Why prostitution should be legal

And without any of this damn nonsense about legal for women to sell but not legal for men to buy. Just straight consenting adults conducting a voluntary transaction:

Miss Suarez told Caracol News in Cartegena that she called the police after the Secret Service agent with whom she spent the night refused to pay her the $800 (£500) he had promised. …….\”Let\’s go, bitch – I\’m not going to pay you,\” she said that he told her before throwing her out of the room in the early morning.
….
Miss Suarez agreed to go after the agent promised to give her a \”little gift\” of $800-dollars. But next morning he threw her out without paying and when she knocked on the hotel room door of another agent he refused to help her.

Miss Suarez said: \”I said in Spanish, \’Look, if you show no consideration for me, why would I have consideration toward you and not call the police? In that moment, I felt strong\’.\”

Prostitution is legal in Colombia and Miss Suarez said she had every right to be paid for her services. She said: \”I told him, there\’s a problem here. Because if I had come with you to enjoy myself that would have been one thing. But I didn\’t come to enjoy myself. I had to beg from 6.30 am to 10.00 am for him to pay me.\”

At first the agent offered her about $27 to pay for a taxi home and eventually after she returned to the hotel room with a police officer he gave her $250-dollars (£155).

Legality protects the prostitute from such breach of contract.

Legality also gives the prostitute the usual protections of the law against violence and so on.

So why is that all those who would \”protect women\” want to make it illegal, thus removing those protections from something we all know is going to continue to happen?

11 thoughts on “Why prostitution should be legal”

  1. So why is that all those who would “protect women” want to make it illegal

    Because those poor women need to be protected from the hideous consequences for affluent middle-class Guardian reading women of their (the poor women) free choices. Therefore their choice must be constrained.

    Remember the politicians’ maxim – there is no electoral difference between passing a law intended to correct an apparent wrong and actually correcting that wrong. Even if the law you pass is complete garbage or, worse, loaded with unintended and adverse consequences.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Legality protects the prostitute from such breach of contract.

    You know, it is a minor quibble, but I am not sure it does. It would mean she would have a hell of a time trying to prove it.

    She said: “I told him, there’s a problem here. Because if I had come with you to enjoy myself that would have been one thing. But I didn’t come to enjoy myself. I had to beg from 6.30 am to 10.00 am for him to pay me.”

    There’s the problem. Suppose he did not want to pay and just said he thought she was an enthusiastic amateur he met in the bar? Which is where I suppose he did meet her. That she did it for free, but only later demanded money. If she did her work from the hotel bar, it would look like any other hook up. If he rang a brothel, then she would have evidence. If not, she wouldn’t. She could still get ripped off. We have a verbal contract made the evening before without witnesses and under the influence of alcohol. She did not get paid after all. That is why she is still kicking up a fuss. Even calling the police did not get her her $800.

    OK, that does not have a lot to do with the larger issue. But this is an inherently difficult industry to police because the world is full of amateurs who will do for free what this girl charged for. How to tell them apart?

    And of course we could opt for the Rabbinical middle path which is to keep it illegal but to enforce the contract. Best of both worlds?

  3. @SMFS
    Wouldn’t the possibility of legal enforcement of the contract lead to a change in behaviour – and contracts being signed? It wouldn’t take much to have a template being carried, or quick email exchange or recording.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    Doug Young – “Wouldn’t the possibility of legal enforcement of the contract lead to a change in behaviour – and contracts being signed? It wouldn’t take much to have a template being carried, or quick email exchange or recording.”

    It might. Or people might videotape themselves or just record their conversation on their mobile phones. That would probably be illegal in some jurisdictions but would be cheap and easy to do.

    But they didn’t here and she did not get her money even though it was legal. So no change of behaviour so far – and I assume that men stiffing prostitutes in Colombia is not unheard of. Macho culture after all. Even Berlusconi flatly denies paying for sex. As does DSK.

  5. Timmy’s logic is bizarre:
    Legal prostitute fails to enforce contract. Therefore prostitution should be legal.
    In what way would that help enforcement of contract?

    On the other hand, maybe the contract was enforced.
    I’m no expert on Latin prostitution, but $800 seems pretty rich for a poor country with high youth unemployment. Perhaps the policeman applied rigorous economic logic (her rate in alternative employment in a different bedroom) and enforced a “fair” $200, that being the going rate?

  6. I think the point is that she could go to the police for help and not end up tossed in a cell for soliciting.

  7. Incidentally, I wonder why she didn’t insist on cash up front. That’s what all the working girls do round here.

  8. It might be of interest to understand the background to this bit of commerce. The chica will have paid the bar to solicit there. That will have plugged her into an informal ‘security & enforcement’ network, which is why the police were bothered.
    The going rate for the service, girl of her looks, would have been closer to the $US250 she ended up getting. The exchange rate would put that at around 450,000 pesos Colombian. Because the punter was a foreigner, she likely upped the ask to 800k & then tried to hustle him into a 100k/$100 exchange rate on the dollars.
    That’s the life.
    The endgame sounds to me like the yank’s been tipped the scam by one of his pals, knows the score, & tried to renegotiate after the fact, as it were. Which is the part gets my informant coming down on the girl’s side & is maybe a window into how their avaricious little minds work.
    Interestingly, it would appear that the punter’s line supervisor was a woman. Which might explain why all this has gone pear shaped. Maybe, if it’d been a guy, there’d have been some realism, a few bucks passed around & the whole thing never have happened.

  9. “Incidentally, I wonder why she didn’t insist on cash up front.”

    There’s probably a bit of shrewd female psychology being employed there.
    Extracting the dosh up front, gives the punter the chance to negotiate. Best she can expect afterwards is maybe a $50 top up. She’ll be hopeful of a naive foreign punter forgetting this is a business & defaulting into post coital ‘gentleman’ mode and not quibbling. Maybe even rounding up to a $1000.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    She may also have come on to him like a normal girl in a bar. Some men prefer this I am told. Prostitution is pretty sleazy after all. I vaguely know a guy who did pick up a girl in a hotel bar. If you knew him you would realise how funny it is because he clearly did feel kind of proud that, you know, he still had it and could pick up pretty young Czech students. In the morning she asked for 250 pounds or something. He said he was a bit shocked but he paid.

    All of which shows that legalisation is not a complete solution – should he have paid? Could he have reasonably refused? What attitude should the Court take? Would they have to look at what was reasonable for him to believe? What if one or both of them lied?

    Just from a technical point of view, this is likely to be very messy.

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