People with power still feed us fiction about 'natural' male supremacy and female entrapment but very little prostitution is voluntary and that is not the problem. The forced prostitution that goes hand in hand with trafficking is extremely serious, yet not a lot is being done about it. I wonder why...
- Summary put simply
- Introduction to Prostitution
- What is it?
- Is prostitution a big problem?
- What is being done about prostitution?
- What is the way forward?
- The Lasting Solution
- Learn More (Useful Articles)
- Actions Being Taken
(Summary put simply) - It is generally thought that prostitutes sell sex for money out of their own free will. More often than not, this is NOT the case. There is usually a pimp (a man who controls the prostitute) who forces her to have sex with men so that the pimp can take the money the men give her. The pimp manages to gain control of the woman by violence, blackmail, threats and other despicable methods. Some people say prostitution should be made legal because it is like a business and it would be easier to prevent violence and disease etc. Other people say that legalising it would be an admission that women are second-class citizens. The arguments are listed below. In practice it has been found that legalisation only increases human trafficking, helps pimps appear respectable and that illegal prostitution continues as before. If ways can be found to stop men from wanting prostitutes, prostitution would be reduced. This has worked in Sweden with heavy fines for the men but there are many more problems involved with prostitution.
What is prostitution?
Prostitution is much more than women choosing to sell their sexual favours for money. More often than not, the women have no choice and get no money. A large survey showed that of those involved in prostitution:
- 89% wanted to escape, but did not have other options for survival
- 65% to 95% had been sexually assaulted as children
- 70% to 95% were physically assaulted
- 60% to 75% were raped
- 88% experienced verbal abuse and social contempt
- 68% met criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. The severity of symptoms was in the same range as combat veterans seeking treatment, battered women seeking shelter, rape survivors, and refugees from state-organised torture
Most prostitutes have a pimp who forces them to have sex with clients and gives them no money. Through verbal and physical violence they are intimidated into a life of sexual slavery. Studies show that once a pimp has control of a woman he rarely allows her to leave.
Is prostitution a big problem?
Most women and children who are victims of human trafficking are sold into prostitution. It is a massive problem but because prostitution has been around for so long, the authorities and general public often undervalue its importance.
What is being done about prostitution?
Some countries have legalised prostitution, but there are very stong arguments against other countries following this example.
Pro-legalization. Arguments for include:
- Prostitution has always been around and will never go away
- Legalizing it will bring it into the open and make it more manageable
- Pimps would no longer control women
- Teen prostitution would be prevented
- Required health and safety checks will improve prostitutes' quality of life
- Police will have more time for 'important' crimes
- Justice systems will be freed of many 'nuisance' cases
- It lowers a country's crime, healthcare, suicide and divorce rates
- Streetwalkers and 'lower-level' prostitutes will not feel abandoned by society
Anti-legalisation. Arguments against include:
- Legalisation = state confirmation that women are sex objects
- Illegal prostitution is not eradicated but continues to grow
- In practice legal brothels are far from ideal
- Costs are high so clients seek out illegal prostitutes
- Pimps still pimp but under the guise of respectable sex businessmen
- Human trafficking has increased into countries with legal brothels
- Violence against women has increased
- Child prostitution has increased
- Earnings by the state encourage promotion rather than prevention of prostitution
Prostitution: what is the way forward?
The overwhelming evidence that legalised prostitution has not eradicated illegal prostitution shows that any benefits were only very short term. Instead the rise in trafficking into these countries shows that criminals use it as a convenient front for their activities. Legalization provides state legal sanction and financial support to treating women as sex objects.
The answer is to stop the demand for prostitution. They have tackled this in Sweden by giving strong penalties to men who solicit. Figures have dropped rapidly and traffickers have moved their operations out of the country. Human trafficking penalties are much lower than drug trafficking penalties and if increased to at least the same level, the demand would also drop.
Poverty and unemployment increase women's vulnerability, so policies to create economic alternatives for women should be promoted. Women should be the main administrators of these programs at all levels.
The Lasting Solution
Men or pimps will only ever get temporary benefits from prostitution. Generally, women will get no benefits. Even if voluntary, the thrill soon wears off and self-esteem lowers. The long term solution depends on altering individuals and what they want. When any human being thirsts for something better, and there's a possibility of a lasting solution, then hopefully they would try it, wouldn't they? Please give Prem Rawat and his gift of Knowledge a try.
Political changes will never fully work unless we all change as well, but here are some useful links about prostitution and actions being taken.
Useful Articles about Prostitution
- Menstuff - Prostitution Solutions
- Prostitution Factsheet
- To understand prostitution...
- CATW Comments on TIP Report
- 10 Reasons not to legalize
- Demand and Debate (Doc)
- Legalized Prostitution
- The Case for Legalised Prostitution
Actions Being Taken re Prostitution
Prostitution is closely tied up with human trafficking so please check out the 4-Ever trafficking page for action to take