There are some debate between pros and cons considering prostitution as a legal job in many countries. One thing that pros say is that it can decrease violence against all women from prostitutes and non prostitutes.

Is there any valid evidence to prove their claims about?

There is definitly evidence that legal prostitution decreases violence against the prostitutes. So even if it has zero affect on women who are not prostitutes, the net effect would be that violence against "all" women would therefore be lower. (And men too since there are male prostitutes as well.) I realize that isn't the angle you were aiming for, but it is mathematically sound.

Update: I thought my first sentence was obvious, but apparently I was wrong. The prostitutes in a legal brothel in Nevada have security, call buttons, they can request that managers keep the intercom throughout the session if they have a new customer or someone they deem suspicious, money is taken out of the room before the session begins, they are tested weekly, and the police are called to arrest abusive "johns": Info Here. Sometimes the prositutes are allowed to make house calls, but most don't because it's too dangerous. A notable quote is on page 15:

As one prostitute said, “I don’t go out of this house with anybody I don’t knowand I don’t book anybody outside of the house.”To do so is to lose one of the vital protections offered by legalized brothel prostitution: the security of the house and the people in it.

Here is some evidence that prostitution as a whole is a dangerous profession in the US, where over 99.9% is illegal prostitution. (See Point 2.)

It's hard to know but apparently -as far as we know it- it helps to prevent. Studies emphasize the need for make a more regulated market because in the end, the prostitution is a sex industry. Researchs made based in the experience of the Netherlands and publsihed in the American Economy Journal and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (Sweden), regarding the legalization of prostitution gave positive results because:

  • Helps the sex workers to organize in groups: Sex workers manage their business by making something like a safe street called Tippelzone, where all workers come together and work in the same zone avoiding dangerous zone.
  • Regularization avoid human trafficking: Being recognized as (legal) workers helps to identify and fight human trafficking. It doesn't mean is going to end this, on the contrary, encourage new ways to insert sexual slaves in the street.

  • Enable to focus in other areas: Prostitution is not something you talk only because between this industry there are other issues such as violent crimes (not related to sex), drugs, assaults among others. The regularization helped to focus more in this issues.

  • Without regulation, human trafficking is on the rise: With political support and fewer unlicensed sex workers, is more likely to reduce human trafficking.

Does this mean the legalization prevents violence? Not sure, most times -the study concluded- the relation between crime registered (something that happened) and crime perceived (I think this is unsecure) does not match statistically. The media has some responsability over there confusing -what Nassim Talleb called- intensity with frequency. The main problem is not the prostitution but crime related drugs issues, which is not a problem in the tippelzone, according to the study. And the swedish research previolusly mentioned finished the study highlightning:

these predictions have not yet been tested

  • I think a fundamental problem with regulated prostitution is the eventuality that the prostitute will be held liable to fulfill her contractual obligation when she has decided that that's not what she really wanted to do. No quantity of consensual prostitution will ever convert this black menace into a consensual sex act. – elliot svensson Sep 13 at 14:19
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    Re: My previous comment: regulations in New Zealand and Germany explicitly grant the right of the prostitute to withdraw consent at any time. But another menace is lurking under cover of this provision: suppose a client claims that the prostitute withdrew consent and refuses to pay! – elliot svensson Sep 13 at 15:53

No, it is not clear that decriminalizing prostitution improves safety and public health, even though researchers have studied its simultaneous 2003 decriminalization in New Zealand and Rhode Island.

It's supposed by some researchers that "indoor prostitution" is safer for the prostitute than street prostitution (link) but other researchers oppose this claim (link).

It is not clear that the increased availability of "indoor prostitution" under decriminalization has any impact on street prostitution at all (link - see footnote). Unfortunately, the reduction in violence seen among all women in Rhode Island in 2003 was preceded by a rise in violence in 2001-2002, so the decriminalized state was still just as unsafe as its neighbors after the improvement.

Furthermore, it seems likely that decriminalization will enable other crimes against women, such as trafficking into the decriminalized area (link).

A 2014 study-of-studies determined that at a minimum, we observe that 3 in 10 prostitutes will become victims of violent crime. Some studies found that 3 in 4 prostitutes were victimized. (link) Nobody imagines that regulations will alleviate this insane risk, but merely that regulation could remove the black market's impenetrable firewall between perpetrators of violence and justice.

Also, decriminalized prostitution contracts will inevitably result in violence if a client changes his mind and refuses to pay, resulting in the poisonous legal quagmire of court proceedings to determine whether anything happened. If the court sides with the dishonest client, then it could become true that the prostitute had been raped.

  • Regarding that last paragraph: If read that way, isn't all enforcement of contracts violent? In the end, your money will be forcefully taken from you by the state and/or you'll be put in prison. – janh Sep 13 at 15:06
  • I don't think anybody goes to jail or has any form of physical punishment for failing to fulfill a contract: those kinds of punishments are only available in criminal court. A prostitution contract thus weasels violence into the civil courts. – elliot svensson Sep 13 at 15:17
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    "the government is called upon to enforce prostitution contracts upon a woman who has changed her mind" - can you name any real-world prostitution laws where this is actually the case? Those I am aware of explicitly allow the prostitute to revoke the contract at any time. – Philipp Sep 13 at 15:23
  • @Philipp, thanks for that... you're right: NZ PRA(2003) section 17 makes that explicit, ( legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0028/latest/DLM197867.html ) although it's still true that contested contracts may be referred to the Disputes Tribunal. What about Germany? Hmmm... – elliot svensson Sep 13 at 15:31
  • The Prostitutionsgesetz (translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=https://…) also has a similar provision. But it comes with a nasty side-effect: suppose the client refuses to pay! The establishment that "services were rendered" becomes he-said she-said, and the prostitute is left in the lurch. – elliot svensson Sep 13 at 15:43

I think this one is pretty obvious.

Prostitution is a consensual act.

Yes, many argues that prostitution is often accompanied by fraud or force or some grey area things like misrepresentation of contract. But that is a different issue that can be addressed.

When something is criminal, it's underground. So force and fraud is often used. Anyone using prostitution is criminal anyway. What's wrong with doing another crime?

When something is legal, then it doesn't make sense to use violence against prostitution. I can go to jail for what? rape?

That one is obvious.

BUT

If you want some statistics

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/legal-prostitution-zones-reduce-incidents-of-rape-and_us_58c83be1e4b01d0d473bce8a

A few years ago, researchers at UCLA and Baylor University made a stunning find: When the Rhode Island legislature inadvertently decriminalized indoor prostitution for a number of years, that state saw a 31 percent decline in reported rapes and a similar decline in cases of gonorrhea.

Now comes a new Dutch study that finds much the same causal relationship between decriminalizing prostitution and reducing crime. Researchers at a public research institute in the Netherlands discovered that when major cities in that country opened tippelzones, or areas where street prostitutes could work legally, reports of rape and sexual abuse declined by as much as 30 to 40 percent in the first two years after the zones were opened. In cities that licensed the prostitutes permitted to work in these tippelzones, rapes and sexual abuse dropped by as much as 40 percent, while the reductions in sexual violence were slightly lower in zones that did not enforce the licensing of sex workers.

Now.

You see Mc Donald?

Try to criminalize burgers, or beer, or sandwich. See if amount of violent and fraud "involving" burgers, beer, or sandwich increase?

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    This question specifically asked for "evidence". Pretty much everything before "If you want some statistics" is not really all that relevant for the purpose of answering this question. – Martin Tournoij Mar 21 at 17:47
  • "Anyone using prostitution is criminal anyway. What's wrong with doing another crime?" That's not how people think. No one says "I'm riding this bus without a ticket anyway, so I can steal this lady's handbag", and it's not much different with "prostitution is illegal anyway, so I can rape the prostitute". – Thern Sep 14 at 6:33

One think to keep in mind is that prostitution can be considered as a degrading act that shames all women.

If a society were to then legalize such a profession, it may disgrace the status of all women in that particular society, and as a result, lead to far more violence upon them, due to the fostering of a general stigmatization of women, i.e. inhabitants of that society may perceive women in an inferior light from then on. That would not be an appropiate response of course, but it would happen.

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    So men wouldn't be stigmatized by male prostitutes? – Communisty Sep 12 at 11:48
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    Do you have any evidence that this actually does or did happen? – JJJ Sep 12 at 12:22
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    @Dhalsim I have lived in many countries with legal prostitution. The situation you described never seemed to be a problem. Please remember that answers should be backed up with sources so this sort of impasse can be avoided. – JJJ Sep 12 at 13:12

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