Redrawing the Margins: Debating the Legalization of Prostitution

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Amnesty International’s recent decision to support the legalization of sex work is a controversial one. The group reasoned that because these individuals lived outside of a licit society, they were more vulnerable to physical abuse: “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse.” In order to bring these men and women out of the shadow economy and into the light, Amnesty International has supported the call for “consensual sex work” to be made legal in order that workers may be more legally protected from trafficking, violence, and exploitation. What interests me most–and is the question I posed to my Roman law students today–is whether the legalization of prostitution would, in fact, serve to decrease violence and discrimination towards sex workers.

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Mosaic of a Roman courtesan and a modern representation of a prostitute in a Norwegian ad campaign, which visually represented the marginality of prostitutes in society through crumpled, torn, and partially-incorporated posters at bus stops.

Although I have written a bit about courtesan shoes on this blog, I haven’t delved fully into the subject of Roman prostitutes. However, these marginal people are often disturbing mirrors, reflecting the elite fears and anxieties within a society. Both male and female prostitutes were frequently mistreated and abused in Roman antiquity, all within a society wherein prostitution was legal. Marginalization took the form of exclusion from cultic activities such as the Bona Dea festival, and the relegation of meretrices (prostitutes) to their own cult for Venus Erycina. These women were even spatially separated during certain religious rites. While the reputable Roman women celebrated within the city, disreputable prostitutes celebrated their cult outside Rome’s Porta Collina.

Detail of the Roman fresco from the bedroom (Cubiculum 43) in the Casa del Centenario .
Detail of the Roman fresco from the bedroom (Cubiculum 43) in the Casa del Centenario at Pompeii .

In regard to the physical vulnerability of these women, there could be great danger in being a prostitute. Pimps and prostitutes had less legal redress than those of higher status, and it appears that violence against those perceived as sexual deviants may have been more regularized. Even dressing as a prostitute could have violent repercussions–a defense all too familiar (and still just as ridiculous) even today. The jurist Ulpian noted:

“If someone accosts maidens, even those in slave’s garb, his offense is regarded as [less severe], even more so if the women be in prostitute’s dress and not that of a matron. Still if the woman be not in the dress of a matron and someone accost her or abduct her attendant, he will be liable to the action for insult.” (Dig. 47.10.15.15. mod. tr. Watson)

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Statue of Vibia Sabina (c. 136 AD), grand-niece of Trajan and wife of Hadrian. Vibia is dressed as a Roman matron and shows very little skin.

A key example of the vulnerability of prostitutes is in Cicero’s rather famous defense of a former Macedonian quaestor named Gnaeus Plancius in his Pro Plancio. When Plancius was accused of meddling with the election for the aedileship of 54 BCE, Cicero came to his friend’s defense and in the process enumerated some of the other accusations against him. One was the alleged rape of a mimula, a mime-actress, when he was young. Cicero defends Plancius not only by mentioning his youth, but also by saying that this was a common act against such actresses (Read: It was customary to rape such lowly actresses! No big deal!).

Coin struck in 55 BCE and issued by then-aedile Gnaeus Plancius, an accused rapist (Image via the ANS).
Coin struck in 55 BCE and issued by then-aedile Gnaeus Plancius, an accused rapist (Image via the ANS).

As individuals that bore the legal stigma of infamia (disrepute), Roman prostitutes were often dependent on pimps and those of higher status for physical protection. Extralegal individuals are almost always at higher risk for such violence both in ancient Rome and today. Let us not forget that a recent study in Colorado found that the crude mortality rate for prostitutes was 391 per 100,000 people, as compared with 1.9 per 100,000 people for the general populace. Drug use indeed caused some of these deaths, but assault and homicide against these individuals also contributed greatly. The researchers concluded that, “Women engaged in prostitution face the most dangerous occupational environment in the United States.” But can legalization dissipate this danger?

Although there are studies that support the thesis that the legalization of prostitution decreases violence against sex workers, it all depends on how it is legalized and the degree of protection afforded prostitutes. Ancient Rome had legal prostitution, but still legally stigmatized the prostitutes themselves, a move which greatly disadvantaged them within the court system and thus exposed them to social violence. When German parliament tried a move towards deregulation it in 2001, there was an increase in gang-bang brothels and human trafficking–largely from the area of Eastern Europe.

March in Toronto earlier this year to protest sex trafficking. Picture via Glammonitor.
March in Toronto earlier this year to protest sex trafficking. Picture via Glammonitor.

The historical lesson is perhaps that any move to legalize prostitution must be followed by heavy government oversight and work in coordination with police. As the Washington Post has pointed out, perhaps the best stance thus far is the “Swedish model” regarding prostitution. It criminalizes buying prostitution rather than selling it, and thus the johns / johnettes (wait, what is a female john called?) are prosecuted rather than the prostitute. One report has suggested that the Swedish model has reduced trafficking, but the data is still murky. In conclusion, I will say that I remain extremely hesitant about the move made by Amnesty International. I fear a dramatic increase in human trafficking will follow the move towards legalization of sex work, and will place thousands more into human bondage. If Roman culture has taught us anything, it is that, on a human rights level, marginal people need both legal and social protection: from rape, from violence, and from being pushed into the shadows. Legalization alone will not protect sex workers. Particularly in countries unprepared to seek out and prosecute human trafficking, it may even dramatically hurt them.

72 Comments

  1. You are misunderstanding my post completely. I never would ever say that clothes are responsible for a woman being raped. That is a ridiculous statement. I am a feminist and support women’s rights, I am just saying that Romans believed this. Please don’t take that as my opinion.

    1. I didn’t misunderstand your post at all. My information about why it should be legal is sound in contrast to your fears of legalization, Sarah.

      Go back and look at the way you wrote about the clothing. I know you don’t mean it how it sounds, but your sentence structure is actually sexist and places the responsibility on our clothing choices.

      I’m not criticizing you as a woman or saying your are a bad feminist. If anything I’m giving you a sounding board so you can clarify. Good for us to do regarding women’s rights, my sister.

      Romans are okay to reference, but history is in full swing and evolution, after revolutions…and genocides and assimilations and looking back at the societal norms and morals and attitudes of the day won’t fully address what we need to discuss now. Lay-People do not know their history well enough to make the necessary distinctions…

      But I like that your writing about this and working towards understanding for us all in this way.

      1. I noted that the defense was ridiculous. That means it is ridiculous to say you raped someone because of their clothing. I am truly insulted you would suggest I would say otherwise.

      2. Here’s a link you might want to check out by sex workers in the U.K.

        not to convince you of anything… but as info for your work. My peace offering.

        Jeanne de Monbaston is a feminist and historian and a professor, (the woman who writes the blog of this link)

      3. Thanks, I appreciate this. The comments on this post have been extensive, so I am trying to get to all of them. I still have classes to prep and things to grade, but will try and read! Grazie!

  2. A spot on discussion. Legalization in no way prevents marginalization of this ignored group. Oversight and protections – both legal and social – must follow closely. Great discussion, many thanks for sharing.

  3. I am going to cease commenting here, I promise. But fyi the thread is a mess if you only allow some of the comments and our chain of conversation being edited is useless as a dialogue. I mean at least my reader looks out of synch and missing pieces… So go ahead and delete all of them and pretend we never met if you want. But don’t taylor it to be like there was an intentional attack on you. This isn’t how to conduct a conversation about sex trafficking and prostitution or women’s rights… you being defensive and feeling insulted if you want to actually engage in a conversation for productive change regarding human rights.

    If you censor this and disjoint this between us… It doesn’t matter at all as discussion. We don’t have to do this. It’s meaningless. Poof! all gone.

  4. Your feminist voice is reverberating the entire passage. Each word impinged upon my heart and there is no doubt about your genuine concern about sex-workers or your views about clothing. The roman history is just furnishing a splendid illustration of the age-old psyche .Easily comprehensible , lucid prose style. Keep writing.🙂🙂 ♥

  5. Really interesting article. Fascinating to see the parallels throughout history.
    I also have a concern about how you decree that someone is doing something voluntarily and not being manipulated. Lots to figure out I guess.

  6. Rationally, there is no debate unless, of course, you follow the “principles” practiced under “Civil” Law. Civil Law considers probably thousands of “laws” wherein the absence of a victim isn’t seen as an issue. Under Natural Law, however, where there is no victim, there can be no crime. When a man has sex with a prostitute, and no violence or force has been initiated, consensual behavior is the order of the day. Consent implies the absence of the threat of force or the initiation thereof. When this is the reality, there is no victim. Where there is no victim, there is no crime.

  7. An interesting post. (Just as an aside I didn’t read it as though you were blaming rape victims for their clothes choices). It is important to look back in history and to other countries when moving forward with how society can be more inclusive of people who are pushed out because of their employment, and it’s especially important to make society a safer place for sex workers when it’s so clear that the profession isn’t going away. I wonder what your thoughts are on criminalising the men who purchase sex are? I’m not sure its particularly helpful as the men buying sex aren’t usually horrible monsters but away are often (not always) lonely men and silly lads. Perhaps it would be useful to look at why people pay for sex in the first place too? In the roman period I guess it would be a power and status thing – do you think the same still stands today or not? The WI did quite a a good documentary on brothels – it’s definitely worth a watch! I totally agree with your sentiment that legalising prostitution isn’t going to nessarily make the world safer for people working in that field but I’m of the, perhaps idealistic, mindset that people should be free to do as they please for employment in a safe environment as long as what they do does not harm others, regardless of whether it is something I would choose to participate in from either side, isn’t legalising prostitution so that sex workers have employment rights such as minimum wage, health and safety regs, hours worked etc a step in the right direction towards that?

    1. We must always try to avoid complicating issues where human interactions are involved. The enemies play right into that. They love confusion. It makes their job much easier. Strange how life is. For our opposition, the Statists, the politicians, the bureaucrats, the elite, the Illuminati, our confusion makes their job so much easier, whereas our lives are compounded with doubts, worries, concerns for this, that and the other. We lose. They win.

      For us, there is only one thing to remember: Natural Law dictates that no one has the right to expect their rights to be observed when they clearly have violated the rights of another. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

      There can never be a crime where there is no victim. There can be no victim where there is no initiation of force or violence. Where there is no violence or threat of force or violence, nor the initiation of force or violence, there is no victim, ergo, THERE IS NO CRIME. All other issues, suppositions, what-ifs, whys, wherefores, therefores, etcetera, are MOOT and, more than likely, are none of our business.

      Case in point: if you possess an automobile that is capable of doing 200 miles per hour and you take her out one day for a spin and achieve that speed, IT IS NO ONE’S BUSINESS! If you hit no one, there is no victim. If there is no victim, there is no crime. This action may have caused a lot of heads to turn, those who witnessed this but, again, IT IS NOT A CRIME UNLESS THERE IS A VICTIM!

      Now, if you are traveling to your mom and dad’s house and are pulled over by some cop for “exceeding the speed limit by 5 miles an hour,” then the cop is the criminal. He has prevented you from your natural rights to move your body from Point A to Point B. That is one infraction against the cop. Now, if he issues you a “speeding ticket,” then that is another infraction, that of “legalized theft.”

      Again, in ANY issue involving the interactions between humans, where there is no demonstrable initiation of force or the threat of force or violence, there is no victim and there is no crime.

      Bill

      1. I like the notion that there is not crime unless there is a victim of force/the threat of force but do you not think there is a responsibility as humans cohabiting the same space that we have to minimise the risk of there being a threat of force? So in your example, should there not be a limit on speed to ensure the risk of others being hurt by other peoples choices is minimised?

    2. I believe you are making this whole issue far too complicated. If your thinking is within the realm of Civil Law, man-made law, rather than Natural Law, God’s law, then it’s apt to be complicated. First, because we’re a world of simpletons. Collectively, all of our minds together could not even begin to approach the acuity of God’s mind. Secondly, the complexity of Civil Law is such that it is meant to confuse, bewilder, confound and exasperate. This is intentional. The so-called “elite” would not have it any other way. It is much easier to control and dominate when the populace is kept in ignorance.

      Getting all caught up in going back through the pages of history or contemplating ones navel or the sound of one hand clapping accomplishes nothing. There is only one issue, that all people are free to do whatever they wish so long as they, first, do not violate God’s laws, second, they do not initiate force or the threat of force. Again, where there is no victim, there can be no crime. We are not our neighbor’s mommy and daddy. Let’s live our own individual lives and stay out of the lives of others. Not complicated at all.

      Bill

  8. I have doubts about both sides – legalisation could help those workers, but like you say could hinder them and more, but at the same time, women and men are being poorly treated regardless of legal status, so perhaps we could learn from our mistakes and legalise it in the right way to do justice by and help those where help is needed most. I am by no means the authority on this, but I hope as a woman and a mother my opinion means something too and the world can look on and think twice before it demonises these individuals for the choices (whether there own or someone elses) that have been made. Great discussion. Hannah. x x

  9. Sarah, this is such a well written piece.

    My main concern being a student nurse would be the sexually transmitted diseases that the prostitutes get.

    Because lets be honest, if the legalisation did occur, to what extent would it shield the prostitutes? If a human is stupid enough to go and visit a prostitute, he should also be stupid (or at least smart) enough to realise that his actions will have a consequnece/effect.

    And instead of legalising prostitution, the government should also look towards means/methods to prevent people from becoming prostitutes.

    Best wishes,
    Nurfatma

  10. A good read, but I would suggest we need to look at society and attitudes now. It would take a long time to change current norms; take the comment insult “whore” as an example.
    I would say that bringing anything above board, in this day and age, would be a good start to change perceptions and attitudes, and increase protection afforded to people that choose to do this.
    I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with selling one’s body; there’s already plenty of this going on in magazines and on television.

    Thought provoking post. Thanks!

    1. How can you say that I think u don’t know the real situation I don’t want to hurt you but I really want to say that I don’t know about the situation of your country but where I live the selling one ‘s body is like you are commiting crime with yourself try to understand the real pain and in this profession there is nothing good you accept

      1. And what I think the girls who are selling themselves for magazines because of our elite people’s demand and this is the place where instead of raising flames more high we should have to control thia

      2. The thing you are comparing the concept of selling body in media and selling body in prostitution is totally different think .yourself. and we really need to change society view which is totally incorrect I know not practical but that’s what I personally thinkd

      3. I agree many of your points; this is obviously better suited to conversation than a barrage of comments: the things that are put out and accepted publicly are questionable; I think what is put out via everyday media and marketing needs a dramatic overhaul, but what people do behind closed doors is their business; if someone wants to offer their body to someone else as a service, why should they not be entitled to do that?

      4. Yeah u r totally right but in media place u or selling urself in order to get return in something but in other case people are using u and apart of money u or not getting anything better. A Prostitute is being used million time more if you compare a person who is offering himself or herself in media

      5. Of course; the comparison was more to illustrate that there are questionable uses of sexualisation in that we get exposed to everyday. It is the selling of one’s body, as prostitution is; I know little of prostitution, but I assume there are varying levels of… Quality/service, not really sure how you would describe it, but confident that it’s not all depraved.

      6. Plus in judicial basis if media people got any humiliation they can raise their voice and apart from law people they have many people to get help but in the prostitution case they have no law protection and very few of them able to get help if luckily someone courageous person come forward to help them

      7. Yeah there are various kind of services but morally I don’t like this kind job it’s just my view because what I catch from my point of view that being attractive or just having sex is no.problem. but problem is arise when the person who is using you just insult you I cannot say that in every situation this happen but in most of the cases it does really happened if not think about morally, think scientifically too its really proof harmful for their body I want to suggest you to search more about this and try to think emotionally about them and view idea about this job then when you will able to know actually what’s the real problem and I really hate when married and already engaged people does that….

        Thats what I think

      8. The main prob. Is dat most of them are forcefully dragged people who really need help for getting out of this. This is job which is giving the more opportunity to increasement of criminal activities

  11. Actually I am strongly influenced with the concept that legalizing or illegalization of this occupation will not make it safer place for people. As being feminine and by experiencing most negative anti- feminine thoughts I think I can understand what it feels like when you are being just used or judged by the so called more smarter people. I can’t say anything about other people’s conception about prostitution but what I think is that prostitution is just a very unproductive activity where you are being used just as a Commodity. I also watch an Los Angeles discovery document about this, where a girl confess herself by describe that what its look like before entering in to this and what it feel like after experience this. And there are very few days people who join this profession just because of their own will generally most of the people are dragging into this by all and for all wrong means, and there are very few people who just have sex with them, on what level I gather information about this there are many people who really brutally use them wrost than animals . Actually it’s just not only a profession it’s a dark and dirty den, and actually we can not feel the pain from which they are going through. Swedish law really done great job for providing a meaningful justice, this is the thing what I really feel always, this is the thing where all people always give a disgusting views but almost many people also involved in this.

  12. And if I have correct information about the historical circumstance of Rome prostitution, so I catch the concept like this that all this negative services provided by the people, was the people who were highly educated elite people who were dragging economically weak people by force just for pleasure, these people not join slavery by their own choice or for their own advantage. And these all services led to hampering of the meaningful development of the country, from both side from the side of prostitutes who were the victim of their own bad luck and the people who are using them were totally distracted from their ethical, professional lives. And I think this is what happening in contemporary time now . So money is not the only necessary part of life I think freedom of life also does highly matters. And in this profession there is space of freedom individual is just like a bird who is just feel their life as chain of punishment and body as a cage. I think I write it too much but this is the way where I always strongly have emotionally charged views

  13. A thoughtful blog to address the severity of issue which is usually not discussed openly. Legalisation or non-legalisation, the real problem to be addressed remains “protection of sex workers” and much required sincerity in that.

  14. And the most important thing I also felt which I really want to share with you guys is that whether you join this by ur own or just u r forced to join by others there is no limitations of humiliation you will experience here.

  15. My point of view sex that sex is not only a game that you play with anyone you want and or play with the way, the way you want whether its a wrong method or harming someone emotionally and physically. In rape case you don’t have any right to mutilate other human body just because of any shallow reason.

  16. And there are many prostitutes who really want to commit suicide becoz of depress of humiliation. In every age it always prove dangerous as very bad curse and many prostitute died just because of so mu ch brutal force

    1. This is more about toxic and horrid male attitudes towards women, lack of respect and reverence, and male abuse of women.
      Prostitution is not the problem, it’s the twisted and disrespectful men, and their attitudes and behaviours towards women.
      Of course, there is the other side of this because, of course, prostitutes are not just female.

  17. If one changed the paradigm of it to an allowable thing, you wouldnt change the morality of it or would you. Dose a crimes acceptence make it right or just permissable. I suppose its just a diffrence of opinions. To each their own or do it this way. This is a parallel to the drug debate though.

    1. A good point. I think Yyu’re right – I don’t think it would change the morality of it. In the same way Mcdonald’s being legal doesn’t make its practices morally right or boxing or putting little girls in heels or training 16 year olds up to go to war or – you could even argue – working in a bar and serving drinks to alcoholics but as morality is such a slippery concept I think it’s important to make sure people are as safe and informed as possible when they make decisions about what activities they participate in – whether they are moral or not. I think a crimes acceptance just makes it permissable but there always needs to be people looking and arguing for all sides of how far we accept that crime, what the boundaries are and how we can approach each situation in the fairest way possible without letting our own personal experiences cloud our judgement too far.

  18. In my opinion I believe that they (the marginalized sex workers should come out in the open………. Here in kenya we have a slogan – kazi ni kazi, usidharau kazi…. Meaning any work is work which should not be looked down upon . So yes maybe them coming out in the open will amount to lots of controversies but again we are not living for people but actually for ourselves to better our lives. Take for example the gayism issue….. Everyone has their school of thought but at the End of the day who is the grass being stepped beneath? There is therefore need to educate people and let them know a brighter side to prostitution being in the open for you never know where your luck substantiates from. This lady (whoever it may be can use the Income she gets from it to create something vast. So let us shun abuse of our fellow brothers and sisters

  19. Great discussion. I love hearing everyone’s views. Women AND MEN are going to always exchange sex for currency. It’s been this way for a long time. I’m not saying it’s right, or wrong, it just is. What can we do for the people that don’t want to be in this occupation, but nonetheless find themselves selling their bodies to feed the kids? Those are the people I want to help… The ones that don’t feel there is another way.

  20. Such debates are often held in the arena of man’s perception alone. The vast arena of God’s judgment is often neglected with violence. There’s a reason why God condemns sex outside of marriage.

    Man is bound to legalize every possible element of life. But legal among men is not necessarily illegal or even profitable before God.

    1. This is kind of like @openminded45’s comment about morality. I’m, personally, not a religious person but I do appreciate religious recognition that just because something is legal or illegal it doesn’t make it right or wrong, and the notion that you shouldn’t blindly follow societies morality because it may not be true to yourself and your understanding of the world (in your case, your morality is framed around Christian beliefs) but I was wondering whether you thought, with this previous discussion in mind, it would be better for individuals who participate in prostitution to have a safe, legal framework to live in rather than an illegal one regardless of whether it is correct in the eyes of God as legal status does not equal morally good? I know a lot of Christian groups help in this sort of area so it would be interesting to know your thoughts.

      1. Why do you assume that my beliefs are shaped by early Christian doctrine? I am a historian of early Christianity.

      2. Hi Sarah – that comment was in reply to hiwaychristian’s above comment rather than to your post directly – made no assumptions about you religious beliefs (or non beliefs)

      3. Ah! I see. Sometimes it is hard to figure out the responses. I just always try and keep personal religious beliefs out of my blog posts🙂

      4. Your question still debates this in the arena of man’s perception. But let’s take a look at things from God’s perspective.

        Obviously there is tremendous suffering and loss for everyone who participates in immoral behavior. And that’s just to speak of things from the perspective of this body.

        But God desires people to worship Him in spirit and in truth with great faithfulness. It is to beat the Christ imparts eternal life.

        Not only will we suffer here but they will also suffer loss for eternity.

        If there are some who call themselves Christian and want to help by enabling the profit of immoral behavior, I have nothing to say.

        I’m not so foolish as to believe that anything I say will make a bit of difference to any other man. But if I were silent on this subject what then would be the case?

  21. As a thought about this, the legalization of prostitution will have an impact on some economies, especially estearn europe countries, but non the less, the security for male and female sex workers will sadly not increase. I saw a documentary about some brothels in usa, they were really civilized about this whole thing, all the workers there were having strict rules for medical pourposes and so on, and the protection was tight, any rude behaiviour was not accepted.
    I think a good model for this bussiness can be legalized in many countries, but with strict rules regarding protection from abuses and health issues.

  22. If you are interested in learning about why prostitution is not always best legalized you have to also look into human trafficking. check out njhumantrafficking.org to learn more about it. Almost all women/ AND men who are prostituted do not do it of there free will and are trapped in sex slavery. Anyone under the age of 18 is definitely not able to consent to sex let along prostitute themselves. There is NO such thing as a child prostitute ONLY exploited children.

  23. If all the sex workers in the world are in a bomb shelter, protected by Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln, and they are far off from their own families and their little soceities and they are now addressed from a loudspeaker ‘We are ready to give you another option and respect. Now tell us who still wants to continue?’ I am pretty sure there won’t be any hands up. So legalisation or not. It must be removed. Now don’t tell me, ‘no can do’, why not make it as illegal (since there are clearly scales of illegalization) as murder, theft or treason (I am definitely not talking about punishing the workers). Give a chance to reform and space to walk.

  24. The lesser evil, should be the only starting point for a discussion of concrete. Will legalization diminish abuses?: yes; decrease sexually transmitted diseases through preventive control of the militants?: yes; etc . etc. etc. At present the human attitudes (there is no god who could mutate deviations); and in relation to the many benefits of legalizing the answer it is always the same: legalize. It can be implemented in all countries in different ways that may lead to a gradual and final (?) defeat of prostitution, but in the meantime let’s choose the lesser evil.

  25. Sarah, that’s a great piece!
    prostitution looks like this pretty sin which humans have always had, always confessed in prayers (or to those we’ve betrayed), but never forsaken. but urging that it be legalized… which new frontiers are we now trying to break?

  26. Great article, Sarah. A subject that needs discussion…

    Prostitution cannot be legislated away. It is a social problem that needs to be addressed with education, strong family and strong community; to provide the opportunity, support and moral fiber that everyone needs – not just prostitutes.

    Laws should aggressively attack trafficking, slavery and abuse of any nature. We do not need more laws to control the thoughts and actions of consenting adults – that is an affront to personal freedom that degrades life for everyone. Laws against the act of prostitution simply drive it into the hands of criminals – we see how well that’s working. Legalizing it will make pimps out of the politicians – oops, that’s redundant.

    Don’t make more laws. Enforce the ones we have against rape and child abuse and whatever they call pimping and slavery – make those penalties more severe. Focus on a free and collaborative society that grows education, opportunity and expression of free will. A stable, loving family is the first line of defense against youth becoming victimized, whether by prostitution, gangs, cults, drugs, disease, or anything else.

    Every single article I’ve read on the subject substantiates that most victims in the illegal sex industry were first victimized as kids. That is the root of the problem. Government can’t pass laws to fix that. It requires grass roots cultural improvement of society’s values and priorities.

    I’m not religious, but the social and moral structure of a church is probably the most successful model. I’d bet my bottom dollar any clear-eyed, unbiased study would substantiate that. I’m not holding my breath for that study, because academia will never be that intellectually honest about what they consider the ultimate sin – free independent thought. Their goal is to tell you what to think, which just creates more problems since they are less “right” than anyone with an ounce of common sense.

  27. I do not believe this is strictly a legal protection or society protection issue, it’s a stigma and taboo problem too. Most women (and men I suppose) are forced into sex work usually due to economic conditions (there are few exceptions in the high end escort world). Women and children are ‘sold’ by their families because of lack of money and a daughter is just another mouth to feed. Next, there is still a huge social stigma, even in the liberalized West to being a prostitute, escort worker or topless dancers, even ‘high end’ escorts carry a stigma, at the end of the day, if you accept money or gifts in exchange for sex or sexual act, a woman is tainted. As the wise Romans noted, once a woman (not so much for men) becomes a ‘prostitute’ even just once, if she takes money or gift in kind in exchange for a sex act even just once, she is ‘tainted’ and she’ll be a prostitute for life, there’s no undoing that, even if she becomes Mother Theresa and helps the poor, sick and downtrodden, she will always be referred to as a ‘former prostitute’ who turned good. That’s why the crime of assaulting a woman dressed humbly even in ‘slave’ garb is considered more serious than a woman dressed like a prostitute even though it’s both heinous and essentially the same crime. The only way the dangers towards prostitutes will change is if society (individuals, men and women alike) stop viewing prostitutes as tainted persons undeserving of protection and respect. Most people now empathize with the plight of a prostitute but most do not have the magnanimity to overlook it and not hold it against a woman for having to turn to sex work.

  28. The root of all this is social inequality and poverty. Something must be done to give these women amd men other forms of employment or opportunities for a chance at a better life.

  29. The question to your class…it is not a knowable answer without more. Certainly, places vary in specific results, but the overall effect of the legalization appears to be less violence and a higher quality of life for the workers.

  30. There are a lot of terrific drawings and paintings of prostitutes in some of the world’s great art museums. Degas, Schiele, and Klimt are three top artists who spring immediately to mind when it comes to immortalizing prostitutes. All three used them extensively as models for their works. Society might want to consider encouraging people to spend more time in art museums and less in brothels.

  31. My question is sex workers are not the prostitutes by their own will. So how can one term sex with them as consensual as though on the outer side they may be doing it but from the inner conscience they are not willing to do. It is the problem of poverty, income gap, non inclusiveness etc which forces them in this vicious life cycle of becoming sex worker and getting abused now and then. instead of legalising prostitution much should be done in empowering the marginalised and poor so that no further addition takes place in numbers of sex worker and also provide rehab and other means of employment to already prostitutes.

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