Prostitution

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Prostitution is the selling or trading of sexual favors and a prostitute is the person (usually female) who engages in sexual activity for money (or, sometimes, to barter for other goods or services).

Contents

[edit] The good side

Studies of sex work participants reporting on satisfaction in their jobs show considerable positive effects for many, including flexible working hours, good earning potential, and general job and customer satisfaction, and conclude that it is no more inherently exploitative than most unskilled labour.[1]

Radical feminism objections to the work also often align with older, religiously-based objections. This has led to a number of efforts to End Demand[2], and a push for criminalisation laws to be passed in countries which have previously not had laws specific to or have otherwise tolerated prostitution, although the evidence for any success of such strategies is low.[3]

Addressing concerns about possible ties to human trafficking, an in depth study of how anti-trafficking efforts in Britain proceeded found no evidence that it was a problem in the UK, and resulted in zero arrests.[4]

It may be argued that, as in the case with drugs, many of the wider social issues associated with prostitution arise from the criminalisation of the occupation, and not the occupation itself. Prostitution can be a lucrative profession, and is legal in some countries and localities and decriminalised in others. For instance, it is legal but confined to licensed brothels in some counties in Nevada in the United States and decriminalised in New Zealand. In Germany it is legal but confined to licensed brothels, and in the Netherlands it is legal in a variety of forms, including similar brothels or working in the kamers (windows) - presenting oneself as a nude billboard in related licensed establishments where one waits in plain view of the public until a customer's fancy (or something else) is suitably tickled. Where it is decriminalised, it is a far safer profession for those who choose to enter it because of the addition of police protection, regular testing for HIV and other STIs, and the ability to screen clients or for sex workers to work in groups. Most, if not all, legal regimes decriminalizing or partially legalizing the practice heavily restrict or prohibit independent sex work.

[edit] The bad side

Historically, religion and prostitution have often been combined, with church-run brothels being common in many areas up until only a few hundred years ago.[5][6] Presently, however, it is considered a "sin" by a number of religions - particularly Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Because of this, it is an often illegal and therefore dangerous, underground profession. Prostitution can be a bad occupation to be in for several reasons.

  • There are a number of prostitutes who are not in the occupation by choice, either because of forced prostitution[wp] or societal pressure. Surveys conducted by Melissa Farley[7] and Louise I. Gerdes[8] indicate that up to 88% of prostitutes wish to leave the profession, but lack the means to do so. Other studies indicate that prostitutes generally enjoy their line of work and have entered the industry voluntarily.[9][10][11][12][13]
  • In jurisdictions where prostitution is illegal, sex workers are at an increased risk to STDs[14] and rape.
  • Even criminalization according to the "Swedish model", in which selling sex is legal while buying it is illegal, leads to increased dangers for sex workers.[15]
  • Sex workers are often harassed by the police[16] as well as members of the general public.[17]
  • Those without any agency in their decisions to become a sex worker tend to wind up being practically slaves where prostitution is illegal.
  • In countries or jurisdictions where prostitution is illegal, reporting of abuse is difficult as police may arrest prostitutes more readily than the people who assault them.

However many of the people working in the service industry, fast food, working as janitors, or working as garbage men, can be said to fall into many of the categories described above. How many burger flippers had nowhere else to turn? How many waitresses are treated like they're subhuman? And what sort of dead-end job at Wal-Mart isn't like slavery? Prostitution is only really singled out because of our prior belief that sex is a more important human principle to be protected, and because many prostitutes outside the First World are literally slaves.[18]

The issue of whether prostitution should be legal in many areas, however, is intertwined with human rights issues, especially as many sex workers (especially in poor areas with limited law enforcement or areas where prostitution is effectively or de jure illegal) live as virtual slaves to their pimps and have often been brought into the business against their will or under false pretenses, in violation of informed consent.

On the flip side, however, anti-prostitution legislation is often criticized for using the opinions of a few sex workers for fear mongering, while ignoring the opinions of sex workers who are content with their job, and disregarding any proposals actually made by sex workers for how their jobs could be made safer. This was summed up by the viral PSA spread across youtube entitled "Nothing About Us Without Us."[19]

[edit] Views on prostitution

Conservatism
As a general rule, social conservatives say they don't like prostitution because they say it's immoral, inherently sinful as a sort of fornication or adultery. If one believes the old adage about it being the oldest profession in the world, it's perhaps an odd position as conservatism is about holding on to such old values. Other conservatives may see it as undesirable but inevitable, and perhaps necessary; it should be kept out of the public eye for the sake of appearances and scandal, but expecting it to end is unreasonable.[20]
Feminism
Because prostitution is rarely perceived to be about a woman having control over her body in exchange for money, and more often perceived to be about a woman becoming the property of a pimp, or worse, feminists are often torn on the issue of prostitution. On the one hand, most feminists accept that when a women is able to be in control of choices, it is her right to use her own body as she wishes, as long as the sex is safe, consensual and fair. This view is especially true of so called "sex positive" feminists. On the other hand, prostitution is generally regarded as never safe, consensual and fair, causing many feminists to see it as exploitative. Extreme feminists have argued that in most societies and relationships, prostitution is the norm, though it might be "sex for a zirconium carbon diamond ring". In this view, any prostitution reinforces the view of female as property to be bought and sold (meaning this view conveniently ignores male prostitutes).
Liberalism
Liberals are somewhat divided on it much in the same way that feminist thought is. On the one hand, social liberalism that focuses on freedom of expression and freedom to do what you want would be for the legalization and protection of prostitution. On the other hand they can view it as exploitative, unnecessary and a barrier to social mobility. In many if not most cases, these two views are held together as being two sides of a complex issue; they aren't especially contradictory.
Libertarianism
As with social liberals, libertarians are fine with it. But because of the basic libertarian principle of letting people do what the fuck they like, they don't tend to hold the same reservations as liberals because that might mean too much Government Interference. Whether they'd change their minds on this if their kids got into it is a different story.
Socialism
Generally socialists are fine with it, although it cannot be a profession one must take if available as a condition of getting unemployment insurance.
Communism
Communists think that it's bad, because it is an opportunity for the bourgeoisie to exploit human sexuality and profit from it. Pigs!
Anarchist
Similarly to libertarianism, anarchists oppose the use of force to prevent prostitution. They disagree about whether it is otherwise acceptable, however. Spanish anarchist feminists in Barcelona during the civil war tried to get prostitutes to leave the profession (their circumstances were not those people either for or against would like) while modern anarchists focus on helping to improve prostitutes lives, which includes opposing laws against their work.

In any case, the issue of prostitution is often tied up with matters of slavery, illegal immigration, and sometimes child molestation in public dialog, vastly complicating the moral issues involved. Legal or no, however, prostitution continues everywhere and is often known as marriage.

Prostitution is often referred to as "the oldest profession"; George Carlin once wondered why it was illegal to sell something that was perfectly legal to give away, and Maddox maintains that not paying a hooker should be considered shoplifting.[21]

Prostitutes who service rich customers, make a lot of money and can choose their clients are known as "call-girls" or "escorts" - referring to the way that they contact and become involved with their clients. This is opposed to "streetwalkers" who, as their name implies, walk the streets to find clients. They typically make less money from each of their customers, and are much more likely to be involved in the more unsavory activities that are most often associated with prostitution. Male prostitutes/"escorts" may be heterosexual, homosexual, or bi-sexual, while their sexual proclivities have no bearing on the clientele they service, just as for women in the industry. Male prostitutes who service wealthy women are often known as "gigolos".

Some conservatives who are against prostitution, like Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard, have a history of not practicing what they preach.

[edit] Legalized prostitution

Marriage is considered to be legalized prostitution by some feminist scholars, such as Dale Spender[22] and women's rights activist Victoria Woodhull.[23] Despite this claim, many men and women are happily married in loving relationships.

There are some who view doing anything that you don't want to do, but are willing to do for money, as a form of prostitution[24]. This would make most of the global work force, and almost all politicians, filthy stinking whores.

[edit] Not to be confused with

[edit] External Links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. Ruth Mazo Karras, Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England
  6. Although this accusation may be controversial.
  7. Farley, Melissa; Barkan, Howard (1998). "Prostitution, Violence, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder". The Haworth Press, Inc.. http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/Farley%26Barkan%201998.pdf. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  8. "Prostitution Is Not A Choice". https://www.soroptimist.org/whitepapers/whitepaperdocs/wpprostitution.pdf. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  9. "Working Conditions and Job Satisfaction Survey", National Ugly Mugs, UK Network of Sex Work Projects
  10. Cecilia Benoit, Chris Atchison, Lauren Casey, Mikael Jansson, Bill McCarthy, Rachel Phillips, Bill Reimer, Dan Reist & Frances M. Shaver, "Gender, Violence and Health – Contexts of vulnerability, resiliencies and care among people in the sex industry", Understanding Sex Work
  11. Nick Mai, "Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry", Institute for the Study of European Transformations London Metroplitan University
  12. Susann Huschke, Peter Shirlow, Dirk Schubotz, Eilís Ward, Ursula Probst, Caoimhe Ní Dhónaill, "Research into Prostitution in Northern Ireland", Commissioned from Queen's University Belfast by the Department of Justice
  13. Charrlotte Seib, Michael P. Dunne, Jane Fischer & Jackob M. Najman, "Predicting the Job Satisfaction of Female Sex Workers in Queensland, Australia", International Journal of Sexual Health
  14. Lisa Maher, Thomas Crewe Dixon, Pisith Phlong, Julie Mooney-Somers, Ellen S. Stein, Kimberly Page, "Conflicting Rights: How the Prohibition of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Infringes the Right to Health of Female Sex Workers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia", Health and Human Rights
  15. Jay Levy & Pye Jakobsonn, "Sweden’s abolitionist discourse and law: Effects on the dynamics of Swedish sex work and on the lives of Sweden’s sex workers", Criminology and Criminal Justice
  16. Susan Dewey & Tonia St. Germain, "“It Depends on the Cop:” Street-Based Sex Workers’ Perspectives on Police Patrol Officers", Sexuality Research and Social Policy
  17. Lynzi Armstrong, "“Who’s the Slut, Who’s the Whore?”: Street Harassment in the Workplace Among Female Sex Workers in New Zealand", Feminist Criminology
  18. A publication by the US Marine Corps, Marinenet course "Preventing Trafficking in Persons", says something to the effect of "Prostitution is illegal everywhere you go, but in most places outside the states, using the services of prostitutes supports slavery."
  19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF7pOWg0sXA
  20. Clare McGlynn, John Stuart Mill on Prostitution: Radical Sentiments, Liberal Proscriptions, Nineteenth Century Gender Studies 8.2 (Summer 2012)
  21. And "window shopping" is how they advertise in Amsterdam.
  22. Wendy Shalit, A Return to Modesty, pp 230, ISBN 9780684843162
  23. David A. J. Richards, Women, Gays, and the Constitution, pp 168, ISBN 9780226712079
  24. "Work: a prison of measured time." Phoenix Rising Magazine
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