But Whatever You Do, Don't Legalize It

A new study by Freakanomics guru Steven Levitt comes to some uncomfortable conclusions about prostitution in Chicago. First, Levitt finds that prostitutes are more likely to have sex with city police than they are to be arrested by them:

They estimate that roughly 3 percent of all tricks performed by prostitutes who aren't working with pimps are freebies given to police to avoid arrest. In fact, prostitutes get officially arrested only once per 450 tricks or so, leading the authors to conclude that "a prostitute is more likely to have sex with a police officer than to get officially arrested by one."

Worse...

When freebies given to gang members are factored in, about one in 20 tricks go solely for protection and the "privilege" of plying their trade.

And worst-est...

Just as with recent studies of Mexican and Indian prostitutes, Levitt and Venkatesh find that payments go up substantially when condoms aren't used. And plenty of johns are apparently happy to pay the premium: Condoms only get used about 20 percent of the time, the authors estimate.

So every one of these problems is the result of prostitution being illegal, no? In Nevada's legal brothels, condom use is 100 percent. There's no "protection sex" for crooked cops or gang members, and there hasn't been a single case of HIV since 1988.

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  • drawnasunder||

    Pimpin' ain't easy.

  • ||

    So every one of these problems is the result of prostitution being illegal, no? In Nevada's legal brothels, condom use is 100 percent.

    But doesn't forcing legal prostitutes to always use condoms create a black market for condom-free sex? I mean, the libertarian line is that when you try to ban something people want to buy, they'll just buy it on the black market, and your stats show that people definitely want condom-free sex.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    condom use is 100 percent

    Once upon a time in Fallon, Nevada, long, long ago, nobody had to shower in a raincoat, laddie. :-)

    Fifteen bucks went a hell of a long way, too even if the chicks, were a long way from tens.

    Back on base, Married Dave stopped by Sick Bay and demanded penicillin from the Corpsman on duty (who LOL and declined). Told him he shoulda used a....wait for it....CONDOM.

    Excellent write-up, Radley,

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Crime, there are a couple of other things that Nevada's legal hookers are prohibited from doing. Or so I've heard.

    I'm guessing that sometimes arrangements can be made.

  • SIV||

    I advocate the strict separation of State and prostitution. As a non-member of the proposed new libertarian community I can't be purged for my radical wacko view on the matter.

  • ||

    Told him he shoulda used a....wait for it....CONDOM.

    Maybe he was just trying to be a good Catholic.

  • DavidS||

    Actually, Levitt finds that payment doesn't go up much when condoms are not used ($2 dollar premium for oral, $6 for vaginal, $13 for anal).

    Strong contrast with the Mexican study:

    "Prostitutes in their sample report using condoms 90 percent of the time, compared to only 25 percent in our sample for vaginal sex, and 21 percent for anal sex. Among their Mexican prostitutes, condom use is the default from which customers must bargain away, potentially inducing large increases in prices. In contrast, in our sample no condom appears to be the default choice, perhaps making it harder for the prostitute to credibly argue for a higher price if no condom is used."

  • ||

    Maybe he was just trying to be a good Catholic.

    Good Catholics are prohibited from condom use as well as birth control pills. The rhythm method for monogamous married couples is acceptable. Usong this canon approved method, my mother had only seven pregnancies in ten years. If any more is needed, this is further evidence that white folks have no rhythm.

  • DUNDEROOOOO||

    I gladly pay the double for no rainkoat.

  • ||

    Of course condom use in Nevada's legal borthels is 100%. But, there is also a whole lot of illegal hookers in Nevada as well. I am sure they are taking extra money to have sex without a condom. Legalizing prostitution is not going to achieve 100% condom use. The people that are crazy enough and have the money are always going to be willing to pay the extra money under the table to have sex without a condom. The legalization of prostitution in Nevada has not stopped there being illegal prostitutes who offer services, like under age girls, condomless sex and the like that the legal places won't offer. That would be the case in any state where prostitution is legal. Unless you just legalize everything don't try to control it at all, there is always going to be an underground of people who want services that are not legal.

    I agree that prostitution should be legal. But don't pretend that legalizing it will lead to 100% condom use. That is just not true.

  • Matt||

    Another interesting finding of theirs is that self-employed protitutes work longer hours and make less money than those who work for pimps. Let's hear it for division of labor!

  • ||

    I think technology will make the condom issue wrt STDs a moot point. When a hooker whips out her instant test that will test for everything, she'll know whether she needs to wrap it or not. And the john will have one on hand too, if he knows what's good for him.

  • SIV||

    you just legalize everything don't try to control it at all


    That would be the libertarian paleo-lib thing to do.

  • ||

    Another interesting finding of theirs is that self-employed protitutes work longer hours and make less money than those who work for pimps.

    Does that mean that if you get to keep all that you earn, you will likely be more willing to put in extra hours? Duh!

  • ||

    Still cheaper than getting married.And being a good Catholic, apparently.

  • vm||

    "Good Catholics are prohibited from condom use as well as birth control pills"

    and for them brothel = behind the altar

    [keed keeeeeeed]

  • Matt||

    Does that mean that if you get to keep all that you earn, you will likely be more willing to put in extra hours? Duh!

    No, the prostitutes's take-home wage was higher. It was written up in the Chicago Tribune yesterday. I think it was an average workday of 4.5 hours and $25/hr for self-employed and 4.1 hours and $37/hr for a "pimp-assisted" prostitute. They make more money and work less hours even after their pimp takes his cut.

  • ||

    It is truly amazing to me that something that is legal to do for a dinner, movie and drinks is illegal to do fo $100. I'm 51 years old and have yet to hear a rational justification for that trifling distinction.

  • ||

    Oh you horrible liberal types! I knew Reason was just a shill for big whores...

  • ||

    Uh, make that 52 years old. Alzheimer's?* Well, there is hope.

    *Insert lame open thread claim here.

  • ||

    Oh you horrible liberal types! I knew Reason was just a shill for big whores...

    Standard Libertarian Disclaimer (SLD) #2 (Libertarian does not mean libertine) goes here. I really should gin up and post a definitive list of those. Maybe when I'm extremely bored someday.

  • ||

    My 12:49pm post this link in it.

  • ||

    "In Nevada's legal brothels, condom use is 100 percent. There's no "protection sex" for crooked cops or gang members, and there hasn't been a single case of HIV since 1988."

    I'd bet the incidence of minors plying the trade in legal brothels is next to nil as well.

    I agree that prostitution should be legal. But don't pretend that legalizing it will lead to 100% condom use. That is just not true.

    I don't think anybody's suggesting that there will be 100% condom use among street prostitutes who are working in areas where prostitution is illegal. ...or that there won't be kids working the street.

    I think the suggestion is that where legalization seems to minimize those things criminalization doesn't. ...AND criminalization seems to add more opportunity for law enforcement and gangs to abuse sex workers.

  • penxv||

    Prostitution is cool and all.

    But fornicating is actually a lot more fun when the woman wants to have sex with you back.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    N.B. -- From the actual working paper, the authors (1) "find a small price premium associated with unprotected sex, and condoms are used only 25 percent of the time" (In fact, their data suggests that the unprotected sex premium to be on average only $2) and (2) that [only] "prostitutes who do not work with pimps (and thus are working the streets), roughly three percent of all their tricks are freebies given to police." Emphasis added.

    Fair's fair -- Levitt and Venkatesh stress that the paper is tentative and incomplete. Still, several other interesting points are worth noting. First, the sort of pimp / prostitute relationship they study is contrary to the stereotype and much closer to the agent / talent model. Second, (and speaking as a white guy here, I'm shocked, shocked to discover that) Chicago prostitutes discriminate on the basis of race, charge white tricks more and "change the structure of the bargaining when the customer is not black."

    So far, no comment from the Ron Paul campaign on this last finding, but I haven't received the latest newsletter yet, so....

  • ||

    "In Nevada's legal brothels, condom use is 100 percent. There's no "protection sex" for crooked cops or gang members, and there hasn't been a single case of HIV since 1988."

    That fact sums up why prohibition of voluntary, non-violent, exchanges of goods and services between two consenting adults is out and out wrong. It doesn't matter if we're talking sex or drugs, prohibition is wrong.

  • ||

    It doesn't matter if we're talking sex or drugs, prohibition is wrong.

    I agree with you. Trouble is, I don't know why any more! heh.

  • ||

    About the only problem with "legalized" prostitution in Nevada, is a very specific anti-market basis in the law.

    Technically prostitution is not legal per se in Nevada, but "pimping" is. The "upside" is that there is no blackmarket in no-condom sex, but the male monopoly on controlling the market is pretty much unassailable.

    It is this single fact that I have found the pro-sex liberal factions most object to (preventing an alliance with sex workers that could carry the model and offer market protections to prostitutes around the country), and one I find objectionable as a believer in the market.

    Nothing wrong with having brothels run exclusively by men, if it were a market decision, but it is not, it is one enforced by men with guns (police). Now, if Nevada would actually open the market to not just legalized pimping by men, but allowing independent actors to actually market their skill set, it would become a market affair and a model worth supporting.

  • Paul||

    Pimpin' ain't easy.

    But it's necessary...

    Chasin' them ho's like Tom chases...Jerry.

  • Paul||

    prostitutes to always use condoms create a black market for condom-free sex?

    Yeah, they have to go back to their wives.

  • Paul||

    Actually, Levitt finds that payment doesn't go up much when condoms are not used ($2 dollar premium for oral, $6 for vaginal, $13 for anal).

    I thought condom use was 100%?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    It is truly amazing to me that something that is legal to do for a dinner, movie and drinks is illegal to do fo $100.

    Oh, I see, you're one of THOSE guys that expects the chick to go down as a reward for a nice dinner and a couple of dates. Sexist. Pig.

    Better not ever run for president.

  • Melissa Farley||

    I just finished a 2.5 year study of prostitution and trafficking in Nevada. It is way naive to assume that condoms are always used in brothels. Women who can talk freely, once OUT of the legal brothels, tell us that while the party/pimp line is put forth, in practice, women often perform to johns' specifications: without a condom, just as they do in India and Mexico and in illegal US prostitution.
    Melissa Farley
    Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections
    www.nevadacoalition.org

  • thoreau||

    It's fascinating that only 5% of tricks go to protection. If they were in the legal market, a substantially larger portion of income would go to taxes.

    The benefits of operating above ground are considerable, of course, but it is interesting that the black market only has a 5% tax rate.

  • ||

    "...5% tax rate."

    Thoreau for President!

  • ||

    I'm skeptical about the self-reported wages of pimped versus non-pimped prostitutes, because every now and then people have been known to lie about sex. And were these questions asked with the pimp in the room?

    "So, how much does your pimp let you keep?"

    Whore sporting a black eye. "Keep? I get to ke ..."

    * Stinkeye from pimp, who's idly trimming fingernails with a very large knife

    "Oh, yeah, I get to keep some, er, MOST of what I earn. Umm, yeah, that's how it works."

  • ||

    "It is truly amazing to me that something that is legal to do for a dinner, movie and drinks is illegal to do fo $100.

    Oh, I see, you're one of THOSE guys that expects the chick to go down as a reward for a nice dinner and a couple of dates. Sexist. Pig.

    Better not ever run for president."


    No, no, we're all totally cool cosmotarians here. No expectations whatsoever on a date -- they don't want to put out, cool, had a good time. It's just that when it's time to go on a SECOND date, that marketplace kicks in, and given two equally hot and pleasant women available to date, do you go out with the one who gave you head, or the one who was saving herself for marriage?

    Or do you, like, hate a free marketplace.

    (Disclosure: I'd prefer a good Mormon girl who held out for marriage -- in the Temple -- but I'm not a cosmotarian.)

  • ||

    Oh, I see, you're one of THOSE guys that expects the chick to go down as a reward for a nice dinner and a couple of dates. Sexist. Pig.

    TWC, you totally misunderstand me. I was describing what I expect prior to proving my "LOVE SEVICES".

  • ||

    err, make that SERVICES.

  • ||

    Men will pay more to have sex with a prostitute without using a condom? Boggles the mind. Now, I love prostitution, think it should be legal, blah blah blah, but c'mon guys, they're prostitutes. I'd pay more to WEAR a condom.

    Reminds me of the time we deployed to Thailand for Cobra Gold...one guy came back from town swearing he'd just gone down on a prostitute. The rest of us said "Uhm, yeah, that's nice" and quickly changed the subject.

  • ||

    It's just that when it's time to go on a SECOND date, that marketplace kicks in, and given two equally hot and pleasant women available to date, do you go out with the one who gave you head, or the one who was saving herself for marriage?

    I wonder what percentage of the male members of this forum have ever been faced with that dilemma...

  • ||

    Do they give a discount for ribbed and/or flavored rubbers?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    I'm inclined to agree with Ms Farley that any claim of 100% condom use in legal brothels is, to put it mildly, unbelievable. (Farley, btw, is an activist whose grasp of the concept of "fact" seems a bit slippery to me. Kudos to her, nonetheless, for posting here.)

    The link Mr. Balko cites is a study of condom breakage and slippage and the claim of 100% usage there wasn't the issue. (Irrelevant aside, the linked summary states "Used condoms were collected to verify reported breaks visually." And I thought my graduate research assignments were unpleasant!)

    Study or no study, law or no law, the notion that no prostitutes in legal brothels are ever willing to forgo condom use for some negotiated premium is absurd. But that's the nub of the point. Are such women voluntarily assuming risk in return for greater compensation or not? Almost certainly the answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no.

  • ||

    It's just that when it's time to go on a SECOND date, that marketplace kicks in, and given two equally hot and pleasant women available to date, do you go out with the one who gave you head, or the one who was saving herself for marriage?

    I wonder what percentage of the male members of this forum have ever been faced with that dilemma...


    If the mother's-basement-dwelling stereotype is at all true, perhaps none. ;)

    Seriously, before I met my wife, I was on this decade-long dry streak. Couldn't get a date to save my life. Then I placed a personals ad in a swinging weekly (IIRC, the Seattle Weekly) and suddenly I could go on two or three blind dates a day if I was that masochistic. Once went on 8 blind dates in 7 days -- never again. Man needs some downtime.

    Met Ms. Prolefeed on date #70 or so.

  • kris||

    what kind of idiot has sex with a hooker and doesn't wear a condom? ENJOY YOUR AIDS BUDDY.

  • ||

    what kind of idiot has sex with a hooker and doesn't wear a condom? ENJOY YOUR AIDS BUDDY.

    Actually a circumcised male having vaginal sex with an HIV positive female will likely NOT result in him cotracting the virus. Of course, walking acroos the street without looking will likely NOT result in getting hit by a car. I prudently still look. Both ways.

  • Sam Grove||

    Good Catholics are prohibited from condom use...

    They are only prohibited from using condoms as birth control...not for disease prevention.

  • Robert||

    I'm disappointed that a Reason blogger would project the politically-correct idea that condomless sex is bad per se, which is akin to the idea that getting high is bad per se.

    As Heinlein wrote disapprovingly, "Sex without touching!"

  • ||

    Oh, I see, you're one of THOSE guys that expects the chick to go down as a reward for a nice dinner and a couple of dates. Sexist. Pig.

    Better not ever run for president.


    Tom Leykis for President.

  • ||

    A skinny, nerdy kid I know had a helluva time getting laid, in the 50s. We were still in the Sexual Evolution as defined by Hucklebuckle.

  • ||

    What some of you free-market geniuses seem to have a hard time understanding is that woman are human beings, not commodities. Like it or not, we decided long ago in America that buying and selling people is abhorrent and illegal. When a pimp sells a woman's mouth and vagina to a john, it is a violation of her human rights.

    Leaving aside the obvious public health problems involved in a woman giving 10 blowjobs a day without a condom (not good for her, not good for him) there should be some consideration give to the humanity of the situation.

    Would you consider giving 10 blowjobs a day to be a an acceptable job for you? For your son? For your daughter?

    Even if it paid at least mininum wage, and even if you got free medical treatment, and even if there wasn't a violent pimp taking half your money and threatening to kill your kids if you stop. Even then you probably would find it to be a horrifying existence.

  • Brandybuck||

    I just finished a 2.5 year study of prostitution and trafficking in Nevada. It is way naive to assume that condoms are always used in brothels. Women who can talk freely, once OUT of the legal brothels, tell us that while the party/pimp line is put forth, in practice, women often perform to johns' specifications: without a condom, just as they do in India and Mexico and in illegal US prostitution.



    But I suspect it's still low. I recall and interview with one legal prostitute who says they'll turn in others who don't require condoms, because an STD can travel very quickly through a brothel. The pimp/madam is also listening in on the negotiations, making it harder to cheat.

    The "safer sex than with your girlfriend" line is common among the classier Nevada brothels, and is a definite draw. Part of the reason there still so many street prostitutes is that brothels are only legal in limited areas, and need to be licensed. There are only a limited number of legal job opportunities in the industry.

  • Play by Play Guy||

    Fred's tone is definitely not friendly...

    /kicks pebble

  • ||

    Even if it paid at least mininum wage, and even if you got free medical treatment, and even if there wasn't a violent pimp taking half your money and threatening to kill your kids if you stop. Even then you probably would find it to be a horrifying existence.

    Fred makes some excellent points. They're just fragile, childlike beings that need protected at all times. If a woman thought that performing fellatio was less taxing and more rewarding than her job at the foundry, she's just unimformed about the realities of the world's oldest profession. If she argued that she could take precautions against STDs but feared lung cancer as a result of her present workplace, she's just being hysterical. And we all know the etymology of that word. This book is obviously full of half truths, fabrications and downright lies. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turned out to have been written by a man or that Xaviera Hollander ended up as a streetwalking crack whore.

  • ||

    As a former cop, I find it very hard to believe that many officers partake of the prostitutes services. Most are drug addicts who you wouldn't want to touch without safety gloves. Do the authors say how they arrived at that number?

  • Christopher Rasch||

    When a pimp sells a woman's mouth and vagina to a john, it is a violation of her human rights.

    Yet, curiously, I'd wager you have no problems with a singer selling her vocal cords for entertainment, or a football player selling his body for sport. Why don't you consider singing or professional football violations of their rights?

    Would you consider giving 10 blowjobs a day to be a an acceptable job for you? For your son? For your daughter?

    It would depend on who I was giving head to, and how much I got paid. Clearly, women who give 10 blowjobs a day prefer it to their alternatives, or else they would already be doing those alternatives.

    Thus, by making prostitution more costly due to the risk of imprisonment, you condemn those women to jobs that are, by their own lights, worse than giving 10 blowjobs a day.

    if there wasn't a violent pimp taking half your money and threatening to kill your kids if you stop.

    And if busybodies didn't use the power of the state to enforce archaic religious dogma, prostitutes could turn to the police for protection, and wouldn't need pimps to begin with.

  • Nevada Police Officer||

    "The legalization of prostitution in Nevada has not stopped there being illegal prostitutes who offer services, like under age girls, condomless sex and the like that the legal places won't offer."

    You wouldn't happen to know where these prostitutes are offering these services, would you? I mean, to arrest them of course...

  • ||

    "Would you consider giving 10 blowjobs a day to be a an acceptable job for you? For your son? For your daughter? "

    Better or worse that working at Cato?

  • Gahan||

    "...I find it very hard to believe that many officers partake of the prostitutes services. Most are drug addicts who you wouldn't want to touch without safety gloves."

    ...and the prostitutes are even worse.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    err, make that SERVICES.

    OK, if you make that drinks instead of dates. :-)

  • voxpo||

    Dang you Gahan, you beat me to it! ;)

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Would you consider giving 10 blowjobs a day to be a an acceptable job for you? For your son? For your daughter?

    No, I don't. Times 3.

    But that's irrelevant, because my personal likes and dislikes aren't yours. Here's one:

    Do you think it would be an acceptable job to have another guy beat the crap out of you for 15 rounds every Saturday night until you get brain damage? Well, I think that is the stupidest thing ever, worse than turning tricks, because it assures brain damage and is nothing but a glorification of violence and the whole idea is to put the other guy's dick in the dirt by beating him unconscious.

  • ||

    How the hell do you know there hasn't been a single case of HIV since 1988? That's one of the stupidest assertions I've heard in a while.

  • ||

    There's two legal brothels about a hour from Vegas, and a couple more up Reno way, and the price is said to run $300 - $500 depending on what you negoiate.

    That's what happens when the government gets into the business. Would be the same with drugs, and more after the tort attorneys started suing for damages and 'dose' control.

    Legal vs illegal prostitution in Nevada is probably 1:10K respectively, if that word applies.

  • ||

    I just don't understand why you can't charge for it yet you can give it to anybody??

  • Warmongering Lunatic||

    SERJ -
    In Nevada's legal brothels, monthly HIV tests are mandatory by law for all prostitutes. Not one of these prostitutes has ever been found to be HIV positive in the twenty years of testing. That's "how the hell" he knows.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Think anyone knew I was talking about boxing? Would have been nice to actually say the word. Boxing. Boxing. The fights.

  • st4rbux||

    for Fred:
    Are you a prostitute or a consultant?

    "The difference between consultants and prostitutes is: There are some things a prostitute won't do for money."

    When my pimp manager sells my mouth and vagina brain to a john client, is it a violation of my human rights? I thought I was in a mutually beneficial contractual arrangement -- oh who am I kidding, I've been a victim for years.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    Think anyone knew I was talking about boxing? Would have been nice to actually say the word. Boxing. Boxing. The fights.

    I figured boxing or UFC. But you see, violence is always preferable to sex in the minds of the do gooders. So being a boxer or UFCer is fine, but legalized prostitute is not.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Dude!

    Mr Green, er, Chartreuse, you were comment 69 on a HOOKER POST!

    You win, free 69. See Nick (no, not with him, he's making the arrangements).

    Condom not optional. Sorry.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    oh who am I kidding, I've been a victim for years.

    fargin' wage slave, you.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    lol! I think I may have to pass that off to #68, as my gf wouldn't approve :)

  • Already Established THAT||

    ....just hagglin' over price, ma'am.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Robin, I don't understand why it's okay to pay somebody to have sex while you watch the movie but it isn't okay to pay someone to have sex with you.

    For that matter, porn stars get paid to have sex with each other. Why, oh why, is that not prostitution? Our legal system is bizzare.

  • Juan||

    Robin, I don't understand why it's okay to pay somebody to have sex while you watch the movie but it isn't okay to pay someone to have sex with you.

    For that matter, porn stars get paid to have sex with each other. Why, oh why, is that not prostitution? Our legal system is bizzare.


    Shhhhhhhhhh..... don't say that out loud, you'll give them ideas about banning porn.

  • ||

    How does margin logic coincide with keeping up with the opportunity cost of a public health pandemic?

  • A Word From Reason\'s Sponsor||

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  • st4rbux||

    I was #68, and my wife wouldn't approve either. #67 was you, TWC. it's all yours.

    as for the porn stars, I believe it's all... ACTING!! (GENIUS!!) Thank YOU! (No, Thank YOU!)

    so then their actors, not whores. unless maybe that's is in the title.

  • st4rbux||

    [their = they're]

  • Levy||

    Pimpin' ain't easy...

    ... but it's a whole lotta fun!

  • penxv||

    But that's irrelevant, because my personal likes and dislikes aren't yours. Here's one:

    Do you think it would be an acceptable job to have another guy beat the crap out of you for 15 rounds every Saturday night until you get brain damage? Well, I think that is the stupidest thing ever, worse than turning tricks, because it assures brain damage and is nothing but a glorification of violence and the whole idea is to put the other guy's dick in the dirt by beating him unconscious.


    There's actually an art to it. It's honest and chicks dig it.

    So... how depressing is tax consultation?

  • ||

    Prostitution should be 100% legal in America. Who cares if someone wants to make their living that way? It's just as honorable to me as working at McDonalds. Or at Microsoft. If you don't want to buy a prostitute don't buy one. It shouldn't even be an issue. America- land of the free. Let people be free as long as they're not taking rifles to other people.

  • hippy||

    If you don't hurt a person or a person's property it shouldn't be a crime. Drugs is a better case for black markets and gangs. But of course prostitution should be legal. So should a lot of other things. No one should have the right to create laws based on personal morals.

  • jkii||

    So... how depressing is tax consultation?

    A tax consultant is about just as likely to have her pimp tune you up as a prostitute would.

  • ||

    That sound you don't hear is Fred not typing a coherent response to criticisms of his previous post.

  • ||

    I see dj mentioned it, but Nevada is a bad example to use for determining the pros or cons of legalized prostitution. The two largest counties (by population) --Clark (Las Vegas), and Washoe (Reno), forbid prostitution. Most of the state lives in Clark County, and although Washoe is far smaller, you pretty much have the entire state population right there. Hence there are quite a few illegal streetwalkers in Reno, most likely due to convenience.

  • jkii||

    The two largest counties (by population) --Clark (Las Vegas), and Washoe (Reno), forbid prostitution.

    Nevada only allows prostitution in counties with a population under 400,000.

    Clark County, like other higher population counties, are blessed with economic expansion and cursed by illiberal Californians migrating there.

    I still live in CA, but even so, I would still support a fifty-foot tall, electrified, barbed-wire fence at CA-NV border. Just in case I want to escape CA some day with someplace better to go.

  • ||

    "a prostitute is more likely to have sex with a police officer than to get officially arrested by one."

    Getting unofficially arrested costs extra.

  • Robert||

    Better memory of Heinlein now: "Coupling without touching!"

  • ||

    When a pimp sells a woman's mouth and vagina to a john, it is a violation of her human rights.

    WTF? No one wants to buy a mouth or vagina - they just want to rent them for awhile. Anyone who wants to buy them can get married. Sheesh!

    :-)

  • ||

    "But fornicating is actually a lot more fun when the woman wants to have sex with you back."

    You assume it's always either/or? Actually some prostitutes occasionally like not only the money but the sex as well if it's with a guy they like or think is cute and they haven't been working too hard.

    As for Fred, his problem is that he's created the worst possible conditions for a prostitute in his head and then assumes that's the norm. Some prostitutes don't work every day or don't have more than one john a day, let alone do 10 blow jobs in one day.

    But let's see, "would you let some poor slob work the phones selling stocks 16 hours a day, in an office with no air conditioning where outside temperatures were over 100 degrees and where the boss regularly sprayed him with spit every time he chewed him out for not making a sale?!!!"

  • Jason C||

    Levitt's work is absolute trash based on "estimates" (wild ass guesses) and "conclusions" (hearsay from criminals). His book was designed to create controversy and thereby sell more copies. The fact that you are quoting him, proves that he has succeeded.

    How can you base YOUR theories on his half-ass research?

  • DavidS||

    Levitt's work is absolute trash based on "estimates" (wild ass guesses) and "conclusions" (hearsay from criminals)...How can you base YOUR theories on his half-ass research?

    Did you read the paper? Or are your remarks based on hearsay and wild ass guesses?

    Levitt's paper starts with a discussion of how challenging it is to study "illicit behaviour."

    His response is to combine various data sources with a two-year study of 2,200 tricks performed by 160 prostitutes. This seems, on the face of it, a fairly good way of trying to work out what's going on.

    Especially, when data on most of the tricks were "collected by our trackers who stood on street corners or sat in brothels with prostitutes, recording the information immediately after the customer departed."

    I am not saying this study is perfect, but it seems better than "absolute trash."

    Perhaps, Jason C, you know better... Or, maybe as a former cop, you are simply cross that the police come out looking bad.

  • anonymous||

    But fornicating is actually a lot more fun when the woman wants to have sex with you back.

    "The lap dance is better when the stripper is crying."

    Apparently, it's a song lyric by the Bloodhound Gang. But I first saw it as a regular sig at Cop Talk about 6 or 7 years ago.

  • ||

    Commercial sex is still one of the last holds the old monopoly, of sex exclusively through marriage social contract, still has. We created legal serial polygamy and polyandry with no fault divorce in the 60s. In the 80s we introduced legalized 'consenting adults' by judicial decrees leading up to the Lawrence vs. Texas decision. Society has changed so much, its no longer men who are the tricks. [NOT SAFE FOR THE WORKPLACE] If you go to Eros on line and the selection for Las Vegas you'll find the advertising of 'women for women' running about a 2 to 5 ratio as that for 'women for men'. Your ability to impose such control over society is quickly deconstructing. Ultimately, such untapped revenue for taxing won't be passed up and will be regulated. It's only a matter of time, taxes you understand. It will be assimilated.

  • tomWright||

    "It's fascinating that only 5% of tricks go to protection. If they were in the legal market, a substantially larger portion of income would go to taxes.

    The benefits of operating above ground are considerable, of course, but it is interesting that the black market only has a 5% tax rate."

    Dammit. I was gonna say that.

    'course, I'm a day late anyway...

  • ||

    TO: Radley Balko, et al.
    RE: Factoring Ins

    We all know that there are advantages and disadvantages to every possible position.

    I'm getting a tad tired of the sort of arguments YOU, Radley, provide above. A bit of information on one or two aspects. And a lack of a whole lot of information on other aspects.

    Who has ever done an honest compilation of all the advantages and disadvantages of every known aspect of prostitution?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [What they are telling you could be important. What they are NOT telling you could be vital.]

  • B.J. Clinton||

    Oh, I see, you're one of THOSE guys that expects the chick to go down as a reward for a nice dinner and a couple of dates. Sexist. Pig.

    Better not ever run for president.



    Go ahead and run for president. Despite all of their rhetoric, political feminists are a bunch of whores.

  • Nina Burleigh||

    I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.

  • J. Edgar Hoover||

    I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.

  • ewww, yuck||

    Actually a circumcised male having vaginal sex with an HIV positive female will likely NOT result in him cotracting the virus.

    Yeah, but there are plenty of other diseases ready to latch on to the most treasured member of your body.

    At any rate, for me the condom issue wouldn't be about just disease. It's about the idea of sticking my thing where god-knows-how-many-other guys have been sticking their sweaty, smelly, nasty things. It's just kind of... shudders

  • tomWright||

    OK, I just looked briefly at Melissa Farley's site and the link she provided.

    I could not get past the various titles on each page to actually read the contents.

    Both of those sites are like pro-life crisis-centers counseling on abortion. Claim something in the name of your organization, yet provide the agenda-laden opposite in practice.

    Too bad there is no such thing as a dis-honesty filter for the net. Of course that would filter out 90% of the non-porn websites. And probably only 1% of the porn ones.

  • ||

    "As a former cop, I find it very hard to believe that many officers partake of the prostitutes services. Most are drug addicts who you wouldn't want to touch without safety gloves. Do the authors say how they arrived at that number?"

    I find it hard to believe that anybody would partake of some of the street walkers I've seen in Hollywood, but there's a market for green toothpaste...

    There's a market for nipple rings!

  • DavidS||

    On the pimp thing...

    "Women who work with pimps are much less likely to be injured by customers; one of the services
    provided by pimps is protection. Pimps, however, hurt their prostitutes enough to roughly equalize the number of injuries."

  • ||

    Leaving aside the obvious public health problems involved in a woman giving 10 blowjobs a day without a condom...

    So where exactly would she put the condom while doing this? ;-)

    Sorry, I couldn't resist...

  • Stephen Rose||

    I heard someone suggest compulsory reversible vasectomies at birth.

  • ||

    The problem with vices like prostitution, gambling and liquer is that many times the government officials who want to legalize them the schemes of legalization are almost as bad as the scolds who want to ban them. For example, my father's town recently had a vote to legalize casino gamglin. He voted against it, not because he is anti-gambling but because the bill would have allowed one casino run by one politically connected company, rather than letting anyone with a bar or a restaurant run whatever game they want subject to state regulation to ensure a fair game.

    That is what happens in the case of vice. The impulse to 'legalize it and control it' opens the whole thing up to the worst sort of cronyism and government corruption. That is why the government is out to get internet gambling sites. If it was really about stopping gambling, the government wouldn't be legalizing casinos all over the country. If it was really about revenue, they would enact some kind of an internet tax on gambling proceeds. I am quite sure these sites, even the ones overseas, would gladly fork over a few percent of US earnings as protection money in return for not being hounded by the Justice Department. But instead they try to shut them down. Why? Because it is about protecting the government sponsored monopoly. You can see the same things going on in the states' crusade against mail order wine.

    I suspect the same thing would happen if a large number of states legalized prostitution. You would get one or two government sponsored brothels that would in no way meet the demand and a government crusade against every woman who tried to compete with the government sponsored monopoly. It is really pretty damn hopeless.

  • ||

    "That is what happens in the case of vice. The impulse to 'legalize it and control it' opens the whole thing up to the worst sort of cronyism and government corruption."

    I don't know about that...

    "I suspect the same thing would happen if a large number of states legalized prostitution. You would get one or two government sponsored brothels that would in no way meet the demand and a government crusade against every woman who tried to compete with the government sponsored monopoly. It is really pretty damn hopeless."

    If the alternative is more minors in the business, more diseases being spread around, more prostitutes being abused by law enforcement and gang members, I think I'd rather deal with the problem of opening up government monopolies to competition.

  • ||

    ...just on humanitarian grounds!

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    There's actually an art to it. It's honest and chicks dig it.

    Course there is, but the larger point is not to bash boxing, but to point out that my opinion of the merits of boxing is not grounds to ban boxing as violent, dangerous, unhealthy for the participants, or simply because some people find it as morally repugnant as say, bull fighting, which is illegal.

    For the record, I'm using hyperbole to illustrate, I don't feel all that strongly about boxing.

  • ||

    I think the biggest problem is PR.

    I've noticed a lot of prostitutes walking the streets of Oceanside over the years, not something you generally see anywhere else in North County. I've long suspected that the aberration might be due to the city's proximity to the Marine base at Camp Pendleton, but maybe I'm wrong.

    If I'm right, then I suspect it would be better for everybody, the Marines, the City of Oceanside, the police department, the sex workers and just about everybody else if they had legal brothels to go to. It's just that there's an awful lot of prudes out there who just can't accept the idea that people are getting laid so close to a Marine base.

    Like it's a bible camp or something.

  • Kaywinnit Lee \'Kaylee\' Frye||

    They got boy whores. Isn't that thoughtful?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    So... how depressing is tax consultation?

    penxv, LOL. Excellent point and during the course of 'tax season' I often get really pissed when I see how much tax some people are forced to pay. And how looney the laws are.

    Best part: I get to help regular people figure out legit ways to reduce Uncle Sugar's tax bite.

    Every time I find a little tax break (or a big one) for somebody I feel like Jack Black sticking it to the man.

    My motto is that it isn't the government's money in the first place and anything you can do to reduce the tribute is a good thing.

    Secondly, every dime you paid in tax last year is gone. In less time than you took to read this, it is flushed. And whether you are liberal, conservative, libertarian, a government employee, or a soccer mom, the government is spending your money on stuff you don't like.

    Best to give them as little as legally possible.

  • ||

    i wouldn't be surprised to find a correlation in the numbers between Johns who want condom-free sex with prostitutes and the number of insane folks in society as a whole. If not perhaps we need to redefine our definition of insane a bit.

  • ||

    There are so many comments, so maybe someone said this, but the reason that legal prostitutes cannot afford to have sex without condoms is easy: they can't get an STD, or I think they don't work anymore. At least that was my understanding, and I know that porn stars get regularly tested, too. If a prostitute got infected, she would have to quit, presumably.

  • ||

    What some of you free-market geniuses seem to have a hard time understanding is that woman are human beings, not commodities. Like it or not, we decided long ago in America that buying and selling people is abhorrent and illegal. When a pimp sells a woman's mouth and vagina to a john, it is a violation of her human rights.


    Your life must be so miserable. Obviously you don't have a job because that's worker exploitation. When your manager sells your labor to a client, it's a violation of your human rights. There's no voluntary agreement. You do your job against your will. You're just a poor 'ol abused guy!

  • Dan King||

    To read more about prostitution and sex tourism, albeit with a libertarian bent, check out "Naked in Haiti: A Sexy Morality Tale about Tourists, Prostitutes & Politicians".

  • ||

    Aww hell son, we're all whores anyway.

  • ||

    Leave it to government to cheapen even prostitution.

  • Aaron||

    But doesn't forcing legal prostitutes to always use condoms create a black market for condom-free sex? I mean, the libertarian line is that when you try to ban something people want to buy, they'll just buy it on the black market, and your stats show that people definitely want condom-free sex.

    There's a second layer of incentivization here that you're not taking into account. In Nevada, at least, going to the brothel and using a condom means a guarantee that you will not have your name published in the paper or your picture put on TV (as some cities do to combat prostitution), will not be fined or end up in jail, will not get a criminal record and will not end up humiliating your loved ones. (Also, it means you're a lot less likely to be mugged by the prostitute, etc.)

    Avoiding that risk is likely quite a lot more valuable than the perceived value of not having to wear a condom. However, if both are illegal and forced into the black market, then the incentive to obey the law is gone. Similarly, that the law provides what is essentially a competitive "arms treaty" for prostitutes strongly incentivizes them to stay off the black market and stay safe: They can have a job and make money without having to negotiate with every other fool who wants to do it bareback.

  • ||

    Think anyone knew I was talking about boxing? Would have been nice to actually say the word. Boxing. Boxing. The fights.

    TWC -- at first I thought you were going for a comparison between prostitution versus being raped by a violent, abusive husband, with prostitution being a far better "career choice". Until your comment above, I was wondering if that was a wonderfully clever case of misdirection, followed by an abrupt segue.

    Or maybe you're about two steps ahead of me on wryness today. Dunno.

  • penxv||

    For the record, I'm using hyperbole to illustrate, I don't feel all that strongly about boxing.

    I didn't think that you were. Just a difference of opinion about fighting is all. I happen to think that it is natural and healthy.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Prole:

    I blame the wine.

  • ||

    Legalizing prostitution would have quite a few benefits--particularly because it would help protect prostitutes.

    Quite a few cases where serial killers have "concentrated" on prostitutes. Doubt that would happen if the killer had to sign his name in at a brothel to get access to his victim.

    Of course, I bet the libertarians will now scream about "unwarranted supervision"....

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Grump, I hear that, my pet peeve in life is that Texas paroled a guy that brutally killed his baby in cold blood. 10 years into a 70 year sentence those dorks paroled him on good behavior. He came to my town and killed dozens of hookers before he was finally caught. If it was legal, he wouldn't have been doing them in the van where he snuffed them. Jesus Chrysler.

  • Pearl||

    According to a CDC study some years back, only 3% of STIs were transmitted among prostitutes. The majority, they found, were transmitted among sexually active young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. One is far more likely to contract an STI from your average avenue of getting laid: by going to your local nightclub and picking up a willing participant.

    Sex workers, like athletes, have a vested interest in keeping their bodies in the best health possible. It is their livelihood, after all.

    Of course, when people think of transactional sex, they typically think of the subjects of Levitt's study, who may or may not have a vested interest n their own health.

    However, street-based work accounts for only 10% of the industry here in the US. The rest takes place indoors and out of sight by escorts, courtesans, massage workers, and brothel workers. All of whom are best served by being as healthy as possible so as to ensure uninterrupted work time.

    As such, one is clearly safer pursuing transactional sex with a professional.

  • jack fiasco||

    sure legalizing prostitution and enforcing condom use may create a black market for unsafe sex, but it's better than the current black market (which includes both safe and unsafe sex).. it's not like there's any way to ever eradicate unsafe sex - prostition aside - people are having condomless sex with strangers they meet in bars and on craigslist (without exchanging any money) every day!

  • anonymous||

    Instead of legalizing prostitution, the police should escalate their efforts, and use SWAT teams instead.

  • Rookie||

    A 'black market' for condom free sex? Sure it feels better but I don't think entire organizations would spring up for it. Sex is sex and sex with a condom is only a detail when considering the fact that makeing it legal provides you with much better looking and sane women than if it were illegal.

  • Anonymous||

    Dang we should make murder legal too, then no one would break the law killing people.

  • Scooby||

    If I couldn't tell the difference between laws against murder and laws against prostitution, I'd want to remain anonymous, too.

  • Rich Hudson||

    We're supposedly engaged in the "battle of a lifetime" -- the war on terror -- yet we devote a sizable chunk of our domestic law-enforcement resources to cracking down on a victimless crime in which guys are willing to offer money to the service provider instead of the traditional "dinner, movie, and drink" route, as someone wrote.

  • Rich Hudson||

    I once heard an undercover police officer engaged in john-busting sting justify her actions by saying that the johns could otherwise be taking STDs home to their wives. Well if that's the goal then why not criminalize adultery, too? But then I don't think the thrice-divorced family-values crowd would go for that one.

  • Rich Hudson||

    One a related note, there's a brothel in Prague where you can sleep with a prostitute for free, provided you're willing to have your encounter broadcast on the Internet:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a6C0QuB5G6Ys

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Rich, I know this thread is expiring to death soon, but your comment reminded me of something. Mrs TWC's sis is a social worker whose job it is to determine if certain individuals are mentally capable of standing trial.

    One of her charges was arrested after a female cop offered him money for sex. This guy is homeless, has no hands, a horrific skin infection, and an IQ of about 80. He was hungry so he said he'd take the money to have sex with the nice lady waving a twenty in his face.

    Your tax dollars at work regards, TWC

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