Posted by: thescoundrel | October 23, 2008

San Francisco Considers Decriminalizing Prostitution

Caution the following post deals with adult subject matter.

The frequently controversial city of San Francisco could be set to take the lead in another controversial issue: the decriminalization of prostitution. Since prostitution is still illegal in the state of California, it would be a step short of the situations in the States of Nevada and Rhode Island that have some forms of legal prostitution. Still, it would be a step into that gray region offering the prospect of phasing the selling of sexual intercourse into an accredited form of commerce. The selling of sexual favors is no new concept. It isn’t called the world’s oldest profession without reason. The behavior can be found intersecting everyday life, politics and art throughout history. Hollywood is captivated with glamorizing prostitution. I once listened to a roundtable program of “in the Hollywood elite” explaining that an actress was not somebody until she played a prostitute. Okay 🙄 . Art surrounding the act of prostitution can even be subliminal or innocent in its permeation of our culture. One of the more humorous intersections involves a candy-bar commercial where a Shakespearean cast breaks into a chorus of “The Lady Green Sleeves“, an historical reference to the stained color of a lady of leisure’s dress when partaking of sexual escapades in the great outdoors. But unlike the fantasy worlds of art and theatre that glamorize prostitution – the city of San Francisco, along with the rest of this country, faces difficult choices when considering whether or not to legalize prostitution.

There are pros and cons on both sides of the issue to consider as the AP article by Evelyn Nieves talks about. And the very definition of a pro or a con can be up for debate in dealing with subjects like prostitution. The biggest pros in legalizing prostitution could be lessening police work load, an accountable work place, a safety net for those working in the business, forced STD screening, money trails to easier track illegal activity and increased city funds through vice tax revenues and licensing. The cons are pretty much the same as they are now. Though some young women and men may enter the business (legal or otherwise) as a thrill seeking adventure, others will be abused and manipulated into the business by predators or circumstances. A certain amount will still deal sex in the shadows. Pimps will be lessened but not eliminated. Drug usage and rampant STD issues will remain, though probably at a lesser level. There will still be human trafficking and underage workers in the underground sex trade. There will still be blackmailers looking to use sex for a get-rich-quick-scheme. There will still be business and government officials looking to capitalize from and/or hide their sexual proclivities in the shadow worlds. I personally am not sure if I am for or against true legalization. I suppose at the very least it would help rescue some young women and men out of the dangerous shadows. Still I also question how many others that might flee into the shadows that might have normally avoided the whole arena. Personally I am not in favor of the San Francisco measure as stated. It worries me that it could create more problems rather than heal the problems they are seeking to cure. I guess I could respect the proposition more if they were jumping in with both feet and actually legalizing – rather than just decriminalizing.



  1. It seems to be more of a cost cutting measure than a legal or moral issue. The city claims they’ll save millions a year doing this, but if they’re not busting hookers, what will the police do?

  2. I don’t want to go all flaming liberal here, but I think this might be a good idea.

    What caught my attention was the bit in the AP story about how the hookers intend to unionize.

    This could only be a good thing—limited working hours, limited job requirements (i.e. no kinky stuff allowed), free healthcare and testing, paid vacations, etc.

    A unionized hooker would be a hooker that only someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett could afford—it’s a Win-Win for the ladies!

  3. 😆 Cruiser I am guessing that in a city the size of San Francisco, that is also home to many would be anarchists, there would still be plenty to do for the police.

    😆 QCEx I suppose Unionized Hookers might price some of them out of the market. Of course it might take a bite of the Heidi Fleiss madams profits in the process. I am not against the among legalization simply because you are never going to rid the world of prostitution. This would at least give some of them a way to stay away from the pimps. You will never-ever clean out the underground prostitution. Over the years I have knowingly worked with eight different female individuals (and I was suspicious of several more) that have augmented their income by hooking on the side. At one place I worked it was part of my responsibility to investigate suspicious credit card transactions where I helped catch four women that were using company transactions to hide their side business. Of the ones I knew that were hooking, drug usage was involved in about half the cases. The others just saw it as easy money. I caught one local working for us whom was charging my company’s clients $200 a session and thought she could hide it under normal transactions.

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