Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sex work (again...)

A reader is still hot under the collar because of my remarks on sex work last week and write:

Prostitution not only affects those who make use of its services (broken marriages, STD's and HIV/AIDS, robbed clients, embarrassing situations for our esteemed politicians, etc.) but for the practitioners of the practice. While they are abused every day, they are still on the wrong side of the law (except if they're under-age, or coerced) and should be punished.

I agree that prostitution may affect those who make use of the services of sex workers as well as sex workers themselves. It just seems logical, though, that the solution is not to criminalize the behaviour – which was what led to the harm in the firs place.

If we legalized sex work, it would be easier to ensure that sex workers practices safe sex and did not rob clients (but of course its impossible to pass any law that would stop politicians from making fools of themselves). Men who visit sex workers and whose marriages then break up should never have stayed married in any case.

Legalisation would also protect sex workers from exploitation by clients and pimps because they would be doing a job like anyone else and would fall under the same labour law which would protect them. They would also have to pay tax, which would make Pravin Gordhan very happy.

And what would the downside be? Sex workers would be allowed to do a job that was perhaps not the most glamorous or enjoyable job on earth. Still seems like a no-brainer to me.

1 comment:

RatX said...

After a few days, you regurgitate more insipid drivel and propaganda; it's like you read it in a book somewhere... As I plod through your stupifying sermons, I certainly don't get "hot under the collar" - I wouldn't give your sinfully dull prose that much credit - it simply baffles me.

"It just seems logical, though, that the solution is not to criminalize the behaviour..."

Criminalize? Fellow, you're meant to be a law prof. I'm losing confidence in your qualifications by the blog. It's already a crime. And to insinuate that it being illegal is "what led to the harm in the first place" reveals your clownish ignorance. Consider the harms of prostitution: the spread of STD's, broken marriages, the objectification of women, the list goes on. Decriminalizing the practice will certainly not change or reduce these harms to society and the individuals involved. In fact, making prostitution legal will condone the practice - solidifying the idea that women should be viewed as sex-objects. Any objections to this? Prostitution will become an encouraged "profession" - taught as a legitimate career at schools, which is great because the level of eductation is plummeting and one doesn't need a degree to become a 'pro'(btw - a hooker has a shelf-life of ten years, max). Any objections, parents?

Your arguments are insipid, old-liberal; nothing new here. While the words appear coherent, its flawed in its logic and practice. You're saying, "We have a problem with this illegal practice. Let's solve it by making it legal!"

When Germany decriminalized prostitution, the practice became widespread (which is just what we need with our HIV pandemic) and human trafficking went (gasp!) up. You cannot divorce prostitution from its criminal counterparts - drug peddling, human trafficking, the general mafia gig... Our incompitent police force are so clueless, there's no way they would change the streets into a sex-haven by "protecting sex-workers from clients and pimps" (ok, buddy, that spanking is a tad too hard...) "ensuring sex workers practice safe sex (listen lady, that's the wrong way around!)".

Bottom line is that you can fantasize all you want from your sterile, oak-panelled office (which is what our tax-bucks are paying you to do anyways) but your ideas put into practice would be a comic blunder if it weren't for the lives wasted. The problems of prostitution only exist because the law is not enforced - your solution is to stop condemning it and condoning it while wrapping them in enough red tape to ensure our tourists know where the red-light district is. To allow prostitution will only plunge our society deeper into the morally degenerate cesspool we're already in.

You're in a position of power and influence (only God knows why). You have the opportunity to strengthen society's morals, uplift its people - but it seems you're only too happy to set the herd up for a stampede down a moral cliff. This is not progression but regression - this is the devaluing of people into sexual objects for the gratification of society's perverts.

I won't change your mind, I know... you're a fundamentalist to your religion of ├╝ber-liberalism. But I suppose the least I can do is to ask you to consider the reality. Legalizing prostitution is almost exactly like legalizing narcotics (both are illegal but heavily practiced). Our bungling police are utterly incompetent to curb crime - one can't ever expect them to fulfill the requirements to ensure "clean and safe sex-work". South Africa can't even curb an STI pandemic, this is only fuel to that fire. Only a short-sighted and obtuse utopian would endorse such a law.