Prostitution is illegal in 49 of the 50 states, Nevada being the sole exception. But, some people believe that paid sex is so entrenched in our society that the focus should not be prosecuting it, but rather keeping it clean and safe. Others argue that it’s impossible to strip prostitution of exploitation, harassment, and violence, and that outright prohibition is the only tenable approach.
Is Prostitution Any of the Government’s Business?
In 2003, the Supreme Court acknowledged an adult's right to engage in private, consensual sex, by ruling that adults have a constitutional right to engage in private, homosexual conduct if they so choose. (Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003).) Although the Supreme Court was careful to state that its ruling didn’t apply to prostitution, some argue that this ruling should be extended—that private, consensual sexual conduct should be allowed even where money changes hands.