Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition
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American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) -  Decriminalizing Prostitution

Name: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Position: Pro to the question "Should prostitution be legal?"
Reasoning: "The ACLU supports the decriminalization of prostitution and opposes state regulation of prostitution. The ACLU also condemns the abuse of vagrancy or loitering laws or licensing or regulatory schemes to harass and arrest those who may be engaged in solicitation for prostitution. While there are both male and female prostitutes, laws against prostitution most frequently refer to, or are applied to woman. Despite the statutory stress on female prostitution, the ACLU's policy is applicable to prostitutes of both sexes....

Such laws have traditionally represented one of the most direct forms of discrimination against women. The woman who engage in prostitution is punished criminally and stigmatized socially while her male customer, either by the explicit design of the statute or through a pattern of discriminatory enforcement is left unscathed.

Prostitution laws are also a violation of the right of individual privacy because they impose penal sanctions for the private sexual conduct of consenting adults. Whether a person chooses to engage in sexual activity for purposes of recreation, or in exchange for something of value, is a matter of individual choice, not for governmental interference. Police use of entrapment techniques to enforce laws against this essentially private activity is reprehensible. Similarily, the use of loitering and vagrancy laws to punish prostitutes for their status or to make arrests on the basis of reputation and appearance, is contrary to civilized notions of due process of law.

Since the ACLU policy is that prostitution should not be made criminal, solicitation for prostitution is entitled to the protection of the First Amendment.

The ACLU reaffirms its policy favoring removal of criminal penalties for prostitution and in support of total sexual freedom among consenting adults in private."

ACLU Policy 211, 2007
Theoretical Expertise Ranking:  Organizations/VIPs/Others
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
The ACLU is a "nonprofit and nonpartisan and have grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of more than 500,000 members and supporters. We handle nearly 6,000 court cases annually from our offices in almost every state." (accessed May 11, 2007)
Mission: "The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:
  • Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.
  • Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
  • Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
  • Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs." (accessed Nov. 7, 2006)
Structure: Non-profit 501(c)4
Members/Constituents: Over 500,000 (as of 2007)
Annual Budget: $40 million
Sr. Executive: Nadine Strossen President
# of Offices:: One National and 53 Affiliates
# of Staff: 2,100
Relevant Affiliations:
  • ACLU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Contact Info: Phone: 212-549-2500
Fax: 212-549-2646
Last updated on: 2/4/2008 11:00 AM PST American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) . Retrieved June 12, 2009, from