Libertarians Are the Only US Party to Endorse Decriminalization of Sex Work

Let's say a man goes on a first date. He dresses up and takes a woman out to a nice restaurant and buys wine, maybe even flowers. Throughout the meal, he woos her with how great of a guy he is, giving the impression that he'll one day make a great life partner. Afterward, they get more drinks, and by the end of the night, he gets back to her apartment where they have sex. In the morning, his date rolls over, hoping for a kiss, only to find that her lover has disappeared.

In this situation, the man probably spent a few hundred dollars with the intention to only have sex, but he left his ghosted date feeling used and upset. While this type of behavior is legal in the United States, a man who goes to a prostitute and pays her upfront with the expectation that he only wants sex is considered unsavory and illegal.

But if we really examine the situations, which one is actually worse?

Bartering sex for money is known as the world's oldest profession, but it is mostly illegal in the United States. The US, being of Puritanical origins, finds the idea of a man explicitly paying cash to a willing woman for sex immoral; but a man is expected to engage in traditional courtship, which is expensive, and once married he is often the breadwinner.

There are obvious differences between a man being with an escort versus taking care of his girlfriend or wife, but in both cases, the acts are between consensual adults and involve sex and money. What goes on in someone's bedroom or household fascinates me, not going to lie about that, but it's not my business to judge or police what happens behind closed doors if both parties are willing participants.

While not explicitly saying so on their platforms, the Republican and Democratic parties are staunchly in favor of governing their constituents' sex lives, but the Libertarian Party has openly campaigned to decriminalize prostitution. According to Reason, "This makes the L.P. the only notable U.S. political party to stand unequivocally for sex-worker rights and in opposition to cops caging people for consensual sex."

In July, the party, which emphasizes personal freedoms as long as they do not harm others, stated their support for legalized sex work.

"We assert the right of consenting adults to provide sexual services to clients for compensation, and the right of clients to purchase sexual services from consenting sex workers," the Libertarian Party stated at the Libertarian National Convention in New Orleans.

Many people who oppose decriminalizing prostitution falsely equate human trafficking with those who willingly enter sex work. Earlier this year, Congress passed the bipartisan bill FOSTA-SESTA that allowed publishers to be liable if sex workers posted advertisements on their platforms. The bill's intention was to stop human trafficking, but it also affected voluntary sex workers. FOSTA-SESTA resulted in the shut-down of Backpage and the personal section of Craigslist, and many sex workers said the bill put them in danger because they could no longer advertise online and now had to return to the streets.

The United States has a history of upholding laws that turn out to be based on outdated morality. Marijuana is a recent example. These laws unfairly impose someone's values that are not universal and are not made for the greater good but instead to control the population's liberties.

In the case of prostitution, I side with the Libertarian Party. If adults want to consensually engage in transactional sex, then it should not be up to the government to stop or punish them.