What I don’t mean is “Yippie!!! Make prostitution free, who likes to pay for it anyways”
The issue of prostitution cannot be answered without taking into account the issue of human trafficking, pedophiles, exploitation by pimps/underworld/law enforcement authorities, drugs, AIDS/STD, religion and scores of other vices that exist in the society. Most countries find the issue so complicated, esp. if one adds the political, societal and moral dimensions to it that they prefer to ban the entire profession all together.
However in this ostrich like approach of governments looking the other way and praying that the problem will disappear, they make things worse. Prostitution is one of the oldest profession and answers to one of basic needs of the society. Almost in all societies there are a few ancient texts that highlight the importance of prostitutes in maintaining the morale of the army and law and order in the city. Yet for all their important roles, the prostitutes/mistresses were always outcasts and looked down upon.
However this post is not to glorify the profession or convince people to visit one. All I am saying is whether the governments like it or not, this profession exists in some shady alley of the city or another. The cities which allow it legally are better off. Firstly it makes it easier for the law enforcement authorities to regulate the trade. Ensure proper rights and safety for the sex workers and control the vices which are often seen in the unregulated trade.
However the moment the government bans the trade, everything becomes illegal and the distinction between the good and the evil disappears. Instead of drug and disease free women practicing out of their free will, the society ends up with underage girls being pimped away and treated like slaves. A situation which is neither good for the society nor for the girls trapped inside this trade.
Reposting my 2009 article