Chicago Journal of International Law

Start Page



Prostitution is often criminalized, but it should not be. While it is undisputed that criminalization assists in shrinking the sexual service industry and decreasing the prevalence of sex trafficking, countervailing evidence suggests that legal and regulated sex work is far safer for all involved. Indeed, the international law on the subject, which calls for an end to exploitation, violence, and trafficking, does not outlaw sex work in all of its forms. This Comment argues that legal sex work, when regulated adequately, comports with international law and promotes the human rights of sex workers that are curbed when the practice is outlawed. Drawing on recent analyses of the most common means of sex work regulation and criminalization, this Comment proposes a novel form of sex work regulation—rooted in the state of Nevada’s centuries-old brothel system—that best follows international law and promotes human rights. Using this framework, states can reconcile the often (and, at first blush, paradoxically) conflicting aims of protecting human rights and combatting human trafficking.

Included in

Law Commons