Prostitution, legalization has been raised, and theoretically,

Prostitution,
which involves buying and selling sex acts, has always been a conundrum with
heavy influence both on the society and the government. Virtue-bound, it is
believed immoral and inadequate for not only for the women but also the buyers.
Voice on prostitution legalization has been raised, and theoretically, it may
sound beneficial. However, looking at the problem with a more practical and
critical perspective, the scheme has many holes that are difficult to mend. Prostitution
decriminalization does not reduce the number of sex trafficking victims or
fully protect the workers, but also make way for other crimes to dodge the law
easily.

            Prostitution may seem
like a victimless crime but in fact, it is not as prostitution promotes the act
of sex trafficking. You pay for sex, not stealing it. You get what you paid
for and the prostitutes also receive what she wants, in this case, money. However, if we get ourselves to contemplate
on prostitution a bit deeper, it is not the glamorous or fast money-making job.
Where did the prostitutes come from? Not all of them chose this path because of
personal reasons. Some may be genuinely in need of fast money, but some have no
other choice but to sell their bodies and virginity. If there is demand, there
will be supply. The transnational sex trafficking of women and children depends
significantly on the demand for victims. Women, children and sex trafficking
victims are turned into no more than a commercial product. Traffickers find
countries that legalized prostitution gold fields since it is an attractive
destination. A research found that 80% of the women in massage parlors of the
Netherlands were sex trafficking casualties (Budapest Group, 1999). Although the
Netherlands leads in anti-trafficking policies, yet no legal actions were taken
on the brothels since it has lifted every legal impediment to pimping and
brothels. Furthermore, by 1993, it was generally perceived that 75% of the women
in Germany prostitution industry were outsiders from Uruguay, Argentina,
Paraguay and different nations in South America (Altink, 1993, p. 33). Despite this fact,
Germany still legalized prostitution without giving second thoughts on the
records of the victims. Legalizing prostitution does not help reduce the
number of sex trafficking victims but rather creates a loophole for the exploiters
to dodge the law and helps expand the sex industry. Throughout the most recent
decade, as pimping was sanctioned, and prostitution houses decriminalized in the
year 2000, the sex business expanded by 25% in the Netherlands (Daley, 2001,
p.4). Additionally, Denmark legalized prostitution in 1999 but has 4 times the
number of sex trafficking victims than other countries in the area despite
losing in population.

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The
second point that needs to be considered is that decriminalization of
prostitution does not entirely ensure the safety of women and children as well as their
physical and mental health. In two investigations in which 186 casualties of business sexual abuse
were talked with, women reliably showed that prostitution governmental policies
did little to ensure them, paying little attention to whether the foundations
were legitimate or unlawful. One woman said, “The only time they protect anyone
is to protect the customers” (Raymond, Hughes & Gomez, 2001; Raymond,
d?Cunha, Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, Hynes & Santos, 2002). Women have to live and
work with the fear of being abused or killed by their buyers, which affects
their mental health significantly. A Netherlands government
report found that in 2007, the prostitutes’ emotional health is presently lower
than in 2001 at every deliberate angle, and the utilization of sleeping pills
has expanded (Daalder, 2007).
Regarding the physical health issue, HIV and STI testing are only applied to
the prostitutes, not the buyers. There are possibilities that the buyers can
transmit diseases to the women, not the other way around like many people have
thought. Few prostitutes register with the authorities as the stigma on
prostitution has been carved in the society’s mindset and it is considered
extremely difficult for them to rehabilitate and start a new life if there is
prostitution found on their record. Legalization makes it harder for women to
register as they do not want to label themselves as prostitutes on their
record. Therefore, they do not
have access to full social protection such as health insurance and pension
insurance. Legalization also does not enhance women’s choice. In details, most
women entered the industry voluntarily, but because they had no other choice.
They have children to feed, a life to survive, poverty to escape. Some
believe that, in calling for sanctioning or decriminalization of prostitution,
they exalt and professionalize the women in prostitution. But Raymond (2003)
notes: “Dignifying prostitution as work does not dignify the women, it simply
dignifies the sex industry”.

            The
last point is that legalizing prostitution can lead to other crimes such as tax
dodging, corruption of government and violence. Lawmakers intended to get millions from tax, but certain
categories of business have not been turned into taxpayers. In addition, there
are cases in which the exploiters coerce obedience on the lawmakers for them to
dodge the law. Consequently, the corruption of the authorities was brought into
light as they play a crucial role in smuggling victims as they will get the
share afterward. Prostitution legalization does not bring about benefits for
the prostitutes, but only for the ones that have been taking all the spotlight
in the first place, the exploiters. Not only brothels but also sex workers
dodge tax since they do not want to register with the authorities. According to
a finding in 1999, there were about 400 brothels in Victoria (Australia). 100
of them were licensed and 300 of them are not (“Curbing Crime”, 1999). The
number of licensed and illegal brothels were drastically different, which is
alarming. A Victorian City of Yarra’s police investigator states that
the numbers are far higher because gathering evidence of illegal brothels is almost
impossible (Dunn, 2001). The data is solid proof for the reality that
prostitution legalization makes way for other crimes. Another crime that
stemmed from prostitution is sexual violence. Most prostitutes do not report
cases of violence to the police for fear that the brothels’ owners or sex
traffickers might find out and blackmail or abuse them. Moreover, some
prosecutors find legalization makes their work more difficult and complicated. Holsopple’s
(1999) survey of 18 strippers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul region found that
100% of the women were physically manhandled in the clubs, extending from 3 to
15 times. Another research on 201 prostitutes uncovered that 67% of respondents
said that at some time, they had got treatment for physical wounds, and 36%
announced that they had been hospitalized for wounds caused by sex buyers while
in their own working environment, whereas they were supposed to feel secure and
protected (Benoit &Millar, 2001). There are also solutions to violence in indoors prostitution
such as bodyguards or alarms. However, very few brothels provide bodyguards as
they believe that only costs them more revenue, or hire criminal gangs as their
bodyguards. There are cases that those kinds of bodyguards were found to
victimize and harass women over many years (Raymond, 2013). Alarms do not
provide enough protection as there will be a time delay when the prostitutes
call for help and sometimes it can be too late.

In conclusion, prostitution
decriminalization leads to the promotion of sex trafficking and other crimes as
well as it does not enhance women’s choice and safety. Prostitution
legalization is a risky task. If not done meticulously and thoroughly, it would
result in countless consequences. Morally, prostitution is already perceived as
going against human rights. Decriminalizing it does not benefit the women in
any aspect. It is advised to tackling the problem from its root cause, which is
corruption and sex trafficking. Additionally, women should be educated on other
jobs to help them get out of poverty conducted by non-profit organizations.
Only then safety and rights will fully belong to women and sex trafficking
victims.

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