Should Prostitution In The United Kingdom Criminology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The term prostitution can be defined as the practice or profession in which a person will provide a sexual service to another in return for, or as payment. There are various forms of prostitution including; 'brothels' (usually run from a house/building with two or more people engaging in prostitution at any one time) 'street walkers' (Those who walk the streets, usually in an area known for prostitution, and await people to approach them) 'escorts' (whilst sex is not advertised - only company - those who have worked under such titles testify that and sexual activity is usually regarded as 'extras') The exact number of people (men or women) working as prostitutes or involved in prostitution within the UK are unknown. Although it was estimated at around 80,000 (womens resource centre 2010 from home office 2009) it is now believed to be closer to 100,000, this increase may be linked to the men, women and children who are 'trafficked' (brought into the UK for sex work or labour with some degree of force, fraud or coercion) into the UK. In August 2010, the BBC (British Broadcasting Centre) revealed that a report from the association of chief police officers found that at least 2,600 of the women prostitutes working within England and Wales were trafficked into the UK. The report then goes on to say that around half of these women were Chinese. This essay has drawn information from the home office, barnados and the international library of criminology, criminal justice and penology. (Prostitution, Mathews & O'Neill). Initially the essay will discuss the proposed argument of free choice, looking at whether it should come down to a persons' right to choose. Secondly it will examine if as it stands, prostitution really is a victimless crime as suggested by some. Then it shall deliberate over how much safer prostitutes may or may not be if prostitution were to be legalized. Next the essay shall talk over the possible economic benefits of prostitution if it were regarded and taxed as any other form of business. Finally this essay will delve into and elaborate on the possibility of limiting sexually transmitted disease through legalisation. The question 'should prostitution in the UK be legalized?' is topic for debate because it is a controversial matter which is subject to scrutiny by not only those involved but those in which it has the capacity to effect.

A persons right to choose can run from anything - from which newspaper they read to which career they may choose to undertake. People who make the choice to enter into a career of prostitution do so with the understanding and acknowledgement that it is, for time being at least, regarded as an illegal activity. That said, 75 per cent of women involved in prostitution started when they were children. (Melrose, 2002 / This being the case the argument of 'free choice' is instantly made redundant as a child does not have the capacity to understand what they're doing in such circumstances and in addition, UK law states that the 'age of consent' (the age a person is legally able to make the choice to enter into sexual activity) currently stands at sixteen, thus anyone under such age cannot legally make the

Should prostitution in the United Kingdom (UK) be legalized? Discuss

'choice' to enter into such activities. With this in mind, those 75 per cent could not (by law) have freely made the choice to enter into prostitution.

Making the argument that prostitution is a 'victimless crime' is nothing new. It has been put forward in similar debates, past and present. (Similarly found on is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit public charity) Yes, it is still a crime but one in which both parties (the prostitute and the 'client') are willing and in agreement. On the other hand, it can be argued that even if you bypass the potential violence and sexual abuse (inclusive of rape) or the chance of robbery and blackmail on the clients' part - all things which has been documented in such cases. (UPI (united press international) reported in 2009, 'prostitutes robbing their clients are on the rise- police officials say') there are still the realities of 'cause and effect'. 45 per cent of those in prostitution report experiencing sexual abuse during their childhood. ( This suggests that even if none of the crimes stated above (plus any not stated) were to ever take place within the industry itself, there would still be just under half of all people working as prostitutes that have already been victims of sexual abuse (inclusive of rape). The argument could then be made that this may be linked to those individuals turning to prostitution as a result. (1999 BBC reports 'UK child prostitution linked to abuse and drugs') Therefore, given the crimes that are likely (according to the statistics given) to take place both before and during the time a person is acting as a prostitute it can never be considered a victimless crime.

If prostitution were to be legalized you have the argument that this would in turn potentially make it safer for those involved. This is assuming that those working alone on the streets would then be working in a safer, more stable environment and procedures put in place - like any other employee based establishment - to ensure the wellbeing of both employers and employees. Again, this based on assumption alone. Because of its sexual nature, there is still the possibility of assault (inclusive of sexual assault and rape). It would also bring up the notion of privacy. If like any other business there were to be background/credit checks, employee records, client records and the possibility of CCTV the chances of anyone's identity involved remaining private decreases greatly thus, enhancing the possibility of abuse from outside influences. The independent (newspaper) reported doing a survey on prostitution. Out of the 1,200 people surveyed, 25 per cent thought that being a prostitute was morally wrong…in addition, a report in 2008 the independent revealed that one in ten men had visited a prostitute) These figures suggest the possibility of

Should prostitution in the United Kingdom (UK) be legalized? Discuss

conflict within families and communities with peoples strong difference of opinion when it comes to prostitution.

Legalizing prostitution, if delegated like any other business, would give the possibility of largely positive economic benefits. This would include such things as business tax, employee pensions and of course, assuming there would still be a high demand once legalized, (and potentially less privatized) available jobs. Whilst this is a possibility, the more suggestible scenario (given the statistics and information previously recorded) would be the possibilities of a higher crime rate, (largely sexually motivated) individuals 'cast out' of families or communities - down to the way the majority of society frown upon prostitution in one form or another. This may also run the risk of damaging the economy. For example, tourism. In June 2011, the Telegraph newspaper reported that back in 2009, 8.9 per cent of UK Gross Domestic Product came from tourism. Legalization runs the risk of, in one way or another, of 'putting people off' visiting the UK and in turn, having a negative effect on the UK economy.

The possibility of limiting sexually transmitted disease through legalisation may work on the basis that because the prostitute would no longer be working outside of the law, health services would be more readily available to them and that they (the prostitutes) would be more willing to visit a health professional as what they were doing would no longer be illegal, therefore they would not have the worry of being caught. On the other hand, the chances of limiting sexually transmitted disease through legalisation decreases when you take into account the following possibilities; firstly, what these people are selling is sex and should the person purchasing this commodity offer a higher price for sexual activity without the use of any form of protection then it would be down to the individual prostitute to make that decision. Secondly, whilst the success rate of using condoms is high, there is still that small chance it may split. Should this happen, then given the unknown amount of clients any prostitute may have in a day and dependant on if they insist on each client using protection, if one of them did have an STD, it could result in any number of people unknowingly being infected.

Should prostitution in the United Kingdom (UK) be legalized? Discuss

It is a well-known fact that prostitution exists, although the exact numbers are unknown. Barnados run a project in Middlesbrough called SECOS (sexual exploitation of children on the streets) this has the aim of 'enabling young people to exit and recover from sexual exploitation through prostitution' Barnados also claim they have worked with boys and girls as young as ten and eleven who are known to have been sexually exploited. Whilst it is hard for most individuals to accept that such abuse can occur in today's society, the records and statistics held by charities such as barnados are a clear indication that it has and does happen. It is worth keeping in mind that it is not just children who suffer with regards to sexual abuse and exploitation, men and women also fall victim to sexually motivated crimes. The female to male ratio of prostitutes is thought to be 4:1 (NSPCC - Nationl society prevention of cruelty to children) RAINN (rape, abuse and incest national network) state that victims of sexual assault are; '26 times more likely to abuse drugs' and '13 times more likely to abuse alcohol' than those who have not suffered any form of sexual abuse. That is not to say of course that some people may 'choose' prostitution. May 2006, the BBC reported of a 17 year old girl who followed her mother and sister into prostitution to fund her drug addiction. The girl was quoted saying 'if I didn't have a drug habit I wouldn't do this work, full stop.' Although this girl chose prostitution, she did so under what were arguably desperate circumstances, to fund her addiction. This only continues to highlight to link between prostitution (inclusive of abuse) and drug abuse. There many siding arguments both 'for' and 'against' legalisation, in regards to prostitution. - But after looking at both sides of the argument, it is clear that the potency of the evidence at this time suggests that legalising prostitution could in fact, do more harm than good to not only those involved but to the society in which it inhabits.

Should prostitution in the United Kingdom (UK) be legalized? Discuss