There are widening political forces favoring decriminalizing prostitution, and among them are Massachusetts U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley and billionaire George Soros, whose Open Society Foundations funds groups that promote it.

On top of that, throw in the ACLU, the Women's March, Amnesty International, and the Human Rights Watch, to mention a few, who've embraced measures that would decriminalize all aspects of prostitution.

The conflicting questions have always been whether prostitution should be considered a job like any other, whose practitioners could be empowered by workplace protections. Or is prostitution inherently harmful – a form of violence predicated on gender, racial and income inequality from which prostitutes should be set free?

It's necessary to understand the difference between decriminalization and legalization. Legalization would mean the regulation of prostitution with laws regarding where, when and how prostitution could take place. Decriminalization eliminates all laws and prohibits the state and law enforcement officials from intervening in any prostitution-related activities, unless other laws apply. Ayanna Pressley believes decriminalizing sex work would improve the health and safety of sex workers and put them on a path to greater stability. She also concludes that sex work is the only work available to some marginalized people, like transgender women of color.

Her stance has left anti-prostitution activists and feminists speechless. This isn't a new issue. I've heard the same arguments for decades, plus anything George Soros supports, I oppose. In the Netherlands, where prostitution was decriminalized, it was one huge gift to pimps and it didn't do anything to help empower the woman's choice.

We can discuss legalizing prostitution at another time, but don't decriminalize it because it would only make a bad situation worse.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in the commentary are solely those of the author.

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