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End sex trafficking: Legalize prostitution and let men be men

On Feb. 4, Reuters, the international news agency, published an article with the following headline: “45 Arrested, 16 juveniles rescued in Super Bowl prostitution bust.”

According to the article, “The FBI, backed by state and local law enforcement agencies, had mounted a major crackdown on human trafficking and prostitution ahead of the February 2, 2014, Super Bowl championship game, with some 3,000 law enforcement agents and civilians trained to help spot people who might be the victims of human trafficking.”

Teresa Flores had been trafficked into prostitution as a teen. She now works as an anti-trafficking activist. In the Reuters article Flores stated, “I don’t blame this on the Super Bowl or NASCAR events, or the Final Four in basketball. I blame it on the lack of education that is happening because we are not going after the demand, that is, men. The best way to reduce prostitution would be to arrest the men who search for it.”

According to a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, there are 151 million (non-institutionalized) men in the United States with 92 million of them between 20 and 64 years of age. And, according to a report that came from the National Institute of Justice, 15 percent to 20 percent of these men have engaged in “commercial” sex. Conservatively speaking, that means 15 million or more men have searched for and engaged in commercial sex; and 15 million men can create a huge “demand.”

In spite of the huge “demand,” Flores and others still think the best way to reduce prostitution is to arrest the men who search for it.

I don’t think so. Twenty-two countries have legalized or regulated prostitution. I think they’re on the right track, and Flores and others who feel as she does are on the wrong track. Let men be men, I say.

Dr. Louann Brizendine explains this concept better than I can. Brizendine graduated in neurobiology from the University of California-Berkeley, attended Yale School of Medicine, and completed a residency in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is board-certified in neurology and psychiatry and is an endowed clinical professor. She is the author of two books published in 2010: “The Female Brain” and “The Male Brain.” I implore you, especially you women, to read both. Brizendine was featured in a Cable News Network report on March 25, 2010. I’m going to quote some of what she said in order to show you how realistic she is in her thinking compared to Flores and others:

“Although women the world over have been doing it for a long time, we really can’t blame a guy for being a guy,” she said. “And this is especially true now that we know that the male and female brains have some profound differences.

“Perhaps the biggest difference between the male and the female brain is that men have a sexual pursuit area 2.5 times larger than the one in the female brain. Not only that, but beginning in their teens, males produce 20- to 25-fold more testosterone than they did during pre-adolescence.

“If testosterone were beer,” she further stated, “a 9-year-old boy would be getting the equivalent of a cup a day. But a 15-year-old would be getting the equivalent of nearly two gallons a day. This fuels their sexual engines and makes it impossible for them to stop thinking about female body parts and sex.”

Finally, “The best advice I have for women,” she said, “is to make peace with the male brain. Let men be men.”

Amen to that, Brizendine. Amen to that, I say.

Joseph Legueri of Gilbert is a writer, retired educator, lifelong Iron Range resident and regular contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page.

Read more Monday For at least four years, ever since Minnesota became one of the first states in the country to treat those being sold for sex as victims rather than as criminals, we’ve been a national leader in combating sex trafficking. But even Minnesota has more work to do. Read the News Tribune’s editorial on Monday’s Opinion page.