Prostitution should NOT be legal, but it should also be DECRIMINALIZED.
I've struggled to form an answer to this question and I'm prepared for the opposing views that I may be faced with.
I should start by saying that I understand the reasons for legalizing prostitution, which may include protecting the rights of sex workers, increasing tax revenue, reducing poverty rates, and getting prostitutes out of the streets.
However, prostitution is inherently immoral, abusive, and harmful; therefore, legalizing it could only open doors for more organized criminal activity as well as furthering the transmission of STD's including AIDS. From a personal standpoint, I believe that this will only further the exploitation of women by men, and maybe even promote and even justify inhumane crimes such as human trafficking and rape.
I found an article that listed some of the reasons that legalizing prostitution doesn't actually make the sex trade safer by studying countries that have already legalized. I think it's worth taking a look at.
In reality, many of such sex workers chose prostitution because they come from vulnerable communities and have nothing else to fall back on. You don't legalize drug trafficking because people are involved in the trade and doing so would offer legal protection -- it's still criminal. But such sex workers should not get prison time. Instead, our communities and governments should do better to offer prostitutes a possibility of a better life, and perhaps a better solution is having certain permits and fines apply.
It's one thing to engage in sexual relations with whomever you want to simply because you want to, but an entirely different thing to engage in unsafe sexual relations -- to sell your body -- because you have no other option. It's wrong and illegal and in the end, legalizing it would only benefit the pimps and brothel-owners, not the actual prostitutes who are still forced to. But such sex workers should not be criminalized either. There is another solution because the human body is not a commodity!