I love a good debate amoung friends and this one between my friends Amanda Kloer and Matt Kelly is a very popular one. Another great post by Amanda over at Change.org. Please comment and let us know what you think.
BY AMANDA KLOER
My colleague Matt over at the criminal justice blog posted a well-crafted piece today about his views (which I disagree with with) on thecriminalization and legalization of prostituion. There is also a very lively debate happening on this subject here. Here are three responses to both Matt’s arguments and the debate as a whole:
Legalization and Decriminalization Are Different Policies
Decriminalization Is Different Policies
“Decriminalization” in and of itself is complex. There would be hundreds of ways to “decriminalize” prostitution, so it shouldn’t be viewed as one blanket policy. One model is the Swedish model, which legalizes selling a sex act but makes the act of buying one illegal, with the goal being to shift the criminal prosecution of prostitution onto men. Another is the “Las Vegas” model, which is to keep prostitution technically illegal, but allow it to run rampant thinly veiled as escort services. Another model (and I don’t know of a place which as tried this) would be to shift all undercover vice stings involving prostitution to focus on identifying and arresting pimps and johns. A better question than “should we decriminalize prostitution”, which could mean any number of things, is “do we need to change the way we address prostitution as a country and a society?” I would answer that last question yes. But it is not productive to lump all changes in enforcement policy under the umbrella of “decriminalization”. In fact, I would argue that some of the changes I would like to see involve greater criminalization of pimps and buyers, especially buyers who commit violence and rape against the women they purchase.
The World’s Oldest Profession Argument is Hackneyed
“It is important to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated.”
Some of you might recognize the author as Albus Dumbledore. It is one thing to argue about how to best protect women and reduce human trafficking in a world where prostitution exists, legally or not. It is quite another to throw up our hands and turn our backs on the millions enslaved by it. We have both the ability and the reponsibility to address this.
I am also a firm beleiver that it is morally wrong to pay for sex. I also believe that it is morally wrong to allow women and children to be abused and enslaved in the commercial sex industry. But this isn’t about me. It’s about all of us women keeping our bodies, our sexuality, and our lives as an extension of ourselves, not products for sale to men.