The Impact of Legal Prostitution on Violent Crime

The purpose of this essay is to examine the impact of illegal goods markets on violent crime. I focus on the market for prostitution. Currently, according to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, there are 116 countries and territories that have punitive laws against sex work, 80 countries and territories that have some degree of protection in law for sex work, and 13 countries which do not give information on the subject. Recently there has been much debate over the subject in relation to its impact on crime, health, and the economy. This paper considers one aspect of decriminalizing prostitution: the main focus is on the impact of legalizing prostitution on violent crime. I approach this idea by comparing OECD countries with varying levels of legalization of prostitution against one another. Based on my empirical analysis, I can draw conclusions on the impact of illegal goods markets in high-income versus low-income countries, providing an insight into the development of policies in this arena.

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