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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Prostitution (once more)

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Author Topic: Prostitution (once more)
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 226

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This, like pornography, was discussed over the summer months, I think, on these boards, but I thought that maybe the time was right for another look.
What do you think of prostitution? Are you in favour of its legalization? If not, do you think that law enforcement agencies in your part of the world do a good job in trying to control it?
Personnally, I think it seems like (big emphasis on "seems like") the police tend to go overboard in trying to arrest and convict the prostitutes themselves, when they are, of course, the real victims.
How do you think the problem could better be handled?

Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 1386

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Prostitution is a loaded subject as it varies from culture to culture. It is legal in Canada but just about everything related to it is illegal. Independant escorts are the only ones actually operating in full compliance with the law up here.

Prostitution is not "Pretty Woman". However, an entertaining, wise and cynical view can be found in Tracey Quan's "Nancy Chan" series at

Another good source of info is Jean-Luc Goddard's film "Vivre sa Vie". As far as I know, is not a restricted web site nor is "Vivre sa Vie" a restricted film although it might be hard to find.

Are prostitutes victims? Some are supporting a habit, some have no marketable skills (see "Mrs. Warren's Profession" by George Bernard Shaw), and some find a viable career as a sex worker.

I think the subject should be approached with an open mind. Many years ago, I was a friend (not a john) of a prostitute who was a very good person but also a good businesswoman.

Posts: 3442 | From: Stirling, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Confused boy
Member # 1964

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Well as is this case with legalising many things: when u legalise something, it becomes easier to regulate. So maybe if u legalise prostitution u will be able to set strict ways in which it is regulated, such as stopping pimps from exploiting prostitutes and setting age limits to make sure young girls rnt exploited. Am i talking rubbish? I dont know much about this.
Posts: 711 | From: England | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 802

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I think both pornography and prostitution bring up an interesting question: when should we believe women? I'm inclined to agree that prostitutes are often the real "victims". But what about prostitutes who say they chose the business? Should they be believed? Or are they just feeding the patriarchy? Of course, prostitutes are victims in police crackdowns, because they lose their source of income and get a criminal record...

A sex worker who spoke to our class at school said she thought de-criminalization would be better than legalization. Legalization would mean that sex-work would be state-controlled, and would still be in the criminal code, but the law would only be enforced if there was a problem. For example, if a sex worker was breaking the noise bylaws, she could get busted for prostitution as well as noisiness. However, decriminalization would mean everything to do with sex work would be removed from the criminal code.

Posts: 582 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Some of the staunchest and most politically active feminists I have known in my life were also sex workers, either at the time, or previously.

I'd be willing to bet the "patriarchy" doesn't feel fed by their actions.

I think it'd be good to note for this deabte to again watch the gender generalizations. Women and girls are not the only prostitutes and sex workers. Men do sex work as well (and the gay male sex trade is BIG business, kiddos). In addition, though they're certainly a majority, men aren't the only clients. The notion of prostitutes as either poor little girls or fallen women is really quite disempowering, and not very reflective of reality as a whole.

I'm also very unclear as to what the criteria for any person is to "be believed" when discussing their own life experience and ethical beliefs. Why WOULDN'T you believe them, and more specifically, why wouldn't you believe them any more than say, a person who works for the government, or as a lawyer for father's rights or for Microsoft?

Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
John Doe
Member # 3836

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Of course prostitution should be legalized. It is an arms length economic transaction conducted by two willing parties. Who exactly is harmed by this? If it were legalized, one could set up liscencing requirements tthat would require those that work the trade to be regularly screened for STD's and thus cut down on the transmission of them. It would also be possible for the workers to be able to do so under working conditions that were less likely to be explotitive. It would also make it safer for the customers. What possible justification is there for locking up either prostitutes or Johns. Why should the govenment care about this sort of commerce, other than to ensure the safty and health of those who engage in it?
Posts: 475 | From: ohio | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 406

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I'm all in favor for it being legalized and regulated. If there were more regulations and laws (instead of the one saying don't do it) you could stop the adversity that comes with the job. Like a prostitute's safety (I'd imagine it could be dangerous to pick up new clients...), her health (if they had to get STD screens at certain intervals) and her clients health.

In Nevada, or at least in some parts prostitution is legal. I read an article about it somewhere. Some girls said it was a good thing, because they were constantly getting screened for STDs so they always knew, they had excellent doctors taking care of them, they were in a safe place. But, on the other hand, some girls complained that the house took a large percentage of their money. Well, it doesn't have to be like that, but like so many things if it were legal everywhere there could be regulations on it.

I'm all for prostitution, and I actually have a fascination for it, maybe just because it's been taboo my whole life. My aunt is a stripper and I've met many of her friends...most of them do jobs on the side. They weren't all poor little girls who got caught up in drugs or in a bad life. They were happy, they were confident, they did their jobs well. Of course there are some drug-addicted prostitutes, but there are drug-addicted lawyers and nurses and just about ever profession you can come up with.

I also think that stripping/prostitution/other sex work is great for students. You are well paid and don't have to work long hours so you can spend more time studying. However, it is awkward if a professor or someone comes in (like I said, I've talked to my aunt and her friends, the tell stories).

Anyways, I just think it's all kind of interesting, I dont' see anything morally wrong with it. They're just like the person that does your nails, the have a service that they offer, you pay them, and that's it. I think it's a shame that politicians always try to bring morals and religion into it :/ then again, when do they not?

-scarleteen advocate

Posts: 1339 | From: Las Vegas, NV, USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 713

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I'm all in favor of legalizing it. It's a victimless crime, after all -- it doesn't hurt anybody who didn't consent to be involved.

As for regulation... eh. I'm not really in favor of government regulation of businesses. Any regulation I would want would mostly deal with things that are already illegal -- mainly, assaulting the workers and using prostitutes that are too young to consent -- along with possible taxation. Also, I would be in favor of a third party -- whether it be the government or something else -- certifying that certain prostitutes do practice only safe sex. Not requiring them to use safer sex precautions, but just letting the customer know that they do (or don't, in case of a lack of certification). Requiring employers to supply their employees with safer sex supplies, though, might not be an entirely bad idea in my view.

To the rational mind there can be no offense, no obscenity, no blasphemy, but only information of greater or lesser value.
-- Jennifer Diane Reitz

[This message has been edited by Lynne (edited 09-14-2001).]

Posts: 266 | From: Portland, Oregon | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
John Doe
Member # 3836

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Lynne, I generally favor your libertarian principals, however, favor some health and safty rules. I think that regular and manditory screening for STD's would be a good thing for both the workers and their clients. Minimum wage rules could also be enforced to preven the house from taking to much of a cut, or perhaps they could have collective barganing rights.
Posts: 475 | From: ohio | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 168

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I definitely believe in legalization of all forms of sex work. Although it's true that SOME sex workers are exploited or victimized, that is true in any proffession. I've been considering sex work of some sort as a viable option for paying for college . . . and it's looking pretty good. I wish prostitution were legal, because then that could be an option for me too, without having to worry about arrest. I don't think that laws that only serve to limit choices are constructive.

*Limes Are Sublime*

Posts: 1101 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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