Thursday, September 13, 2007

Should Prostitution be Decriminalized: A New Look

About a decade ago I put an essay on my web site that advocated the decriminalizing of prostitution and treating it as a public health problem. The goal primarily would be to assist women, especially young ones, to find a better way of life. Force, violence, and sex trafficking of all kinds would still be prohibited and punished severely.


I just learned that in 1999 Sweden, which long before had legalized prostitution, became convinced that this was not working. A new approach was tried in which it is illegal to buy sexual services but legal to sell them -- regardless of gender. The assumption is that prostitution is primarily a form of violence against women. Men become the offenders liable to prosecution, and women are regarded as victims who need to be helped.

Some evaluation are quite positive. See:

Some Swedish sex workers have protested vigorously that this hurts them and is discriminatory. Gone are the "good and kind" men. Present customers are more likely to be violent, refuse to use condoms, and generally made sex work less desirable. Scaring male customers away has put downward pressure on prices, etc. See:
See also:

I have not done enough research to form an opinion, but this novel approach is intriguing and deserves investigation. I am reconsidering my own previous view.

I think one original proposition I offered a decade ago still holds. There is no good solution to the problem of prostitution, only bad and worse. Perhaps Aquinas had a point when he wrote that prostitution is a necessary evil needed for the same reason that we need sewers.

Well, I actually I do have in mind something, but I have not found a way to implement it. The most nearly perfect answer would be that every time a man paid for sexual services with money, one testicle would disappear immediately while angels in heaven cheered. I propose this only for lusty, irresponsible males who only want easy sex without emotional entanglements. Lonely, shy men lacking social skills need assistance in finding healthy relationships with the opposite sex, which might or might not involve sex.

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