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What should the legal status of prostitution be?
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Decriminalisation would relieve prostitution's stigma

By decriminalising prostitution, we can eliminate the stigma attached to prostitution.


Stigmatisation has far reaching negative effects, leading to a loss of quality of life as well as declines in mental and physical health.[1]

The Argument

The stigma attached to sex work can perpetuate the marginalisation of sex workers, increasing their vulnerability.[2] Stigma also has a severe negative impact on sex workers’ dignity and self-respect. Making sex work illegal only serves to give credence to these beliefs. The stigma attached to prostitution does not discourage people from entering the profession, it only serves to shame those who are already sex workers. By keeping prostitution illegal, the state is signalling that this stigma is necessary and legitimate. Decriminalising prostitution would demonstrate the necessity for sex workers to be considered as worthy of rights as much as any other person.

Counter arguments

The stigma against prostitution is necessary if prostitution is to be eradicated.[3] The stigma is important, not to shame sex workers, but so that young people do not view prostitution as a viable career choice.



[P1] The illegality of prostitution perpetuates stigma against sex workers. [P2] This stigma has a negative impact on sex workers, serving to worsen their marginalisation.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The stigma against sex workers does not have a negative impact; it is necessary to discourage women from entering prostitution and assuming the risks involved.


This page was last edited on Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 01:42 UTC

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