As with all issues, we begin the analysis with the question of whether someone or some group, corporation, or government is violating the 3L Legal Principle. To begin that analysis, we must first determine who is the owner of the property at the center of the issue. In the case of prostitution, identifying the property is easy. Competent adults own their bodies. As owners of their bodies, they are entitled to make all decisions over their bodies, including who to have sex with and under what circumstances. If a competent adult voluntarily opts to exchange sex for money with another competent adult who also acts voluntarily, there is no violation of Rule #1. Whether you or I morally approve of the contract to exchange sex for money between competent adults is irrelevant to the legal analysis. As with the issue of gambling, finding no violation of the 3L Legal Principle simply results in the conclusion that the conduct ought to be legal.

The next question is whether someone is violating Rule #2. As with the issue of gambling, I see no violation of any aspirational value by simply exchanging sex for money between competent adults. If this is the case, there is no reason for the 3LM to disapprove of prostitution officially. That is the end of the analysis as far as the 3LM is concerned.

That said, any member of the 3LM is entirely free to vigorously advocate, via any persuasive means, against prostitution for any reason, including that prostitution violates their higher moral views, their religious views, or they find it distasteful. Indeed, they have a right to peacefully speak out and work mightily to convince people not to engage in prostitution. As with all moral issues, all competent adults remain free to ignore them and continue peacefully engaging in prostitution. Again, this is an easy issue to resolve for the person committed to the 3LP.

It should be evident that minors and incompetent adults cannot properly engage in such contracts. Additionally, if anyone violates the 3L Legal Principle, such as when a pimp forces or threatens a woman to engage in prostitution, the law should immediately terminate that conduct and punish the properly convicted pimp.

As with many other issues, complying with the 3LP yields additional benefits for a free, peaceful, and prosperous society and world. Where prostitution is legal, both violence and sexually transmitted diseases have waned.1 Legalizing an activity generally moves it from the black market on the street into for-profit businesses competing to serve their customers’ needs. It should not be surprising that prostitution workers and their customers prefer a safe, clean environment free from unnecessary risks. As with other industries, businesses that do a better job of providing what their customers want at fair prices will be rewarded and will prosper.

Similarly, businesses that do not are punished and generally disappear. Like my very religious friend Jacob, while you may strongly morally disagree with the act of voluntary prostitution, if you are committed to the 3LP, you must support its legality. You are free to hold both positions without contradiction enthusiastically. Freedom has never been about supporting the rights of other competent adults to do whatever you deem morally appropriate. On the contrary, a genuinely live and let live attitude is about legally tolerating the rights of other competent adults to do precisely what you would never do, so long as nobody violates the 3L Legal Principle.