Prostitution Legal

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  • Topic: Prostitution, Sex industry, Sex worker
  • Pages : 5 (1998 words )
  • Download(s) : 72
  • Published : March 23, 2013
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In order to assuage a society that looks down on the commodification of sex, perhaps there is a happy medium between the status quo and outright legalization of prostitution. The idea to criminalize the purchase of sex rather than the sale of sex (i.e. focus on prosecuting the johns rather than the prostitutes) presents a novel, though effective, approach to tackle . As Max Waltman points out in his New York Times April 2012 Op-Ed entitled, “Criminalize Only the Buying of Sex,” this latter approach has seemingly worked in Sweden to achieve a markedly decrease in prostitution. Emphasizing the human rights angle of not being bought and sold, the Swedish law focused on the party with the purchasing power in the transaction (i.e. the john)—in hopes to prevent him/her from even fathoming conducting business with someone who entered the “world’s oldest profession” likely because of some dire circumstance. Mr. Waltman discusses in his Op-Ed that the origins of becoming a prostitute stem from feelings and actual inequality, perhaps originating from early [childhood] sexual abuse that led to poor decisions including not pursuing higher education, which in turn ultimately transpired into homelessness and subsequent entering into the world of prostitution. Reflected in the studies Mr. Waltman cites on the obvious psychological implications on sex workers that feel they cannot escape the industry, rather than proclaiming dissatisfaction with the prostitute’s line of work, the Swedish model subsequently attempts to equalize such disparities between the supplier and consumer (who may or may not share similar unfortunate experiences as the prostitute) of sexual commodities. Of course this may be an overgeneralization; yet, the basic gist of the Swedish law puts the burden on the more powerful party having the financial control in acquiring paid-for sex. In economic terms, the Swedish law hopes to create a lack of demand (due to the risks involved with completing the sex transaction). As the Op-Ed continues, research has proven that, since the adoption of these john-focused laws, prostitution and trafficking have drastically decreased in Sweden even as the number of prostituted women has increased in neighboring countries. While the United States may not yet be ready to divert from the current state of circumstances and stigmatic attitudes concerning the prostitute, john-focused reform can come in the guise of many alternatives that are not as explicit as the Swedish Model. I am reminded of the episode in Kennebunk, Maine from October 2012. After a prostitution ring at a Zumba studio was discovered, the local police department released the names of at least 100 individuals involved in paying for sex. Although this practice of shining light on the johns may seem somewhat dramatic, authorities at a local level were perhaps motivated less by embarrassing these individuals and more so by deterring future purchasers of sex. If we Americans are going to achieve a society dealing with prostitution in the model of Sweden (which has reduced prostitution to levels that the most conservative moralists desire), we should consider applying the Kennebunk standard to other jurisdictions. Nevertheless, although some individuals may feel that such a list may spark outrage and embarrassment for individuals with community reputations to uphold, perhaps he/she should have thought of that risk when conducting illegal activities. Meanwhile, the other side of the debate focuses on the moral justifications for entering the profession of prostitution itself—that is, deterring prostitutes from ever wanting to become prostitutes in the first place in hopes to create a utopian society where no sex workers even exist at the outset. In economic terms, this would correlate with lack of supply. Perhaps the Swedish model is nothing more than a law that is meant to benefit the prostitute, yet in fact causes sex workers even greater economic...
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