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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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