Would it make women safer?
From time to time various groups of people within society speak out against the world's oldest profession. While most intelligent people recognise that what is referred to as prostitution caters for a very real human need and the trade makes up a significant part of the economy.
But before we continue, let's clarify some terms as there are millions of women around the world referred to as prostitutes who could be referred to as sex workers, Escort's or Courtesan's.
The word prostitute means to go against one's core values and beliefs. Therefore anyone prostituting themselves is doing themselves some psychological and possibly physical harm. Prostitutes may not necessarily like sex, they simply do it for the money and while they make their bodies available, they exist at the bottom of the sex workers hierarchy. They are more likely to be beaten, forced into slavery and have a very difficult life.
Prostitutes can be seen looking for clients in the streets of most cities or found in brothels the world over. When we speak of prostitutes, we must also remember that many politicians are also prostitutes because they allow themselves to be coerced to work against the public they are sworn to serve for personal reward.
While many prostitutes call themselves escort's, real escort's provide more of a girlfriend service by spending some time with their clients and getting to know them a little before getting around to the business of sex. Escorts typically advertise their services on websites providing in call and out call services, and sometimes companionship for extended periods of time.
These women avoid the lime light and may simply have a string of regular and fairly discreet lovers. They are woman seeking to share pleasure and they are rarely seen because they operate more discreetly than other people who share their bodies for money.
In some western cultures, sex work is a legitimate occupation and serves clients suffering from problems relating to their sexuality. Part of the service may simply be counselling, but at the other end of the scale sexual intercourse is part of the service.
Many prostitutes and escorts classify themselves as sex workers because it sounds a little bit more respectable although in truth there is nothing wrong or immoral about sharing sexual pleasure. However religious people do have a different view but that's another subject.
Laura Agustín spent 20 years investigating the sex industry and in response to a proposal in the UK to clamp down on prostitution by criminalising the purchase of sex, she says that most of what we think we know about sex trafficking is wrong.
Millions of people around the world make a living selling sex, for many different reasons. What are they expected to do? This would take away their livelihoods. Selling sex may be their preference out of a limited range of options. In the UK, migrants may have paid thousands of pounds to get here. This debt has to be paid off somehow, whether it is by working in the back of a restaurant or selling sex. Migrants who sell sex can pay off the debt much faster.
But prostitution is dangerous, especially for those who work on the street… Women who work on the street are a small proportion of all the people who sell sex. Many more work through escort agencies, brothels or independently from home.
It is disrespectful to treat them all like victims who have been duped into what they are doing. In the UK, there are thousands of articulate sex workers who say, “Leave me alone, I did know what I was getting into and I’m okay doing it.”
Laura Agustín is a researcher and the author of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry.
While sex work remains illegal in countries like the USA, the millions of women who work the streets and brothels are constantly at risk of arrest and harassment. Escorts are also often targeted by law enforcement but it is the street prostitutes or hookers who carry the burden of public disapproval.
In countries like Australia and New Zealand were prostitution has been legalised, the problems facing sex workers in general as decreased but unfortunately they are still open to exploitation.
There is no way that any country, any government or moral group can stamp out the exchange of the sex for money. It happens across all sectors of society from the slums in Bangladesh to the corridors of power in Whitehall or the White House.
The stress relief afforded by sex is sometimes profound, but necessary for the majority of the population and people who go without sex through some moral argument are some of the most unpleasant people in existence.
The whole purpose of life is to become pleasant and when people are forced to endure a lifetime of suffering through poor housing, poor social and almost no economic opportunities, sexes some ways the only avenue that offers temporary pleasure and relief from a life of suffering.
It doesn't matter whether or not people are rich or poor, everyone suffers unless they have evolved beyond suffering.