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Should sex work be decriminalised?
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Legalising sex work opens the door for loopholes relating to sex trafficking and exploitation

Since full decriminalization of sex work also legalizes the work of pimps and brothel owners and expands the market, it will help them find cracks in the system to exploit prostitutes and commit sex trafficking.

The Argument

The term sex worker, which was coined in the 1980s, includes pimps and pornographers along with those who sell sex. Therefore, decriminalizing sex work also legalizes the activities of pimps who are historically known to traffic and exploit prostitutes.[1] The legalization of sex work has benefitted brothel owners and punters more than the prostitutes, as in the case of New Zealand.[2] Also, full decriminalization has been observed to mostly be campaigned for by pimps and men who buy sex. Prostitutes are more likely to argue for partial decriminalization.[1] According to a study, countries with legalized prostitution had a higher trafficking inflow than the countries that prohibit prostitution. This was mainly due to the expansion of markets, which outweighed the substitution effect (where legal sex workers are favored over illegal workers).[3]

Counter arguments

Legalizing prostitution does not mean there will be increased sex trafficking. A 2012 government-sponsored study for New South Wales, Australia, which decriminalized sex work in 1995, showed “no evidence of recent trafficking of female sex workers . . . in marked contrast to the 1990s when contacted women from Thailand were common in Sydney”.[4] New Zealand legalized prostitution in 2003, and according to a 2008 study by the New Zealand Ministry of Justice, there has been “no incidence of trafficking.” Additionally, sex worker advocates say the law has made it easier for sex workers to report exploitation.[5]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020 at 18:11 UTC

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