In the debate about legalizing prostitution, yes or no, one claim is the legalization will decrease sexual violence against all women.

For example from answers of pros in the link provided:

"It is estimated that if prostitution were legalized in the United States, the rape rate would decrease by roughly 25% for a decrease of approximately 25,000 rapes per year....

Is there any valid evidence to support these? If so, in which countries according to which research in which periods of time?

There is related question: Does legalizing prostitution lead to an increase in human trafficking? but this question is about sexual violence.


1 Answer 1


On your linked page only one of the answers [weakly] cites a source:

Linda M. Rio Reichmann, JD, an undergraduate student at the time of the quote, who later became Director of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Child Custody Pro Bono Project, stated in an Apr. 1991 Archives of Sexual Behavior article titled "Psychological and Sociological Research and the Decriminalization or Legalization of Prostitution":

A study conducted in Queensland... show[ed] a 149% increase in the rate of rape when legal brothels were closed in 1959, while other offenses against the person by males increased only 49%.

Although there are no details of the citation, I'm inclined to lend slightly more weight to that answer than to any of the others that are just predictions and assertions with no data behind them.

  • 2
    This is straight from the original document linked to in the question. It is fair to ask why the OP didn't accept that when he read it, but simply to restate it doesn't seem like an answer.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 12, 2013 at 0:56
  • 1
    Could you improve your answer by giving us a conclusion by yourself? As you can find in the link provided by question there are some examples which are proving the opposite idea in the same way! :) Apr 12, 2013 at 0:57
  • Of the six examples on the linked page, only one cites a study. I can't speak to how accurate the study is, but that stands out among all the others being just predictions.
    – Sparr
    Apr 12, 2013 at 1:00
  • Couldn't you provide better answers form other sources? I am trying to improve your answer however there is no force. Anyway thanks. Apr 12, 2013 at 1:08
  • 2
    @PersianCat: Ouch! I did not know you were female. I made a false assumption. I try to avoid assuming the gender of Skeptics participants, unless it is abundantly clear. I failed in this case. You have my profuse apologies, and I will try to do better in the future.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 17, 2013 at 5:38

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