1 Make Bodies Legal Sex sells, and there will always be a high demand for it. Men and women who see this demand as an opportunity, are going to supply it. Prostitution, whether it is acknowledged or not is frequently referred to as the ‘world’s oldest profession,’ and it’s time to end the shame surrounding what such a simple trade of services. Legalizing these transactions would provide stated regulation of prostitution and ultimately safer more secure resources to sex workers. The illegality of sex work perpetuates its tabooness, which is extremely harmful to workers within the industry. This lack of acceptance also contributes to the poor working conditions and lack of legal or emotional support that sex workers face. The legalization of prostitution would improve the mindset surrounding sex work, the health and safety of the industry’s workers, all while eliminating legal discrepancies and providing economic benefit. Throughout this essay various terms will be used in regard to sex work, a brief definition of said terms is as follows: prostitution/sex work refers to the practice of any personal trading any sex act for some form of compensation, tricks refers to the buyers of said sexual act, daddy/pimp refer to the people (often men) who control sex workers, this control typically takes the form of violent or psychological abuse (Shared Hope International). Sex isn’t a secret, at least not in the twenty-first century where television ads for adult sex shops run often and without censorship, and hook-up culture is on the rise. While it may be the mainstay of reproduction, sex for pleasure has become much more acceptable and accessible. Melissa Grant, a writer and former sex worker, outlines the omnipresent industry, “An estimated one million people engage in sex work in the United States [. . . ] worldwide, the figure is forty-two million” (Grant 36). In her article on a proposed California state law, Hannah Kreuer discusses the impact that penalizing customers of prostitution has on sex workers, “[it] forces
2 these women even further into the shadows, subjecting them to greater hardships as they seek out food and shelter” (Kreuser 757). When states choose to criminalize people embracing their sexuality through purchasing sex, it rarely has the intended effect of making the industry safer. This cause and effect is because of the power dynamic between sex workers and their pimps, the pimps are the ones in charge: they decide who and when and where sex workers are, and on top of making the decisions, they receive most of the pay. With what little power sex workers have in the position, it is very difficult for them to negotiate what they are comfortable with, but legalization with regulation would break pimps’ holds on women.