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Prostitution as a Crime

Prostitution is a crime that is often listed with several other criminal offenses under the hading "victimless crimes," meaning such offenses as drunkenness, drug addiction, and gambling. Proponents of laws against these offenses point out that they are not victimless crimes at all, that the families of addicts and drinkers and gamblers suffer, that the prostitute is a victim, and today that prostitution can have a wider effect in such anti-social acts as the spread of the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as being associated with related criminal activity such as violent street crime, drug abuse, and the blighting of neighborhoods because of criminal activity. Efforts toward decriminalization of prostitution emphasize the social and behavioral causes of prostitution and state that criminalization has done nothing to reduce the activity, while those who believe prostitution should remain a criminal offense point to the devastation it causes to individuals and the community.

Today, 49 of the 50 states outlaw prostitution, in contrast to other Western nations such as England, the Netherlands, and Germany. In 1959 the American Law Institute's (ALI) Model Penal Code did not endorse the decriminalization of prostitution, though it did suggest decriminalizing other previously criminal sexual behaviors, such as homosexuality. At the time, the ALI cited several problems with prostitution which prevented it from making a recommendation of legalization, including that it encourages the spread of venereal disease, that it is a source of profit for criminal groups, that it exerts a corrupting influence on government and law enforcement, and that it promotes social disorganization and undermines marriage and the home. The ALI also considered responses to these issues, notably that prostitution cannot be eliminated, that generally unenforceable laws promote extortion and arbitrary enforcement, that legalization woul...

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Prostitution as a Crime. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:52, December 06, 2021, from