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Debate: Prostitution

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Revision as of 19:37, 16 November 2007 (edit)
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-===Should prostitution be legalised ? Do the benefits of legalisation or decriminalization outweigh the possible dangers?===+
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-This article is based on a [http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=300 Debatabase] entry written by [[User:Rob Weekes| Rob Weekes]]. Because this document can be modified by any registered user of this site, its contents should be cited with care.+
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-===Background and Context of Debate:===+
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-As the world’s oldest profession, legal prohibition of prostitution has failed to eradicate the business. There have long been clear religious and ethical objections to the practice of selling sexual services, and indeed to sex outside of the marital union.However, prostitution has also become associated with several modern problems. The sexually transmitted virus HIV poses greater dangers to the health of prostitutes and their clients. Gangs which perpetrate organised crime force prostitutes to work on their behalf and compel them to become involved in the dealing and use of drugs. The UN has recently reported that many young women from Eastern European countries such as Kosovo and Albania are being brought into Germany and Italy as illegal immigrants and forced to work as prostitutes. Nonetheless, many feminists and advocates of individual liberty have recently expressed support for prostitution. As an alternative to ethical concepts, the realist might acknowledge that when the law has so conspicuously failed to preclude prostitution, it may be better to eliminate the problems associated with it, rather than the trade itself. Different solutions to these problems have been proposed, and these can be divided into the options of prohibition, ‘decriminalisation’ and ‘legalisation’. To decriminalise prostitution is to remove laws against it; to legalise it is, in addition, to provide regulations and licences for legally run brothels. In Britain and some German states, the receipt of money in exchange for sex is not illegal, but the action of ‘soliciting’ the business is unlawful. It is also illegal for a prostitute to work in partnership with another, or for a pimp to offer their services. These laws amount to making prostitution prohibited. In the Dutch city of Amsterdam and the state of New South Wales in Australia, the decriminalisation approach has been followed. Although prostitution is not explicitly regarded as being lawful, there are not laws that prohibit i+
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-===Argument #1===+
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-====Yes====+
-Prostitution is simply an issue of individual liberty. The control of one’s own body is the most basic of human rights. We do not impose legal penalties upon men and women who choose to be promiscuous. Why should the exchange of money suddenly make an incident of lawful and consensual sexual intercourse an illegal act?+
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-====No====+
-Prostitutes do not have a genuine choice. They are often encouraged to work before they are old enough to make a reasoned decision. Many have their reasoning impaired by an unhappy family background or previous sexual abuse. They may be compelled to enter prostitution by circumstances beyond their control, such as substance addiction or the necessity to provide for a family.+
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-===Argument #2===+
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-====Yes====+
-Granted that prostitution has been present in societies across the world for thousands of years, governments should recognise that it cannot be eradicated. Consequently they should pass legislation that makes prostitution safer, rather than persist with futile and dangerous prohibition.+
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-====No====+
-Governments have a duty to protect the moral and physical health of their citizens. Initiating the legalisation of prostitution would grant implicit approval to a dangerous and immoral practice. Prostitution should never be regarded as a legitimate career option for a young girl.+
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-===Argument #3===+
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-====Yes====+
-Prostitutes have performed a valid social function for thousands of years. Prostitution actually helps maintain marriages and relationships. Instead of a relationship, a purely physical transaction occurs, a commercial exchange which does not jeopardise the emotional stability of a relationship. In Italy, for example, a visit to a prostitute does not violate the law against adultery.+
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-====No====+
-Prostitution harms the fabric of society. Sexual intercourse outside of a relationship of love, or even marriage, shows disregard for the sanctity of the sexual act and for the other partner in a relationship. Emotional commitment is inextricably linked to physical commitment.+
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-===Argument #4===+
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-====Yes====+
-Many libertarian feminists consider that prostitution reflects the independence and dominance of modern women. The majority of prostitutes are women. Once the dangers of abuse from male clients and pimps are removed, the capacity of women to control the sexual responses of men in a financially beneficial relationship is liberating. Furthermore, many campaigners for the rights of prostitutes note that the hours are relatively short, the work well-remunerated, and the services they offer are ones that other women are compelled to provide without charge.+
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-====No====+
-The overwhelming trend of feminism is against prostitution. The radical feminist school that emerged in the 1990s supports the orthodoxy that prostitution leads to the objectification of women. The use of a woman’s body solely for the purpose of sexual gratification does not treat them as a person. This lack of respect dehumanises both prostitute and client, and does not represent a victory for either sex.+
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-===Argument #5===+
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-====Yes====+
-Reports in the United States suggest that prostitution is responsible for preventing some incidence of sex crime.+
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-====No====+
-There is no method of proving that some individuals who visit prostitutes would otherwise have committed violent offences. Psychological therapies that recommended the use of prostitutes have now been widely discredited. The number of violent attacks on prostitutes, including rape and murder, and the considerably greater number of such crimes which are believed to go unreported, suggests that prostitutes themselves are the victims of the most serious criminal offences. In Victoria, where prostitution is legalised, there are two rapes of prostitutes reported each week.+
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-===Argument #6===+
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-====Yes====+
-Legalisation would improve the sexual health of prostitutes, and by implication, their clients. The activity occurs in a clean and safe environment rather than on the street. In Nevada and Victoria prostitutes undergo regular health checks as a condition of working in the brothels. Furthermore, the use of contraception is compulsory and such devices are made freely available.+
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-====No====+
-More sexual health problems are inevitable. When prostitution is lawful and increasingly regarded as socially acceptable, a greater number of people will use prostitutes. Medical studies show that the condom is only ninety-nine per cent effective. Moreover, during the period between each health check, a prostitute could catch and transmit a sexually transmitted disease. Consequently, the legalisation of prostitution will result in the transmission of more potentially fatal diseases.+
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-===Argument #7===+
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-====Yes====+
-Legalisation of prostitution would break the link between their managers or ‘pimps’. These individuals subject prostitutes to physical abuse and threats of violence, retain a portion of their earnings, and often encourage them to become addicted to drugs. The provision of a secure environment in which to work would allow men and women to be independent of these individuals.+
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-====No====+
-The legalisation of the ‘Bunny Ranch’ in Nevada did not prevent the majority of prostitutes from continuing to work outside of the licensed brothel, and remain dependent on pimps. This is because brothels are more expensive environments for prostitutes to work and clients to visit. Rent, health checks, and security, are some of the costs which make it uneconomic for some prostitutes to be employed in brothels. In Britain, where prostitution is virtually prohibited, some prostitutes use private apartments, whilst others work on the street. Legalisation of prostitution does not remove the street market, or the dangers associated with it. The dangerous street environment is generated by simple economics, not legal controls.+
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-===Argument #8===+
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-====Yes====+
-Legalised brothels improve the quality of life for people who live and work in areas currently frequented by prostitutes. Brothels can be licensed only in specified areas distant from houses and schools.+
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-====No====+
-Prostitutes will continue to work on the streets, and are unlikely to work nearby to the competition offered by the licensed brothels. Furthermore, it is questionable whether local councils would wish to create ‘ghettos’ of prostitution on the outskirts of towns.+
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-===Argument #9===+
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-====Yes====+
-Existing legal prohibition of soliciting, or of prostitution itself, does not work. Prostitutes are regularly convicted of summary offences and fined. It is then necessary for them to return to work as prostitutes in order to repay the fines. British police officers have described this method of legal prohibition of prostitution as a ‘revolving door’. The laws banning prostitution are in fact counter-productive.+
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-====No====+
-Merely because some individuals break a law does not mean that the law itself is at fault, or that it should be abolished. The ease with which prostitutes can return to work suggests that penal sanctions should be more severe, rather than removed altogether.+
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-===Argument #10===+
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-====Yes====+
-Legalisation of prostitution would bring clear economic benefit for governments. A tax on the fee charged by a prostitute, and the imposition of income tax on the earnings of prostitutes would generate revenue.+
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-====No====+
-An economic benefit cannot take precedence over social harms that result from the legalisation of certain prohibited activities. Otherwise we would encourage governments to become involved in other unlawful trades, such as the trafficking of drugs. Moreover, there is no evidence that the sex workers would declare their true earnings from what is a confidential relationship between the worker and his or her client. Hence it is likely that the amount of revenue would not be very significant.+
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-===Argument #11===+
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-====Yes====+
-The problem of a high concentration of ‘sex tourists’ in a small number of destinations will disappear once a larger number of countries legalise prostitution. Supporting this motion, therefore, will reduce the problem of sex tourism.+
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-====No====+
-The legalisation of prostitution would render the country in question a destination for sex tourism. Relaxed legal controls on prostitution in Thailand, the Philippines and Amsterdam have made these countries attractive for individuals, many of whom the local population would not regard as desirable visitors to a country or city.+
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-==References:==+
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-== Motions ==+
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-* This House Would Have Lots More Sex+
-* This House Would Legalise Brothels+
-* This House Would Decriminalize Prostitution+
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-==In legislation, policy, and the real world==+
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-==See also on Debatepedia:==+
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-==External links and resources:==+
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-== Books ==+
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-* [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1860491995/interntionaldeba/104-5333130-0270319 Fiona’s Story] : Irene Ivison+
-* [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0415912281/interntionaldeba/104-5333130-0270319 Live Sex Acts : Women Performing Erotic Labour] : W Chapkis+
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-[[Category:Debatabase]]+
-[[Category:Legal]]+
-[[Category:Moral]]+
-[[Category:Legislation and policy]]+
-[[Category:Sex and reproduction]]+
-[[Category:Entertainment]]+
-[[Category:Individual rights]]+

Revision as of 13:00, 19 November 2007

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