Prostitution…a crime?

15 Nov

Over the past decade across Britain the number of sex workers/prostitutes murdered across Britain is believed to lie anywhere between 65 and 150 with only one quarter of the cases ever being solved. Although the nature of their work is extremely controversial the majority of women are left hopeless and defenceless against men like the Ipswich serial killer; Stephen Wright, or men akin to the likes of Peter Sutcliffe. It is a debate that has gone on for decades, but perhaps now is the time to make the lives of these sex workers safer and more legitimate?

Whilst many argue that work within the sex trade is abusive and degrading to women who therefore need protecting, others take the stance that these women choose to work in this environment so ultimately it is up to them to defend themselves.  For these, it is never a case of concerning themselves with why they do what they do but more so with what they do.

There are an abundance of methods being suggested to implement some control amongst such a contentious  industry, everything ranging from controlled
zones for these prostitutes to work under the surveillance of the police to full legalisation of the industry, however many simply argue that such methods
go on to legitimise the mistreatment of women.

At the moment prostitution is a criminal offence, and the only real scheme of control is arresting these women and their clients in hope that they will not go back out onto the streets. But none of the issues surrounding why they choose to embark on a journey into such an occupation are ever really addressed, and so the vicious cycle ensues.

After listening to a BBC Radio 4 broadcast during the programme Woman’s Hour on the 11, November of this year I was actually astounded (although I wasn’t sure whether negatively or not) with  the story of the Nevada brothels in the USA, the only state in America which authorises legal prostitution.  The main visit that had me hooked was the programmes visit to the Moonlight Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nevada. The club’s owner Dennis Hof, spoke so openly about how the club sold sex, but most importantly about how the girls were protected. It appeared that the stance of receptiveness to the industry proved that no real harm could occur. But then again, a man that has made so much money from such a trade isn’t really going to admit any problem with that sort of system is he?

Dennis also drew attention to the clubs policy that all girls had to be checked at the STI clinics and all reports were available to view by the clients on entry, which once again is another issue that is usually bypassed through the discussion of prostitution.

 Ok, I’ve even gone so far as to look up the clubs website, I wouldn’t say it’s tasteful, but I would say it detracts away from the negative and ominous subtext, if these girls truly are protected and they truly are working of their own free will then why should it be a problem?

 Like it or not, men pay for sex with women each and every day whether we hear about it or we don’t. But what we do hear about are the murders, the rapes and the abuse of women in such a trade, and criminalising it has not solved the problem.

 I would never condone such a job, or visiting  a prostitute for selfish needs but I know that whether I like it or not or whether you like it or not that it will still continue to exist and so too will their abuse and exploitation therefore why shouldn’t we adopt some method of control? Particularly, when our current government is so keen to make money, I’m surprised they haven’t picked up on the likely tax they could make on the decriminalisation of the industry.

 Controversial I know…


4 Responses to “Prostitution…a crime?”

  1. jonas November 15, 2011 at 8:29 PM #

    Very interesting choice of topic here! I have a few issues with the proposition; firstly, just because it works in one state in america doesn’t mean it would work in a whole country, secondly, our governing system has institutions such as the church of england or catholic church who not only have a big say in legislation but strongly oppose prostitution so it would be a major fight to put mechanism into place for legalising it and thirdly, the money the government would make by taxing prostitutes would be paid before the act or after? Because the taxman might not see a penny or be lied to of how much was made in a nights action, fourthly, the money made would not be close to the amount spent in legislating such a wide ranging “business” so to speak!

    • Nadya SJ November 15, 2011 at 8:38 PM #

      Thanks for your comment. I completely understand where you’re coming from. In terms of religion, I have no idea why that has to come into politics, ultimately that is why religion is reponsible for a lot of the wars we currently have going on. That is a completely seperate issue however, but I must say I didnt really figure religion into the equation, probably because I myself am not religious and because I wouldn’t want to focus on one religion over another. It is also important to note that Nevada does have religious morals and ethical codes too and am sure has had much opposition over the legalisation of prostitution. Obviously I am not saying that such a method of control such as that of Nevada would work with England but it is something worth considering even if it is just that. In terms of taxation, I imagine it would be like any other self-employment, you would fill out a tax form at the end of the tax year. Every person that is self-employed could potentially lie on their tax form whether they are an electrician, exotic dancer or prostitute. And I’m sure, given the current tax laws that legislating something such as the sex industry would bring with it plenty of profit. The government are very good at that I must say.

  2. andreeaglavan November 15, 2011 at 10:17 PM #

    This subject is in fact a very controversial one anywhere in the world (I was raised in a culture and have done my studies in a totally different one, and in both I’ve encountered similar opinions and pro and cons arguments). Prostitution is one of the oldest ‘professions’ in the world and we all know how the market works, where there’s demand, you offer a service. Sex sells, from all the adverts we see out there to the act in itself and if advertising agencies or large corporations are making money out of selling sex as an image, why shouldn’t governments make money out of selling sex as an act. As far as the morals of this issues are concerned, I see no harm in legalising it, if we don’t aknowledge it, it will not go away, but become an even bigger issue. If we are oblivient to all the violence on the women that chose to this in life, I think we are to blame. And the most important aspect of this matter is the posibility to check the ’employees’ for STDs, it would make the world a safe place, because we all know it’s happening, we all know of someone who did it once, ignoring it will only make things worse.

    • Nadya SJ November 15, 2011 at 10:40 PM #

      I’m pleased to read that I’m getting a mixed abundance of comments on this issue, it’s good to get a debate going. Thank you Andrea. I’d go as far as to agree with the majority of your comments made, sex definitely is used a means of selling and it definitely works or else these multi-million dollar companies (ahem…I’m not naming any) would not be so multi-million huh? I’m still not 100% sure whether I agree with the trade myself but of course the more indecision we have the further the debate can go. I just think its sad to see that selling sex is seen as ok in some instances and not ok in others…society is spoiling us with our variety in choice and it’s not healthy at all.

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