Why should Prostitution be legalized?

legal prostitutes

Prostitution is the process of engaging in sexual activity with someone who is not your spouse for pay or in exchange of valuable items. Sex workers can be male, female or transgender. Prostitution forms an interesting chapter in the history of civilization. It is a rising problem in the history of current society. In most countries, sex work are activities associated with are criminal acts.  Sex work is criminalized not only through prohibitions on selling sexual services but also through laws that prohibit solicitation of sex work or brothel keeping. A number of developed countries have been in the run to offer solutions and none of them are satisfactory. The society often refers prostitution as the “oldest profession”. Prostitution has been in existence since Old Testament tales to todays red street lights. It has taken a number of stages from being praised, tolerated, and prosecuted to the current society which ignores the tales.

A number of developed countries have legalized prostitution. For instance, Netherlands legalized prostitution in 1997 and in the same year, two hundred and fifty brothels were listed in Amsterdam. In the recent years, residents of the city of Amsterdam have been protesting against sex abuse and violation. In this regard, laws have to be established and governments should lift the ban on brothels. This will then help in reflection of today’s society reality. In addition, it will legalize employment of women who are above the age of consent. Australia and Germany have joined Netherlands in legalizing prostitution. One in nine bordellos have been legitimized in Australia. As a result, prostitution in this country has led to an increased demand for sex. The number of underground brothels have increased as well. The people who run these places take advantage of innocent young women and force them into prostitution which would be avoided if sex workers were allowed to speak up.

Although there are many reasons that support anti-legalization of prostitution, there are advantages associated to legitimization as well. Advocates of legalization argue that it will reduce cases of child trafficking and prostitution because if adults can practice it legally, they will not necessarily drag teenagers in to it. They also state it will help curb women abuse and violence. This is because it will no longer be against their will and thus, will engage in the act voluntarily which can be a source of income.

Prostitution Facts
Sad but true facts about prostitution
  1. Decrease in the number of rape cases

Legalization of sex work will lead to decrease in rape cases especially in urban centers. Sex workers will enjoy safer and better working conditions which lessens exposure to harm. Also, it will be an opportunity to pass laws in this industry that will protect the rights of sex workers. This means that they can sue clients who harass them or try to take advantage of them in any way.

  1. Helps in reducing human violation and exploitation

Cases of human violation and sex exploitation can be reduced if the society acknowledges the existence of prostitution. This can be achieved by guaranteeing the existence of legal and social rights of prostitutes. Safety policies in the brothels should be at par such that they protect women from harm. Clients and brothel owners should not abuse sex workers. Also, minors will not be forced in to prostitution and can seek legal advice without prejudice.

  1. Helps guard against violence and abuse

Decriminalizing of prostitution will also make sex workers less vulnerable to their clients. Clients sometimes rob sex workers off their valuables. Several murder cases of sex workers have been reported in countries where prostitution is illegal and clients often get away with. Legalizing sex work will give opportunities to sex workers to form communities where they can share experiences about dangerous and abusive clients. This way, they can work together to stop this trend.

  1. Improves access to health services

Sex workers can have healthy sex lives because they can freely seek medication from health centers without the fear of discrimination. Decriminalizing prostitution will also give sex workers access to health insurance from their employers. This way, they can get treated for Sexually Transmitted Diseases and other infections.

  1. Helps in curbing human trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of violation where women and girls are coerced for sex exploitation. Sex workers can provide data that will aid in the fight against human trafficking by reporting persons who are victimized. In India, a sex worker regulatory body, the Durbar hila Samamwasya committee in songachi (Kolkata) were able to identify victims who had been kidnapped with the intention of exploiting them sexually. If prostitution is decriminalized, sex workers can collaborate with law enforcement.

  1. Helps in reduction of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Decriminalization will empower sex workers with the ability to negotiate use of protection e.g. condoms with their clients. Open negotiations rarely happen in countries where prostitution is illegal because sex workers are at a risk of being arrested thus hinders them from using protection. As a result, they can easily contract HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Some countries have banned the use of condoms and if one is found with one, it is immediately assumed that he or she is a sex worker.

  1. Establishment of safe working conditions

Decriminalization helps in establishment of safe working conditions. New Zealand is a perfect example of countries that have included sex work in Health and safety Employment Act. This has led to development of career regulations that sex workers can use to voice their rights with employers and clients. The act creates a safer working condition. They can organize collectively and address risk factors hindering them.

  1. Reduction of police abuse and violence

Majority of the people who are abuse sex workers are police officers. Where commercial sex is prohibited, police officers often arrest and threaten sex workers. They also face public humiliation and physical abuse. In Cambodia, sex workers have been reported to being beaten and raped by police officers. In this context, police officers take advantage because sex workers fear being arrested and further being physically abused if they are reported. In as much as decriminalization of sex work may not completely phase out police impunity, it can however empower sex workers to file cases on officers who assault them.

  1. Respect of Human Rights And Personal Dignity

Some people venture in commercial sex for various reasons. A source of livelihood and additional revenue can be a major reason why they opt to prostitution. However, despite the nature of their source of income, all people deserve be treated with dignity. Sex work must be acknowledged like any other source of livelihood because these workers are able to comfortably support and fend for their families. Sex workers around the globe have united to fight for their rights but this cannot be achieved if sex work is termed as illegal in many countries.

  1. Decriminalization Challenges Stigma and Discrimination

Stigma that is associated with commercial sex lowers one’s self esteem. In United States, individuals who commit crimes relating to commercial sex are treated similarly with sex offenders. In addition, they must carry documents that identify them as sex offenders. This restricts them from getting equal access to housing and other social amenities. Further, they cannot find work that is not sex related. If prostitution is legalized, sex workers can be recognized as individuals who engage in sexual activities for money or other rewards but not as out casts in the society.

  1. Source of livelihood

Adults indulge in sex work so as a means of employment. For some, Sex work can be the only the source of income they can find. Others find sex work as better paying and with more flexible working hours. For some, it is a part time job. Governments should therefore legalize sex work as this can be a source of tax revenue. Benefits can be derived by both the government and sex workers.

In conclusion, prostitution should be legalized. There are strong arguments that attest to the above. Like other people, sex workers deserve to be treated with dignity. They ought to seek legal advice and health services without being discriminated or abused. Also, the income they get from these activities enables them to fend for their families which reduces poverty levels. Legalization of prostitution is undoubtedly the best strategy towards eradicating the issues that sex workers are currently.

References

https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/politics/a20067359/why-prostitution-should-be-legal/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-women-prostitution-idUSKBN1OA28N

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decriminalization_of_sex_work

Consent – There Are No Blurred Lines!

Sexual Conent

What does this word consent mean?

And look like anyway?

 

So let’s break this down, waaaaaay down. You’ve probably heard about consent by now. It is becoming a bigger part of our society so it’s time we added some easy to understand information about it for you.

 

Consent is actively (and hopefully enthusiastically) agreeing to any sexual activity with someone.

 

Not agreeing, or being forced to participate unwillingly in any sexual activity (including oral, penetrative, phone, photo sharing, sexting, groping/genital touching and verbal) is sexual assault and/or rape.

 

Pretty serious right?

 

Planned Parenthood describes consent as easy as FRIES

 

Freely given – it cannot be coerced

Reversible – you can change your mind anytime

Informed – you need the full story

Enthusiastic – only do what you’re excited about, not what you’re expected to

Specific- yes to one thing does not mean yes to everything.

 

You can always change your mind during any sexal act if you start to feel uncomfortable. You can even ask to slow down. The big ticket is communication. Make sure that you are comfortable enough to speak your mind with whoever you are being intimate with. If you don’t feel comfortable it might be an indication that you should wait. Go slow. Take your time. Check in with yourself frequently.

 

Now we’ve looked at ourselves and consent, time to look at the people we are with. We are not mind readers, and sometimes people don’t speak their minds, we get it, so it is very important to take everything into consideration in the heat of the moment even when you are super excited. What is their body language like? Are they leaning closer or leaning away? Are they hesitant? Are they excited? Check in with your partner? Ask them if they like this or that? Ask them if you can kiss them here, or touch them there. Remove this piece of clothing. If they say yes, green light. Do it. If they say no, stop. Ask them if they are ok. If they pause, slow down, check in, see if you need to slow down or stop altogether. They might just need to catch their breath. But you won’t know unless you ask. Communication is the key.

 

Consent violation is more and more pressing and recognised in society and comes in many forms. For years the topic of clothing and how a person dresses has been portrayed in news and headlines as “asking for it.” BBC’s Quickies portrays it quite well that what we wear does equal skiing for anything. We see one of the actors barging into a conference room, dressed professionally and saying “i’m here for my promotion. Clearly I’m asking for it.” or another dressed for vacation and leaving work stating that they didn’t need to clear it with HR because, I mean, look at what she was wearing. Her intent was clear. Wasn’t it? The clip sends a resounding message that what we wear is not consent. It’s a no.

 

 

Over time, many have felt the need to be silent about their consent being violated. But this is not the case. It is important to confide in people you are close to, and if it is a serious offence, to contact the local authorities to ensure that this behaviour does not continue.

 

Violating Consent can look like:

  • Refusing to acknowledge “no”

  • Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for anything more

  • Someone being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the law

  • Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol

  • Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation

  • Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you’ve done it in the past

#Thisdoesntmeanyes

World famous photographer Perou started the campaign #Thisdoesntmeanyes, photographing 120 women in london at random to outline the rape culture that was happening in London. Their website could not be more accurate when it comes to consent:

A SHORT SKIRT IS NOT A YES.

A RED LIP IS NOT A YES.

A WINK IS NOT A YES.

A SLOW DANCE IS NOT A YES.

A WALK HOME IS NOT A YES.

A DRINK BACK AT MINE IS NOT A YES.

A KISS ON THE SOFA IS NOT A YES.

WHAT I WEAR AND HOW I BEHAVE ARE NOT INVITATIONS.

THERE’S A MYTH THAT SURROUNDS WOMEN, A MYTH THAT EMBROILS THEM:

WOMEN WHO DRESS OR BEHAVE SUGGESTIVELY,

WOMEN WHO ARE PLAYFUL OR WHO ACT PROVOCATIVELY,

WOMEN WHO FLIRT OR OPENLY DISCUSS SEX – THEY’RE ‘ASKING FOR IT’.

IT’S AN INSIDIOUS FABLE, AND IT NEEDS TO STOP.

EVERY WOMAN HAS A RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

NO WOMAN DESERVES TO BE RAPED FOR IT.

NO ONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO BLAME RAPE ON A SHORT SKIRT.

A SHORT SKIRT CAN’T TALK – A SHORT SKIRT CAN’T SAY ‘YES’.

THE ONLY YES SHOULD BE AN ACTIVE AND EMBODIED ‘YES!’

 

But it is not only Women. Consent is important regardless of gender, sexuality and diversity. Too often we disregard a no and even degrade the importance of such topics because men have been seen to “handle it”. Not only is it important to be respectful of ALL consent. It is important to remember that many people have also been taken advantage of saying that consent has been violated when in fact it wasn’t the case. So now in society not only are there Consent Violators, there are also False Stories of Consent. Both can gravely hurt and injure a person’s psyche, mentality, self esteem and trust.

 

So How can we tackle consent?

The above video is a brilliant representation of thinking of consent like offering a person a cup of tea. That you can’t force a person to drink tea if they say no. You cannot get an unconscious person to drink tea. A person can say yes, and then choose not to drink the tea once it arrives.

 

We can talk about consent. Make it normal and break the stigma around keeping silent. If someone discloses a moment when they were uncomfortable or their consent was compromised or broken, listen attentively and supportively. Sympathise and ask if there is anything you can do to help them, or get them in touch with someone who could help. Please try not to be dismissive when someone is visibly hurt or upset by something that has happened to them.

 

We can teach consent, constantly and consistently with everyone. Everyone benefits from talking about consent. The more we talk about our own experiences of asking consent in situations, the more we will all learn different ways to practice asking consent. And it can be sexy.

 

Consent Examples everyone can try:

 “Can I touch your arm.”

“Can I kiss you?”

“Can I take off your shirt?”

“Can I hold your phone to look at that picture?”

“I would love to hold you closer, is that ok?”

“Would you like to try anal play?

“Want to see some pictures of me naked?”

“Is this ok?”

“Does my ***** feel nice?”

 

Consent can be sexy and inviting when you use your imagination, when you’re enthusiastic and when you’re respectful.

 

At your Service,

 

Tiffany

OhZone Adult Shop Sales Assistant, Educator and Consent Advocate.

Looking at sexuality, ethics and intellectual disabilities!

When does consent not count?

In 2015, Conor Gallagher reported a story where a Dublin woman with Down syndrome was allegedly raped by a 34-year-Faisal Ellahi (Down syndrome woman ‘lacked capacity to consent to intercourse’). The man plead not guilty stating that the sex was in fact consensual, he also stated that he was unaware of her limited mental capacity. It is a common misconception that those people with Down syndrome or other forms of intellectual disabilities do not feel the need to explore their sexuality. However, the real is, that all people including those with intellectual disabilities have sexual needs, desires and feelings and these need to be addressed and explored. As a society we have made it difficult for people with disabilities to explore their sexuality but placing down laws that restrict this exploration by calling it protection.

Downs syndrome
Rapist

But what is an intellectual disability?

Down syndrome,  is a form of an intellectual disability characterised but not limited to: a deficit in at least two areas of adaptive behaviour which can be an inability to self-care, communicate, work or learn, a clear lack of social skills, purpose or direction; and an IQ of 70 or below (The Intellectual Disability Rights Service, n.d). A person with an intellectual disability, even a mild one would have little comprehension of what the legal process required of them without help. In Australia, one needs to seek ‘informed consent’ that is when a participant engaging in sexual relations lacks the capacity to consent, the participants should be informed of all relevant information before deciding if they wish to continue (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2017). It is also important to note that the capacity to consent is subject to change, a participant might agree to sexual activity and then say no once sexual conduct begins just like how consent works for everybody else.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Back in the Dublin courtroom, the court heard that the woman with Down syndrome lacked the ability to consent to sex (Gallagher, 2015). This was due to the fact that the woman could not independently protect herself, the court also heard that she had a trusting nature because life had not taught her to be cautious of others. This is not the man’s fault that she was not given the adequate tools or information to make an informed decision – the woman consented to an act she thought she was prepared but perhaps was not. There is a lack of education and sexual discourse as it is somewhat of a taboo to think that people with intellectual disabilities are engaging in sex. The court also heard that people with intellectual disabilities in fact have sexual desires and have the right to express them (Gallagher, 2015). There is a real contradiction here where we have started to address that people with intellectual disabilities are sexual beings but we are still limiting their sexual conduct and discourses. To help provide a healthy sexual experience for people with intellectual disabilities there must be more education around sex, consent and sexual practices but we are creating legal barriers that effectively halt sexual expression. That is like telling your child it is okay to paint with whatever colour they like and with whoever like, finding out your child was painting with your neighbour’s child and then reprimanding the neighbour’s child.

The sexual revolution comes in education – that is liberation!

I am not so naive to think that a sexual liberation for people with intellectual disabilities is upon us, and of course these laws and rules and stigmas stem from the vulnerability that abuse is much more likely to happen to someone who cannot comprehend sexual discourses. However, it is my claim that this is part of the problem is if someone is unaware of sex, their sexuality and consent they cannot agree or disagree to a notion that they can’t comprehend. By educating the intellectual disabled with age appropriate information they will be able to comprehend, process and consent or reject sexual advances. Being able to understand and process someone’s sexual advances and in turn giving them agency to decide if they want to do with their bodies. This course of action can also be seen as a tool of protection rather than the current model of action we take which is clearly not working.

Personal morals vs sexual ethics:

Are your beliefs clouding your judgement?

The most problematic part of this debate is how someone feels towards this issue will be dependent on their moral fiber, each person will bring a slightly different opinion to the table. What you must do is look at this from an ethical standpoint, is it morally okay to sexually repress people with intellectual disabilities because the idea makes you uncomfortable? Or is this merely a praxis to eliminate possible sexual abuse against those most vulnerable? Is better education needed for families, partners, caregivers when helping someone explore their sexuality? Or is it only okay for an intellectually disabled person to engage in sexual acts with another intellectually disabled person? At the end of the day we understand that we are all sexual beings and until there is more tailored approaches for each person and better education we are not going to see any changes to this system that clearly isn’t working.