The question as to whether prostitution should be legalized undoubtedly remains one of the exigent issues of public discourse. The underpinning factors influencing the views of many people hinge on public morality, culture differences, religious considerations, human rights and so forth. Today, prostitution has been legalized either partly or wholly in Denmark, Canada, France, Mexico, Netherlands, Israel, England and Wales. Meanwhile, prostitution remains illegal in Ghana and all the states (except Nevada) in United States as well as others countries. Notwithstanding, prostitution and for that commercial sex is still traded in these countries. Advocates for and against legalization of prostitution continue to influence several national legislations to their favour. This piece attempts to answer the above question as well as stating some concrete recommendations to curb the menace. Our discussion is going to be organized around the following contours: I. Explaining what prostitution means
II. Causes of prostitution
III. Arguments against criminalization of prostitution
IV. Arguments in favour of criminalization of prostitution
V. The Ghanaian position
I. EXPLAINING WHAT PROSTITUTION MEANS
Prostitution is generally defined to mean the act of engaging in sexual intercourse in exchange for money. In R v Webb, it was stated that: ‘prostitution is proved if it (can) be shown that a woman offers her body for the purpose of common prostitution’. The word ‘common’ involves procuring a woman to act as a prostitute on more than one occasion. Prostitution is not limited to cases involving sexual intercourse. It is not, in itself, an offence, but it is an offence to cause others to become prostitutes or to live on the earnings of prostitution. In R v Ansell and R v Thomas, the accused were guilty of living off the earnings of prostitution. In the latter case, the accused, knowing a woman to be a prostitute, agreed to let her have the use of his room at specified times at a charge. It was held that he was knowingly living off the earnings of prostitution. According to P.K Twumasi in his book, The Criminal Law of Ghana, under the Ghanaian Criminal
code, to be guilty of prostitution, it must strictly be proved that:
· the accused lives on the earnings of prostitution;
· some female practices prostitution;
· she earns her money or money’ worth out of such practice;
· the accused depends for his livelihood wholly or in part on such earnings; and
· the accused knows that he is dependant or lives wholly or in part on such earnings.
II. CAUSES OF PROSTITUTION
Poverty is one of the major causes of prostitution. It is a fact that majority of prostitutes enter into the commercial sex business as the last option or as an involuntary way of making ends meet. ‘Most women in prostitution did not make a rational choice to enter prostitution. They did not sit down one day and decide that they wanted to be prostitutes. Rather, such “choices” are better termed “survival strategies.” Rather than consent, a prostituted woman more accurately complies to the only options available to her. Her compliance is required by the very fact of having to adapt to conditions of inequality that are set by the customer who pays her to do what he wants her to do.’ A survey reveals that in Ghana most prostitutes, especially girls between twelve and sixteen are among the numerous women who parade in the open to solicit for sex in return for money. These girls are sometimes compelled to satisfy the sexual desires of their male counterparts to get food to eat.
In Accra alone, there are one hundred and twenty five brothels where young girls are forced into prostitution. Girls, mostly from poverty-stricken families in rural areas are the victims.
Drug addicts may also end up in prostitution.
III. ARGUMENTS FOR LEGALINIZING PROSTITUTION
According the Wolfenden...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document