The post below will, I suspect, lead many people to want to discuss this question — a question that strikes me as quite interesting — so I thought I’d set up a separate thread for this general issue. Do you think prostitution should generally be legalized, or should it remain criminal? Let’s set aside underage prostitution and forced prostitution (except insofar as one wants to argue that decriminalizing adult consensual prostitution would increase or decrease the incidence of underage or forced prostitution). Let’s also set aside the question of whether soliciting sex for hire on streets should be criminal, since that raises some separate questions from those raised by non-street prostitution (again except insofar one wants to argue that decriminalizing adult non-street prostitution would increase or decrease the incidence of such street prostitution).
UPDATE: I originally asked this as “should prostitution be decriminalized?,” but a commenter’s point that “decriminalized” sometimes mean “made subject only to civil penalties” led me to change the question. I’m asking whether prostitution should be legalized, though that still leaves open the possibility for substantial regulations — as to the place where the sex is solicited, the age of the participants, health rules, and the like — just as other legal businesses are subject to regulations. (I express no opinion on whether such regulations are likely to be effective.)