Will Czechs Pay for Sex?

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The Czech Republic might legalize prostitution. These folks don't like the idea. These folks do.

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  1. Headline makes me want to say something about Jerry Springer …

    Can’t. Make. It. Work.

    Oh well.

  2. Pay for sex with a …bad Czech…?

  3. Eric,
    It is possible to oppose prostitutiona and still believe it should be legal as well. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease (see WoD).

    I’ve brought it up occasionally in porn threads. Since porn is essentially filmed prostitution, do you think porn production be illegal?

  4. When I visited Amsterdam, I met up with a friend who lives there. She had recently spent 4 months studying in the States. We were talking about the city, and came to the subject of the red light district.

    She said “the prostitutes in America, they can’t do that, yes?”

    “Do what?”

    “You know…stand in the window to solicit customers…”

    “Um, prostitution is illegal in the U.S.”

    Her eyes got really big. She thought I was pulling her leg. I eventually convinced her that it was true.

    “Doesn’t that make it very dangerous for everyone involved?”

    Indeed. Perspective, perspective, perspective…

  5. the lonely lands of political irrelevance

    Nonsense. Its quite crowded out here – why, you can hardly turn around without tripping over a Green, a liberal Republican, a Democrat who supports the war or wants to reform education, or that 50% of the country that just doesn’t vote at all.

  6. ?Also, I have yet to be convinced that legalizing prostitution will lead to a better (or, for that matter, more free) society.?

    Eric: I’m not interested in creating a “better” society. As for whether or not it will be “more free,” why would it not be? Explain, please.

  7. “Finally, this issue is one (of many) that relegates libertarians to the lonely lands of political irrelevance.”

    We can’t help it if this country is made up of puritanical, anal retentive, anti-sex prudes.

    Also, “irrelevance” or unpopularity among the uptight masses doesn’t make us wrong.

  8. Brian,

    “Um, prostitution is illegal in the U.S.”

    <nitpick>
    I don’t know which U.S. Government law makes it illegal, but if you drive about 50 miles outside of Las Vegas, NV, prostitution is legal. It is, anyway, until Nye County’s population (probably via Pahrump) gets too large.
    </nitpick>

  9. Kinky Friedman said it best: “The problem with Southern Baptists is they don’t hold them under the water long enough.”

  10. Eric… Good to see you again, haven’t seen you post in a while.

    Anyhoo, let’s look at the issue this way: from a Christian perspective, isn’t it the same sin whether two people meet up in a bar for free, or meet on the street and exchange $50 for the same thing?

    You have a valid point that many people from all walks of life oppose legalized prostitution. But one thing that’s been proven over the millennia is that it doesn’t go away. It isn’t called the oldest profession for nothing.

    Also, you’re forgetting that there is one state — Nevada — that HAS legalized it. It might be useful to find out what damage (if any) has been created there versus a medium sized town in, say, Arizona, to compare similar demographics.

    I understand this issue causes consternation for large portions of the population. Debate is reasonable, and should be expected.

  11. Shawn–

    I know, and I explained this to her.

    I was just trying to keep the post short.

  12. Eric,

    To follow up on what Mike H and Mark S said, I’m not sure exactly what you meant, but the point of legalizing prostitution would not be to make people not directly involved any better or more free. But it would ipso facto make the people involved more free. I mean, that’s what freedom means, to be able to do what you want without someone with coercive power trying to stop you or punish you.

  13. Mo,
    “Since porn is essentially filmed prostitution, do you think porn production be illegal?”

    That’s a good question. As a purely theoretical matter, I would have no problem with making porn illegal. It degrades everyone involved and accomplishes nothing. And please, having sex in front of a camera is hardly “free speech.”

    However, as a practical matter, I realize the difficulties of making porn illegal, starting with the most basic question – what is porn? So, I’m left in the not very satisfying position of supporting (if that’s the right word) the status quo.

    The same applies to prostitution. I’m not happy with the situation now, but I don’t see any viable, better alternative. Once again, stuck with the status quo.

    Mark H and S, and fyodor,
    I doubt that legalizing prostitution will lead to more freedom, especially for those involved, because it’s not a business known for its freedom now. Most prostitutes would rather be doing something else, but are forced to stay by their pimps. Will pimps disappear upon legalization? I doubt it.

    kmw,
    Thanks for the welcome. I am interested to see what happens in NV. If I’m proven wrong, then fine. If the NV experience proves to be an improvement to what is happening now, I’ll be happy to re-evaluate my opinion.

  14. Brian,

    <offtopic>
    Sorry for causing you to explain your post. Sometimes I find living in Las Vegas (well, Clark County, actually) causes cognitive dissonance. E.g. my in-laws live in Boulder City, where gambling is as illegal as it is in Peoria, IL. Prostitution is illegal, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from some of the billboards and taxis around town. People here like to think of themselves as open minded and having a live-let-live policy, but we just passed Question 2, a state Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, and the medical marijuana bill was defeated by a similarly wide margin (about 60/40). I can’t tell you how many times, while growing up, I heard the line, “Las Vegas has more churches per capita than any other U.S. city,” which I now recognize as ludicrous on its face. Even though about one-third of the adult population smokes, there are plenty of public places besides the casinos (i.e. the vast majority of the metro area) where smoking is illegal.
    </offtopic>

  15. “Prostitution is like a sewer in a palace: no one wants to think about it, but if it weren’t there, the whole place would fill up with shit.”

    I’ve probably mangled the quote (Google couldn’t find it), but IIRC it’s at least 500 years old.

    To answer the question: so long as there are Humans (Czech or otherwise) with money, there will be prostitution. It’s the intersection of commerce and biology, and you can’t get rid of it without changing one or the other. By making it illegal, you simply worsen the problem.

    And you can be against a particular activity without being foolish enough to want it banned. E.g., I’m both pro-choice and anti-abortion. The bottom line is that an activity should be illegal only if it harms someone against their will. This does not.

  16. “As a purely theoretical matter, I would have no problem with making porn illegal. It degrades everyone involved and accomplishes nothing.”

    Porn accomplishes something for me several times a week. Besides, I didn’t know accomplishment was the benchmark for allowable content in America.

    “Most prostitutes would rather be doing something else, but are forced to stay by their pimps.”

    Most everyone else would rather be doing something else as well.

  17. “And please, having sex in front of a camera is hardly “free speech.””

    But it is. It’s a way of saying:

    1) This is my body and I can do with it whatever I want.

    2) This looks like fun, doesn’t it? If I can do it, so can you. Don’t be ashamed of the human body.

    3) I can make 6.50 an hour answering phones or drive a Camaro doing this.

    4) Adults can choose to express themselves however they see fit so long as they don’t hurt anyone… and this is kind of the opposite of hurting.

    “I doubt that legalizing prostitution will lead to more freedom, especially for those involved, because it’s not a business known for its freedom now. Most prostitutes would rather be doing something else, but are forced to stay by their pimps. Will pimps disappear upon legalization? I doubt it.”

    You’d probably be surprised just how many women work without pimps. This is the age of the self-employeed businesswoman.

  18. Pimps won’t necessarily disappear with legalization, but prostitutes will be in a better position relative to their pimps. Pimps are there to protect their prostitutes from customers, essentially. If a prostitute has recourse to the cops for dealing with violent customers or customers who fail to pay (i.e. contract enforcement) then pimps will effectively face competition (who’d’ve thunk that gov’t could actually inject competition into a market?). Incentives to change behavior will appear.

    Which is not to say that the business will change overnight or become every bit as clean, upright, and transparent as other sectors of the economy (can you say “Pimp Daddy Ken Lay”? 🙂 but it could become cleaner than it is right now. Which would be a good thing, to quote a famous federal prison inmate.

  19. “I would have no problem with making porn illegal. ”

    Why doesn’t this surprise me?

    “It degrades everyone involved and accomplishes nothing.”

    Degradation is in the eye of the beholder. What may be degrading to you is certainly not degrading to those who produce, perform in, and consume erotic material. Please don’t foist your–or anyone else’s–standards on the rest of society.

    “And please, having sex in front of a camera is hardly “free speech.”

    Why isn’t it? Oooooh…. It’s not free speech because you don’t like it! I see…

    “Most prostitutes would rather be doing something else…”

    Say’s who? It doesn’t occur to you that someone may actually WANT to get paid to have sex? No one is dragging people to turn tricks in the legal brothels in Amsterdamm, Nevada, and Australia. They choose to go into that line of work of their own free will.

    Hell, for all we know, some of them may even enjoy it.

    “…but are forced to stay by their pimps. Will pimps disappear upon legalization? I doubt it.”

    Pimps are a direct result of the black market created by the laws against prostitution. The only reason pimps can exploit sex workers is because prostitutes can’t seek legal protection from the authorities without being imprisoned themselves.

    Get rid of the laws, you crush the power of the pimps, and the prostitutes can provide their service in relative safety and protection.

  20. Eric,

    I don’t believe NV would show any convincing results because of the county population limit for non-illegal prostitution (try parsing that phrase). Most NV counties are quite large in geographical size (there are only 17 in 110,000 sq. miles) so unless you’re near a county border, like Reno is, it isn’t readily accessible. Las Vegas is pretty much right in the middle of its county. I seem to recall a few academic studies of prostitution in Nevada (probably done by people at UNLV, but I’m not sure), so I’m pretty sure there is research on that topic right now.

  21. One of my close friends is big on the groups that crack down on sex slaves. We frequently have discussions on prostitution, pornography and strip clubs. She tells me about the assaults and shabby treatment given to prostitutes and how there is no recourse for them afterwards. After I asked her if she felt that by legalizing and regulating prostitution (I know, I said the “R” word, but baby steps my friends) we could eliminate some of the worst crimes against these women if they could go to the cops. This would allow prostitutes to have recourse against an abusive John or pimp instead of the current “that guy stole my coke” situation. She grudgingly agreed (but still wouldn’t favor legalization).

    Even though regulation is a bad word here, I think turning black markets into regulated white markets is a better end solution.

  22. “Even though regulation is a bad word here, I think turning black markets into regulated white markets is a better end solution.”

    I tend to be in the “regulation-is-a-bad-word” camp myself since I’m for free markets AND freedom of association. However, given the fact that I’d rather see this activity allowed than have it made totally illegal, I’d accept a regulated white market as a starter.

    That said, I would strongly object if the regulations became punitively restrictive via vindictive taxes and fees. I dislike using the tax code to legislate morality just as much as the law books.

  23. thoreau,
    Martha is not an inmate yet and it is looking like she may not even be a convict soon. Is anyone surprised that a government witness is being accused of perjury in this case?

    By the way, I met a Nye County prostitute skiing at Jackson Hole twenty years ago. She seemed to be free of her pimp(s). I guessed that she enjoyed sex and/or making lots of money. She didn’t tell me she was a prostitute, but she was a young single woman who had moved from Corpus Christi, had no relatives in Nye County, said she was a teacher, and gave vague answers as to why she had made such a move (It’s just nice there – even though I have to drive two hours to buy groceries.).

  24. Posted by Walter Wallis:
    Pay for sex with a …bad Czech…?

    We all pay for it…in one way or another ;^)

  25. The correct answer is “No, you need czash or a major czedit card.”

  26. Shawn–

    No worries. 🙂

    I find that I am completely disconnected from reality within about 6 hours whenever I’ve visited Vegas. I can only imagine what it’s like to live there…

  27. I’m most interested in how the Southern “women must submit to their husbands” Baptists are worried about turning women into chattel. Why didn’t their letter just come right out and say “you’re the blackest damned kettle I ever did see?”

  28. If you go fishing with a Southern Baptist, you should take two of them. If you take just one, he’ll drink all your beer.

  29. Prostitution DOES have some benefits for society. Not to be sexist here, but I’ve seen lots of guys who were so butt-ugly there’s no WAY they’d ever find a woman willing to fuck ’em just for the hell of it. By criminalizing prostitution, you’re basically making it illegal for ugly people to get laid.

  30. Let us not assume that all prostitutes are female. In the mid-90s I lived and worked in NYC, and among my good friends was a gay fellow — and Republican! — who ran a male “escort” service. His favorite part of the job was interviewing the applicants and examining their assets; many of these young men were NYU students.

    Clients were screened, as safety for the young men is a high priority. By the same token, clients expect supreme confidentiality. (Anyone who reads political magazines would have recognized many names in the Rolodex, to which I was privy in a professional capacity.)

    I asked my friend whether he feared getting busted. He said he did not, because NYPD bascially wished to leave them alone, for a variety of reasons. He ran a fine business (he is, alas, now deceased) and was well-liked by the young sex workers, who (with me) helped put on my friend’s 50th birthday party.

    Now, just what is wrong with such a business arrangement that we should lock people in cages if they choose to enter it?

    –Mona–

  31. Mona-
    Because it offends the Baptists, I guess.

  32. Thank you, arthur.
    About 50 years ago, the mothers of Beatty, Nevada got the only whorehouse in town closed down. The girls moved 5 miles north, to the “Jolly Dolly Ranch” and in retaliation started going to Las Vegas for their required physicals. The town doctor moved away, the gas station closed and recession hit Beatty.
    I would not want a daughter of mine to become a prostitute or a democrat, but if one did, I would not want them to be denied police protection or even be required to pay police protection money. Has anyone asked Kerry what he thinks of someone who has sex for money?

  33. I don’t know about sex for money, but Kerry certainly believes in marriage for money…

    Then again, I always said prostitution and marriage were one in the same.

  34. I agree with Mark S. Anna Nicole Smith gets zillions of dollars for sleeping with some ancient dude, but because she first signed a marriage certificate that makes her LESS immoral than a woman who would only take a couple hundred dollars of the guy’s money?

  35. So, paradoxically, we see that legalizing prostitution might reduce the number of gold-diggers in the world.

  36. I think the answer to the headline’s question is “maybe not, but visiting Germans certainly will!”

  37. How many Southern Baptists can there be in the Czech Republic?

  38. Maybe the Christian Exodus should move to the Czech Republic to purify the place and combat prostitution. It would at least keep them far away from the US…

  39. um, i’m confused on something…

    how the hell can southern baptists threaten the czech republic? or even begin to think to influence them?

  40. It is possible, isn’t it, for a non-Christian to be opposed to legalizing prostitution?

    Also, I have yet to be convinced that legalizing prostitution will lead to a better (or, for that matter, more free) society.

    Finally, this issue is one (of many) that relegates libertarians to the lonely lands of political irrelevance.

  41. Also, I have yet to be convinced that legalizing prostitution will lead to a better (or, for that matter, more free) society.

    How does the illegality of prostitution lead to this? For that matter, are we really going to believe that legalizing prostitution will be some sort of threat to a nation’s moral fiber or public health?

    Just as I wouldn’t run out and smoke a shitload of crack just because the drug war ended, I wouldn’t necessarily run out and rent a $50 hooker as soon as prostitution becomes legal. …Unless that $50 hooker was like really hot or something.

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