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Should Prostitution Be Decriminalized in New Jersey?

Published: Oct 10, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

A highly controversial offense, prostitution is considered a serious sex crime in the state of New Jersey. Penalties often include prison time and paying huge fines. An additional consequence is being required to register as a sex offender. This registration is often life long and can affect every area of your life. If you have been wrongfully accused or treated unfairly, contact Bhatt Law Group at (201) 798-8000 for a free consultation. We will protect your rights and fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed, if possible.

Whether or not prostitution should be legalized continues to be a heated topic in the Garden State. Some argue that police resources are better utilized on more serious crimes and that punishing prostitution so harshly negatively impacts those who are most at risk. Those who approve of the crime’s current status, however, believe that police should not selectively enforce the law.

The Case for Legalizing Prostitution

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been a long-time advocate of decriminalizing prostitution. Their main argument is that the act of engaging in lewd acts in exchange for currency involves two consenting adults and that adults should have a right to total sexual freedom. As an extension, they believe that focusing energy on prostitution is a waste of very limited police resources.

The ACLU has been particularly critical of the sting operations that have become increasingly common in cities like Newark. Treating prostitution like a high-level felony makes the crime overly stigmatized, making sex workers who are hurt and abused less likely to report a crime. Sex workers may also never try to leave the industry and seek help if they fear the harsh penalties of a prostitution charge.

The Case for Prostitution as a Crime

Police say that they cannot simply ignore reports and selectively enforce the law. In Newark, one of the most common complaints is from citizens claiming that an illegal sex act is taking place in a vehicle outside their homes. Many argue that these tips must be followed up on, the circumstances surrounding these illegal acts could pose an immediate threat to homeowners and those passing by.

Another key argument for maintaining prostitution’s criminal status involves sexual slavery. Many people are kidnapped and forced into a life of prostitution. Making it legal would mean virtually no hope of rescue for the tens of thousands of sex slaves trafficked into the United States each year.

Public Opinion

A survey recently conducted in New Jersey found that 63 percent of participants supported the legalization of prostitution, while 23 percent were against it. Interestingly, 14 percent of respondents agreed with the idea that the law should simply be enforced since prostitution is currently illegal.

Contact Bhatt Law Group

The skilled Jersey City defense attorneys at Bhatt Law Group realize that people are falsely charged with prostitution. We know that officers often abuse rights, which can lead to evidence that is illegitimate. If you or a loved one has been charge with prostitution, call us at (201) 798-8000 . You are guaranteed to speak with an experienced lawyer. We will listen to your side of the story and fight to reach the best possible outcome for your case.