The Benefits and Pitfalls of Legalizing Sex Work
Prostitution has numerous debates and a lot of controversy around it. It is met with different opinions both from a legal and a moral standpoint. Only 22 of 200 countries in the world have legalized it and it led to surprising results. They realized that a sex bar isn’t something that should be banned.
As our views are becoming more and more liberal, the way we treat and see prostitution is also more reasonable. Yet there are plenty of facts and opinions that we cannot avoid as we try to figure out whether legalization is the right answer. So, let’s see a few pros and cons and try to figure it out for ourselves!
The Legalization of Sex Work
Sex work won’t disappear from the world no matter how hard we try. If our concerns are based on the people who pursue sex work then legalization might be the answer. It’s what every sex worker will want too. Laws that decriminalize and fully regulate sex work can benefit society as a whole. They will also make life much easier for sex workers. They would have access to health insurance, financial services and protection from the police.
Legalization of prostitution would indeed mitigate the inherent harm that comes with it. A woman selling sexual services would definitely be a voluntary act. Yet legalizing it would be codifying this pernicious forms of violence. It would make it completely normal and acceptable for the woman to sell their bodies and for men to buy sex. This would communicate the wrong message to children and young men as they grow up. Saying, that women should be treated as commodities.
Is it a Legitimate Business?
Sex work is a job, which involves actual work. Sex workers aren’t victims, criminals or disease bearers. They are simple workers who made a business out of their bodies. At its core is an income generating activity for men and women alike. Many sex workers started their ‘career’ to support their entire family would of it. Exploitation, unfairness and an unhealthy work environment are present in numerous other industries as well.
Prostitution is much more about sexual abuse than a simple business transaction. Participants disregard morality and openly treat another person as a sexual object to be bought. At its fundamentals, prostitution is simply violence against women. A woman’s sexual consent isn’t a commodity and sexual abuse cannot be made ‘safe’.
Opinions of Law Enforcement
It’s a fact that selling sex is completely immoral, but who should make moral judgments? Your friends, your family or the church, not the government by any means. It should be a matter of your own self-conscience. Which is why criminalizing sex work is dumb. Putting sex workers in jail only costs money for the taxpayer. While legalizing sex work generates more taxpayers. It would benefit the government and society in general, just as it did in Germany and Austria.
Most people think of prostitution as a ‘consensual crime’, because it requires the will of both participants for it to happen. But they skip the fact that prostitution is a violation of some of some basic human rights. The glamorous image painted by pop-culture, that prostitution is a sexy and well-paid job that allows women to travel around the world and stay in expensive hotels is not true. Although some women have that experience, most don’t. They often work in a small and unsafe sex bar.
Also, a lot of girls who start prostitution are underage. The average age for a woman to start prostitution is 13 years.
What About Human Trafficking?
The greatest and most violent problem about prostitution is human trafficking. In case a country criminalized sex work, sex trafficking is a lot more likely to happen. Such prohibition is what leads to the formation of criminal gangs, cartels and organized crime in general. As the numerous countries have shown, the legalization of sex work can actually eliminate sex trafficking. New Zealand’s success is a good example since there were no traces or reports of such abuse since 2003.
In this case, legalization would be a double-edged sword. We can’t tell for certain how it would affect those who are victims of sex trafficking. Decriminalization could also lead to more human trafficking. This is because a criminal organization would have the opportunity to put up a front as a legitimate business. Legalization would also decrease the amount of oversight the police has into the industry, which would make it safer for sex traffickers.