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Volume 71, Issue 148, Thursday, July 6, 2006

Opinion

Prostitution must retain against law 

David Salinas
Opinion Columnist

If you noticed Snoop Dog, Ice-T and other bejeweled men in shiny outfits camping outside of H&R Block last week, it may have been because of a bill that was recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Å6£8Å6£8The legislation is designed to put a stranglehold on the sex trade business, especially the °°pimps,°± by focusing on tax code violations. 

The °°playa hata°± responsible is the author of the bill, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.

At first blush, this all may seem like fodder for late-night comedians. People have certainly made a mockery of sex trafficking. Some have even glorified pimps in rap videos, movies or television shows. 

While most of this is minimally amusing, prostitution is a serious dilemma many countries face.

As Grassley said, °°This crime is right under our noses in the United States, and it°Øs especially horrible when under-age girls are being held prisoner. The thugs who run the trafficking rings are exploiting society°Øs poorest girls and women for personal gain.°±

Grassley°Øs plan is an innovative one. Any sex trafficker caught would be given 10 years of prison for each person he had working under him if those °°employees°± didn°Øt have W-2 tax forms filed. 

It°Øs hard to pin criminals of this sort down through other methods, and Grassley°Øs scheme could offer a sufficient alternative.

Some believe a better alternative would be to legalize prostitution. Since 1915, prostitution has been outlawed in almost all of the United States. The only place where it is legal is in 10 of Nevada°Øs 17 counties. 

Some think if that prostitution were legal, police could then focus on bringing down child exploitation. 

There is another theory that legalizing prostitution would decrease rape. According to Kirby R. Cundiff of the non-profit research group the Independent Institute, if prostitution were legal, it would lower the average price of the sex transaction from $200 to $30, which is the average in Amsterdam, thus making sex more accessible and affordable and reduce the number of rape cases by about 25 percent. 

While the argument for legalizing prostitution seems valid, I can°Øt bring myself to support the position. 

For starters, the theory that prostitution can decrease rape is flawed because it assumes that rape is caused by a person°Øs lack of access to sex. 

Most psychologists believe it has more to do with control, or lack of it, than fulfilling some sexual desire. 

Having authorities focus more on child exploitation than prostitution makes sense, but it doesn°Øt seem implausible that they could crack down on both.

We can°Øt police morality in this country, but prostitution is much more than just some immoral practice. 

The men and women who exploit these people should spend a good portion of their lives in dimly lit cells seeking contrition for turning humans into tools for depraved, inhumane individuals°Ø personal use. 

If they have to do this in federal prisons, then so be it. 

Salinas, an opinion columnist for The Daily Cougar, 
can be reached at dcsalinas1@yahoo.com

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