To the editors,

Section 1 of the April 7 issue has the article “The Electronic Pillory,” discussing the advisability of prosecuting clients of prostitution, while Section 4 of the same issue contains advertisements for prostitution. And Dan Savage’s advice column in Section 4 approvingly quotes a colleague, “Good God . . . just pay the nice ladies. You’re obsessed with fucking . . . and they’re obsessed with paying the rent.”

Prohibition of prostitution doesn’t work and is not even desirable. The problems of prostitution in residential neighborhoods discussed in “Electronic Pillory” would be better addressed in terms of zoning rather than of crime. There is precedent for this concept in parts of western Europe. And if sex work were legal the workers could better protect themselves from violence and disease.

As long as there are women (and men and homeless teenagers) without better economic options, some of them will work as prostitutes. They will have (mostly male) customers as long as relationships are mediated by money. In a perfect world, all of us would have loving relationships and sexually satisfying relationships, and none of us would be emotionally or materially impoverished. We’re not there yet.

A. Christopher Wilson

W. Arthur