Prosecution Cannot Solve Prostitution Essay

Prosecution Cannot Solve ProstitutionFor years, prosecution has been the primary solution to the long-standing problem of prostitution in San Francisco City, yet it has not been fruitful. Prosecution has neither eradicated nor lessened prostitution in the city. It has even added and resulted to other problems. This essay will attempt to discuss the existing laws against prostitution in San Francisco, its effects and the possible alternative solutions to prostitution aside from prosecution.At present, the laws written against prostitution are mostly “misdemeanors and felonies” and are focused mainly on alleged street prostitutes. Sex workers who are caught are penalized with imprisonment for six months for a less serious crime and for up to eight years for a more serious crime.

Likewise, the laws against prostitution written in the San Francisco Municipal Police Code are not clear and undemocratic according to the City Attorney. Yet, these are still being used to detain those who are caught working as street prostitutes.According to the Final Report (1996) of the San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution, the implementation of sanctions against alleged prostitutes has not decreased prostitution activities in San Francisco since street prostitution is only ten to twenty per cent of the prostitution in the city.

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It has rather caused other problems such as: (1) incidence of violence and crime against prostitutes; and (2) harassment and abused of alleged sex workers. Whenever prostitutes become victims of crime and violence, they do not report this to the police because they might be arrested in the process. So what happens is that the crime against the person is not prevented, the victim is not protected and the culprit goes away with it.

Moreover, when street prostitutes are arrested or even before they are arrested, they become subjects of sexual harassment by abusive officers. According to the report, there are “vice officers” who fondle female prostitutes before they arrest them. Cases of harassment and abuse against prostitutes are left unreported and unnoticed because prostitutes are not respected as human beings.Hence, the Task Force recommends that the laws against prostitution be abolished and prostitution decriminalized. As an alternative solution to prosecution, the Task Force advocates the following: (1) act promptly on reports of excessive noise, littering and trespassing; (2) implement forcefully laws against “coercion, blackmail, kidnapping, restraining individual’s freedom of movement, fraud, rape and violence”; (3) reallocate funds for prosecution of prostitutes to provide housing, outreach, livelihood and other services to sex workers so they can have the option to find other jobs; (4) cut back expenses for police investigation of prostitution activities; (5) disallow possible venues of prostitution to be given a business license; (6) direct and train law enforcement personnel to refrain from abuses; and (7) support the District Attorney’s Office for them to prosecute perpetrators of crime against prostitutes.  If these recommendations are implemented, somehow the incidence of prostitution would be decreased. Decriminalizing prostitution, however, does not mean that prostitutes can do as they please and they can continue with what they are doing.

Rather, it means that the social stigma against prostitutes as criminals will be removed and the prostitutes will have a better quality of life by being able to find another job and they will not be looked down or ridiculed by prospective employers and by people in the community.Indeed, prostitution cannot be solved by prosecution. It is only through effective social reforms by everyone in the community that the social dilemma of prostitution can be properly addressed.

Works Cited“The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution: Final Report”. (March 1996). San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution.

8 March 2009. <>


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