“Buying Sex Should Not Be Legal”

“I know there are some advocates who argue that women in prostitution sell sex as consenting adults. But those who do are a relatively privileged minority — primarily white, middle-class, Western women in escort agencies — not remotely representative of the global majority. Their right to sell doesn’t trump my right and others’ not to be sold in a trade that preys on women already marginalized by class and race.
The effort to decriminalize the sex trade worldwide is not a progressive movement. Implementing this policy will simply calcify into law men’s entitlement to buy sex, while decriminalizing pimping will protect no one but the pimps…
In New Zealand, where prostitution was decriminalized in 2003, young women in brothels have told me that men now demand more than ever for less than ever. And because the trade is socially sanctioned, there is no incentive for the government to provide exit strategies for those who want to get out of it. These women are trapped.
There is an alternative: an approach, which originated in Sweden, that has now been adopted by other countries such as Norway, Iceland and Canada and is sometimes called the “Nordic model.”
The concept is simple: Make selling sex legal but buying it illegal — so that women can get help without being arrested, harassed or worse, and the criminal law is used to deter the buyers, because they fuel the market.”

A former child prostitute speaks out.

I feel like I’m encountering lots of stories of people freely entering “sex work” and being made vulnerable by laws, not by clients. But I’m probably hearing these from a distinct minority, and these are the stories that are both unique and non-depressing, so certainly oversampled.

Related: Prostitutes’ right to privacy; An episode of the “Strangers” podcast featuring a sex surrogate

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