Free Minds & Free Markets

Stossel: Who Owns Your Body?

John Stossel confronts a prostitute, a pimp and an anti-prostitution crusader.

Do you have the right to rent your body to someone else?

In most of America, you don't. But prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada.

Julie Bindel, author of the book The Pimping of Prostitution, wants that to change. She co-founded Justice for Women, a group that fights to end all prostitution. Bindel tells John Stossel, "I've interviewed a lot of sex buyers, and they talk about women like they're human toilets or spittoons for men's semen."

Does that mean it should be illegal?

No, says Christina Parreira, a PHD student at the University of Nevada who studies legal prostitution. She became a prostitute herself to gain access to the legal brothels and interview women there. She argues, "we don't need protection, we're consenting adult women. [Groups like Bindel's] say that it's oppression against women and we're being exploited. But I feel more exploited by these supposedly liberal women that are telling me that I'm being exploited."

John Stossel confronts Bindel, Parreira, and Dennis Hof, owner of seven legal brothels in Nevada.

Produced by Naomi Brockwell. Edited by Joshua Swain.

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Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Rich||

    In most of America, you don't have the right to rent your body

    Oh, come *on*, John -- Working for an employer, DUH!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Totally not prostitution.

  • Jerryskids||

    Most of us do rent out either our bodies or our minds on an hourly or weekly basis, you're just not legally allowed to do it for sex. But if you're good at something, why shouldn't you be able to make money off your talents?

  • BYODB||

    The State owns women's bodies, right?

    Ok, ok, sorry. I mean the the State owns all our bodies. We know this because life is taxed in the United States. Needless to say, so is death.

  • NoVaNick||

    Yes, the state owns OUR bodies, and the two established political parties decide what we can and cannot do with them.

  • Incredulous||

    Yes, but she's fucking fascist c$ without a brain or a conscience so she'd just spew more irrational bs like she does in the video.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Also, she's deathly afraid that if men could buy sex, most of the modern feminist agenda would go out the window. Women who follow it, or try to follow it, would quickly learn that "abase yourself before my feminine magnificence or no sex" was a non-starter. Young women might actually try to be valued for something other than their vaginas, if sex asn't an artificially overvalued commodity.

    And academic Feminists would naturally find their own level in society, saying "would you like fries with that?".

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "we don't need protection, we're consenting adult women. [Groups like Bindel's] say that it's oppression against women and we're being exploited. But I feel more exploited by these supposedly liberal women that are telling me that I'm being exploited."

    Fourth wave feminism would like to have a word with you.

  • Zeb||

    There's a fourth wave now? Fuck.

  • Robert||

    I bet the 4th wave is where you don't fuck.

  • sarcasmic||

    Men don't pay prostitutes for sex. They pay them to go away.

  • Eric Bana||

    Much cheaper in the long run, and probably even in the short run.

  • chipper me timbers||

    It's more than that. The state owns your body, and every decision you make about it. Drugs are the obvious one but every medical treatment or device you might care to use is controlled by the state including access, allowed usage and more. Raw milk and other foods not approved by the FDA fall into this control over the choices you make about your own body. Seatbelt laws. Bans on alcohol advertising are an offshoot of this exertion of control. Prescriptions of course. Enforcing calorie labelling on menus. Obviously the big soda ban in NYC. Licensing and regulating tattoo artists and piercing shops. State licensing cosmetologists. Bans on risky sporting activities like bungee jumping.

    If the consitituion had enshrined your rights to full control over your own person, most of the laws on the books would be gone.

  • lap83||

    Who Owns Your Body?

    Teachers' Unions?

  • gah87||

    The Adolph Teacher's Union?

  • BlueStarDragon||

    I guessed gigolos do not count in Julie Bindel's mind. It is nice to know that position along with nerds, gamers and gun owners are still resistant to the left any way.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    position along with nerds, gamers

    How do you mean, resistant to the left?

  • BlueStarDragon||

    "position along with nerds, gamers

    How do you mean, resistant to the left?"

    It should have been " prostitution along with nerds, gamers", Reason we need a way to edit these comments.

    But back to the question, prostitute being capitalist by nature did not buy into the lefts thinking for one.

    As for nerds or non classic geeks (since nerds and geek belong to the same group despite what the left says )
    and gamers their are several left wing articles that claim nerds and gamers are fighting a war against reality for not embracing proggy culture and thinking.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Got it. I was confused because I thought you were saying gamers are necessarily resistant to the left, when I know many fairy leftward gamers and nerds.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    Be careful the media a few years ago redefine nerds. So a person that you thinks is a nerd is more likely a teachers pet or preppies and some others now. It's the basic policy of the left to claim all culture as theirs and if a new sub culture shows up or gains popularity that does not fit their views. They will redefine it to fit their views.

  • Rich||

    "If you've got a body — you didn't build that."

  • Tony||

    Roy Moore owns your body. --Sevo, John, constitution, and a number of other regulars.

  • Set Us Up The Chipper||

    Shut the fuck up you raving lunatic.

  • Rhywun||

    Damn, I was really hoping this was going to be an abortion thread.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    It was stopped dead.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Don't misname him, shitlord. Xe goes by Eidde now.

  • Eric Bana|| front of a mirror with the lights off.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    All these prostitution haters annoy me in their hypocrisy. I rent out my mind and muscles to my employer. Self-employed people do the same with no boss other than their customer.

    What the hell is the difference between a ditch digger or an MMA professional, and a prostitute? They all hire out their bodies and brains.

    What is the difference between a prostitute and a porn actor?

    What a bunch of fucking hypocrites! (pun intended)

    I remember someone had a campaign to get rid of all laws which criminalize acts done for money which are legal when done for free. This demonization of money, profit, income always amazes me. A lot of non-profit businesses spend all their profits on owner salaries. What's the difference?

    I came to libertarianism by two converging routes: the principle of self-ownership and government incompetence. Everything I have seen in the decades since has confirmed my opinion of government incompetence.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Well porn actors are bad too. They're just the proletariat exploited by the capitalist overclass, or something. Oh, and they need to wear surgical gloves because something.

  • Zeb||

    What is the difference between a prostitute and a porn actor?

    That's a really tough one to answer.

    I wonder if anyone has ever tried to skirt prostitution laws by setting up a make-your-own-porno business that provides actresses as needed.

  • EscherEnigma||

    That's a really tough one to answer.
    Eh, only if you try to stick to a philosophically pure argument that addresses both, rather then addressing the reality of how legislation gets made.

    To put it simply, there are way more porn-viewers then Johns, and as a result anti-prostitution laws face much less push back then anti-porn laws. The fact that the philosophical arguments in favor or against one often work just as well against or for the other is immaterial.

    I wonder if anyone has ever tried to skirt prostitution laws by setting up a make-your-own-porno business that provides actresses as needed.
    Off the top of my head, I can't think of any company actually doing so, but I seem to recall a case in which someone claimed they were making porn, but were accused of prostitution. IIRC (and I'm not confident in these details at all) the prosecutor argued that while the guy was filming sex, he wasn't actually selling porn, and that lacking the intention of selling/publishing/distribution he wasn't really a pornographer.

    But since I can't recall any jurisdictional details or names, that might just have been a hypothetical case from an ethics class, so... /shrug

    But I do think that most people's resistance to other people seeing their sex tape would make it a niche market.

  • Zeb||

    rather then addressing the reality of how legislation gets made.

    Sure, but that wasn't the question.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Except that legislation is the only reason it's a question. If you remove legislation that makes porn legal while outlawing prostitution, then there is no incentive to find a difference.

  • Bra Ket||

    Porn is allowed because of freedom of speech cases probably.

    And I'd be willing to bet there's "firms" that run a business like that in california. I seem to recall something about that mentioned on Howard Stern too, like for hiring actual porn stars for a "private" movie.

  • tommhan||

    I don't see any difference between a prostitute and a porn actor,none. That said I am not a liberal by a long shot but I think prostitution should be legal. Stupid to try to stop something you will NEVER be able to stop.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    I guess I would say I'm ok with guys paying to have an orgasm inside a prostitutes vagina. The problem is when Jesus plants a baby in that vagina as a result and the women wants to get rid of it. That's when I say the government should strap that slut down on the gurney for 9 months because God sayeth.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The same government that says the guy is responsible for child support if she keeps it, because fairness or something.

    As you personally know, personal responsibility is hard, and we shouldn't have to do hard things (like pay our mortgages).

  • Lester224||

    Along that line of reasoning you should be forced to donate your kidney to your child if he or she needs it, regardless of impact to your health. It's not your body anymore once you fertilize the egg. You fucked up and fertilized. After all, recovery from a kidney donation doesn't even last 9 months.

  • Bra Ket||

    Tough one. You keep cheating with these qualifiers though: "regardless of impact to your health", "fucked up".

    How about if you stab someone in their only functioning kidney?

  • Incredulous||

    Yes, because donating a kidney and not killing your child are the same thing.

  • EscherEnigma||

    So long as I keep reading commentators support Roy Moore, known and repeated supporter of sodomy laws, I'm not really going to take articles like this seriously.

    Like every other group, you guys are more then willing to drop any supposed "principles" and throw someone else under the bus if you think you'll get some shiny toy.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Says the guy enjoying his recent government bennies.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Nah. Assuming retirement is still a thing by then, I'm a good thirty or forty years out from collecting.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So not getting those tax bennies and health care for hubby that you claimed was essential for you to get married?

  • EscherEnigma||

    I know I shouldn't, but fine. I'll bite.

    (1) What principle of mine do you think I've violated by getting married? Keep in mind that I am not, have never been, and most likely never will, claim to be a libertarian.
    (2) I got married four years back dude. Not really recent.
    (3) Per libertarians, any tax-cut is justifiable because it's just "keeping more of your own pay", so I find your characterization of "government bennies" kind of curious.
    (4) If getting a family plan through your employer is a "government bennie", rather then an agreed-upon portion of your compensation, then I am so not your problem.

  • Zeb||

    So, you can't take seriously articles from a magazine that consistently does not support Roy Moore because some commenters are Republican partisans who do?

  • EscherEnigma||


    The articles reflect the attitudes and biases of the editors and writers. And as you lot keep making clear, they do not speak for you.

    The comments, on the other hand, are you lot speaking for yourselves, and as such are a more reliably barometer for where "libertarians" actually are and what you're willing to compromise on.

  • Zeb||

    You mean the commenters who are constantly disagreeing and arguing? I'm not sure how you draw conclusions about libertarians in general from that. In fact, I'd say that if there is anything to be learned about political libertarianism as a whole, it's that it's mostly a big fight about when it's OK to compromise principle.

    I'm curious what you think the biggest things that "libertarians" as a group are willing to compromise on based on your observations of H&R comments.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I'm not sure how you draw conclusions about libertarians in general from that.
    Pattern recognition skills. Just 'cause not every data point aligns doesn't mean there isn't a pattern.

    I'm curious what you think the biggest things that "libertarians" as a group are willing to compromise on based on your observations of H&R comments.
    Well, voting for Libertarians is a pretty big one. It's really weird reading comments from self-identified libertarians that bash voting Libertarian and are appalled at different electoral schemes that would make third parties viable. I think the big wake-up was when I realized that even though I will never call myself a Libertarian†, I've already voted Libertarian more often then some people who claim the label.

    Beyond that, taxation/spending, non-discrimination laws, public boycotts and responses... in general, while your reasoning is quite different (and reading such differences is why I come 'round), your conclusions are often very similar to Republicans.

    That said, don't sweat it. Sure, I (broadly speaking) have a dim view of Libertarians, but you lot call me far worse then I ever call you, so I think it works out.
    †I used to be neutral to the label, but as the saying goes, "familiarity breeds contempt".

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yes, libertarians calling other libertarians fakes is also a common trait.

  • Brian||

    If it makes you feel better, we get called Nazis a lot. * sniff *

  • EscherEnigma||

    This is America. *Everyone* is called Nazis.

  • Deven||

    There are libertarians who believe that economic freedom is more important than social freedom. There are libertarians who believe that social freedom is more important than economic freedom.

    I'm of the economic sense, as economic freedom touches everyone's lives on a daily basis, also, it is pretty well documented that economic freedom almost always expands social freedom.

    And yes, libertarianism really is about defining at what point you sacrifice principles, because libertarianism takes into account human nature. Otherwise, our principles would make us anarchists.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    +1 Online Poll

  • Hank Phillips||

    Libertarians sign the non-aggression protocol, criticize the bad parts of the party platform, pay dues, donate and volunteer. Sockpuppets vote DemoGOP and are injected here to engage each other over such weighty issues as cankles and hairpieces and who allegedly said what about whom, and cannot reliably spell anything containing three syllables--much less think in terms of concepts. Learn the difference.

  • gah87||

    So that's how you spell "syllable"!

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yes, I'm well aware of the libertarian habit of denouncing other libertarians.

  • RockLibertyWarrior||

    Whose this dumb fucking cunt that calls itself "EscherEnigma"? I bet you its Tony's dumb ass, fucktard significant other. Yeah go fuck yourself, control freak, no one is going to take you seriously around here.

  • AlmightyJB||

    The War on Sex Trafficking has made any attempt to have a reasonable discussion about this topic impossible. People used to at least be able to talk about it. After the last 5 or so years of propaganda telling everyone that 110% of women are sex traffickeded, saying prostitution should be legal gets you the same look as drugs should be legal.

  • Qsl||

    On the one hand, you have actresses who (for the most part) felt pressured to have sex for roles.

    On the other, you have hookers who somehow can maintain their agency and not be exploited.

    These two views are incompatible. I'll give the left credit for at least consistency on this, but for the rest apparently women have Schroedinger's Agency where you can never ascertain if they are being exploited or not without constant positive consent.

    Not to mention having to rework everything from sexual harassment laws to hostile work environments; the whole take on women's sexuality is neurotic.

  • gah87||

    Only the neurotic nanny state would force women to give away for free what they could otherwise charge for. Prostitution should be legal simply on income-equality grounds.

  • Deven||

    I'm convinced the left is pushing us into some weird social conservatism. Really, I'm convinced they they are more conservative in general than the right is.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    ^ correct

  • vek||

    They're the people who would have been Puritans a few hundred years ago, they just worship different "gods" now. As much as I'm not for old school Puritanism, I think the values espoused by the modern left are far more damaging to society.

  • turco||

    women against prostitution just hate competition.

  • georgeliberte||

    Human trafficking is big business, not so much for the supposed human traffickers, but for law enforcement and groups getting government grants for all this. It is hard to get much more asinine than this article
    Every single one really? "They're recruited while sitting next to their parents in the living room," Who invites human traffickers into their living room to meet their 16-year old daughter. This is the satanic cult hysteria of the twenty teens.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well, if you believe the allegations, Roy Moore did ask parental permission before he got sleazy on teens.

    Snark aside, the full quote was

    "I'd bet every 16-year-old girl in Fresno has received a message that they didn't know was from a recruiter," the detective told the paper, explaining that recruiting is easier than ever with the advent of the internet."They're recruited while sitting next to their parents in the living room," he said.

    So if accurate, he's not talking about traffickers in the living room talking to 16-year old girls, he's talking about them texting, IMing, reaching out to on myBook and FaceSpace, that sort of thing.

    Which isn't to say that this isn't overblown, but that it's already so overblown you don't have to parse quotes to make it sound more hyperbolic then it already does.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Well, if you believe the allegations, Roy Moore did ask parental permission before he got sleazy on teens.

    I'm sorry you find that so distasteful, but chivalry is still alive for SOME of us.

  • Hank Phillips||

    in 1927, Portuguese winemakers dared to criticize America's Prohibition Amendment, which was cutting into their export market. Immediately the Wizened Christian Temperance Union and Anti-Saloon League managed to get Time Magazine to run articles (21MAR1927) on Portugal's "white slavery" practices allowing 14-year-olds to register and take out prostitution licenses. Today prostitution is legal in Brazil (with Monroe Doctrine age stipulations) and all prohibition "offences" have been abolished in Portugal. This is the only arguably libertarian aspect of South America today, but women with some individual rights are better off for having individual rights than they were with none.

  • ohdelilah||

    Who owns your body? The government. of course. Why else would they put people in prison for using drugs?

  • mtrueman||

    When does one take ownership of one's body? Who owns the bodies of those who are too young, too sick or too retarded to bear this awesome responsibility?

  • RockLibertyWarrior||

    The video proves it, leftists and libtards are the new prudes, their the ones that want to shut down anything that goes against their "secular humanist" morality. I like how that woman in place of saying "devil" and "evil" used "patriarchy" and "capitalism" yeah leftards are fucking control freaks.

  • vek||

    This chick would have been awesome at yelling "BURN THE WITCH!!!!!!" Back in the day!

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    A cleaning company Abha clearing of reservoirs as it is important in every house, and make sure that the reservoirs of microbes and bacteria and works to clean reservoirs chlorine with internationally known proportions of water treatment chlorine شركة تنظيف مجالس بابها

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