. Take your example of divorce, I don’t think government should ban divorce. There are certainly cases where divorce is appropriate, but I would not have a problem with government taking steps to encourage people to stay married, even to the point of eliminating “no fault divorce”, especially when there are children.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Problem is, I don’t think you can separate the two because of the laws of supply and demand. In this situation, I think data supports my position that the demand will always exceed the people willing to supply the service which will ultimately lead to the slavery part.
    Errr you totally botched the supply-demand and you presented no data. You’ve been blown out of the water nearly a half dozen times now.

  • ucfengr

    Errr you totally botched the supply-demand and you presented no data.
    Errr, I have, you just don’t accept the data because it doesn’t agree with your assumptions. Here’s some more from a Scottish Parliament Report, A Critical Examination of Responses to Prostitution in Four Countries: Victoria, Australia; Ireland; the Netherlands; and Sweden:
    “Legalisation is a `pull factor’ for traffickers. Project Respect estimates, “at least seven licensed brothels in Victoria have used trafficked women in the last year”. An Australian Institute of Criminology study estimated that Australian brothels earned $1 million a week from illegal prostitution. Mary Sullivan and Sheila Jeffreys point out that, “Legalisation was intended to eliminate organised crime from the sex industry. In fact the reverse has happened. Legalisation has brought with it an explosion in the trafficking of women into prostitution by organised crime.”
    and
    Child prostitution in the Netherlands has significantly increased during the last ten years. The ChildRight organisation in Amsterdam estimates that there are now more than 15,000 children (primarily girls) being prostituted, an increase of eleven thousand since1996. Five thousand of these children are thought to be from other countries, mainly Nigeria (Tiggloven, 2001).
    and
    At the most basic level an expansion of the sex industry in its current forms will be accompanied by increased incidence of violence. Violence against women in prostitution does not seem to have decreased in the Netherlands or Victoria since legalisation, and there are even suggestions that it has increased. (Jeffreys 1997, Daley 2001). A report by the Australian Institute of Criminology in 1990 found that many prostitutes in legal brothels were at a high risk of violence (TA, 1990, p 4). Research in 1994 by an NGO found that a significant percentage of women felt unsafe with customers most or some of the time (Pyett, Haste & Snow 1994: 13). The Prostitutes Collective of Victoria (PCV) was receiving up to 15 reports of rape and violence against prostitutes weekly. Also, many of these women in illegally run brothels in Victoria did not report to police, either for fear of being charged with a prostitution-related offence, or because they already had outstanding fines and were afraid of being jailed (Australia Country Report).
    and
    In one Dutch study, 79 per cent of women in prostitution gave an indication that they were in prostitution due to some degree of force (The Dutch Institute of Social Sexological Research, 2000).
    I eagerly await your dismissal of this as more Bushian propaganda.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Speaking of data, Megan McArdle asked a good question 4 days ago on her blog:

    Name one industry that has been characterized by more violence and mayhem when it was legal than when it was illegal. For that matter, name one job, other than being a mercenary, that involves as much violence as, say, the drug trade1. You can’t, because this argument makes absolutely no sense. Violence goes hand-in-hand with illegal industries because there is no legal way to enforce contracts, and because people engaged in illegal activity are understandably reluctant to report other crimes that took place during their malfeasance.

    In this situation, I think data supports my position that the demand will always exceed the people willing to supply the service which will ultimately lead to the slavery part
    There is a level of silliness beyond which it becomes pointless to answer anymore. All markets clear. If demand exceeds supply then the price increases until demand and supply equal each other. If supply is limited then all that happens is increases in demand are entirely reflected in price increases rather than a mix of price and quantity.
    The ‘slave market’ is a different market with its own supply and demand curve. The quantity of slavery in that market is set by the supply of slave labor and the demand for it. If prostitution was legal some (not all but a good portion) of demand for prostitution would be from non-slave labor. The supply of slave labor would likewise go down as law enforcement could concentrate on slave labor and non-slave labor woudl have an incentive to rat them out. Decreased demand and supply means lower quantity of slave labor.

  • ucfengr

    You’ve been blown out of the water nearly a half dozen times now.
    I’m reminded of the old engineering joke “How does an engineer get out of a 50 ft. deep hole”? First he assumes a 50 ft. ladder. Boonton, you can’t blow anyone out of the water with an “assumed gun”, which is all you have.

  • ucfengr

    Name one industry that has been characterized by more violence and mayhem when it was legal than when it was illegal.
    I’ve read the post. Hung up in the spam filter I have a rather long post that links to a Scottish Parliament on prostitution. One quote I cited,
    At the most basic level an expansion of the sex industry in its current forms will be accompanied by increased incidence of violence. Violence against women in prostitution does not seem to have decreased in the Netherlands or Victoria since legalisation, and there are even suggestions that it has increased. (Jeffreys 1997, Daley 2001).
    seems to demonstrate that violence may have increased with the legalization of prostitution, but it didn’t decrease.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    This coming from the man who begins with the assumption that the entire population of women must be 99% pure and 1% sluts.
    Even then, after inventing a bunch of totally bizaar economic assumptions to get his model to work he still screws it up. His fall back, Nevada has a higher divorce rate!

  • ucfengr

    Ahh, if only we could be more like the enlightened Dutch. First they legalize prostitution and then this.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I skimmed the Scottish report but I’d like to spend more time reading it in detail. Some of the item that jump out reinforce my argument.
    First, the slavery argument seems to hold less water. Many of the regimes are like Nevada. There’s a legal prostitution and an illegal prostitution sector. Many of the complaints about the legal sector are that women would rather work in the illegal one. They don’t want to be officially registered as prostitutes with the gov’t, don’t want the regulation, find that society shuns them when they are ‘official prostitutes’…on the other hand the illegal sector does allow one to live something of a double life that can be kept somewhat secret. For example, “”Prostitutes who are trying to set themselves up as self-employed businesswomen are finding that accountants, banks and health insurance companies want nothing to do with them”…how many slaves are trying to see accountants, banks and health insurance companies? (Out of curiousity, why would people in a country with nationalized healthcare be shopping for health insurance?)
    Second, the bulk of the violence risk appears to be coming not from pimps or ‘enslavers’ but from customers in the form of assault, rape and robbery. It may sound harsh but this is an ‘on the job risk’ of the profession. Unless you do have someplace like Wal-Mart running brothels you’re going to have these things. But ucfengr’s violence argument stems not from the ‘on the job’ risks but from traffickers & slavers trying to meet a huge demand.
    Here ucfengr’s argument collapses in the raw numbers. The site has a neat little chart estimating how many members are in the sex industry compared to the total population. Victoria/Australia has 4.5millin people but 10,000 women working in the industry. Even if only 1% of women would ever entertain the notion of being a prostitute that is still 45,000 willing prostitutes. The Netherlands has 25,000 compared to a population of 16 million.
    Another problem is that ucfengr confuses and distorts the difference between organized crime, traffickers and actual slavery. It’s pretty clear from the report that a lot of organized crimes involvement revolves around facilitating willing prostitutes. For example, to dodge immigration laws, to work under the table, etc. What seems to happen is that many women are making choices and balancing the pros and cons of both legal prostitution and illegal and deciding which to go with.
    There are a few areas of concern here. One is choices that result in someone being trapped. For example, a woman from the Ukraine goes to London to be a prostitute. Rational, there’s more money to be made there. But if she’s there illegally she now has few choices if she wants to stop. Live in utter poverty. Go back home. Try to legalize herself in London.
    The other is the huge amount of drug addiction. If gov’t did legalize prostitution but required prostitutes to be drug free I suspect we’d still have large illegal sector. Many women use prostitution for quick cash and few people need quick cash like addicts.
    Prostitution does seem intractable and I doubt any of the ideas thrown at it would solve it. Even legalization, IMO, would marginally improve the situation a bit but the key word there is marginal. What I haven’t seen, though, is real evidence that legalization would increase violence against women or increase the slavery assertion.

  • ucfengr

    This coming from the man who begins with the assumption that the entire population of women must be 99% pure and 1% sluts.
    You better slow down your rate of fire there, Boonton. You are going to burn out the barrel of your “assumed gun” with all these unsupported assumptions.

  • ucfengr

    Even if only 1% of women would ever entertain the notion of being a prostitute that is still 45,000 willing prostitutes
    Based on what, do you assume that 1% of people would “entertain the notion of being a prostitute”? See this is why you haven’t “blown me out of the water” or anything of the sort. All your arguments are built on a foundation of unsupported assumptions. You can’t “blow something out of the water” with nothing and nothing is all that you’ve offered.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Your argument is esssentially that being a prostitute is pretty horrible therefore the number of women willing to do it must be next to zero….maybe slightly more than the number of suicides. Therefore the population of prostitutes must be women forced into it.
    Here’s a problem, you’ve cited nothing to back this up. I don’t have to figure out how many women are willing to be prostitutes. I only have to show how implausible your argument is. How appealing is hard drug addiction? Yet we have many more than 10,000 hard addicts. Is that because there’s some gang of drug pushers who are holding people down shooting them full of dope against their wills? What evidence do you have that Spitzer’s favorite prostitute was living in a ‘fur lined cage’?
    Have you noticed that your arguments are entirely devoid of truth? Your approach to any issue can be summed up with this:
    1. You figure out what you want to be your position.
    2. You come up with a theory whose assumptions will lead to that position.
    3. You spin and distort the facts like crazy to pull that off.

  • ucfengr

    Have you noticed that your arguments are entirely devoid of truth?
    No, I really hadn’t notice that. Though I can see how relying on data from those lying, egg-sucking dogs in the Scottish Parliament, at the US State Department, and at the UK Guardian would be problematic. I must remember to use reliable ones, like the ones you use. Oh, wait you don’t use any sources. So, have you noticed that your arguments are all built on a foundation of unsupported assumptions?

  • ucfengr

    Therefore the population of prostitutes must be women forced into it.
    And children. Remember from the Scottish Report:
    Child prostitution in the Netherlands has significantly increased during the last ten years. The ChildRight organisation in Amsterdam estimates that there are now more than 15,000 children (primarily girls) being prostituted, an increase of eleven thousand since 1996 (note : a nearly 400% increase–ucf). Five thousand of these children are thought to be from other countries, mainly Nigeria (Tiggloven, 2001).
    Surely you don’t want to make the argument that children can consent to participating in prostitution, do you?

  • oclarki

    ucfengr,
    I was stationed in Korea about ten years ago. The amount of prostitution that went on there was amazing. In many Asain countries it is a perfectly mainstream activity for men to engage with without stigma. There was a report that cam out a few years back that estimated 1/4 of Korean women had been involved in the prostitution industry at one time in their lives. even if that was an exaggeration, there was a significant percentage of women who were in the industry and and there was no coercion associated with any of it.
    I am loathe to agree with Boonton, but he makes the stranger case.

  • oclarki

    ucfengr,
    I was stationed in Korea about ten years ago. The amount of prostitution that went on there was amazing. In many Asain countries it is a perfectly mainstream activity for men to engage with without stigma. There was a report that cam out a few years back that estimated 1/4 of Korean women had been involved in the prostitution industry at one time in their lives. even if that was an exaggeration, there was a significant percentage of women who were in the industry and and there was no coercion associated with any of it.
    I am loathe to agree with Boonton, but he makes the stronger case.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Surely you don’t want to make the argument that children can consent to participating in prostitution, do you?
    Errr no. I’m not sure why you would ask given the fact that I’ve said nothing to imply I would nor have I ever heard a serious argument that child prostitution should be legalized.
    As we keep going you get stranger and stranger. Take the Spitzer case again. The woman he was sleeping with was 22 years old. The ‘madam’ was 23 years old. While both have had some tough breaks nothing I’ve seen so far indicates anything to indicate either of them were enslaved or abused. To be frank, they had lives that many people around the world and even in the US would have envied (I’m not talking about their work as prostitutes but before that). There’s no indication that they were slaves in any real sense of the word but responsible actors AND I’m not seeing how if what they were doing was legal they would respond to too many client calls by calling in Nigerian child slave runners.
    I’m starting to wonder about the numbers you’re tossing out. On the one hand there’s 25K prostitutes in the Netherlands now there’s 15k children? 1/3 of all prostitution then is between adults and children? Either the studies are using very different statistical methods or there’s a huge amount of child prostitution that is kept underground to an almost amazing degree.

  • ex-preacher

    In doing a bit of research on the numbers that ucfengr has been throwing out, I find that there is a huge amount of controversy over such statistics. The “15,000 child prostitutes in the Netherlands” estimate comes from an advocacy group in 2001 that essentially made up the number based on interviews with some other agencies. The Dutch police say the numbers are “much lower.” http://www.radionetherlands.nl/currentaffairs/region/netherlands/netherlands011218.html
    Another study done about the same time concluded that there were between one and two thousand minor prostitutes in the Netherlands. Most of these were 16-18 and a significant number were in the business voluntarily.
    http://www.ecpat.nl/ariadne/loader.php/nl/ecpat/Rapporten/trafficking1/NETHERLANDS.pdf/
    The truth is that nobody knows the exact numbers. By the very nature of the crime of sex trafficking in minors, there are simply no accurate statistics.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    That the original number is essentially made up isn’t surprising. Not too long ago there was hysteria here about ‘missing children’ and a similiar well intentioned group essentially made up a crazy number that did more to confuse the issue than enlighten it.
    The number of 1-2,000 makes more sense in light of the more reasonable sounding 25,000 total. This is still a bit of a bind for ucfengr who has hitched his argument to this wacky limited supply/huge demand theory that:
    1. Makes no sense.
    2. Doesn’t line up with any in depth reports about prostitution, even the UK one he has been citing…go ahead and read the actual thing!
    and
    3. Now doesn’t even add up. If 25,000 prostitutes are needed to meet demand in the Netherlands market, that is a trivial portion of their population. Not only that, there’s absolutely no reason why willing prostitutes from other parts of Europe or the rest of the world couldn’t willingly go there for. For his idea to be viable the absolute number of women willing to work as a prostitute for any price has to be amazingly tiny…not even 1/10th of a percent!
    Let’s go back to the real world:
    The worst part of prostitution is not the 22 year old upper class girls who fall into the business for a quick buck or because it looks exciting but are nevertheless acting of their own will.
    And while slavery is wrong that doesn’t seem to be a significant portion of prostitution in developed countries. Ucfengr hasn’t addressed the point that trafficking is not the same as slavery. Many traffickers are working for the prostitutes as much as for the pimps.
    The worst part would appear to be women who are suffering from some type of mental problem. The two big ones appear to be drug addiction and a legacy of physical abuse. The UK report makes for very interesting reading in this area. These two huge problems, unfortunately, do not seem addressable either by legalization or criminalization. It seems that prostitution being criminal might make these issues worse since it makes it harder to help the women since they are in a sense on the run from the law as much as their problems.

  • ucfengr

    In many Asain countries it is a perfectly mainstream activity for men to engage with without stigma.
    That’s great Oclarki, so to follow that do you think we in the West should adopt Asian attitudes towards women or should we just adopt European attitudes towards family? Do you really think the US should be more like the Netherlands?
    The “15,000 child prostitutes in the Netherlands” estimate comes from an advocacy group in 2001 that essentially made up the number based on interviews with some other agencies.
    I’ve been accused of being dishonest here, but this really is a misrepresentation of what the article said, ex. I guess for an ex-preacher, truth isn’t really all that important. The article didn’t say that ChildRight “essentially made up the number”, it said:
    ChildRight has based its findings on interviews with local relief workers, advice centres and police detectives from youth and vice squads. Police sources question the estimation of 15,000 and say it doesn’t fit with their figures, which suggest that predominantly girls from migrant communities are still most at risk. The UN Children’s Organisation UNICEF says it’s unable to corroborate the figures, but its spokesperson Maud Drooghlever Fortuyn says that in her view, the estimates point to a serious problem, that appears to get bigger.”

    The article went on to say:
    ChildRight says official police figures are based on the number of cases that are reported. But, says Theo Knippenberg (of ChildRight), “not many girls actually go to the police, which means that the true scale of the problem remains unknown.” He believes that many detectives working for youth and vice squads are aware of the problem, but can do little about it as long as girls don’t report.
    That’s quite a bit different from “making up the number” isn’t it?
    I’m not sure why you would ask given the fact that I’ve said nothing to imply I would nor have I ever heard a serious argument that child prostitution should be legalized.
    When I read your responses, I wonder if you even bother to read my posts or if you just assume it says something and respond to that. I asked if you thought children could consent to prostitution based on your implication that most prostitutes aren’t forced into the “profession”. What I was really trying to highlight is your attempt to separate the legal and illegal aspects of prostitution. You can’t separate them. Even where prostitution is legal, there is a significant illegal component because nobody is going to legalize everything. There will always be some component that nobody will accept (i.e. child prostitution) and the demand for people willing to sell their body’s for sex is always going to exceed the supply. Supply/demand curves aren’t really all that useful in this situation. It is easy to make more TVs or dish soap if demand goes up; you just add another shift or build another factory. Prostitution doesn’t work that way; there is a limited number of people who are willing to sell their bodies for sex at any price. When that number is reached, you can’t just build another factory. The way to increase the number is to bring in unwilling people and the evidence is that is what is happening. Anyway, I’m done. If someone wants to takeover, feel free.

  • ex-preacher

    So how do you account for another study, which appears to me to be more comprehensive and less biased, that concluded that there were only 1-2,000 minors in the sex trade in the Netherlands and that many of those were 16-18 and not being held against their wills?
    Follow up question: How many minors in the sex trade are there in the U.S.?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    ucfengr
    That’s great Oclarki, so to follow that do you think we in the West should adopt Asian attitudes towards women or should we just adopt European attitudes towards family? Do you really think the US should be more like the Netherlands?
    Yawn, the guy was just pointing out the absurdity of your claim that no women (except for a tiny microscoptic minority) would willingly be prostitutes. Nice rhetorical move though, when your claims fail smear everyone within arms reach.
    That’s quite a bit different from “making up the number” isn’t it?
    ex wasn’t attacking the groups intentions but the validity of the number. I think it’s pretty clear at this point the numbers do not add up.
    I asked if you thought children could consent to prostitution based on your implication that most prostitutes aren’t forced into the “profession”.
    Errr, even if we use your numbers (25,000 Neth. prostitutes and 15,000 minors) most prostitutes aren’t children. But since you’re given to distorting people I’ll do the CYA and tell you officially no I do not think a child can consent to either sex or to be a prostitute. I would, however, note that a distinction should be made between true child prostitution and minors who are prostitutes. There is a world of difference between a 17 year old and a 7 year old…but no I don’t think either should be legal.
    Supply/demand curves aren’t really all that useful in this situation. It is easy to make more TVs or dish soap if demand goes up; you just add another shift or build another factory.
    Actually no it’s not that easy to just make more TV’s or dish soap. And no supply demand curves don’t disappear just because you don’t understand what they are and won’t bother to try to learn.

  • ucfengr

    how do you account for another study, which appears to me to be more comprehensive and less biased
    Do you have any objective reason for saying it is more comprehensive and less biased, or do you just like it better because it tends to support your position?
    How many minors in the sex trade are there in the U.S.?
    I found one study that estimates from 100k to 300k (Link).
    Yawn, the guy was just pointing out the absurdity of your claim that no women (except for a tiny microscoptic minority) would willingly be prostitutes.
    Really, that was what he was trying to do? Well there are ways to do that and one way would be to provide, oh you know, actual data, instead of relying on vague memories of prostitution around military bases 10 years ago and recollections of an unlinked “study” that shows 25%(!) of women in S. Korea have been prostitutes. Considering that all the data I’ve seen indicates that the number of prostitutes worldwide is something less than 1% of the population, a study that claims 25% would raise eyebrows, to say the least.
    And no supply demand curves don’t disappear just because you don’t understand what they are and won’t bother to try to learn.
    What are your generic supply/demand curves supposed to show? That you know what a generic supply/demand curve looks like? Bravo, I will concede that you know what one looks like, but what you haven’t been able to do is give any reason why I should accept your curve as relevant to the specific topic. I understand that you don’t want to write a Ph.D. thesis, but a data curve without data points is meaningless.

  • ex-preacher

    I think the report putting the number at 1-2,000 child prostitutes in the Netherlands is more accurate based on reading the report that explains how they arrived at that number. If you can find a link to a thorough description of how the advocacy group arrived at the 15,000 estimate, I will be glad to read that report and compare the methods.
    I went to the link you gave on the number of child prostitutes in the US being 100,000 to 300,000, but couldn’t find that quote. We also need to clarify what we mean by “child prostitute.” The 1-2,000 number was counting 16 and 17 year olds (who accounted for most of the total number), whereas the US study you linked to appeared to only count those under 16. I’m looking for this number myself and appeal to you or others for a better estimate. What is the estimated number of under 18 prostitutes in the United States and how was the estimate arrived at?

  • ex-preacher

    FWIW, I found a report that repeats numbers that others have claimed.
    http://www.ecpatusa.org/pdfs/AlternativeReportUSAFinal2007.pdf
    The numbers don’t appear to have much hard research behind them, but here they are.
    On page 6, the report states that a researcher at the Univ. of Pennsylvania estimated in 2001 that “293,000 American youth are currently at risk for becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.” As you can see, this doesn’t claim there are that many child prostitutes, just that many “at risk.”
    On page 7, we read that, “Sources, including non-profit groups that work with sexually exploited people, suggest there may be between 500,000 to 600,000 prostituted children in the United States.” No mention of methodology on how the number was reached. Anyone else have anything?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I guess that more or less brings it to a close. Nice of ucfengr to provide the final nail in his coffin:
    I understand that you don’t want to write a Ph.D. thesis, but a data curve without data points is meaningless.
    The world waits for ucfengr to provide any data points.

  • ex-preacher

    Since no one has stepped forward to offer any better numbers, let me suggest some comparisons between the US and the Netherlands with regards to child prostitution.
    First, though, I must state the obvious: the numbers on child prostitution are so elusive that no one seems to have a good grasp on any of them.
    So, here goes:
    Netherlands population: 16.4 million
    US population: 303.6 million
    The US is therefore 18.5 times larger.
    Using the high numbers . . .
    Netherlands has 15,000 child prostitutes (CPs)
    US has 600,000 CPs, or 40 times as many.
    Netherlands = 1 CP per 1093 people
    US = 1 CP per 506 people, or twice as many per capita
    Using the low numbers . . .
    Netherlands has 1,000 CPs
    US has 100,000 CPs, or 100 times as many
    Netherlands = 1 CP per 16,400 people,
    US = 1 CP per 3,000 people, or five times as many per capita
    Using average (median) numbers . . .
    Netherlands has 8,000 CPs
    US has 350,000 CPs, or almost 44 times as many
    Netherlands = 1 CP per 2050 people
    US = 1 CP per 867 people, or about 2.5 times as many per capita
    Conclusion – legalized prostitution results in fewer child prostitutes than illegal prostitution
    Using your own reasoning, ucfengr, I suppose you are in favor of hundreds of thousands of child prostitutes, just so we can keep the present laws.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Using your own reasoning, ucfengr, I suppose you are in favor of hundreds of thousands of child prostitutes, just so we can keep the present laws.
    ucfengr strikes me as the type that deep down would be happier if the number of child prostitutes in the Netherlands was really 25,000 instead of much less simply because the higher number does more to fit his ideological needs.

  • smmtheory

    ucfengr,
    I think it is typical the number of people who believe that legitimizing evil is a decent way to combat another evil. The decriminalization of prostitution would lead to under-reporting of child prostitution because the message is loud and clear to the children (or any women even) being victimized – we don’t think what is happening to you is evil, so just shut up and live with it.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Interesting, if keep prostitution illegal made people more concerned about reporting child prostitution then why are there such wildly divergent estimates of the number of child prostitutes?
    Perhaps another way to approach the question is to ask how many convicted pedophiles had victims that were children they paid to abuse? Seems to me most convictions I hear about are from molestors who target family members, neighborhood kids or kids they have access to through some type of community (scouts, sports coach, school, church etc.). If there’s such a large market of child prostitutes then why so few convictions & why would so many pedophiles target ‘free’ children that put them at much higher risk of discovery?

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