In an opinion published by the New York Times, Max Waltman says that we
should criminalize buying sex, as they do in countries like Sweden, rather
than punish prostitutes, as we do here in the U.S.
Prostitution is illegal in the U.S., of course, along with the related crime of
solicitation, but Waltman argues that prostitution should be decriminalized, whereas
the act of buying sex should be criminalized.
It’s a different model than we have here, a model which Waltman argues
generally fails to recognize that prostitution is “an institute
of inequality,” where young people get involved as children and
find it very difficult to get out, usually due to a lack of education
and financial resources.
Ultimately, he argues against “across-the-board” criminalization
of prostitution-related sex crimes, in favor of a brand of criminal law
that harbors some level of compassion for those trapped within the sex trade.
The other opinions in this New York Times debate series run the gamut from
saying that legalizing prostitution leads to
more sex trafficking, not less, to saying that legalization is a good thing,
relatively-speaking, because doing so allows sex workers to get better
protection and care.