What should the legal status of prostitution be?

Sometimes called ‘the world’s oldest profession’, prostitution holds a complex cultural place. While it is underpinned by gender norms and has been linked to violence, it also represents a source of agency for some and a viable career option for many. Should it be treated like any other job by the state? And if the state wishes to curtail prostitution, is making it illegal the best option?

Prostitution should be illegal

Sex work is inherently harmful and should be banned.

Prostitution encourages sex trafficking

Demand for prostitutes is the core driver of global sex trafficking.

Prostitution sets the stage for violence against women

As people all know, most sex workers are women, and the buyers are men. Prostitution is a form of violence against women. Under the unbalanced power and status of gender, the majority of sex workers suffer from violence while working in their lifetimes. Therefore, prostitution is equitable to violence against women.

The oldest oppression

Prostitution promotes the degradation of women and hegemonic masculinity.

Economic coercion into prostitution

Sex workers do not want to enter prostitution, but are forced to due to circumstance.

Long-term consequences

Prostitutes suffer from long-term negative consequences to their mental and physical health.

Sale of the body is immoral

By selling their bodies, sex workers are losing part of themselves.

Prostitution and marginalisation

The least advantaged people in society are the ones most likely to enter prostitution.

Prostitution should be decriminalised

There should be no laws around prostitution that separate it from any other profession.

Prostitution is no different from other capitalist exploitation

Under the Marxist perspective, in a capitalist system the majority of jobs involve selling the body through the sale of labour.

The sale of sex is not inherently impermissible

There is no inherent reason that the sale of sex is different to the sale of any good.

Decriminalisation protects sex workers

Decriminalisation of prostitution ensures that sex workers can access assistance to promote safety.

Decriminalisation would relieve prostitution's stigma

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

Sex Work is the choice of the Sex Worker

Sex workers should be allowed to make the choice to work in prostitution.

Prostitution can help women celebrate their sexuality

Prostitution can enable sex workers to reclaim their own sexualities.

Decriminalisation enables sex workers to unionise

Sex work is work, and sex workers, like any other members of society are entitled to safe working environments. Decriminalisation would enable an independent body to provide union support to sex workers and help to regulate industry standards. This is possibly a better alternative than to give authority to the government on the circumstances in which sex work can be legal as it removes the idea that the selling of sexual labour is inherently problematic.

Prostitution should be legalised

Countries like Austria and the Netherlands have adopted a system of legalisation rather than decriminalisation, under which sex work is legal only under conditions dictated by the state.

Government oversight of prostitution would improve all outcomes

The legalisation of prostitution ensures Governments can regulate prostitution to reduce social ills.

We should adopt a Nordic Model

The Nordic Model decriminalises prostitution for sex workers, while criminalising buyers.

Penalising buyers

The Nordic Model removes penalties for vulnerable women while discouraging prostitution. This leads to reduced demand.
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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 26 Nov 2019 at 18:44 UTC