Jamie Bishop

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Politics and International Relations

First Advisor

John Harles


When it comes to prostitution, “a prostitute treats herself like a chair for someone to sit on. Her mind goes blank. She just lies there. You become just an object…After a while, it becomes just a normal thing.” As the “world’s oldest profession,” prostitution 1 permeates all countries and cultures. So for centuries, women have endured this “chair” reality, an object to service men. Most societies would point to sex work as a black mark on society, but even that is up for debate. It is unusual for any social practice to have the kind of longevity and breadth of prostitution across the globe. The magnitude and stamina of prostitution worldwide are alarming. In this paper I will look at prostitution as a whole, in order to comprehensibly understand why it is a relevant area of study. Then two drastically different policies —legalization and criminalization—will be compared in order to understand the effectiveness of each. Along with these two policies, the countries of the Netherlands and Sweden will be looked at to provide a concrete comparison of how the policies play out in reality. After a comprehensive analysis, criminalizing the demand for prostitution is a more appropriate response to prostitution than legalization, but with a few caveats. As a result of the lack of clarity from a statistical standpoint, the paper will then transition to an analysis of why prostitution in society is so harmful, looking specifically at the exploitive and inequality-promoting aspects. Overall, this paper will determine practical policy applications for prostitution in the United States, as well as prove why this Farley, “Bad for the Body”, 1106. 11 2 is a problem that needs to be addressed, and why it ought to be addressed in accordance with the policy recommendations


This paper is provided open access to promote scholarship and is intended for personal study and not-for-profit educational use.