A prostitute in a short skirt leans into a car window to seal a deal.

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There’s no secret about it—I’m progressive. But whenever I say that we ought to legalize prostitution, I’m met with skepticism and criticism from my fellow liberals. It would appear that America isn’t quite ready to take that leap yet.

I understand why most people aren’t in favor of it. From a moral standpoint, it is rather reprehensible. I mean, I wouldn’t want my daughter to pursue it as a career path. But I also understand that many people don’t have much of an option. As such, they shouldn’t be punished for trying to make a living in the only way that they know how.

It’s not like anybody ever grows up saying, “I want to be a prostitute someday!” People often turn to prostitution because they’re economically and socially disadvantaged. That’s why prostitution disproportionately effects women of color.

People are so focused on judging prostitution that they fail to see the benefits of legalizing such work. For example, STI rates would significantly be reduced if we were to instate a federal mandate that requires all sex workers to use protection.

Additionally, legalizing prostitution would generate massive amounts of state revenue. Much like the legalization of recreational marijuana, Uncle Sam could capitalize on the opportunity to tax the hell out of it.

But most importantly, if the government were to oversee prostitution, it would result in a much safer environment for workers. For example, according to a 2012 study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, sex workers have a 45 to 75% chance of becoming victims of violence.

I don’t care if you agree with the moral aspect of prostitution or not; I think we can ALL agree that prostitutes don’t deserve to be beaten, stabbed, choked, or otherwise assaulted just because of their line of work. If we legalize the practice, we can say goodbye to abusive pimps and serial killers who target these vulnerable populations.

This is America, land of the free. This is America, where church and state are supposed to be separate. Your religious/moral convictions should have no bearing on someone else’s personal choice. It’s time to live and let live.