Legalization of Prostitution: Womens Studies

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  • Topic: Prostitution, Sex industry, Sex trade
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  • Published : November 29, 2010
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Legalization of Prostitution

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the vastly contentious issue of the legalization of prostitution. Within this subject I will consider both arguments for legalizing prostitution, as well as arguments against. My paper will begin with a brief summary of the appealing nature of the industry while considering the positives of the subject; including specific facts and studies that support the legalization of prostitution as beneficial. My paper will then continue with considering the opposing view of the subject as well, using specific studies that demonstrate the legalization of prostitution to be detrimental. Laws, concepts, solutions and pros and cons will all be reviewed and discussed in detail throughout my paper. My paper will then conclude with a short summary on the research collected, including a brief commentary on how the issue of prostitution, illegal or not, is connected to women’s studies.

To begin my review, I will firstly consider the positive aspects and the benefits of legalizing prostitution. If prostitution were to become a legal occupation, then programs within that occupation could be put into place to provide protection, safety and security for the women. Many women enter the world of soliciting due to a perceived lack of choice. Prostitution provides somewhat of an easy- out for many women, as it can provide a fairly reasonable income with little or no education. Changes in benefit and care systems, changes around the employment of young people, the council tax, student grants, recession and high interest rates continually make solicitation more and more appealing to young women (O’Neill, 1996). Since so many women are entering the world of prostitution, would it not seem reasonable for some of the onus to be on a responsible government to ensure the availability of specific programs to provide access to aid to all those within the industry? If the government was to legalize prostitution and treat the industry as they would any other, sex- workers would substantially benefit from the security this would provide. If sex- workers followed the laws all those in legal industries do and therefor paid taxes, then they would achieve more security through benefits such as pension plans. In Amsterdam, Dutch prostitution laws declare that all sex- workers must pay taxes and submit an income tax declaration and in Berlin a system has recently been put in place, where prostitutes have to pay their taxes in advance, a set amount per day, to be collected and paid to tax authorities, making these workers eligible for government benefits (Spiegel International, 2006).

Although various facets of prostitution appeal to some women, it is a dangerous world, as the vast amount of crime within the industry is substantial. In 2007, CBC News reported that since the early 1980s, Winnipeg has recorded 19 unsolved murders of women and transgender people who worked in the sex trade. Several more women involved in this industry have gone missing from Winnipeg’s inner-city communities (Comack & Seshia, 2010). Considering such a large percentage of women living in poverty stumble into this occupation, if the government were to make it legal and intervene with safety measures, the rate of crime against soliciting women would significantly decline. Author of Violence and Sex Work in Britain, Hilary Kinnell, argues that current law, being intolerant of prostitution, actively increases the risk of violence for those who work in the sex industry. Her argument is augmented by the following quote: “The continued exposure of workers to preventable violence is government policy” (Kinnel, n.d.). In Greece, where prostitution is legal, all sex- workers must register with the city and with the police, therefor a record of them exists, which helps to keep track of them and ensure their safety (Watt, 2006). If the act of prostitution was decriminalized, then police and authority forces would shift...
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