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Why Criminalizing Prostitution Should Be Criminal

02 Oct 2012

Finnish sociologist Anna Kontula has made a study about prostitution in Finland, where prostitution is (nearly) as legal as it makes sense for me to be: buying from a victim of trafficking is illegal unless the buyer had absolutely no way to know that the worker wasn’t working voluntarily. Pimping is not allowed, which makes no sense according to Freakonomics research, but today we’ll focus on breaking a more harmful myth about sex work.

Trafficking in Sex Work is Virtually Non-Existent

Kontula interviewed many prostitutes and found out for example that the amount of trafficking victims in the field is virtually non-existent, making her wonder why the discussion on prositution is always turned to be about them.

Studies in other countries have revealed the same. Numerous researchers, Henry Laasanen as one of them IIRC, have reached the conclusion that the myth of a proportionally sizable amount of trafficking victims in sex work is mainly a political weapon of the general public of females and men who want to please that general public. There’s virtually zero truth in it and the proposed or passed laws intended to protect the voluntary sex workers have almost without exception harmed them.

Apparently that has been the aim all along: the “relationship deals” such as marriages that women can coerce men into are much more favorable to women when the supply of sex is lower (compare Russia to China for example). In other words, the attempts to direct the discussion towards trafficking are part of an self-centered political agenda.

Criminalize the right people

The worst thing we can do for voluntary sex workers (ie. practically all sex workers) is to criminalize any part of the voluntary transaction. One of the worst thing you can do for any part of a society is to criminalize them. When whatever you’re repeatedly doing is criminal for any reason, you’ll end up spending increasing amounts of your time with real criminals. I bet having more criminal friends increases the likelihood of turning to real criminal activities.

To criminalize anything there should be significant evidence that not criminalizing it would harm other people’s rights as for example with murder, theft or polluting. Criminalizing anything else is trampling other people’s rights and should be criminal in and of itself.

 

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