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Sep 13, 2016 at 18:37 o\clock

POLL: Should prostitution be legal in New Jersey?

NEWARK The weekend arrests of four women and nine menon prostitution-related charges has spurred a debate about whether or not paid sex should be illegal in the Garden State.

Continuing a campaign it began this summer, the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU slammed the Newark police for the arrests, arguing that officers should instead be focusing on more violent crimes in the city. ACLU Executive Director Udi Ofer also said that the arrests "harm public safetyby stoking fear of police among sex workers, dissuading vulnerable communities from reaching out to police."

But, the city's Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose countered that prostitution is one of the most common complaints the department receives from residents. And, argued that it could not selectively enforce laws.

ACLU to Newark: Stop arresting prostitutes

"We address all complaints received in my office or by my officers regardless of whether they are minor or serious," he said.

NJ.com readers Monday had strikingly differing opinions on the issue, with some coming out against the ACLU and the idea that sex crimes would be legal, some saying that legalizing prostitution is a good idea, and others arguing that the police are in the right, because regardless of what the law should be, they are enforcing what it is now.

"Prostitution is legal in Nevada, and it should be legal in New Jersey along with marijuana," save1njsaid. "Tax both and let's move on to robbery, rape and murder."

But many readers, like Retired Chemist, said the ACLU was way off base.

"What about the people that have to live in the neighborhoods where this is conducted?" Retired Chemistasked. "This is not a victimless crime"

User nexus70didn't give an opinion on legalization, but criticized the ACLU's assertion that the police department shouldn't enforce current laws.

"They should lobby to change the law if they have a problem with it," nexus70 said. "They should NOT, however, tell a city's police force not to enforce laws."

What do you think? Vote in our poll and share your opinion in the comments section below.

Jessica Mazzola may be reached atjmazzola@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter@JessMazzola. FindNJ.com on Facebook.