Legal Prostitution Promotes Human Trafficking

Multiple Members of the New York State Legislature have publicly stated their support for the legalization of prostitution. This degrading and anti-woman proposal should be rejected.

Prostitution is a dangerous activity, and many who engage in that activity do not do so by choice. Research shows that globally, prostitutes have a 45% to 75% chance of experiencing physical or sexual violence in connection with their work. Unsurprisingly, prostitutes also face a high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. According to clinical psychologist and sexual violence expert Melissa Farley, a study spanning nine countries found that 68% of prostitutes suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both in the United States and across the world, many victims of human trafficking are forced to engage in prostitution.

The push to legalize prostitution seems to be based upon the notion that the problems faced by prostitutes are caused by the criminalization and “stigmatization” of prostitution. This notion is deeply misguided. It is not the criminalization of prostitution that makes prostitutes’ lives difficult; it is prostitution itself that does so. Evidence from other nations shows that when prostitution is legalized, prostitutes continue to experience frequent physical and sexual violence. Furthermore, the legalization of prostitution has been linked to an increase in human trafficking and an increase in the prostitution of children.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms urges the New York State Legislature to oppose any proposal that legalizes prostitution. Instead, the Legislature should continue its efforts to combat human trafficking and to assist victims of trafficking.