Instead of forcing sex workers to run their businesses in unregulated black markets where their lives are in danger, all with the mislabeled purpose of “saving” women, take concrete steps to save women. Legalize prostitution, impose strict regulations, and put in place comprehensive support systems that allow sex workers to do their jobs safely. Some research claims that between 600,000 and four million women and children are trafficked for sex each year. However, these figures were reviewed in 2006 by the United States Government Accountability Office, which cited weak methods, gaps and discrepancies and concluded that the data were generally unreliable. There are also inconsistencies in the definitions of victims of trafficking. For example, Melissa Farley claims that all prostitution is sex trafficking, including legal prostitution in Nevada — a claim that many legal prostitutes would deny. In addition, in a report titled The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, researchers Estes and Weiner argue that high concentrations of rap music in neighborhoods contribute to potential sex trafficking — a clearly racist and classist (not to say stupid) assumption. That brings me to the first point. In most countries or states where prostitution has been legalized, it is not uncommon for the law to apply only to certain types of prostitution. In an Australian state, for example, all forms of prostitution are legal, with the exception of escort. In another Australian state, the only legal species is escort.
Prostitution in bars is banned throughout Australia, but is allowed in parts of Mexico, Germany and Switzerland. The only type of legal prostitution in the UK is the only operator that operates from its place of residence (two or more in the same location are considered illegal “brothels” by law). Street prostitution is either discouraged or banned in most countries where other types are legal. How did the authors manage this complexity? It is hardly satisfactory to simply say, as Cho and his colleagues do, that “we will avoid such complications by assuming there is a single market for prostitution.” Since the legal status of different types of prostitution is mixed, there is no empirical justification for calling this nation`s system “legal” or “illegal.” Since it is criminalized in half of Australia`s states but legal in the other half, how did the researchers categorize Australia? And we can ask the same question about the different state systems in Germany, Mexico and elsewhere. Increased violence. First, criminalization increases the possibility of violence, which is de facto non-notifiable ; In other words, because their work is considered criminal activity, sex workers are easy targets for abuse and exploitation, including human trafficking. Fear of arrest and other consequences means that those who engage in sex work are less likely to report cases of violence or exploitation, leading to a “climate of impunity that encourages police, the health sector and non-state groups to abuse sex workers` rights” . This applies even to so-called “partial criminalization,” such as those that only punish sex buyers. While at first glance such a strategy may seem based on the well-being of sex workers, implementation often involves monitoring the areas in which sex workers operate. This forces those who work in more isolated conditions and places, increasing their physical vulnerability.
It disrupts critical safety strategies and negotiations, including harm reduction techniques – such as condom use – and peer networks . According to a study published in The Lancet, partial criminalization “causes harms similar to full criminalization by hindering sex workers` ability to protect their health and safety and creating an adversarial relationship with law enforcement, leading to a climate of impunity” . Nevada`s casino history shows that reasonable government regulations can dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, bad actors after a vice is decriminalized. This also applies to trafficking in human beings. Criminalization, not legalization, increases the risks. A survey of 4,559 victims of sex trafficking who had used the services of the European field offices of the International Bureau for Migration concluded: In addition, the pro-legalization camp argues that legalizing and regulating commercial sex exchanges would exponentially reduce sex trafficking and be replaced by the legal market. They believe that men who engage in the commercial use of sex would never do so with a sex trafficking victim if they had the opportunity to frequent a legal and regulated brothel. Because of the myriad systems that marginalize women, including gender discrimination in the formal workplace and greater policing oversight under prostitution and vagrancy laws, women, whether American or transgender, are disproportionately involved in sex trafficking and may experience higher rates of exploitation. See for example Bobashev GV, Zule WA, Osilla KC, Kline TL, Wechsberg WM.
Transactional sex between men and women in the South is at high risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. J Urban health. 2009;86(suppl 1):32-47. In addition to empirical evidence on the increase in sex trafficking in areas where prostitution is legalized, legalization would impede, from a law enforcement perspective, the ability of the police to combat trafficking, rescue victims and arrest offenders. Rescued women are afraid of prosecution and it is difficult to get them to cooperate fully and identify themselves as victims. Although they are not locked up or chained, these women cannot leave. Where would they go? There are few resources for survivors of sex trafficking, and victims are often led to believe that their loved ones abroad would be in danger if they fled or cooperated with police. “The criminalization of the sex industry creates ideal conditions for the exploitation and rampant abuse of sex workers. It was believed that trafficking in women, coercion and exploitation could only be stopped if the existence of prostitution was recognized and the legal and social rights of prostitutes were guaranteed. While the influx of human trafficking may be lower when prostitution is criminalized, it can have a serious impact on workers in the industry. For example, criminalizing prostitution punishes sex workers, not the people who make the most profits (pimps and traffickers). In August 2016, Amnesty International published a model policy calling on countries to decriminalize sex trafficking to better protect the health and human rights of sex workers .
As Amnesty explains in the directive, decriminalisation is the transition from “collective offences that criminalise most or all aspects of sex work”, including laws targeting non-compulsory third parties who purchase or facilitate sex work, to “laws and policies that protect sex workers from exploitation and abuse” .