What are the arguments behind why prostitution should not be legalized?

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If prostitution were to be legalized, then a sexual activity outside of marriage would be encouraged, taxed, and regulated. The state has already established that marriage is a desirable institution (it is also taxed and regulated, which provides financial profit to the state). Prostitution in essence competes with marriage. It...

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If prostitution were to be legalized, then a sexual activity outside of marriage would be encouraged, taxed, and regulated. The state has already established that marriage is a desirable institution (it is also taxed and regulated, which provides financial profit to the state). Prostitution in essence competes with marriage. It is not to the state’s benefit to encourage activities that undermine one of its longest standing and profitable institutions. The state would, in effect, be competing against itself, which does not make economic sense.

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I agree with the other posts saying there are health issues, human trafficking, and moral decay. Additionally, it violates our collective consciousness. Our country was founded on conservative Christian ideals. These ideals left a moral imprint on our society even if we have veered from the original standard. We know it’s wrong even if we can’t say why. That’s part of why we see senators and public officials publicly pursuing and persecuting prostitution rings, but they seem to have no problem is certain clandestine affairs. They hide what they “know” is wrong…even publicly apologizing when caught.

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Just a point of correction, I think. Prostitution is legal in one part of Nevada (the infamous Mustang Ranch), but it is not legal in Las Vegas. While I was living there in 2008, the local authorities were busy breaking up prostitution rings that involved underage girls. They were waging war not only against prostitution, but also against child abuse, which it surely was. Legalizing prostitution would then open the door to this kind of crime. False proof-of-age documents are easily obtained.

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Another argument against the legalization of prostitution is the moral decay that normally follows such an action.  While one can logically argue that America is not the moral bastion that it once set out to be, it still maintains many ties to Judeo-Christian morals. Do we really want to legalize a practice which promotes adultery, lasciviousness, and often the degradation of women? While many "legal" prostitutes say that they chose their trade, they also admit that it is not their first choice and hopefully will not be their last. 

If you study history, you see that the moral bankruptcy of a civilization most often leads to its complete downfall (the Roman Empire, the Jewish Kingdoms--on several occasions, etc.)  One would be hard pressed to prove that prostitution does not fall within the realm of immoral activity.

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Another reason often cited in arguing against the legalization of prostitution is that it condones promiscuous sexual behavior and therefore increases the risk of illness or death via sexually-transmitted disease. Generally speaking, in regions where prostitution is legal, there tends to be a higher percentage of safe sex practices (such as in Las Vegas or Amsterdam), but the legalization of prostitution would be seen as a condonement of promiscuity, which in turn could lead to a higher risk factor for STD transmission, unless this was also accompanied by a greater effort at education, outreach and health services and testing being provided to communities in need.

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One reason it is argued that prostitution should not be legal in the United States could be posited on the grounds of human trafficking.  If prostitution is made legal, the justice system would essentially condone the peddling of human flesh for profit.  Symbolically, this rings with awful pangs and causes a great deal of consternation within individuals, given the Constiution's implications within American society.  To legalize prostitution would undermine these ideals.  Additionally, the legalization of prostitution would greatly benefit those who procure prostitutes and control their earnings.  Unless it became a state sanctioned service (which opens up even more debate and greater implications), individuals who "control" those who engage in prostitution would be protected by the legal system and would be capable of acting without recompense because of the shield of the justice system.

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