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Sex work: Legalize it?
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Debra
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm not suggesting that stay-at-home wives are prostitutes, nor do I, personally, think of them as such. But I think Corey had a good point in wondering why sex for cash is one thing and sex for anything else seems to be another. And the comparison of a stay-home wife (who presumably has sex with her husband, and presumably benefits materially from their arrangement) with prostitution is hardly unique to me.

Is it possible to consider this, for the sake of argument, without backs going up?


I don't think it is possible to react in a good way to this argument.

It's kind of like saying all guys are rapists just looking for a opportunity. Now guys don't get your backs up about this.

Quote:
I can't envision a situation where a man and a woman live together, he pays the bills, and it's still platonic. All I'm suggesting is that sex is definitely a part of such a situation.


There are many such situations. Sometimes because of health issues, lack of esteem, lack of wanna the issues are as unique as the couples involved.


Quote:
I'm certainly not suggesting that if you pay the bills you have any kind of entitlement whatsoever to sex. Again, I'm only pointing out (as Corey also pointed out) that people have sex with someone else for other reasons besides romantic love, or sex-for-cash, and yet we only ever talk of those two.


Absolutely sometimes people just fall in lust in and want a good toe curling fuck. Sometimes it is even with a person you also love.

I remember a long number of years back there was a similar thread on the O.B.

I took a different position ( no pun intended ) at the time in that I was agin instead of for.

Many of the same situations put forward here ei trafficing in women and girls, poverty, low esteem were part of my reasoning. I was handed my head in that thread, now that was not what changed my mind.

But I have changed my mind because it just seems to me that we are entirely too concerned how other people get their rocks off, and if two consenting adults want to get laid it is their business alone.

If for whatever reason that involves the transaction of money then agian as long as no one is getting hurt it is their business.

I don't think that make laws harsher or doing away with them all together is going to make much difference to the other problems, they are issue that need to be dealt with seperately and often involve having a good social structures which support everyone humanely.

Finally back to the wife as whore... It isn't as though she does nothing else and the husband comes home and tucks money into her bra.

Most relationships are based on an exchange of wants, needs, desires and abilities as well society often benefits from a stay at homes unpaid labour in volunteer activities.

Many others have responded to this claim much more throughly and eloquently than I have at the moment but suffice it to say I thought it was long dead and buried.
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Crippled_Newsie
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to interject: I really, really doubt that, as a group, disabled people employ the services of prostitutes at a rate higher than that of the general public.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senor Magoo wrote:

And the comparison of a stay-home wife (who presumably has sex with her husband, and presumably benefits materially from their arrangement) with prostitution is hardly unique to me.

Is it possible to consider this, for the sake of argument, without backs going up?


You are right, it's not a new argument, it's a very old one which is why it is discouraging to see it still in use. It's been around since the argument that prostitution reduces the incidence of rape, which it doesn't. That's not baiting you, that's just the truth.

Senor Magoo wrote:

I can envision a situation where a man and woman live together platonically and split the bills. I can't envision a situation where a man and a woman live together, he pays the bills, and it's still platonic. All I'm suggesting is that sex is definitely a part of such a situation.


Either a person is having sex for material gain or they are not. There is no inbetween.

Senor Magoo wrote:
I'm certainly not suggesting that if you pay the bills you have any kind of entitlement whatsoever to sex. Again, I'm only pointing out (as Corey also pointed out) that people have sex with someone else for other reasons besides romantic love, or sex-for-cash, and yet we only ever talk of those two.


I have never suggested that romantic love or sex-for-cash are the only two alternatives. Recreational sex is very popular. There is also sex for substancial material gain (trophy wives). However, such women are in the same category as "happy hookers", they exist, but they are not the norm. They are not representative of women in prostitution.

I am not arguing against the legalization of prostitution on some high-faluting moral grounds or philosophical grounds. I am saying that the reality is that most women in prostitution got there because of prior abuse or drug addiction or poverty. As long as that is the reality I am against the legalization of prostitution because I feel it will increase the number of victims and lead to the importation of more. There is no justification that outweighs their suffering.

Senor Magoo wrote:
I don't think a discussion like this benefits from picking convenient stereotypes to represent a pretty big range of humans and their attitudes and activities.


I don't think picking out exceptions to the norm justifies anything. Lovely story about Holland's happy sexual serrogates, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

Quote:

http://action.web.ca/home/catw/readingroom.shtml?x=32972&AA_EX_...

One argument for legalizing prostitution in the Netherlands was that legalization would help to end the exploitation of desperate immigrant women who had been trafficked there for prostitution. However, one report found that 80% of women in the brothels of the Netherlands were trafficked from other countries (Budapest Group, 1999)(1). In 1994, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) stated that in the Netherlands alone, “nearly 70 % of trafficked women were from CEEC [Central and Eastern European Countries]” (IOM, 1995, p. 4).
........
In the year 2000, the Dutch Ministry of Justice argued in favor of a legal quota of foreign “sex workers,” because the Dutch prostitution market demanded a variety of “bodies” (Dutting, 2001, p. 16). Also in 2000, the Dutch government sought and received a judgment from the European Court recognizing prostitution as an economic activity, thereby enabling women from the European Union and former Soviet bloc countries to obtain working permits as “sex workers” in the Dutch sex industry if they could prove that they are self employed. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe report that traffickers use the work permits to bring foreign women into the Dutch prostitution industry, masking the fact that women have been trafficked, by coaching them to describe themselves as independent “migrant sex workers” (Personal Communication, Representative of the International Human Rights Network, 1999).


While your example may well be true, it's the exception, not the rule.
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lagatta
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Newsie, I won't weigh in any more on the larger topic - it becomes rather philosophical after a while, as I doubt most posters are in favour of alienated, exploitative sex and I'm sure NONE of them think prostitutes should face humiliation, harassment or violence - but I do have a story about your post.

Left conference in Europe. Fellow from Amsterdam (getting a lot of flack about the large numbers of trafficked people, despite legalised prostitution) defended the Amsterdam system by referring to how important it was for disabled people to have access to sex.

A friend of mine with MS, from another European country, took the floor (can't say "stood up" as he was in a phase where that was difficult) and said that was insulting to disabled people, as they found sexual partners the very same way anyone else did.
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Crippled_Newsie
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lagatta wrote:
A friend of mine with MS, from another European country, took the floor (can't say "stood up" as he was in a phase where that was difficult) and said that was insulting to disabled people, as they found sexual partners the very same way anyone else did.


Some of us are even cute and charming. Laughing
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right here in Canada we have seen that:

Strippers opposed the legalization of lap-dancing because they would end up being forced to do it. Prior to that they were protected from being touched by customers. They were right, practically all strip clubs started offering lap dances even the high-class ones and it became a condition of employment for strippers.

We had the recent scandal of strippers being given expedited work-permits. I guess not enough attractive Canadian women were willing to do this kind of work especially now that it includes lap-dancing.

Legalize prostitution, and we will see far more women being imported to serve the sex industry.

I am completely in favor of decriminalizing the prostitute's role, I don't think they should be further victimized. But legalize their victimization, never.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lagatta wrote:
Newsie, I won't weigh in any more on the larger topic - it becomes rather philosophical after a while, as I doubt most posters are in favour of alienated, exploitative sex and I'm sure NONE of them think prostitutes should face humiliation, harassment or violence...


I think that turning it philosophical is part of the problem. It creates a smokescreen that obsures the reality. Turning the argument philosophical and talking about happy hookers and the needs of the disabled and ugly people and women who are supported by men within a couple relationship etc. brushes aside the reality of prostitution. It makes it look pretty.

It's the same tactics that cause people to support a ban against partial birth abortions and to support giving fetuses pain-killers and make-believe WMDs in Iraq. It's all about creating false impressions. Let those false impressions lie, and it doesn't matter if most people are against exploitative sex, they will support it on the basis of "happy hooker" and "societal needs" smokescreens.

How can a board claim to be progrssive and allow such arguments to stand as though they have some validity? As though prostitution can be treated as some sort of abstraction that doesn't negatively impact women?
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Bobolink
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do we want tp punish people for selling sexual access to themselves?
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pollyperverse wrote:
What about the idea that sex work is a generally unenviable but high-paid way to make ends meet without a lot of entrance qualifications?


That's a very nice santized description of the job.

Most women who become prostitutes were or are one of the following:

teen runaways
sexually abused
addicted to drugs
are imported from other countries

They are paid to open either their mouths or their vaginas so a stranger can stick his penis in and ejaculate.

They do this multiple times a night for hundreds if not thousands of men.

http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/fempsy1.html

Quote:
Prolonged and repeated trauma usually precedes entry into prostitution. From 55 to 90 percent of those in prostitution report a childhood sexual abuse history (Bagley and Young, 1987; Belton, 1992; Farley and Barkan, 1998; Harlan et al., 1981; James and Meyerding, 1977; Silbert and Pines, 1981, 1983; Simons and Whitbeck, 1991). Silbert and Pines (1981, 1983) noted that 70 percent of their sample told them that the earlier sexual abuse had an influence on the later ,choice' to become a prostitute. A conservative estimate of the average age of recruitment into prostitution in the USA is 13-14 years (Silbert and Pines, 1982; Weisberg, 1985). Any distinction between prostitution of children and prostitution of adults is arbitrary, and obscures this lengthy history of trauma. The 15-year-old in prostitution eventually turns 18, but she has not suddenly made a new vocational choice. She simply continues to be exploited by customers and pimps.

A number of authors (e.g. Barry, 1995; Hoigard and Finstad, 1992; Leidholdt, 1993; Ross et al., 1990; Vanwesenbeeck, 1994) have described the psychological defenses which are necessitated by the experience of prostitution, and which frequently persist: splitting off certain kinds of awareness and memories, disembodiment, dissociation, amnesia, hiding one's real self (often until the nonprostituted self begins to blur), depersonalization, denial. One woman said, 'Only my head belongs to me now. I've left my body on the street' (Hoigard and Finstad, 1992


Quote:
http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/faq/000008.html
Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%. The Council for Prostitution Alternatives, Portland, Oregon Annual Report in 1991 stated that: 85% of prostitute/clients reported history of sexual abuse in childhood; 70% reported incest. The higher percentages (80%-90%) of reports of incest and childhood sexual assaults of prostitutes come from anecdotal reports and from clinicians working with prostitutes (interviews with Nevada psychologists cited by Patricia Murphy, Making the Connections: women, work, and abuse, 1993, Paul M. Deutsch Press, Orlando, Florida; see also Rita Belton, "Prostitution as Traumatic Reenactment," 1992, International Society for Traumatic Stress Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA M.H. Silbert and A.M. Pines, 1982, "Victimization of street prostitutes," Victimology: An International Journal, 7: 122-133; C. Bagley and L Young, 1987, "Juvenile Prostitution and child sexual abuse: a controlled study," Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, Vol 6: 5-26
.......

Eighty-four percent of these interviewees reported current
or past homelessness.
...............
A drug abuse problem was
reported by 75% of these respondents and an alcohol abuse
problem by 27%. Duration of the drug or alcohol problem
ranged from 3 mo to 30 yr (mean = 6.5 yr; standard deviation
= 8.2 yr)
........
http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/Unequal.pdf
Whether a woman has been trafficked or not, and whether prostitution is legal or not, researchers have found that the poorer she is, and the longer she’s been in prostitution, the more likely she is to experience violence.
.....
Prostitution, described by Friedman in 1993 as sexual slavery, has been redefined by the Left, including the Greens, as sex work. In that one word – work – the sexism and the physical and psychological violence of prostitution are made invisible. A battle is being waged by those who promote prostitution as a good-enough job for poor women against those of us who consider prostitution an institution that is so intrinsically unjust, discriminatory, and abusive that it can’t be fixed, only abolished.

Survivors have described prostitution as ‘volunteer slavery’ and as ‘the choice that is not a choice,’ while sex industry apologists on the Left insist that prostitution is ’sex work,’ unpleasant labor but much like factory work. Do women consent to prostitution? Do they say to themselves, hmn, what job should I choose: computer technician, lawyer, restaurant manager - no, I really want to be a prostitute? Women who ‘choose’ prostitution were sexually abused as kids at much higher rates than other women. So they get defined as whores when they are little. That’s one way women end up ‘choosing’ prostitution: getting paid for the abuse they have grown up with and believing that’s all they are good for. Other forces that ‘choose’ them for prostitution include poor or no education and no job that pays a living wage. Prostitution exploits women’s lack of survival options. Sex discrimination, poverty, racism and abandonment are the forces that drive girls into prostitution. A Left analysis doesn’t often address those structural issues in tandem where prostitution and trafficking are concerned.


If prostitution were merely an unenviable but easy way to make good money there would be a lot more middle-class women getting into the profession. Why be a cashier or a secretary or slave away getting a degree if you can make great money as a prostitute?

Although I don't feel like hunting for more facts I believe the numbers for male prostitutes both hetero and homsexual are similar.

Of course prostitutes are going to tell clients they like what they do. They wouldn't get much work if they said otherwise would they. They might even give friends the impression that they enjoy their profession. Doesn't mean that's what they would tell a researcher.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bobolink wrote:
Do we want tp punish people for selling sexual access to themselves?


No, they are the victims, they should be helped not punished. You don't punish victims you punish those who exploit them.
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Corey
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debra wrote:
I don't think that make laws harsher or doing away with them all together is going to make much difference to the other problems, they are issue that need to be dealt with seperately and often involve having a good social structures which support everyone humanely.


*applause*
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of us are even cute and charming. Laughing[/quote]

Damn staight. Cool

When I was 18, I worshipped Amsterdam on bended knee. I dreamt of going there and making mad, passionate monkey love to every lady of the night I could find. I had read about the Dutch government paying for sex workers to visit physically challenged shut ins, and the discounts provided by brothels for mental patients. I thought it was a very cool place. Seven years on, I've changed my mind. I would much rather find and court a sexual partener by myself, or at least have that person introduced to me by my friends, then have a government buereaucrat choose that individual for me. The Dutch government has the best of intentions, but I feel it would be much better if the people who run the welfare state in Holland organized things so there were no shut-ins and government funded pity sex was unnecessary. (if someone is going to give me a sympathy bone, I would prefer to find that person on my own)

As for legalizing prostitution I really have no clue. Despite my vaguley pro sex work stance I really don't how best to help these women, but I really think that sex workers need to be included in the dicussion. No amount of reaserch done by feminist academics can ever replace the actual voices of those engaged in sex work.
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Senor Magoo
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Finally back to the wife as whore... It isn't as though she does nothing else and the husband comes home and tucks money into her bra.


Fair enough. Ironically, Infosaturated came up with a more specific, and I think better, example of what I was getting at: trophy wives.

And certainly my point wasn't to stigmatize women who don't work out of the home. Really, I was only looking for a "conteol" example to examine whether the concept of "money" was crucial to our seeing an arrangement as prostitution, or whether material gain was sufficient, and ultimately, whether we would have any interest in reconsidering the legality of sex for something other than cash, and also other than love/lust/desire.

Quote:
Lovely story about Holland's happy sexual serrogates, but it doesn't tell the whole story.


You missed the point of it entirely. I wasn't suggesting that the surrogates are happy or not happy, or representative of prostitution or not. I was actually responding to the suggestion that anyone should be able to run out and find a sex partner for themselves. Apparently not, or else the Dutch government is pissing their money away on sex surrogates when they could, for free, simply tell people like the woman I mentioned to just go out and find someone and be done with it.

Quote:
and said that was insulting to disabled people, as they found sexual partners the very same way anyone else did.


Isn't that a tiny bit like a black person standing up and saying that Affirmative Action is insulting to black people because they can find jobs the very same way everyone else does? I mean, great if you can, but doesn't that kind of silence anyone else who might actually feel themself a bit disadvantaged?

And I'm certainly NOT suggesting the opposite of your friend, that disabled people "need" prostitutes or surrogates. But I'm not disabled, and I really don't know what it's like to try and meet someone when you have cerebral palsy, so if someone who is in that situation feels that a surrogate is what they need, I'm at least going to consider it.

Quote:
I think that turning it philosophical is part of the problem.


I can't guarantee that considering things like prostitution in the abstract is going to result in all the answers. But personally I find that discussions on prostitution or pornography not surprisingly end up circling the drain of sex and all the various assumptions, beliefs and morals that come with it. It tends to get like the blind men and the elephant.

Quote:
What about the idea that sex work is a generally unenviable but high-paid way to make ends meet without a lot of entrance qualifications?


I have a friend who often expressed his wish to support himself by doing gay porn. He was employed at a regular job, and he knew that porn wasn't going to make him rich or anything. But to him, it would have been like getting paid to sleep. I think his desire hinged on the fact that he sees sex a little differently than many. To him, sex is like a backrub for his penis. How could someone who sees sex as a special act between loving and committed partners understand his wish?

Quote:
No, they are the victims, they should be helped not punished. You don't punish victims you punish those who exploit them.


Well, I'm told that lots of illegal workers in the United States (I'm not exempting Canada, btw) are exploited, illegally, by employers. But we probably wouldn't entertain the idea of criminalizing fruit picking or housecleaning. We'd probably say "let's work to create an environment where these workers won't be exploited". You don't punish the people who pick the fruit, nor the people who buy the fruit. You punish the employer who's exploiting the workers, and you intoduce a little structure into the jobs in the form of legal protection, safety standards, etc..
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Corey
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senor Magoo wrote:
I can't envision a situation where a man and a woman live together, he pays the bills, and it's still platonic. All I'm suggesting is that sex is definitely a part of such a situation.


I've known domestic partnerships that were otherwise. I've almost been a part of same, and I may be someday. And there's a world of emotional and relational space that can be more than "platonic" without necessarily being sexual.

To which Debra wrote:
There are many such situations. Sometimes because of health issues, lack of esteem, lack of wanna the issues are as unique as the couples involved.


They don't have to all be unhealthy reasons! To be clear. -er.

I'll drift on from here over on Body and Soul: Chaste Love in a Supersexed World...
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

/Bit-O-Drift

Bizarre. Look what I just found.

Quote:
Controversial Way for Women to 'Pay' Rent
The hottest new living arrangement is for women to rent a room from a man --oftentimes a complete stranger--and instead of paying a monthly fee, she cooks and cleans. Call it a "roommaid."

...

While feminists are horrified, the arrangements are often successful especially when clear parameters and house rules are set up in advance for both sides. TIME reporter Jeninne Lee-St. John notes that the biggest challenge for women is to weed out the men who are just looking for sex or a topless housekeeper.


More at the link.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No amount of reaserch done by feminist academics can ever replace the actual voices of those engaged in sex work.


There findings which come from speaking with actual prostitutes are the closest thing we have to unbiased statistics. Anecdotal evidence in the form of "I know this prostitute and she says" is meaningless. Nothing can be extrapolated from it.


Prolonged and repeated trauma usually precedes entry into prostitution. From 55 to 90 percent of those in prostitution report a childhood sexual abuse history


Eighty-four percent of these interviewees reported current
or past homelessness.


Whether a woman has been trafficked or not, and whether prostitution is legal or not, researchers have found that the poorer she is, and the longer she’s been in prostitution, the more likely she is to experience violence.

psychological defenses which are necessitated by the experience of prostitution, and which frequently persist: splitting off certain kinds of awareness and memories, disembodiment, dissociation, amnesia, hiding one's real self (often until the nonprostituted self begins to blur), depersonalization, denial.

Those are facts, not opinions.

Quote:
How could someone who sees sex as a special act between loving and committed partners understand his wish?


Strawdog argument. There is lots and lots and lots of sex going on that is neither love nor prostitution. I am not objecting to legalization of prostitution because it isn't "loving" but because it exploits women who have already been abused and leads to serious pschological harm.

Quote:
I think his desire hinged on the fact that he sees sex a little differently than many.


I think his desire hinged on a false impression of what the job entails. He probably thinks it's just making out with a partner he finds attractive in front of a camera. He isn't imagining what it would be like to have someone who looks like his mother telling him to stop a sec, his butt's too shiney or not shiney enough or to have his "partner" telling him he's hogging the camera, or to have a director telling him to stop while they adjust the lights. If he were serious he could just record himself and a partner having sex and sell it on the internet.

It goes back to the ol "Pretty Woman" fantasy about prostitution and the porn industry. People who are not prostitutes imagine an inaccurate portrayal of what it really is.

The reality of prostitution, legal and illegal, is that it harms women and increases trafficking of women.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Fair enough. Ironically, Infosaturated came up with a more specific, and I think better, example of what I was getting at: trophy wives.


Yes that was ironic wasn't it? But I am not out to win a "debate" based on abstractions or philosophy. It's far too important an issue to play debating games.

I am not against prostitution based on abstract philosophy or moral principles against "selling sexual favors".

Trophy wives are not recruited from the ranks of people who were sexually abused as children, or who are addicted to drugs, or who are poverty stricken. I have seen no evidence that they have been pschologically harmed by it.
Quote:
Well, I'm told that lots of illegal workers in the United States (I'm not exempting Canada, btw) are exploited, illegally, by employers. But we probably wouldn't entertain the idea of criminalizing fruit picking or housecleaning. We'd probably say "let's work to create an environment where these workers won't be exploited". You don't punish the people who pick the fruit, nor the people who buy the fruit. You punish the employer who's exploiting the workers,


Which is exactly what I am saying. It is the Johns and pimps that should be punished, not the prostitutes themselves. I have said that several times now. I don't think anyone in this thread is suggesting that the prostitutes should be punished in any way shape or form.

Quote:
and you intoduce a little structure into the jobs in the form of legal protection, safety standards, etc


Abused women are still the ones recruited. It's an oxymoron to suggest they can be further abused and yet protected at the same time.

The willingness of women to prostitute themselves is as a direct result of childhood abuse, drugs and poverty. They should absolutely not be put in jailed or fined or in anyway legally punished. Legalization however would increase the number of victims and validate the practice of sexual exploitation of women.
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Corey
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infosaturated's reliance on prostitutionresearch.com may be problematic. Looking into it, it's the project of clinical psychologist and controversial anti-prostitution activist Melissa Farley. Here's some discussion of Farley's work from sex workers in a pro-decriminalization context: A Feminist View That All Sexworkers are Abused and Sick.

Further, there's a small stack of briefs and affadavits before the Constitutional Court of South Africa referencing Farley's work in a 2002 case - in large measure, it seems, critically.

PTSD expert Paul Henry de Wet finds "the diagnosis of PTSD as well as the allegations in respect of its alleged causes to be wholly inappropriate." U.S. police officer and social worker-turned-South African academic Theodore Leggett writes that Farley "regards commercial sex as a form of rape and believes legislative and law enforcement responses must be based on this premise. The position advanced by Dr Melissa Farley does not represent the general position of law enforcement agencies and other role players in big centres such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since the Beijing Declaration of the Fourth International Convention on Women the concept of forced prostitution as opposed to voluntary prostitution, has been accepted into mainstream thinking internationally."

But most damning, South Africa's respected public women's rights agency, the Commission for Gender Equality, writes in their amicus that "An analysis of certain of Dr Farley's evidence further illustrates the problems inherent in accepting that prostitution degrades and dehumanises women and that prostituted women 'are all on the bottom'. Dr Farley draws a number of far-reaching conclusions about prostitution... There are, however, a number of problems regarding her conclusions: They are based on the results of a studies conducted on a limited sample of prostitutes. It is, accordingly, very dangerous to generalise from such a limited sample to all prostitutes. In certain instances Dr Farley's conclusions are contradictory. [examples provided]... Dr Farley's conclusions relating to the experience of PTSD by prostitutes and the relationship between prostitution per se and PTSD are also problematic. [details provided]... It is also important to note that other studies do not document harm to prostitutes as set out by Farley. [examples provided]"

"It is also important to recognise that a definitive statement that prostitution is per se degrading of woman and involves no element of choice by women (who, on this argument, are portrayed as victims rather than agents):
* silences the voices of those women who do not experience prostitution as exploitative and degrading; and
* ignores the element of choice and autonomy articulated by women."
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found the original article here:
http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1186562,00.html

In which the author states:
Quote:
These relationships horrify some feminists. "It fits in with traditional economic patterns and gender roles," says Pamela Smock, a sociologist at the University of Michigan.


I'd like to know which feminists are "horrified". I'm certainly not and I doubt there will be any outcry from feminists on this one. From the cases mentioned in the article it doesn't sound at all exploitative. It appears to be rent in exchange for light housekeeping duties.

There is no relation at all to prostitution.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your first link:
"Here's some discussion of Farley's work from sex workers in a pro-decriminalization context: A Feminist View That All Sexworkers are Abused and Sick."

Is again all purely anecdotal.

I reviewed your other link, one affidavit stated that PTSD could not be diagnosed using the methodology described in Farley's study but ended with: "At best the statement can be made that the research reflects a highincidence of psycho-social events and stress related symptomathologythat are, among others, associated with PTSD. "

Farley's work sites many studies both formal and informal.

The next document contains:
Quote:
I annex hereto marked ‘AVE8’ a statement of Prof Dr Sven-Axle Monsoon concerning theissue of legalising prostitution in South Africa. The statement summarises some empiricalfindings from a Swedish study of prostitutes leaving the sex trade. Prof Dr Sven-Axle Monsoonconcludes as follows:‘These findings clearly show the detrimentaleffects of prostitution to women’s healthand well-being; they also indicate the enormous human and social costs associated withrehabilitationfrom a life in prostitution. It is my contention that these findings should beconsidered a serious argument against all efforts to legalize prostitution. Instead, theyshould be used as an incentive to develop strategies to prevent women (and men) fromever entering the sex trade.’36.It is a fact that prostitution and drug abuse frequently co-exist.

and
Quote:
According to a document by The Australian Institute of Criminology, prostitution itself isstressful enough to indicate a need for powerful drugs.xxii36.2. In some cases, prostitution is used by prostitutes to fund their addiction. In other casesprostitutes use drugs to help them to cope with their work. Chichello and other psychologists foundthat prostitutes have to switch off or emotionally distance themselves from their customers. Thecontinual switching off leads to self-alienation, depression, poor self-esteem and depression.According to Tony Chichello, senior clinical psychologist at the Royal Perth Hospital, this forms theroot of drug abuse of many prostitutes. About half the women prostitutes on the streets in Swedenare abusers of drugs and alcohol.xxiiiSome studies also indicate that drugs are used to relieve theirtiredness so that they may have more clients in a night. 37.It is also relevant to note that the connection between prostitution and sexual abuse duringchildhood has become increasingly clear in recent years.

The Council for Prostitution Alternatives Portland, Oregon Annual Report in 1991 statedthat “85% of prostitute/clients reported a history of sexual abuse in childhood; 70%reported incest.”


Quote:
Dr Phillips provides an overview of Australian states, which have decriminalisedprostitution. He indicates, for example, that Victoria legalised brothels in the mid-1980s, and that New South Wales decriminalised brothels by a regulation system in1995. Dr Phillips indicates that ‘legalising brothels has resulted in more, not less,exploitation of prostitutes’, and that the legalisation of brothels has resulted in anincrease in the above-mentioned problems associated with prostitution. Dr Phillipssummarises the situation as follows:‘Legalising/decriminalisingbrothels has led to a boom in prostitution of all kinds– particularly in street and escort prostitution which are said to be mostdangerous for prostitutes. And despite government health and safetyprograms,the boom has led to increased pressure on [prostitutes] to forgo theuse of condoms. Therehas been no measurable improvement in STD rates inNSW [i.e. New South Wales] or Victoria as a result of brotheldecriminalisation or legalisation. A survey by the NSW Council of Churchesin1998 found that some sexually transmitted diseases had increased followingpassage of the new law in 1995. The Council of Churches also found thatviolence against prostitutes, particularly Asian women, continued unabated.’39.3.Dr Phillips draws the following conclusion:‘Laws against the trade of prostitution should remain enforceable in South Africabecause of the damage prostitution does to those involved and to the wider society..


Quote:
Sweden 40.I annex hereto marked ‘AVE10’ an English summary of a document prepared by the SwedishCommission dealing with prostitution (Betankande av 1993 ars Prostitutionsutreding). Thedocument summarises the harmful effects of prostitution as follows:‘The general consensus among those with practical or theoretical knowledge ofprostitution is that it is harmful, often profoundly harmful, to the women concerned, ina mental, physical and social sense….The vendors of sexual services are extensively afflicted with poor health and are alsofrequently injured as a result of assault and other abuses. Almost without exceptionthey develop mental disorders. Many of them abuse alcohol and narcotic drugs….Prostitutesare often exposed to various crimes such as assault, rape and theft, but theythemselves commit crimes to no small extent. The women’s next-of-kin, and abovealltheir children, are variously affected, directly and indirectly, by the injuries sustainedby the women in the course of prostitution….


Quote:
Dr Murphy points out that she has observed both legal and illegal prostitution in theUnited States (para 11). She is accordingly well placed to comment on the effect ofdecriminalization on the practice of prostitution. In this regard she states as follows:‘Recently the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that although theMustangRanch is 15 minutes away from Reno, Nevada by freeway, Reno hadthe highest rape rate of any city in the United States for its size. The point isthatlegalising prostitution and creating a form of legalized rape of “disposable”women does not stop the rape of women not used in prostitution’ (para 14)‘I have discovered thatwomen used in prostitution, legal or illegal, are subjectto beatings, rape, harassment, kidnapping, suicide and murder. Legalizingprostitutiondoes not solve these problems since systems of prostitution meanthatwomen are circulated through legal and illegal brothels, dance halls, hotelsand escort services in order to keep customers by offering them new women.Systems of prostitution can circulate women throughout the world in allsystems of prostitution, legalor illegal. For example, women working in legalbrothels in Nevada often take customers on “sex tours” of the illegalprostitution systems of San Francisco, California.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Study after study shows that legal or illegal prostitution is harmful to women and that far from solving problems legalization contributes to them.

While there are lots and lots of anecdotal "happy hooker" accounts and denunciations of feminists I have yet to see a single study, not one, that indicates anything other than prostitution is extremely harmful to women and legalization does not help.

So please, if there are studies that come to different conclusions, that indicate legalization is helpful, by all means, present one.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think anyone would deny that the road into street prositution is often littered with abuse, drugs, and exploitation. However, I'm not entirely sure sex work has ever been eradicated, especially given our current social system, puritanical-leftover attitudes towards sex, and exploitative economic system.

If sex work is a given, what should we do to reduce the harms from it? I'm not contending that every sex worker is a grinning gigolo or happy hooker. What I am contending is that criminalization adds to, not reduces, the harms faced by sex workers...who will be working either way.

In these info sheets, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal
Network argues strongly for decriminalization of prostitution, referencing several studies (by Lowman, Benoit and Miller, Pivot Legal Society, and StatsCan) that show negative effects of criminalization on sex workers' health, including discretionary and unequal treatment by the police and the 'outlaw' status of sex workers.

(J Lowman. Violence and the outlaw status of (street) prostitution in Canada. Violence Against Women 2000; 6(9): 987-1011.

D Duschesne (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics). Street prostitution in Canada. Juristat Service Bulletin (1997); 17(2).

C Benoit, A Millar. Dispelling myths and understanding realities: working
conditions, health status, and exiting experiences of sex workers. October 2001.

Pivot Legal Society. The impact of criminalization on the health status of
sex workers (June 2004) )

I agree with the critiques of Farley's work. She is the definition of a biased researcher, with a priori conclusions, in a field (social research) that lends itself particularly well to manipulation and bias. What rings particularly false to me are that her conclusions are in opposition to the advocacy of pretty much organisation comprised of sex workers. You would think that former sex workers would be ringing the changes for eradication of sex work. Instead, they are generally advocating quite strongly for decriminalization (usually without regulation). For example,

International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe
Sex Workers Outreach Project
Sex Professionals of Canada
Stella
Network of Sex Work Projects

All organizations that operate with, not apart from, sex workers, and all just happened to be the first organizations I ran into through a google search for 'sex workers.'
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senor Magoo wrote:
Isn't that a tiny bit like a black person standing up and saying that Affirmative Action is insulting to black people because they can find jobs the very same way everyone else does? I mean, great if you can, but doesn't that kind of silence anyone else who might actually feel themself a bit disadvantaged?


To be fair, Affirmative Action is designed to address more than just a bit of disadvantage. But probably, Magoo, you didn't mean to say otherwise and so that's just my own language quibbling.

What I was concerned with is the idea-- and it's a common one-- that disabled people routinely seek the services of prostitutes with greater frequency than able-bodied folk. To state the same idea in terms of your metaphor then, is to say that black people could not find jobs at all were it not for Affirmative Action.

We know that's not so. Don't we?
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Which is exactly what I am saying. It is the Johns and pimps that should be punished, not the prostitutes themselves.


As a bit of a civil libertarian, I'm not a fan of punishing someone for selling or buying sex, so that was not, in fact, what I was saying.

It's rather absurd (though somehow touchingly Canadian) to try and passive-aggressively regulate something by making one half of it illegal, but really I can't see any sense in saying that it's not a crime to sell something, but it's a crime to buy it. That's illogical, and frankly, I think that the whole "shame the john" approach is moralistic.

ed'd to add:

Quote:
We know that's not so. Don't we?


Sure. I'm only suggesting that Lagatta's friend was using his membership in a group to sort of speak on behalf of them, and I think that always needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

If a disabled man says that disabled people don't need sex surrogates, but a disabled woman says she does, who should I believe??
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me that if legalization reduces harm, and there are countries that have legalized, and there are so many organizations promoting sex-work, they could find or fund a couple of studies proving that legalization leads to harm reduction. Yet none of these organizations can provide that. Not theoretical papers, not studies proving that in this country or that the police abuse sex-workers, but studies showing that legalization reduces harm.

pollyperverse wrote:
I don't think anyone would deny that the road into street prositution is often littered with abuse, drugs, and exploitation. However, I'm not entirely sure sex work has ever been eradicated, especially given our current social system, puritanical-leftover attitudes towards sex, and exploitative economic system.

We haven't eradicated slavery or bank-robbery either but that doesn't mean it should be legal.

If sex work is a given, what should we do to reduce the harms from it? I'm not contending that every sex worker is a grinning gigolo or happy hooker. What I am contending is that criminalization adds to, not reduces, the harms faced by sex workers...who will be working either way.

And yet all the empiracal studies show that legalization does not reduce the harm, it actually INCREASEs the harm, increases sexually transmitted diseases, increases pressure on workers to not use comdoms, increases the number of victims.

In these info sheets, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal
Network argues strongly for decriminalization of prostitution, referencing several studies (by Lowman, Benoit and Miller, Pivot Legal Society, and StatsCan) that show negative effects of criminalization on sex workers' health, including discretionary and unequal treatment by the police and the 'outlaw' status of sex workers.

The problem with the study is assumes harm would be reduced through full legalization. Sex workers themselves should not be criminalized. Studies performed where full legalization has actually occured do not agree with the theories presented.

(J Lowman. Violence and the outlaw status of (street) prostitution in Canada. Violence Against Women 2000; 6(9): 987-1011.
D Duschesne (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics). Street prostitution in Canada. Juristat Service Bulletin (1997); 17(2).

C Benoit, A Millar. Dispelling myths and understanding realities: working
conditions, health status, and exiting experiences of sex workers. October 2001.

Pivot Legal Society. The impact of criminalization on the health status of
sex workers (June 2004) )

I agree with the critiques of Farley's work. She is the definition of a biased researcher, with a priori conclusions, in a field (social research) that lends itself particularly well to manipulation and bias. What rings particularly false to me are that her conclusions are in opposition to the advocacy of pretty much organisation comprised of sex workers. You would think that former sex workers would be ringing the changes for eradication of sex work. Instead, they are generally advocating quite strongly for decriminalization (usually without regulation). For example,

Ditch Farley then, there are many other studies with even more compelling data. Do you think illegal domestic workers want the practice stopped? Lots of soldiers are pro-war. Former sex workers appear to think that legalization will reduce disease and violence among them therefore they are making their decision based on false information.

International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe
Sex Workers Outreach Project
Sex Professionals of Canada
Stella
Network of Sex Work Projects

All organizations that operate with, not apart from, sex workers, and all just happened to be the first organizations I ran into through a google search for 'sex workers.'


I checked out every link, skimmed reports, there was lots of information of abuse from law inforcement in corrupt countries but again, zero evidence that in any of the places where prostitution has already been legalized that it led to harm reduction.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It seems to me that if legalization reduces harm...


Look on the flip side though. For the last several centuries, countries and states and municipalities and even churches have done their level best to try to eradicate prostitution by making it illegal. and you don't need to be a social scientist to see that it's failed, everywhere. Criminalizing prostitution has been as effective as Prohibition was in eradicating drinking.

Other than the visceral joy of punishing Johns, why keep touting this as a solution? Remember, we don't start out with no rights or liberties and then add them when they've proven themselves beneficial. We start with a full slate of rights and liberties, and we only deny them when this can be shown to be in the public good.

Criminalizing prostitution, IF IT COULD BE DEMONSTRATED THAT IT PREVENTS PROSTITUTION, might qualify for "in the public good", but it's not. So why make a law against it?
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, quite quickly, I'll say that I support decriminalization and/or legalization because I think that the actual act: money for sex, is unproblematic.

The problems seem to stem from other issues, bigger issues: poverty, addiction, and the denigration of women and their lack of power in society.

If strippers are forced to lap-dance, I see that as part of the same problem of workers anywhere being forced to endanger their health, safety, sanity, by any other tyrannical employer.

If women are forced into prostitution due to poverty then we should address that poverty.

And so forth.

But here's a link that totally destroys my position that you might find helpful.

http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/issues/prostitution_legalizing.h...
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But here's a link that totally destroys my position that you might find helpful.


I don't know that it does, at all.

Looks like most of the harm they describe is the result of poor decisions that are not by any means a "given" if prostitution is legalized. For example:

Quote:
Many women don't want to register and undergo health checks, as required by law in certain countries legalizing prostitution, so legalization often drives them into street prostitution.


This isn't a result of legalization. It's the result of mandatory health checkups, which are not described. And it describes women who probably aren't going to get these checkups regardless of the legality or illegality of prostitution.

Or:

Quote:
The argument that legalization was supposed to take the criminal elements out of sex businesses by strict regulation of the industry has failed. The real growth in prostitution in Australia since legalization took effect has been in the illegal sector. Since the onset of legalization in Victoria, brothels have tripled in number and expanded in size - the vast majority having no licenses but advertising and operating with impunity


If unlicenced brothels are advertising and operating with impunity, I should think the no-brainer answer to that would be to start enforcing licencing, no? I mean, isn't that pretty obviously the problem??

And so on I strongly doubt the organization linked to said "Let's research this to see whether we're pro or con". My guess? "Let's find any tenous 'findings' to support our pre-existing opinion on this". This page is sloppy and transparent.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has been demonstrated that criminalizing prostitution DOES reduce harm. It reduces child prostitution, human trafficking, disease, and violence against women.

Legalization increases all of the above.


Senor Magoo wrote:
Quote:
It seems to me that if legalization reduces harm...


Look on the flip side though. For the last several centuries, countries and states and municipalities and even churches have done their level best to try to eradicate prostitution by making it illegal. and you don't need to be a social scientist to see that it's failed, everywhere. Criminalizing prostitution has been as effective as Prohibition was in eradicating drinking.

Other than the visceral joy of punishing Johns, why keep touting this as a solution? Remember, we don't start out with no rights or liberties and then add them when they've proven themselves beneficial. We start with a full slate of rights and liberties, and we only deny them when this can be shown to be in the public good.

Criminalizing prostitution, IF IT COULD BE DEMONSTRATED THAT IT PREVENTS PROSTITUTION, might qualify for "in the public good", but it's not. So why make a law against it?

.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It has been demonstrated that criminalizing prostitution DOES reduce harm. It reduces child prostitution, human trafficking, disease, and violence against women.


I'm glad to hear those have all been eradicated (except in Holland, I guess).

I haven't been this stoked since the United States won the "war on drugs"! Wink
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And so on I strongly doubt the organization linked to said "Let's research this to see whether we're pro or con". My guess? "Let's find any tenous 'findings' to support our pre-existing opinion on this". This page is sloppy and transparent.


I quoted many studies on the outcome of legalization. They get ignored.

It seems to me that people want to believe that legalizing prostitution improves the lives of sex-workers and doesn't lead to negative outcomes for anyone else. It doesn't matter how much empirical evidence is offered to the contrary using actual examples of countries where it has been legalized, it doesn't matter that there is zero evidence to show harm reduction actually occurs through legalization.

Sally: Chips help people lose weight, I know this is so because the people who make chips tell me so Smile

Jane: No they don't! Here are dozens of studies that prove chips make you gain weight not lose it.

Sally: Look, chip makers say they don't make you gain weight!

Jane: Then why can't they come up with any evidence to prove their claim?

Sally: Look, chip makers say they don't make you gain weight!

Ask yourselves this, with all the money involved in the sex trade, why don't they simply fund an empirical evidence study that proves legalization works to reduce harm to sex-workers?

It seems simple enough seeing as there are several countries who have had legalized prostitution for an extended period of time.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senor Magoo wrote:
Quote:
It has been demonstrated that criminalizing prostitution DOES reduce harm. It reduces child prostitution, human trafficking, disease, and violence against women.


I'm glad to hear those have all been eradicated (except in Holland, I guess).


Oh, okay, well we haven't eradicated domestic violence so might as well make it legal! Child abuse, haven't eradicated that either, might as well legalize it! Bank robbery, same deal, might as well legalize!
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infosaturated wrote:
Oh, okay, well we haven't eradicated domestic violence so might as well make it legal! Child abuse, haven't eradicated that either, might as well legalize it! Bank robbery, same deal, might as well legalize!


Having failed in your attempt to beat people over the head with your reams of dogma and mind-numbing research, you are now attempting irony in order to drive your point home?

Not gonna work ... you need proof-of-a-sense-of-humour to pull that one off.

Rolling Eyes


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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I quoted many studies on the outcome of legalization. They get ignored.


You're talking about the outcomes of legalization, and at the same time claiming "It has been demonstrated that criminalizing prostitution DOES reduce harm."

Which studies are those? And in which countries? Seems to me there are only a handful of countries that have (recently) tried the decriminalization route. Where did they find a country that had always had legal prostitution in order to try criminalizing it to see if that reduces harm? Which country or countries was that?

Quote:
it doesn't matter that there is zero evidence to show harm reduction actually occurs through legalization.


Harm reduction isn't the only goal of legalization, so if it cannot be shown that every prostitute now has a better life, that doesn't sound the death knell for legalization.

I suspect that if you're an HIV+ crack addict with one shoe, working the streets of Toronto to buy rock for your abusive boyfriend, not much is going to result in a rosy picture for you. If criminalization would do that, I suspect many more would be on board with that idea. But it sets the bar impossibly high to expect either criminalization, or decriminalization, to fix everyone's problems.

But if decriminalization has other benefits, like reduced policing costs, some amount of empowerment for sex workers, etc., then I think that easily breaks the tie. And remember, we're also talking about the liberty of humans. We own our own bodies, and should be permitted to do as we please with them. Yes, certain options in that regard are regulated when this is clearly shown to be necessary for the public good, but the merits of criminalizing the exchange of money for sex are not even slightly conclusive enough to warrant that.

It's not sufficient to say that if legalizing something doesn't make everything better, then that's a solid argument for criminalizing it. It just doesn't work that way, thankfully. Otherwise I'd have to demonstrate to puritans that legal alcohol reduces the number of drunk drivers (which it wouldn't), and when I'm unable to do so, would have to concede that the only solution is therefore to criminalize drinking.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But if decriminalization has other benefits, like reduced policing costs, some amount of empowerment for sex workers.


Back to the chips help you lose weight argument. There is zero evidence in countries that have legalized prostitution that the above occurs. There is lots and lots of evidence that it leads to the opposite. It actively disempowers prostitutes.

Quote:
Yes, certain options in that regard are regulated when this is clearly shown to be necessary for the public good, but the merits of criminalizing the exchange of money for sex are not even slightly conclusive enough to warrant that.


How much evidence do you need for it to be conclusive? ALL the empirical evidence indicates that legalization increases harm both to sex workers and the general public in a multitude of ways.

The only people who benefit by legalization are the pimps. Not sex-workers, not the general public.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Back to the chips help you lose weight argument.


Uh, no.

I'm saying that you're working from the assumption that if legalization doesn't help every prostitute in every way, then it mustn't be considered.

I'm suggesting that there are other benefits to legalization that you're ignoring in favour of continuing to point to the crack addict with one shoe whose life wasn't turned around by legalization (and then trying to use that as an argument in favour of criminalization, as though THAT would magially help her).

Quote:
It actively disempowers prostitutes.


Because now they can't be treated like criminals?

Because now they can actually call the police if they meet a rough trick?

Because they're no longer invisible, underground non-citizens?

I don't see it.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deBeauxOs wrote:

Having failed in your attempt to beat people over the head with your reams of dogma and mind-numbing research, you are now attempting irony in order to drive your point home?

Not gonna work ... you need proof-of-a-sense-of-humour to pull that one off.

Rolling Eyes


What the fuck is your problem? This isn't the banter topic so I don't think my being serious about a practice that is profoundly harmful to women and children should be an issue.

As to mind-numbing research, I prefer to rely on facts when they are available. Bigots and suckers base opinions on false information, assumptions and prejudices.

This is the second time you have attacked me for not being sufficiently amusing for your taste. Why don't you go giggle about racism or homophobia for awhile?
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thwap
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

infosaturated,

thanks for the links. i've only looked at a couple, and of course i've stated my disagreement, but i'll continue to examine your evidence. change takes time.

if what you say is true, then obviously we must approach things differently.

What i said about the innocuousness of the act itself still stands regardless.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senor Magoo wrote:
I'm saying that you're working from the assumption that if legalization doesn't help every prostitute in every way, then it mustn't be considered.

No, I'm not, I am pointing to studies that indicate logical or not the majority of working prostitutes are actively harmed when prostitution is legalized.

I'm suggesting that there are other benefits to legalization that you're ignoring in favour of continuing to point to the crack addict with one shoe whose life wasn't turned around by legalization (and then trying to use that as an argument in favour of criminalization, as though THAT would magially help her).

No I am not. The "suggested benefits" you are promoting do not actually happen in practice. They don't exist. There are no benefits to the actual sex-workers from legalization.

Quote:
It actively disempowers prostitutes.


Because now they can't be treated like criminals?

Because now they can actually call the police if they meet a rough trick?

Because they're no longer invisible, underground non-citizens?

I don't see it.


Well then look at the facts. While it would seem that the above would benefit sex-workers in practice it has not helped them. Just because you form a logical hypothesis doesn't mean it will hold true once it is tested.

Legalization hasn't reduced violence against sex workers, it hasn't reduced rape against sex workers, it has made it more difficult for them to insist on condom use as a result of increased competition, it has led to an increase in child prostitution even though child prostitution remained illegal. It has lowered prices because it increased competition. It has led to increased trafficking of women from underdeveloped countries.

Pimps and johns benefit from legalized prostitution, not sex-workers. Sex workers actually become less powerful not more powerful.

And that doesn't even touch on the increased harm to women in general from the comodification of sexual services.

So on the one hand, we have imaginary benefits used to promote legalization, and on the other hand we have actual examples of legalization that completely contradict the imaginary scenario.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thwap wrote:
infosaturated,

thanks for the links. i've only looked at a couple, and of course i've stated my disagreement, but i'll continue to examine your evidence. change takes time.

if what you say is true, then obviously we must approach things differently.

What i said about the innocuousness of the act itself still stands regardless.


Your welcome Smile I actually found Corey's link the most useful: farley site:concourt.law.wits.ac.za

Farley is percieved as biased, and I can't disagree. I still think her actual studies and statistics are valid but the perception of bias undermines them.

Corey's link leads to a google search list which refers to a South African legal exploration of the topic of legalization. It is within those documents that I found references to empirical evidence studies of countries that have legalized prostitution.

Having seen those studies, I believe that sex-workers are being sold a bill of goods by the sex industry to get them to be at the forefront of the fight for legalization. Pimps and Johns know they can't be the ones to fight for it even though they will be the sole beneficiaries.
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deBeauxOs
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infosaturated wrote:
What the fuck is your problem? This isn't the banter topic so I don't think my being serious about a practice that is profoundly harmful to women and children should be an issue.

As to mind-numbing research, I prefer to rely on facts when they are available. Bigots and suckers base opinions on false information, assumptions and prejudices.

This is the second time you have attacked me for not being sufficiently amusing for your taste. Why don't you go giggle about racism or homophobia for awhile?


My concern is that your manner of approaching discussion is to beat those that you assume to be your opponents to the ground with the the blunt instrument of dogmatic ideology. Noboby but nobody here denies that prostitution, in the great majority of its manifestations, is harmful to women and children; as well it is a symptom of tenaciously rooted misogyny.

This is not a laughing matter for me, either. But then you would know that if you actually read the posts here, and understood their content as opposed as seeing them as fodder for the fire of your self-righteous cause. Before accusing others of attacking you, you might try to re-read your posts. Are you are participating in a discussion or are you engaging in some adversarial form of intellectual self-gratification?
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Crippled_Newsie
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Infosaturated wrote:

Having seen those studies, I believe that sex-workers are being sold a bill of goods by the sex industry to get them to be at the forefront of the fight for legalization. Pimps and Johns know they can't be the ones to fight for it even though they will be the sole beneficiaries.


The 'Pimps and Johns' came up with this clever scheme... how? Brainstorming at the Pimp/John Association meetings?

And as for the 'sole beneficiaries,' it seems to me that, if anything, the not-getting-arrested part accrues more to the the sex workers than anybody else involved.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deBeauxOs wrote:

My concern is that your manner of approaching discussion is to beat those that you assume to be your opponents to the ground with the the blunt instrument of dogmatic ideology. Noboby but nobody here denies that prostitution, in the great majority of its manifestations, is harmful to women and children; as well it is a symptom of tenaciously rooted misogyny.

This is not a laughing matter for me, either. But then you would know that if you actually read the posts here, and understood their content as opposed as seeing them as fodder for the fire of your self-righteous cause. Before accusing others of attacking you, you might try to re-read your posts. Are you are participating in a discussion or are you engaging in some adversarial form of intellectual self-gratification?


What I am doing is presenting facts that debunk false arguments being used to promote the legalization of "sex-work" at the expense of sex-workers and women and children in general. Dogmatic ideology is being used to counter facts.

If sex-workers knew that legalization would result in competition lowering their prices and increasing the pressure on them not to use condoms while failing to protect them from rape and violence I don't think they would be promoting legalization.

They are being used as a front by the real beneficiaries of legalization, pimps and to a lesser extent johns. If they win it will be very difficult to turn back the clock and take a very long time to do. In the meantime more women and children will be victimed by the sex-trade including "happy hookers" who will suddenly find their services are now much cheaper.
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Infosaturated
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crippled_Newsie wrote:

And as for the 'sole beneficiaries,' it seems to me that, if anything, the not-getting-arrested part accrues more to the the sex workers than anybody else involved.


I think everyone here including myself agrees that prostitutes should not be criminalized. There is no need to harm them through legalization in order to achieve that end.
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thwap
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know if anyone's posted this link from the Department of Justice on street prostitution. About half-way down they start talking about decriminalization, and look at examples from Nevada, the Netherlands, and Australia.

I've been thinking about the incidence of trafficking in human beings in the Netherlands. I'm wondering if that is directly caused by the legalization of red-light districts or by the explosion in poverty and desperation in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. That would surely do more to increase the supply of prostitutes than would the legal regime in the Netherlands.

Obviously though, as you say, it has been the (mostly male) pimps and brothel owners who have benefitted.

The Department of Justice page doesn't have much good to say about the Nevada and Netherlands experiences though:

Nevada:

Quote:
Various security systems (including proximity to Sheriff's offices, security fences and guards) protect prostitutes from unwanted customers and the violence that may occur in other settings. However, this is at some cost to their own freedom. Prostitutes work full time for three weeks and have one week off. During their three weeks of working, they are not allowed to leave the brothel without a chaperone, and there are restrictions on where they can go. The prostitutes pay as much as 40%, plus room and board, to the owner of the brothel. All medical tests are also paid by the prostitutes themselves. They do not receive benefits packages, and if they test positive for HIV, they do not receive any type of support after their employment is terminated.


Netherlands:

Quote:
The Netherlands has traditionally tolerated prostitution. Working as a prostitute is not a crime and brothels have been openly tolerated although not legalized. In the past, attempts to make them legal have failed on moral grounds. However, traffic in women, particularly from South America, has been recognized as a problem in the Netherlands. As Dutch prostitutes became more aware of their rights and began to insist on adequate working conditions, the attraction of immigrant women for brothel owners increased. Many of these women were illegally brought to the Netherlands, could not communicate with clients, were afraid to report violence to the police and were generally kept in exploitative or even slave-like conditions. In the late 1980s, the prohibition of brothels was increasingly questioned and licensing of prostitution businesses was given serious consideration. In 1988, increased penalties against traffickers were introduced by Parliament.

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pollyperverse
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Nevada system is crazy. I mean, it's legislation that was implemented to serve the needs of clients and brothel owners. It's tight control on sex workers to their detriment. That's what happens when decriminalization happens in an anti-sex-worker climate.

I actually wouldn't mind keeping "living off the avails" illegal. I do think pimps are generally a scourge.

As for trafficking, I agree that it is a serious problem and an enormous violation of human rights. My friend is a stripper in Toronto (at the more high class clubs, which means with fewer trafficked women) and she says that almost all the women she works with are Eastern European and speak basically no English. She's not sure if they're trafficked or not: the only words she recognizes when they speak are "Citizenship and Immigration Canada:" apparently that phrase comes up a lot.

I believe we should be asking, "How can we reduce the power of slave-owners on trafficked women, girls and boys? What tools do we need to be able to do that? How can we reduce harms to trafficked women, girls, and boys while maximizing harm to the parasites that feed off them?" I think any climate in which sex work is seen as shameful and illegal only hands power to the people with a hold over sex workers.
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Senor Magoo
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think the Nevada system is crazy.


If we're discussing legalization versus criminalization then I think it only muddies things to place any empasis at all on implementations of legalization.

Many Canadians think it's time pot was legalized. If some country legalized pot, then made it mandatory for pot users to be identified with a tattoo, would that be an argument against legalizing pot?? Or against doing it stupidly?

If a country legalizes prostitution, then introduces counterproductive rules and regulations, then a good argument can be made against the rules and regulations, but that doesn't speak against legalization in and of itself.

Quote:
I actually wouldn't mind keeping "living off the avails" illegal. I do think pimps are generally a scourge.


Agreed. The right to do as you wish with your own body doesn't extend to the right to do as you wish with your girlfriend's body. But if prostitution were to be legalized, we'd need to iron out exactly what constitutes "living OFF". I don't think anyone should be punished for living with a prostitute and splitting the rent. That to me is not "living OFF". But someone living the classic pimp life? I have no problem with that remaining totally illegal.
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thwap
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overall, I agree with pollyperverse's take on the issue. Still, looking over the studies that infosaturated has provided is important. If virtually every attempt to decriminalize or legalize prostitution has made things worse for prostitutes, then the decriminalization of this business will have to wait until the broader problems that produce the sufferings are ended.
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Corey
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pollyperverse wrote:
I actually wouldn't mind keeping "living off the avails" illegal. I do think pimps are generally a scourge.


I feel the same way, with the disclaimer that I've been told, as Senor Magoo suggests above, that a prostitute with a domestic partner who had nothing to do with the business at all besides knowing about it, but shared in its revenue the way they might be if their partner did any other line of work, is exposed to prosecution for living off the avails.

And wording that talked about active work to support trade in prostitution might stick to sex worker advocacy groups, tradespeople like accountants or web site designers who the prostitutes might hire of their own accord, etc.

The charge would have to be set out carefully, in its statutory form and probably in judicial discretion as applied, to apply only to those exploiting the prostitute, or whose extent and nature of involvement would be commonly understood to be that of a pimp.
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pollyperverse
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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I realized after I posted that, that it would be hard to separate the two (a person who shared their life with a sex worker, and a person who was exploiting them for financial gain).

Also, what about the hotel owner who rents out rooms to sex workers, or agencies who provided, say, phones, newspaper ads, and criminal records checks? I guess if there was kind of a paper trail for 'services rendered in exchange for...' ?

I don't really believe in 'decriminalizing prostitutes' while continuing to target johns. I mean, it sends a clear message that sex work is dirty and evil, which I believe invariably leads to the characterization of its visible manifestations (sex workers) as the same thing.


Last edited by pollyperverse on Fri May 05, 2006 6:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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