Should We Decriminalize Sex Work?

VICTIMLESS SEX: Most people go into sex work out of desperation, but except for a few counties in Nevada, and Maine, sex work is illegal in the US.

Not everyone has a Valentine, and until such time that our economy eliminates desperation, let’s stop penalizing it. (A Politics 4.0, four-minute read)

The problem is prostitution is not something most people want to explain to their children, but criminalizing sex work isn’t the best solution.

The best way is to minimize desperation. That would happen if the WELCOME: Willing Employer Living Compensation Exemption Tax Credit (Middle-Class Act), and/or the P50L Earned Income Tax Credits were passed into law.

Being able to get a full-time job that nets a living wage eliminates most of that desperation. No one grows up aspiring to be a sex worker. It comes out of necessity or a way to get some fast cash. Both the Middle-Class Act and the P50L will eventually pay for themselves with the decrease in crime and its related costs to society. So, what’s not to love?

Until then, law enforcement activity to curtail prostitution is ineffective, takes police away from pursuing violent criminals, is a constant temptation trap for law enforcement, and ends up yielding too much chatter about the lurid details.

ONE PARROT preaches that sex for money is wrong, and the provider and/or the customer should be imprisoned. Maintaining the illegality of sex work prevents exploitation and trafficking, safeguarding vulnerable populations from coercion and abuse.

THE OTHER PARROT solicits that sex between consenting adults is no one else’s business. Decriminalizing sex work will enhance the safety and rights of sex workers, reducing stigma and allowing better access to health services and legal protections. 

Should we decriminalize sex work?

:Weighted-Average: Forecast:

:60%: ± 7%
Nonpartisan Score

Table Sides 4/4
Information Walls 6/8
Cultural Windows 10/16
Bias Columns 6/8


Top Four Key ‘YES’ Reasons
in Favor

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
Reduces the illegal market
Reserves criminal justice resources
Penalizing purchased sex doesn’t work

Top Four Key Reasons

Against moral values
Increased adultery rates
Sexual overtones are pervasive—NIMBY
No one should have to do that

Four Odd Couples
Leaning IN-FAVOR

(Removes police use of oppressive laws)
Gun Owners
(Reduces the illegal market)

Urban PT
(Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)
(Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)

(Increases employment)
(Increases commerce)

Liberty Republicans
(Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness)
Suburban Professionals
(Reserves criminal justice resources)

Four Odd Couples 

Federal Payroll
(Helps traffickers hide in plain sight)
(Not without zoning for brothels)

Moralist Republicans
(Against moral values)
Democratic Leadership
(Against ethical values)

Rural Part Time
(Against moral valuers)
Urban Investors
(Competes for other entertainment dollars)

Planet First Democrats
(Makes the US a sex tourist destination)
(Makes prostitution a desirable occupation)

Four *Aha*

(Yes) Gives lonely & disabled folks an option for sex
(Yes) Removes police use of oppressive laws

(No) Competes for other discretionary dollars
(No) Makes the US a sex tourism destination

Decriminalizing Sex Work
Nonpartisan Score

POLI THE AI and our editors predict a 60% ±7* (18 roles) SUPERMAJORITY of roles in this country to support Decriminalizing Sex Work, including a majority of each of the four sides of the political tablemaking this a US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) worthy idea, currently in 51st place.

90% and up Near Unanimous
80% – 89% Near Consensus
75% -79% Vast Supermajority
67% – 74% Strong Supermajority
50% – 59% Majority


SCOTUS’s approval rating is 41%,
the media is 32%, and
Congress is 15%.

Do we expect you to agree with the supermajority on all the rankings? 

Of course not; you’re human, not a hyper-partisan parrot.

We think you’ll agree with the leaderboard about 3 out of 4 items on average. Why?

The average score of the policies on the PolicyKeys™ US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) Sweet Sixteen is 76%, with many above 80%Politics 4.0 is already a 2x to 5x better model of US political sentiment and direction than politics as usual.

* This is one of the highest error margins of the 100 or so policies we’ve scored. There’s a lot of emotion swirling around sex, beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. Our nonpartisan scoring system suggests the Middle-Class Act and/or the P50L EITC are higher-priority solutions that both sides of this argument would prefer.


Policy Advocacy
Urban Justice

Amnesty International policy on state obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of sex workers
Amnesty International

Analysis on decriminalizing sex work improving public health and public safety.

Discussing the full decriminalization of sex work in the United States.
R Street Institute

Arguing against decriminalization, promoting the Nordic Model.
Nordic Model Advocates

Perspective on decriminalization’s effect on public health.

Advocating for the rights of sex workers.

Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation
Equality Now

Supporting decriminalization to protect human rights.
Human Rights Watch

Sex workers’ health, time to act
The Lancet

Maine Becomes the First State to Decriminalize Sex
Washington Post

Global Network of Sex Worker Projects: What we do

Why some advocates are pushing back against decriminalization in the sex trade

UNAIDS welcomes the decision by the Northern Territory of Australia to decriminalize sex work

Insights into the relationship between trafficking and sex work.
Freedom Network USA

Poll: A Majority Support Decriminalizing Sex Work
The HIll


It takes guts to see things from all four sides of the political table.



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