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Facebook and Prostitution

Facebook Facilitates Prostitution Hookups

Should we care that Facebook is becoming the number one destination for prostitution services now that Craig's List no longer allows adult ads in the U.S.? After all, its mission is to "make the world a more open place by helping people connect and share." The facilitation of prostitution is certainly within the scope of its mission. Perhaps it's the boundary-less nature of its mission that should be of most concern. Given that mission, it would be all right for drug dealers to connect or even the Mexican drug cartels. That is my problem with Facebook's providing a community for prostitution services.

We've become a society where there are no limits. We no longer self-regulate our own behavior by listening to that inner-voice -- our conscience -- and then acting out of principle. Or, our inner voices have been corrupted over time by the dizzying display of sexual activity on the Internet, especially You Tube postings.

Some would say that it's time to decriminalize prostitution. It used to be the rationale was it's a victimless crime. Those were the "good old days." Now, young girls are sold into sex slavery and foreigners are brought to the U.S. to do the same. Also, there is the danger of transmitting a sexual disease. A case can be made that society ultimately pays for these costs. Some would say we should tax such services as a revenue enhancer. After all, Indian casinos have sprouted up throughout the country ever since Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 which recognized the right of Indian tribes in the United States to establish gambling and gaming facilities on their reservations as long as the states in which they are located have some form of legalized gambling. At least 24 states have done so since the passage of the Act.

One possibility is to change the current law by legalizing prostitution so long as the prostitute has not been forced into acting in this way and against her will. That could cover sex slavery, foreceable pimping, and other shameful behavior. The problem there is the forced party may not feel comfortable bringing the matter to the attention to the authorities.

I believe in free choice. I also believe as a society we have to have core values that do not change over time and with changes in pop culture. After all, we don't say lying and cheating is acceptable now even though it seems to have become standard operating procedure for all too many in politics and other walks of life. Stealing is still wrong as is killing. So, would the legalization of prostitution reflect the righting of a wrong that like alcohol and gambling once was criminalized but no longer is? What about marijuana? What do you think?

Blog by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, March 24, 2011