Yes, I'm here to discuss the world's oldest profession, though I'm not about to get into the history of it. However, especially here in the U.S., we've always seemed to have this stigma about sex, even though we know it sells, and it sells hard. There are several reasons that the United States needs to stop pretending we're some puritanical society, and make a change that will actually have real-world effects: legalizing prostitution.
Let me be clear: I'm not talking about street prostitution. I do think that needs some level of regulation, if not outright banned. Without oversight, street prostitution is often underage and under protected women. Human trafficking thrives on secretive red-light districts. Diseases spread, and people and law enforcement die every year, either partaking in or trying to enforce these antiquated laws.
So what's the solution, you ask? Weren't you paying attention? Legal prostitution is the answer, but here's how we make it effective. Make it government sanctioned with common-sense, and maybe even a few complicated, laws. We can restrict it to 18 or 21; require both customer and provider to have frequent STD testing; require/encourage the same to utilize protecting and contraceptives; have a much safer working environment for the working girl/guy.
Now, what could we gain from this? A lot. The first bargaining chip we can bring to the table of the old, stuffy lawmakers who like to pretend they are in it to protect their constituents: money. Yes, like Colorado and Washington has learned with marijuana, it brings in the tax dollars. Millions could be raised. Personally, I wouldn't doubt that the sex and drug industry could take in billions for healthcare or education costs alone, or that crumbling infrastructure we keep hearing about. This kind of reform could change lives.
It would take most women and children off the streets in larger numbers than any human trafficking effort right now. Yea, there would still be some creeps out there looking for helpless children, and most certainly there would be women seeking themselves on fine black market at cheaper prices because of various reasons (maybe they couldn't meet a brothel health code), and maybe it would place these people in even darker holes to hide than before, but no system is perfect.
By and large, I believe prostitution needs to be legalized. I seriously doubt it will happen in my lifetime, but its time is coming. Once people stop pretending that there is some moral superiority between a waitress and a stripper, or model and a call-girl, we can begin the progress that can really change lives.