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Old 01-09-2019, 02:05 PM
blood63 blood63 is offline
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Why is prostitution illegal?

I have been reading about Storyville, New Orleans and the presence of semi-legal prostitution in this now lost area.
It got me wondering about why things are legal or illegal in the first place.
Is it just the will of the people? If enough Puritanical thinkers agree that prostitution is bad for society they enact laws that make it illegal.
But there is also the constitution that guarantees rights for citizens. A group of prostitutes can challenge the law because it impacts their right to earn a living. Who are they harming in this activity? There is a transaction for sex just as there is a transaction for other services in society.
How does the Supreme Court view prostitution? Is there an article in the constitution that speaks to this or does the court rule based on each judge's internal view of the subject?
And I guess this applies to other Western taboos such as polygamy etc.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:12 PM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
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The traditional argument would have been, "Their profession runs contrary to public policy. They are spreading disease and corrupting public morals. Plus other illegal/immoral behavior flourishes whereever they trade." Nowadays the arguments would probably center around oppression of women and that the persons prostituting themselves were not free actors.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:16 PM
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Yes, of course it's because the people, through the legislature, have chosen to pass laws making it illegal.

And I don't doubt that some prostitute, somewhere, has tried to appeal on Constitutional grounds. But the people who make up the courts have chosen not to interpret the Constitution in such a way as to guarantee a right to prostitution.

That's all the factual answer that's possible. If you want to know why people have made those decisions, or whether those decisions are good ones, then this thread will need to be moved to Great Debates.
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Old 01-09-2019, 02:31 PM
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The weird thing is that making a porn movie is legal, protected under the First Amendment. So payment for sex is okay provided you film it. (That doesn't mean it's legal to hire a hooker provided you just film it on your phone, it's regulated with licensing requirements.)
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:07 PM
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Like prostitution itself, that varies from state to state.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:13 PM
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Where I live prostitution is legal, and provided he or she pays tax there is nothing intrinsic about their work that makes it illegal. Sex work becomes a job with its own challenges. What is illegal is living off the earnings of prostitution. I assume this law is written to prevent pimping or sex slavery rather than say being a brothel landlord, but dont know for sure. Its a different way of addressing that question of autonomy and right to your own body.
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:32 PM
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But there is also the constitution that guarantees rights for citizens. A group of prostitutes can challenge the law because it impacts their right to earn a living.
The US Constitution doesn't guarantee anyone's right to earn a living. At best, that might be an un-enumerated right. Under the Ninth Amendment, such rights can exist, although the Ninth does not establish that any such right exists. And the Tenth Amendment places the power to enumerate rights, and thus bring them under the protection of the federal government, with the states and the people.

Which is why prostitution is legal in some areas. The Constitution doesn't say anything about it, so it is up to the states or the people. If they want prostitution in their state, the Supreme Court doesn't, or shouldn't, interfere.

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Old 01-09-2019, 05:06 PM
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Where I live prostitution is legal, and provided he or she pays tax there is nothing intrinsic about their work that makes it illegal. Sex work becomes a job with its own challenges. What is illegal is living off the earnings of prostitution. I assume this law is written to prevent pimping or sex slavery rather than say being a brothel landlord, but dont know for sure. Its a different way of addressing that question of autonomy and right to your own body.
This is pretty much the same as the UK. The argument against making paying for sex illegal often centres around the definitions of 'paying'. If I take a girl out and buy her dinner and then we share a bed, is that prostitution? If I take her to dinner and give her a diamond, does that make it prostitution? If a wealthy person marries an attractive poor person, does that make one party a prostitute?

Of course, soliciting can be a crime, as can living off [someone else's] immoral earnings, but a simple agreement between two parties, where something of value is exchanged for sex, is very difficult to legislate against.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:06 PM
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The traditional argument would have been, "Their profession runs contrary to public policy. They are spreading disease and corrupting public morals. Plus other illegal/immoral behavior flourishes whereever they trade." Nowadays the arguments would probably center around oppression of women and that the persons prostituting themselves were not free actors.
Yes, I believe Iceland not only banned prostitution despite it being legal before, but also banned strip clubs on the basis of it encouraging sex trafficking. In fact under their system if a man pays for an illegal prostitute and is caught, only the man gets in trouble.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:58 PM
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Yes, I believe Iceland not only banned prostitution despite it being legal before, but also banned strip clubs on the basis of it encouraging sex trafficking. In fact under their system if a man pays for an illegal prostitute and is caught, only the man gets in trouble.
Presumably if a woman was caught paying for sex with a male prostitute she'd criminally liable, but scenario isn't going to come up often (also women hiring male strippers is reasonably common in Western countries).
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Old 01-09-2019, 06:39 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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Because it's unfair competition for marriage. Who'd get married, if you could buy the sex you wanted legally (and at a bargain, compared to the cost of a marriage).

So all women who are married, or want to be, demand legislation to make it illegal.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:01 PM
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Religion and biology.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:27 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is offline
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Because it's unfair competition for marriage. Who'd get married, if you could buy the sex you wanted legally (and at a bargain, compared to the cost of a marriage).

So all women who are married, or want to be, demand legislation to make it illegal.
It goes farther back than that though, pre-women's rights. A marriage used to be a contract between families, arranged as part of a greater deal. If you think about it, the deal falls apart if the man isn't interested because he can much more cheaply get what he needs from prostitutes. Though another confounding factor is that reliable birth control wasn't available until fairly recently in the 20th century, pre-birth control, prostitutes were extremely expensive. (freakonomics has a section on this where they look at brothel prices around the turn of the century). And this would have been post women's liberation.

In general though, it does seem like a clear infringement upon individual rights by the government. If you think about it, for every woman it's the government taking without compensation - every attractive woman could rent herself if she chooses for several hundred dollars an hour. By the government banning it, they are essentially taking away potential income.

Kind of in the same way if you earn a license to do a skilled task and then the government arbitrarily takes away your ability to earn a living because the people in your local community think plumbing for pay is despicable so they ban it. You could plumb for free - if someone takes you on several expensive meet and greets at local bars and restaurants you might be charmed into fixing their pipes or snaking their toilet - but under this scheme you can't demand the market rate for your services.

In a certain sense, an attractive woman has earned what she has, by controlling her appetite, dressing well with much makeup and hair work, and also being young, an asset that quickly expires.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:35 PM
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And the Tenth Amendment places the power to enumerate rights, and thus bring them under the protection of the federal government, with the states and the people.

Which is why prostitution is legal in some areas. The Constitution doesn't say anything about it, so it is up to the states or the people.
Rightóexactly the point made by the Wikipedia article on Prostitution in the United States:
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The regulation of prostitution in the country is not among the enumerated powers of the federal government. It is therefore exclusively the domain of the states to permit, prohibit, or otherwise regulate commercial sex under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, except insofar as Congress may regulate it as part of interstate commerce
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:43 PM
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Because it's unfair competition for marriage. Who'd get married, if you could buy the sex you wanted legally (and at a bargain, compared to the cost of a marriage).

So all women who are married, or want to be, demand legislation to make it illegal.
This argument only stands up if you think that all a man gets out of marriage is sex. Which, both historically and in the present day, is nonsense.

I think there's a different explanation. We observe that prostitution is most likely to be criminalised, or heavily legally restricted in other ways, in Protestant or historically Protestant societies, while in Catholic or historically Catholic societies its more likely to be regulated through licensing of one kind or another.

(Storyville, mentioned in the OP, is in New Orleans. Just sayin'.)

What this reflects is different cultural assumptions about what the law is for. In Protestant thinking, promoting vice and supressing virtue is a proper object of the law. Even if criminalising prostitution (or drugtaking, or whatever) doesn't actually stop it, it still sends an important message about right and wrong behaviour. Plus, it avoids the state being complicit in immoral behaviour by condoning it. So, if you think transactions of prostitution are inherently wrong, you default to criminalising them.

Whereas, in the Catholic tradition, the purpose of law is to promote the common welfare. So that means things like harm minimisation, protection of prostitutes from exploitation, impeding the spread of STDs, etc. Whether this can be more effectively done by criminalising particular behaviour, or by regulating, licensing or otherwise controlling it, becomes a matter of practical judgment rather that fundamental principle.
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:58 PM
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OK, then, GD it is.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:51 AM
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In general though, it does seem like a clear infringement upon individual rights by the government. If you think about it, for every woman it's the government taking without compensation - every attractive woman could rent herself if she chooses for several hundred dollars an hour. By the government banning it, they are essentially taking away potential income.

Kind of in the same way if you earn a license to do a skilled task and then the government arbitrarily takes away your ability to earn a living because the people in your local community think plumbing for pay is despicable so they ban it. You could plumb for free - if someone takes you on several expensive meet and greets at local bars and restaurants you might be charmed into fixing their pipes or snaking their toilet - but under this scheme you can't demand the market rate for your services.

In a certain sense, an attractive woman has earned what she has, by controlling her appetite, dressing well with much makeup and hair work, and also being young, an asset that quickly expires.
That sounds good as a general theory, but if consistently applied, it would tend to make all laws banning any product or service unconstitutional. Are laws against heroin unconstitutional because it deprives me of my trade...which is selling heroin? What if I am a machine gun manufacturer? A bald eagle hunter?

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Old 01-10-2019, 08:17 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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That sounds good as a general theory, but if consistently applied, it would tend to make all laws banning any product or service unconstitutional. Are laws against heroin unconstitutional because it deprives me of my trade...which is selling heroin? What if I am a machine gun manufacturer? A bald eagle hunter?
But, as someone noted upthread, thereís a difference, right? As I understand it, we ban free handouts of heroin along with the sale of that heroin; and, as far as I know, I canít legally machinegun a bald eagle just because I feel like it, and Iím also barred from doing it in exchange for a paycheck.

Isnít it different to say ďoh, hey, go ahead and have sex with that woman; thatís fine, just so long as no money changes hands, see?Ē
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:41 AM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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But, as someone noted upthread, thereís a difference, right? As I understand it, we ban free handouts of heroin along with the sale of that heroin; and, as far as I know, I canít legally machinegun a bald eagle just because I feel like it, and Iím also barred from doing it in exchange for a paycheck.

Isnít it different to say ďoh, hey, go ahead and have sex with that woman; thatís fine, just so long as no money changes hands, see?Ē
It is different, but I'm not sure why it is materially different. I know of no grand principle of law that says that if I can give something away for free that I must then have a constitutional right to sell the same thing.

I mean, I can give my child up for adoption, but I cannot sell her. Is that denying me the right to apply my trade: child selling?

I think the arguments that I have seen in favor of legal prostitution are the pseudo-Libertarian arguments that focus on an individual transaction and ignore the larger threats to society. Sure, if I meet a woman at a bar and we hit it off and end up back at my place, is that functionally any different than if I just paid her to come back to my place? Not really.

But multiply that by a million. Now we have whorehouses with advertisements, increased STDs and unwanted children and yes, the moral argument that it cheapens and demeans sex. I mean, how special is the marital bond during sex between my wife and I when I can purchase sex at the Mustang Ranch a mile and half away?

The counterargument is usually then that I now have to propose outlawing fornication, adultery, sodomy, and anything but missionary position marital sex, but that isn't the case at all. Society makes trade offs. It may rationally decide that a person's interest in liberty and autonomy is too important to outlaw fornication, even if it wanted to, yet still refuse to take the extra step of making sex a commodity.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:45 AM
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...But multiply that by a million. Now we have whorehouses with advertisements
"Whorehouses" kinda poisons that well, doesn't it?

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increased STDs
Not in a regulated market.

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and unwanted children
Not in an environment that actually supports birth control.

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..and yes, the moral argument that it cheapens and demeans sex
I guess it a moral argument, if one comes from a perspective that a pleasurable (for humans) act that every mammal does naturally is somehow sacrosanct.

Quote:
I mean, how special is the marital bond during sex between my wife and I when I can purchase sex at the Mustang Ranch a mile and half away?
As special as you choose for it to be. Honestly, I find this part of your (to be charitable, let's call it an) argument to be entirely incomprehensible. "Sex is sacred to my relationship, therefore if someone can freely and safely purchase a sexual encounter with someone else, that ruins my sacred sexual bond."

That's just...I don't know what it is. But it's utterly bizarre to me.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:59 AM
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Whereas, in the Catholic tradition, the purpose of law is to promote the common welfare. So that means things like harm minimisation, protection of prostitutes from exploitation, impeding the spread of STDs, etc. Whether this can be more effectively done by criminalising particular behaviour, or by regulating, licensing or otherwise controlling it, becomes a matter of practical judgment rather that fundamental principle.
Very often there's also a matter of weighing different bad things against each other, of viewing evil as having a scale: if making prostitution illegal means that women forced into it will not dare ask for help, it's better to legalize (or at least to make it clear that it won't be prosecuted on the prostitute's side). Because yeah, voluntary prostitution isn't a good thing but it's a much-much-much-less bad thing that slavery.
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:19 AM
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"Whorehouses" kinda poisons that well, doesn't it?



Not in a regulated market.



Not in an environment that actually supports birth control.



I guess it a moral argument, if one comes from a perspective that a pleasurable (for humans) act that every mammal does naturally is somehow sacrosanct.



As special as you choose for it to be. Honestly, I find this part of your (to be charitable, let's call it an) argument to be entirely incomprehensible. "Sex is sacred to my relationship, therefore if someone can freely and safely purchase a sexual encounter with someone else, that ruins my sacred sexual bond."

That's just...I don't know what it is. But it's utterly bizarre to me.
.
Again, it is not all about my relationship and what some other guy does. I was using that as an example. The argument has to be more than about what a single person does. Laws affect society as a whole and cannot be distilled to what an individual does.

If me and only me pollutes the air, throws my garbage out the car window, shoots twenty deer, or uses heroin, then there is no societal problem. It is the aggregation and not one individual act that matters to society.

You want to make this horseshit argument that I am some prude clutching my pearls and that my marriage is so fragile and non-sacred because some other guy is sleeping with a prostitute. That completely mischaracterizes the point and turns your argument into a personal insult.

Contrary to your thoughts, most people still believe that sex should be reserved in some way. I wouldn't go so far as to use the term "sacred" but people in society generally believe that it is not a positive thing to have an outrageous number of sexual partners. Since the dawn of times, across all religions, societies have generally attempted to restrict and channel sex typically through marriage.

In the last fifty years, our society has become increasingly tolerant of more liberal sexuality and has repealed laws or even accepted things that prior to that would have been unseemly: things like fornication, adultery, cohabitation, etc. This has been done for a variety of reasons, none of which is an attitude that sex is now a sporting event.

Indeed the reason for liberalizing most of these laws have been variously given as the emerging idea that sex is a personal decision and it should not be the business of society what goes on behind closed doors between consenting adults. It was argued, for example, that legalizing homosexual sodomy and same sex marriage, far from making sex and marriage a skeevy affair, actually strengthened these traditional values by allowing loving couples to legally express themselves and be recognized as full members of society.

None of this applies to the commercial sale of sex. Such a thing promotes absolutely nothing positive, no underlying values of love or mutual respect: certainly no respect for women. Now, maybe we can have a State Prostitution Control Board to make sure that condoms are used, that birth control is taken, that women are paid properly, not pimped out, that advertising is kept tasteful, that they cannot be within so many feet of a school, etc., but they won't be 100% effective and still contribute to the social problems mentioned before.

But more importantly, why should we do this? What is the redeeming social goal or value that we would be trying to promote in having legal prostitution? The argument that this empowers women seems silly to me. I'm not a good liberal, but I think it would be far more empowering to women to get them into better fields instead of having them just sell their body for money.
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:56 AM
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Thank for taking the time to respond thoughtfully. I disagree on several points, but I appreciate your expanding on what really did come across as pretty simplistic.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:43 PM
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I've read a fair bit about prostitution in Victorian times. What most folks today don't realize is that the Victorians were much more pragmatic than we give them credit for.

There were many towns in Colorado, Nevada, etc. where prostitution was simultaneously criminalized and regulated. This was achieved through a tiered system of fines. The town ordinance might say something like, "The fine is $5 for acts of prostitution south of Main Street, and $20 for acts of prostitution north of Main Street." Thus they set up a de facto red-light district. It was also common to require prostitutes to get a thorough medical check-up on a regular basis, and there was a separate fine if they didn't.

Also--despite the fact that the profession was illegal--it was surprisingly common for certain prostitutes to become well-known in their city. A few even went into other types of business on the side, such as real estate.

In my opinion, our ancestors have a great deal to teach us.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:54 PM
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The determination about whether or not to outlaw prostitution is made primarily along the spectrum of those who believe the purpose of government is to promote things good for society and protect it from things viewed as bad for it vs. those who believe the purpose of government is to protect things good for individuals in society and protect them from those who would seek to infringe upon their liberty to be an individual. Ultra Vires asserts that it is irrelevant that I might practice responsible use of prostitutes, because the question is not what I do, but rather what the aggregate effect of prostitution on society as a whole will likely be, even if prostitution is "properly" regulated. The opposite view would be that government has no business infringing upon my effort to buy sex (and the desire of some woman to be paid to have it with me) simply out of fear that somehow my activity will in some relatively minimal way infringe upon their lives. Notice that's not a Republican v Democrat dichotomy; recently deceased brothel owner Dennis Hof of Nevada was a staunch Republican, who ran for and won (posthumously, it should be noted) a Nevada Legislature seat as a Republican. Rather, it's a Libertarian v Authoritarian (for lack of a better label) dichotomy.

In the case of prostitution, it's been illegal in many cultures over human history, so it's clearly not just a "Protestant" viewpoint that it should be outlawed. But, of course, in any specific culture/polity, how it should be treated is up to the people therein, which is how the US Constitution treats it (though I suppose, given an expansive enough reading, the Congress could use the Commerce Clause to regulate the business nationwide).
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:39 PM
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Right—exactly the point made by the Wikipedia article on Prostitution in the United States:
For what you say, I infer that the Supreme Court of the United States would decline to hear a case centered on the legality of prostitution.

When state Supreme Courts here such cases, must they not rule based on the constitution of that state? Must they not refer to precedent or the constitution itself.

Sorry - From what you say...

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Old 01-10-2019, 02:53 PM
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Again, it is not all about my relationship and what some other guy does. I was using that as an example. The argument has to be more than about what a single person does. Laws affect society as a whole and cannot be distilled to what an individual does.

If me and only me pollutes the air, throws my garbage out the car window, shoots twenty deer, or uses heroin, then there is no societal problem. It is the aggregation and not one individual act that matters to society.

You want to make this horseshit argument that I am some prude clutching my pearls and that my marriage is so fragile and non-sacred because some other guy is sleeping with a prostitute. That completely mischaracterizes the point and turns your argument into a personal insult.

Contrary to your thoughts, most people still believe that sex should be reserved in some way. I wouldn't go so far as to use the term "sacred" but people in society generally believe that it is not a positive thing to have an outrageous number of sexual partners. Since the dawn of times, across all religions, societies have generally attempted to restrict and channel sex typically through marriage.

In the last fifty years, our society has become increasingly tolerant of more liberal sexuality and has repealed laws or even accepted things that prior to that would have been unseemly: things like fornication, adultery, cohabitation, etc. This has been done for a variety of reasons, none of which is an attitude that sex is now a sporting event.

Indeed the reason for liberalizing most of these laws have been variously given as the emerging idea that sex is a personal decision and it should not be the business of society what goes on behind closed doors between consenting adults. It was argued, for example, that legalizing homosexual sodomy and same sex marriage, far from making sex and marriage a skeevy affair, actually strengthened these traditional values by allowing loving couples to legally express themselves and be recognized as full members of society.

None of this applies to the commercial sale of sex. Such a thing promotes absolutely nothing positive, no underlying values of love or mutual respect: certainly no respect for women. Now, maybe we can have a State Prostitution Control Board to make sure that condoms are used, that birth control is taken, that women are paid properly, not pimped out, that advertising is kept tasteful, that they cannot be within so many feet of a school, etc., but they won't be 100% effective and still contribute to the social problems mentioned before.

But more importantly, why should we do this? What is the redeeming social goal or value that we would be trying to promote in having legal prostitution? The argument that this empowers women seems silly to me. I'm not a good liberal, but I think it would be far more empowering to women to get them into better fields instead of having them just sell their body for money.
Interesting. I agree that prostitution does nothing to advance any positive societal values. Here a list of other things that I think fall in the same category: cigarettes, handguns, junk food. I'm interested in how these are different. To me, they all represent personal freedom, the foundational ethic of the USA.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:54 PM
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The determination about whether or not to outlaw prostitution is made primarily along the spectrum of those who believe the purpose of government is to promote things good for society and protect it from things viewed as bad for it vs. those who believe the purpose of government is to protect things good for individuals in society and protect them from those who would seek to infringe upon their liberty to be an individual. Ultra Vires asserts that it is irrelevant that I might practice responsible use of prostitutes, because the question is not what I do, but rather what the aggregate effect of prostitution on society as a whole will likely be, even if prostitution is "properly" regulated. The opposite view would be that government has no business infringing upon my effort to buy sex (and the desire of some woman to be paid to have it with me) simply out of fear that somehow my activity will in some relatively minimal way infringe upon their lives. Notice that's not a Republican v Democrat dichotomy; recently deceased brothel owner Dennis Hof of Nevada was a staunch Republican, who ran for and won (posthumously, it should be noted) a Nevada Legislature seat as a Republican. Rather, it's a Libertarian v Authoritarian (for lack of a better label) dichotomy.
In a way I agree with your general characterization, but in a larger and more nuanced way, I disagree with it. I am basically in agreement with the idea that government should be small and should stay out of most areas of human life; it should definitely be involved in way fewer areas than it currently is. People should be able to pursue their own happiness and live their lives as they see fit and not how I see fit for them.

But this Libertarian ideal that so long as what I am doing does not have a direct and material harmful impact on someone else, and that two consenting adults should be able to make any free choice so long as no third party is harmed has superficial appeal, but it simply does not stand up to any sort of scrutiny:

1) As noted before, it utterly fails to consider the aggregate effects on society as a whole which we have to take into account. If you engage in a single act of prostitution, it does not harm me in the least. It does not then follow that allowing every act of prostitution (consensual by both parties) across the entire country with businesses that cater to clients will not have ill-effects on society as a whole. Libertarians always ignore that one and simply stick by their simplistic individual act.

2) Even if we grant the individual right argument, it just moves the debate onto the next one. So prostitution is legal and regulated and as part of the regulations, a condom is required. Well doesn't that equally infringe upon an individual's freedom? Should I not have the right, in conjunction with a woman who is willing, to pay for sex without using a condom? I mean, we are both adults, I have no STDs, she claims she has no STDs and is using birth control. If I didn't pay for the sex, we could do exactly that. How is outlawing this type of individual contract any better or worse than outlawing prostitution in general?

Why can I not contract with a consenting adult, after advising him of the risks, to work in an unsafe factory and pay him less than minimum wage or work him past maximum hours? That wouldn't hurt you one whit. The argument has always been that he is in an unequal bargaining position and may not want to do that but he needs the money. The same could be said of a prostitute.

So at the end of the day, we are only debating about the level of regulation, not some grand ideal of freedom.

3) What exactly does it mean to not cause harm to someone else? Sure, there are easy ones like murder and robbery that clearly cause harm, but where are the lines? Is it only physical harm? Economic or emotional harm? If we go so far as emotional harm, then this Libertarian ideal, far from promoting freedom, would significantly curtail things like free speech or a free press.

If we have legal prostitution and many young women in rural areas that are having trouble finding a job then turn to prostitution, does that count as a harm?

So at the end of the day I don't think it is about freedom v. authoritarianism. It is simply about what to regulate and how much regulation is deemed appropriate.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:01 PM
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Interesting. I agree that prostitution does nothing to advance any positive societal values. Here a list of other things that I think fall in the same category: cigarettes, handguns, junk food. I'm interested in how these are different. To me, they all represent personal freedom, the foundational ethic of the USA.
In my mind, I think that the bigger societal issue with prostitution (and one that has already been noted in this thread) is that, even if it were to be legalized, I'm not sure that it'd be possible to eliminate the problem with sex workers who are being exploited, or forced to work as prostitutes against their will.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:12 PM
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Interesting. I agree that prostitution does nothing to advance any positive societal values. Here a list of other things that I think fall in the same category: cigarettes, handguns, junk food. I'm interested in how these are different. To me, they all represent personal freedom, the foundational ethic of the USA.
First, let's throw handguns out because that will cause a hijack and a different debate. Further, as the Supreme Court has deemed that owning handguns is a constitutional right, it puts them outside the democratic debate process.

Second, there is a lot of inertia in law and there is a huge difference between legalizing something versus outlawing something that is already here.

As far as cigarettes, if we were starting from a clean slate, it would be different. If scientists grew this new crop called "tobacco" and did studies showing that it was highly addictive, caused many diseases and horrific social costs, but on the flip side a bunch of people really like it, then I think we would be almost unanimous in saying that we would not legalize "tobacco."

But tobacco is here and has been around for about 400 years in European cultures. It would be difficult if not futile to attempt to ban it, putting the personal freedom arguments aside. However, I think as a society, we have put tobacco on its death spiral. You can't smoke hardly anywhere, it's taxed to death, and becoming more socially unacceptable each year. We are doing our best to "outlaw" tobacco without directly doing so.

Junk food is even less harmful than tobacco. Yes, there is a social cost, but most people can enjoy it responsibly. This is a free country and people should be allowed to have some vices.

However, just because we allow some vices does not mean that we must allow an increasing number of them. It does not follow that since we allow cigarettes we must then logically allow marijuana, prostitution, cockfights and casino gambling. People are free to say that we will go this far but not that far. Unlike grand pronouncements of a legal philosophy, not everything in society has to follow to its formal logical conclusion.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:53 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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In my mind, I think that the bigger societal issue with prostitution (and one that has already been noted in this thread) is that, even if it were to be legalized, I'm not sure that it'd be possible to eliminate the problem with sex workers who are being exploited, or forced to work as prostitutes against their will.
But this is a circular argument: sex workers are exploited because it is illegal.

A sex worker can't complain to the police or the state Department of Labor about not being paid overtime, because they would be arrested. So with no society protections, they end up exploited.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:48 PM
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But this is a circular argument: sex workers are exploited because it is illegal.

A sex worker can't complain to the police or the state Department of Labor about not being paid overtime, because they would be arrested. So with no society protections, they end up exploited.
Does legalized prostitution in Las Vegas stop illegal prostitution in Las Vegas?

Thing is when a man wants to do a hooker he wants to keep it a secret. Going to a legal brothel leaves a paper trail.
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:01 PM
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I am sure the ideas of Martin Luther is at the bottom the rather more restrictive Protestant attitude towards prostitution.

Wikipedia is very informative on the history of prostitution around the world and through history.

There were some quite contrasting cultural attitudes and clearly it was closely related to the position and rights of women in society. That and the risk of catching a nasty infection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_prostitution
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:17 PM
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Does legalized prostitution in Las Vegas stop illegal prostitution in Las Vegas?
Since there is no legal prostitution in Las Vegas (it's only legal in rural Nevada), we don't know. In places like the Netherlands, where prostitution is legal, non-legal prostitution seems to be only a very minor problem. Many of the problems reported seem to be prostitutes operating without a license, or failing to pay taxes on their earnings.

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Thing is when a man wants to do a hooker he wants to keep it a secret. Going to a legal brothel leaves a paper trail.
Only if the brothel doesn't accept cash. And I've never heard of one that doesn't.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:51 PM
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Why is prostitution illegal? Another possible answer is, "Because no one cares enough to push it toward legality."

Take marijuana as a rough equivalent. People who enjoy pot have been pushing for decades to make it legal. For a long time there was no movement at all, but eventually, incremental state-by-state initiatives have tipped the scale. Within the next decade, we'll probably see recreational weed legal in more states than not.

Hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of Americans enjoy paying for sex, but they're apparently quite happy to do it outside the law. I'm not aware of any movement on the demand side to legalize it.

And it's easy to see why. If I told Ms. Akaj I was going to a pro-pot rally, she'd say "Where is it? I'll join you." If I told her I was going to a pro-prostitution rally, she'd say "Stop by a divorce lawyer on your way home."
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:58 PM
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But this is a circular argument: sex workers are exploited because it is illegal.

A sex worker can't complain to the police or the state Department of Labor about not being paid overtime, because they would be arrested. So with no society protections, they end up exploited.
Undoubtedly true. But, I'm not convinced that, even if it were to be made legal, there still wouldn't be a considerable amount of exploitation going on.

To be clear: if you have consenting adults, who are all happily in agreement on what they're doing together, and no third parties are being harmed by it, I truly don't care what they do. For this reason, conceptually, I think that I wouldn't be against legalized prostitution. The issue is that I'm still not sure that all prostitutes would necessarily be truly consenting adults.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:25 PM
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Undoubtedly true. But, I'm not convinced that, even if it were to be made legal, there still wouldn't be a considerable amount of exploitation going on.

To be clear: if you have consenting adults, who are all happily in agreement on what they're doing together, and no third parties are being harmed by it, I truly don't care what they do. For this reason, conceptually, I think that I wouldn't be against legalized prostitution. The issue is that I'm still not sure that all prostitutes would necessarily be truly consenting adults.
Isn't that a risk in any employment situation, though?
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:53 PM
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Isn't that a risk in any employment situation, though?
I suppose that it is, and I'm willing to admit that I may view sex differently than other occupations. Sex is intertwined with all sorts of strong emotions for most people, as well as opening the possibility of STDs and pregnancy, which just don't come up with other jobs. Birth control and protection can lessen the health issues, certainly, but it's by no means an absolute.

On the other hand, you could likely argue that it's no different from people who choose to work in other risky occupations (like crab fishing or coal mining) because they're desperate for money and feel like they have no other good options.

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Old 01-11-2019, 04:17 PM
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Or agriculture or domestic work, two areas that see a lot of worker exploitation.

Totally agreed that our cultural and individual views on sex deeply color the conversation, as much as I might personally prefer otherwise.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:36 PM
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Well what do you mean when you say "make it legal"?

Ok, lets say its legal and one can advertise on some local business "provider" board like Craigslist. Will a person be able to do prostitution out of there home? Would you want a prostitute operating next door with all these strange cars always parked outside?

Would it be a business operating in a red light district like in Asia or Rotterdam with semi nude women dancing in the windows?

Would it be a "chicken ranch" style business operating outside of city limits?

I mean while I'm generally ok with making it legal I do not know specifics.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:56 PM
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Why is prostitution illegal? Another possible answer is, "Because no one cares enough to push it toward legality."

Take marijuana as a rough equivalent. People who enjoy pot have been pushing for decades to make it legal. For a long time there was no movement at all, but eventually, incremental state-by-state initiatives have tipped the scale. Within the next decade, we'll probably see recreational weed legal in more states than not.

Hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of Americans enjoy paying for sex, but they're apparently quite happy to do it outside the law. I'm not aware of any movement on the demand side to legalize it.

And it's easy to see why. If I told Ms. Akaj I was going to a pro-pot rally, she'd say "Where is it? I'll join you." If I told her I was going to a pro-prostitution rally, she'd say "Stop by a divorce lawyer on your way home."
...you are entirely incorrect, yet you've inadvertently stumbled onto the real reason why sex work in most countries in the world isn't legal.

There are plenty of people care enough about pushing sex work to legality. There are unions and collectives and lobby groups and even the United Nations is in support of decriminalization.

Who cares about about legalizing sex work? Sex workers.

Sex work is an industry that is populated almost entirely by women that is subject to laws and regulations imposed on them by legislators who are almost exclusively men. Sex workers have been fighting hard and loudly for legalization for years. If you haven't heard them its because you live in a society that marginalizes the voices of women, its because you haven't been listening.

Story time. Catherine Healy was a primary school teacher in the 80's before she decided to enter the sex industry. She was frustrated less by "dodgy clients" and more by "the indignity of the law".

Quote:
The Prostitutes Collective came about through a meeting of minds.

The women she worked with were strident and stroppy and annoyed with the stigma and misconceptions of prostitution. Healy, 62, was in awe of them.

"They were talking at the time about needing a union and I was really struck by that.

"There were nine of us and we just started to meet and talk. We would sit in my flat in Mt Victoria, the house billowing with cigarette smoke, and just talk."

They talked about a community place where sex workers could come to. They talked about their desire to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"We just wanted to be treated like normal people. We wanted to change attitudes, we wanted acceptance. Most of all we wanted to change the law.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104...or-sex-workers

That was the genesis of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, a lobby group that fought on behalf of sex workers in New Zealand. In 1997, the NZPC, along with the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women, the National Council of Women, the YWCA, as well as academics and members of parliament from both the left and right wing, came together at a forum to draft a bill. It was bought to parliament as a private members bill by Tim Barnett, and it surprisingly got narrowly passed into law with an impassioned speech by Georgina Byers (the first transgender member of parliament and a former sex worker) generally attributed as what pushed the bill over the line.

What the bill does:

Quote:
Originally Posted by from wikipedia, reformatted to make it easier to read
The Act replaced the previous legislation, including repealing the Massage Parlours Act, largely removing voluntary adult (age 18 and over) prostitution from the criminal law and replacing it with civil law at both national and local level.

A distinction was made between voluntary and involuntary prostitution. It remains a crime to coerce someone to provide sexual services. Sex work is also prohibited for those on temporary visas, and immigration for and investment in sex work is prohibited.

Contracts between provider and client were recognised, and providers have the right to refuse services. Contested contracts can be referred to the Disputes Tribunal.

Advertising is banned, with the exception of print media, which is restricted.

The Summary Offences Act remains in force in relation to soliciting, which may be classed as offensive behaviour.

The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 also allows sex workers to apply for previous convictions to be removed from the record. Sex work is recognised (but not promoted) as legitimate work by Work and Income New Zealand, who may not advertise vacancies in brothels or suggest people start sex work as a means of getting off a benefit.

Now, workplace safety and health rules, developed in consultation with the prostitutes' collective, apply to sex work. Employment disputes can be referred to the Labour Inspectorate and Mediation Service.

There is an obligation on employers and employees to practise and promote safe sexual practices. The Ministry of Health has the responsibility for enforcement.

Registration of indoor sex workers with the police was replaced by certification at an administrative law level of brothel operators. Prior records have been destroyed.

Refusal of a certificate is permitted for prior criminal offences (not necessarily related to prostitution). Police activities changed from the registration and prosecution of sex workers to protection.

The Police Manual of Best Practice was amended to include prostitution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosti...eform_Act_2003

Other resources for those that are interested: Health and Safety Information for Operators of Businesses of Prostitution, and A Guide to Occupational Health and Safety in the New Zealand Sex Industry.

The introduction of the reform act changed the landscape of sex work in this country. What you didn't see (as alluded to by some in this thread) was a noticeable increase (or decrease) in pregnancy or STD's. What it does mean is that sex workers can go to the police and not fear that they will be arrested or have their livelihood threatened. That they will be listened too and taken seriously. It means that sex workers can go after their employers for sexual harassment: and win.

The legislative framework we got in New Zealand is what happens when you listen. The "Nordic Model" is what happens when you don't. For her work in advocating and standing up for the rights of sex workers Healy was honored last year with a damehood (the female equivalent of a knighthood.) and deservedly so.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:19 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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Well what do you mean when you say "make it legal"?

Ok, lets say its legal and one can advertise on some local business "provider" board like Craigslist. Will a person be able to do prostitution out of there home? Would you want a prostitute operating next door with all these strange cars always parked outside?

Would it be a business operating in a red light district like in Asia or Rotterdam with semi nude women dancing in the windows?

Would it be a "chicken ranch" style business operating outside of city limits?

I mean while I'm generally ok with making it legal I do not know specifics.
You're making a mountain out of a molehill here. There are pretty obvious answers to these questions.

Cities already have zoning & licensing requirements for 'in-home' businesses. (A neighbor has been operating a child day care out of her home. I doubt that a prostitution business in her home would cause any more traffic & parking problems than the dropoff and pickup times do now. And prostitution customers wouldn't be screeching in the backyard all day, either.)

Red-light districts? Chicken ranches outside city limits? Local governments would pass ordinances for these, if they saw a need.

Very rarely is legislation passed with all the specifics known. Demand for this is usually a sneaky way of putting roadblocks in the way.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:49 PM
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...prostitution customers wouldn't be screeching in the backyard all day, either.
...not that there's anything wrong with that.

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Old 01-12-2019, 05:14 AM
UltraVires UltraVires is offline
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...you are entirely incorrect, yet you've inadvertently stumbled onto the real reason why sex work in most countries in the world isn't legal.

There are plenty of people care enough about pushing sex work to legality. There are unions and collectives and lobby groups and even the United Nations is in support of decriminalization.

Who cares about about legalizing sex work? Sex workers.

Sex work is an industry that is populated almost entirely by women that is subject to laws and regulations imposed on them by legislators who are almost exclusively men. Sex workers have been fighting hard and loudly for legalization for years. If you haven't heard them its because you live in a society that marginalizes the voices of women, its because you haven't been listening.

Story time. Catherine Healy was a primary school teacher in the 80's before she decided to enter the sex industry. She was frustrated less by "dodgy clients" and more by "the indignity of the law".



https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104...or-sex-workers

That was the genesis of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, a lobby group that fought on behalf of sex workers in New Zealand. In 1997, the NZPC, along with the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women, the National Council of Women, the YWCA, as well as academics and members of parliament from both the left and right wing, came together at a forum to draft a bill. It was bought to parliament as a private members bill by Tim Barnett, and it surprisingly got narrowly passed into law with an impassioned speech by Georgina Byers (the first transgender member of parliament and a former sex worker) generally attributed as what pushed the bill over the line.

What the bill does:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosti...eform_Act_2003

Other resources for those that are interested: Health and Safety Information for Operators of Businesses of Prostitution, and A Guide to Occupational Health and Safety in the New Zealand Sex Industry.

The introduction of the reform act changed the landscape of sex work in this country. What you didn't see (as alluded to by some in this thread) was a noticeable increase (or decrease) in pregnancy or STD's. What it does mean is that sex workers can go to the police and not fear that they will be arrested or have their livelihood threatened. That they will be listened too and taken seriously. It means that sex workers can go after their employers for sexual harassment: and win.

The legislative framework we got in New Zealand is what happens when you listen. The "Nordic Model" is what happens when you don't. For her work in advocating and standing up for the rights of sex workers Healy was honored last year with a damehood (the female equivalent of a knighthood.) and deservedly so.

What all of this boils down to is that there are a group of people who engage in activity that society frowns upon and is illegal, and they would like for society to stop frowning upon it and make it legal. There is not a thing in the world wrong with such an attitude, but it is entirely unremarkable.

The same could be said about any law that someone violates: they would like not to be punished for breaking it and would like society to accept them.

And I still cannot wrap my head around the idea that this "empowers" women. I thought empowerment was making societal changes so that women could be equals to men and become doctors, lawyers, engineers, soldiers, etc. It is the height of degradation that because of the need for money, they use their bodies as semen receptacles for the next and the next guy with enough money.

It reinforces and adds in a perverse way to the idea that woman are not equals, they are merely there for a man's personal pleasure as an object, a mechanism for orgasm, not because she is love with me or even thinks I am attractive. It's because I peeled off enough $20 bills.

You have other problems as well with Civil Rights laws. Must a prostitute "serve" all comers (I didn't mean it that way ) without regard to protected categories? Must the prostitute have sex with someone not of her preferred gender? What if she does not want to have sex with black guys? Now what controls: the civil rights idea that people in protected categories should have equal access to all legal goods and services, or the idea that a woman can choose who she wants to have sex with?

Maybe we are just talking past each other, but I see nothing positive about it at all. Not to be personal, but if prostitution was legalized and your daughter decided to become a prostitute, would that make you proud and would you feel that she was empowered? I think only a very extreme minority of people would think that.

Further, legalization will not stop exploitation of women as by definition these women will have little to no bargaining power. It is the same reason that fast food workers and retail clerks in many instances put up with outright abusive and illegal practices: they could fight it, but they need this next paycheck so they will not take the chance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post
You're making a mountain out of a molehill here. There are pretty obvious answers to these questions.

Cities already have zoning & licensing requirements for 'in-home' businesses. (A neighbor has been operating a child day care out of her home. I doubt that a prostitution business in her home would cause any more traffic & parking problems than the dropoff and pickup times do now. And prostitution customers wouldn't be screeching in the backyard all day, either.)

Red-light districts? Chicken ranches outside city limits? Local governments would pass ordinances for these, if they saw a need.

Very rarely is legislation passed with all the specifics known. Demand for this is usually a sneaky way of putting roadblocks in the way.
You don't see any meaningful difference between one neighbor running a day care out of her home and the person in the next house over running a brothel? That is astounding to me and respectfully it simply defies common sense.

To your other points, yes, absolutely a regulatory scheme could address some of the issues, but they tend to create new and different problems. So, let's say, we will legalize prostitution, but we don't want red light districts or chicken ranches in town. So, we pass a law that says that brothels have to be so many miles outside of the city and away from other populated areas.

Well, first, the prostitutes then claim that they are being marginalized and treated differently. They would argue that if I can operate a tire shop in town, why can't they ply their trade there as well.

Then you have increased drunken driving, for example, because the patrons are having to drive a long distance home. Further, enforcement becomes harder because the police are easier to spot when they come out to the boondocks. You'll get drugs being sold out of the place and for a hundred extra you don't have to use a condom.

And even if we find the perfect solution for it, what is the problem we are trying to solve with legalization?

Last edited by UltraVires; 01-12-2019 at 05:15 AM.
  #45  
Old 01-12-2019, 05:27 AM
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In sex, the market fails. There are always more buyers than willing sellers. As a result, sexual slavery and abuse are the handmaidens of prostitution. We suppress prostitution and know we are harming the freedom of some happy hookers. But we suppress prostitution to attack greater ills.
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:10 AM
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In sex, the market fails. There are always more buyers than willing sellers. As a result, sexual slavery and abuse are the handmaidens of prostitution. We suppress prostitution and know we are harming the freedom of some happy hookers. But we suppress prostitution to attack greater ills.
I'm not following this.

First, more buyers than sellers does not make a market failure. It would mean that the price of the goods or services sold would increase until the demand dropped so that the market was in equilibrium.

If it were true that there were limited number of prostitutes and a vast amount of demand, prostitutes would be paid like CEOs, not exploited.

Second, the correct question is not the absolute comparison between the number of buyers and sellers, but the ability of the sellers to meet the demand. If I can sell enough widgets to meet the demands of 100 buyers, then a 1 to 100 ratio satisfies the market.

I think you are incorrect in the statement that demand outstrips supply. Prostitution services are not a commodity in all instances. You can pay thousands of dollars per hour for a Mayflower Madam-type beautiful bombshell who treats you like a king, or you can pay $30 for a blow job from a meth whore in a dark dingy alleyway and at almost all levels in between.

Perhaps at the Mayflower Madam level demand does outstrip supply and that explains the high prices. IIRC, those women were treated insanely well and had no complaints. The street prostitutes are the ones exploited because frankly there are no shortage of desperate drug addicts who will blow a guy for money---even other heterosexual guys who are desperate resort to prostitution.

I think the issue of exploitation that could reasonably be addressed by legalization would be the middle of the road market--the market for women who are reasonably attractive, say, attractive enough to be an exotic dancer. In a legal market, that would be the majority of the women in red light districts or chicken ranches, and the market would be somewhat equal: 1) The price would not necessarily break the back of the average john, 2) The average john is not desperate enough for sex that he would do it with a crack whore, but would with an attractive young woman, and 3) the women in those circumstances have marketable "skills," i.e. their own attractive body, such that although they are not irreplaceable, cannot be easily and immediately replaced.

Even with legalization, we still have the street prostitution by unattractive women that will still be exploited because they are unemployable through legal channels.

If this discussion of marketable looks and marketable sexual skills disgust you as it does me, then that is the reason for my disdain of legalized prostitution. People on this board say I marginalize women through some of my opinions. I can think of no greater marginalization than deciding on a woman's worth or employment because of her appearance or her ability to give a good blow job.

Last edited by UltraVires; 01-12-2019 at 06:10 AM.
  #47  
Old 01-12-2019, 06:28 AM
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But this is a circular argument: sex workers are exploited because it is illegal.
Not only, but it's one of the factors which makes it difficult for the workers to report the exploitation. Others include societal rejection, family rejection, fear of deportation...
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:32 AM
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There is considerable inertia for anything related to social taboos.

So, even if, say, 2/3 of people think prostitution should be legal, it still very risky for a politician to propose a legalization bill or campaign on that basis.
Because it could disqualify them immediately in the eyes of the 1/3, regardless of their stance on other issues. Or tarnish their image "Why does X want to make prostitution legal -- does he want to use that service?"

It's why things like homosexuality in the military, marijuana legalization etc have been so slow.
  #49  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:08 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
I'm not following this.

Yes, we can agree on this point.

In the sex trade, force is used to enslave workers. The market fails because it cannot meet demand with violence.

Suppressing the sex trade certainly hurts those who are able to demand a high price for their services, but such a policy also helps those who might otherwise be enslaved.
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  #50  
Old 01-12-2019, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
What all of this boils down to is that there are a group of people who engage in activity that society frowns upon and is illegal, and they would like for society to stop frowning upon it and make it legal. There is not a thing in the world wrong with such an attitude, but it is entirely unremarkable.
...there is no reason for society to "frown upon" sex work. Why would you frown upon it? And why would you support jailing or fining people for something as innocuous as a frown?

What is remarkable is that in the United State of America people are routinely thrown in jail for such a ridiculous thing. Sting operations. Stake-outs. It is disgusting, its disgraceful, and its inhumane. Its a big huge waste of money. All because you "frown" upon it?

Quote:
The same could be said about any law that someone violates: they would like not to be punished for breaking it and would like society to accept them.
There is no good reason why they should have been punished. Its why we changed the law.

Quote:
And I still cannot wrap my head around the idea that this "empowers" women. I thought empowerment was making societal changes so that women could be equals to men and become doctors, lawyers, engineers, soldiers, etc.
Empower: "Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights".

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/empower

You thought wrong. No need for the "air-quotes". Empower is a perfectly cromulent word to be using here. Empowering is about making someone stronger and more confident, to take control or their lives and to claim their rights. And if you had read Healy's story you will see thats exactly the process that happened here. "Being equals" isn't the definition of empowerment, its one of the goals.

Quote:
It is the height of degradation that because of the need for money, they use their bodies as semen receptacles for the next and the next guy with enough money.
Its the height of degradation to characterize sex-work as "because of the need for money, they use their bodies as semen receptacles for the next and the next guy with enough money." The words that you choose to use says nothing about sex work or the people that choose to undertake sex work: it says everything we need to know about the person who said it. You've chosen to use deliberately dehumanising language here. And you have chosen to dehumanise the sex worker, not the client. Why did you choose to do that?


Quote:
It reinforces and adds in a perverse way to the idea that woman are not equals, they are merely there for a man's personal pleasure as an object, a mechanism for orgasm, not because she is love with me or even thinks I am attractive. It's because I peeled off enough $20 bills.
It does not such thing. This is all in your head. If you think "women are not equals" then that's all on you. It has nothing to do with the law.

Quote:
You have other problems as well with Civil Rights laws. Must a prostitute "serve" all comers (I didn't mean it that way ) without regard to protected categories?
I've summarised the law, linked to the wikipedia which has direct links to the laws in question. It isn't complicated legislation: a lawyer like you should have no problem reading it for understanding. This is all covered in the legislation. No need to ask me: this isn't theoretical. Go look it up.

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Must the prostitute have sex with someone not of her preferred gender?
All covered by the act.

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What if she does not want to have sex with black guys?
Do you really think they didn't think this through? All covered by the act.

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Now what controls: the civil rights idea that people in protected categories should have equal access to all legal goods and services, or the idea that a woman can choose who she wants to have sex with?
All covered by the act.

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Maybe we are just talking past each other, but I see nothing positive about it at all.
"Positivity" is subjective. We aren't talking past each other because this is our first conversation in this thread. It isn't a fucking surprise you see nothing positive about it all. I'm proud to live in a country where people cared enough to make the reform act law.

Quote:
Not to be personal, but if prostitution was legalized and your daughter decided to become a prostitute, would that make you proud and would you feel that she was empowered?
Is she happy? Is she doing what she wants to do? Then why would I have a problem with it? (Hint: I wouldn't have a problem, and I'd be very be proud.) I've had very close friends in the industry. I didn't think any less of them when I found out what they did for a living. Its just a job. They are still the same people.

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I think only a very extreme minority of people would think that.
Does the legality of sex work change what a "very extreme minority of people would think?" If not, then how is this relevant?

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Further, legalization will not stop exploitation of women as by definition these women will have little to no bargaining power.
"By definition?" I don't think you've read the act.

"By definition" the bargaining power of women was taken into account. From the NZPC guide:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NZPC
Decriminalisation means New Zealandís sex industry is controlled by the same legislative framework that is common to all other industries. There are occupational, safety and health, and labour laws - and now guidelines designed specifically with sex workers, brothel operators, and clients in mind.
https://www.nzpc.org.nz/pdfs/Video-B...ew_Zealand.pdf

This isn't a "weakening" of the bargaining power. It puts them on the same footing as everybody else. I've already cited a case of sexual harassment that was taken to the courts by a sex worker and she won a significant amount of money. The law also allows "up to four sex workers can work together, as equals, without requiring an operatorsí certificate Ė so long as no one is in control of anyone else or their work." The entire purpose of this part of the legislation is to provide a framework for sex workers who choose not to work in a brothel to be able to work with each other, to provide a safe working environment, and not to have to bargain with their boss on how much they get paid or what their working conditions are.

http://www.nzpc.org.nz/The-New-Zealand-Model

The Prostitution Reform Act wasn't just thrown together. The stake-holders were heavily involved in its drafting as were people from both the "left" and the "right" wing. If you have concerns then those concerns are probably addressed somewhere or somehow in the act.

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It is the same reason that fast food workers and retail clerks in many instances put up with outright abusive and illegal practices: they could fight it, but they need this next paycheck so they will not take the chance.
Fast food workers and retail clerks don't have to hide what they do. They don't sell hamburgers in secret, pretend to be offering salads when they are really offering fries and a coke. You don't fix "outright abusive and illegal practices" by making it illegal for retail clerks to use a cash register. You can't fix a problem if by merely reporting a problem you risk being arrested and thrown in jail.


Quote:
And even if we find the perfect solution for it, what is the problem we are trying to solve with legalization?
Again: from the NZPC, the goals of legalization were too:

Quote:
Originally Posted by NZPC
A. Safeguards the human rights of sex workers and protects them from exploitation:
B. Promotes the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers:
C. Is conducive to public health:
D. Prohibits the use in prostitution of persons under 18 years of age:
E. Implements certain other related reforms.
What is the problem you are trying to solve by having sex work illegal?
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