Belgium has decriminalized prostitution. The only other country I know of that has done this is New Zealand. Although other European countries have legalized and regulated prostitution under specific circumstances, Belgium is the first to fully decriminalize selling sex, paying for sex, and working with sex workers.
The question before us is a simple one: Should the United States follow Belgium’s lead?
Prostitution is illegal throughout the United States except for ten of Nevada’s sixteen counties. Surprisingly, prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas (Clark County) or Reno (Washoe County), although illegal prostitution certainly takes place. One reason why only seven of the ten counties where prostitution is legal have a brothel might be because the counties extort $100,000 to $200,000 from entrepreneurs for licensing fees.
But government in the United States is not like government in Belgium. Prostitution in the United States is a state crime, not a federal offense, so it is up to each state to make its own laws against prostitution.
Okay then: Should the fifty states of the United States follow Belgium’s lead?
Does this mean that prostitution is wholesome, moral, safe, healthy, and an occupation that everyone would want their wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, or daughters to engage in?
Of course not.
Prostitution is none of those things. In fact, I would argue that engaging in prostitution is depraved, immoral, sinful, risky, and hazardous to one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Does this mean that human trafficking, rape, child prostitution, sexual abuse, slavery, and sexual assault should be legal as well?
Of course not.
Those are real crimes with unwilling victims who have been aggressed against. Even in liberal Belgium, sex trafficking, rape, pimping, most prostitution advertising, and child prostitution is still illegal.
Does this mean that trespassing, loitering, indecent exposure, and other violations of property rights that might occur when prostitutes seek or service customers should be legal as well?
Of course not.
Violations of property rights are likewise real crimes.
So why should prostitution be fully decriminalized in the United States as it now is in Belgium?
I will give you ten reasons why—reasons that I have fully explained in my many articles on this subject and victimless crimes in general.
- How can something that is legal to give away be illegal if one charges for it?
- What consenting adults do on private property is none of the government’s business as long as their actions are voluntary and peaceful.
- It is not the job of government to legislate morality.
- It is not the proper role of government to concern itself with how people choose to make a living as long as their actions don’t infringe upon the personal or property rights of others.
- Vices are not crimes.
- Why should prostitution be a crime but other immoral activities not be crimes?
- Why is it legal for a woman to provide free sexual services as often as she wants and to as many people as she wants, but illegal for her to charge for her services?
- Every real crime needs tangible victim with measurable damages.
- If it is legal for people to be paid to have sex if they are making a movie, then why should it be illegal for people to be paid to have sex in the privacy of their car, home, or hotel room?
- Why does the introduction of money turn fornication and adultery into criminal offenses?
I am probably the least likely person to be writing in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution. The freedom of consenting adults to do anything that’s peaceful as long as their actions are voluntary, don’t aggress against others, and respect private property rights is what compels me.