Judi — It’s time to make prostitution legal in New Jersey
In Newark, a mom of three and activist called Janet Duran (not her real name) sits at the helm of a group called the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance, which has been defending and advocating for the rights of sex workers in the Garden State since 2013. She and others like her want New Jersey to decriminalize prostitution. And we've got to start to look at this in a new way.
Though Duran may not be someone you'd wanna be friends with, she has a point. If a woman wants to sell her body for money, shouldn't she be protected? We often say that if New Jersey would only tax, regulate and license the business of prostitution the way it does with other popular industries in the state, we'd reap the financial rewards as taxpayers, and you'd see a lot less unemployment.
Like other victimless crimes, it seems illogical to call women (or men) who choose this line of work criminals. As we become more evolved when it comes to what people should be allowed to do with their own bodies, these laws should evolve as well.
Prostitution in the larger sense takes place every day in relationships — only without money as the currency. Women, who are generally in charge of the sexual "yay" or "nay" routinely dole out sex in exchange for comfort, security, a lavish vacation or an expensive meal. It's just called "wining and dining" and not "exchanging sex for goods." A happily married wife may promise "a little somethin' somethin'" in exchange for that sports car or designer purse she's been dying for.
But the moment a monetary transaction is made it becomes a crime. In the case of "massage parlors" who offer — or at least will provide, on request — "happy endings," who's to say what constitutes the actual act? What if a man merely derives sexual pleasure from the massage itself even without "completion" and then pays for the pleasure. Is THAT prostitution? Where is the line and who is to make that judgement?
The fact is this: when decisions are made by consenting adults whether they involve monetary compensation or not, it should be none of the government's business. These are personal choices and should be kept just that; personal. We are on the precipice of legalizing marijuana because we've finally realized that we can no longer deprive people of certain freedoms. And sex for money, especially with laws that provide for proper testing and safety is inarguably less risky.
If a woman says "my body, my choice" when it comes to abortion, but then thinks prostitution should remain illegal, she's a hypocrite. Don't sex workers abide by that same principle? Perhaps it's time.
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