Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Prostitution Legalise it?

I was reading this news article about the police trying to shut down some flats that were being used by prostitutes. The local residents stepped in to support the women, who say it is 10 times safer than working on the streets. Has the time come to ask the question whether prostitution* should be legalise?

Currently under the law in the UK** prostitution is not illegal, however the laws surrounding it are - soliciting (advertising sexual services), streetwalking, brothels (where more than one person sells sex in an apartment) and kerb crawling.

Though I'm sure for many the idea of selling sex is unthinkable, but for some it's a choice and others it's not, either due to being sold into it or circumstances they find themselves in. The police need to target the real crime, exploitation and human trafficking. Yet while prostitution is illegal and underground this can't be done effectively, nor can the situation be improved for the people that work within it.

Prostitution will never go away, laws vilifying it always has and always will just push it out of sight and is that really the right thing to do? For me omitting people from society rather than helping them is far worst than paying for sex ever will be. As it's easier to start again or get help when you are apart of society than on the fringe of it.

By decriminalising brothels or empowering the sex workers with rights. We give them access to full and equal protection under the law. Most importantly we get people off the streets where they are most vulnerable, as how can you report a crime when you are criminalised? Essentially there needs to be a shift so that laws focus on protecting people, not the state passing moral judgement. If an individual wants to judge, go ahead, yet that should not be the role of the state in 21st century.

*I use prostitution as a board term for ease.
** Different laws apply in Scotland.

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