I want to raise a contentious matter for some and that is the right for women to sell their own bodies for sex if they want to. Here in the USA it’s illegal to be a sex worker – and this is wrong. We all should, in my opinion, have the right over our own bodies, and nobody including the government should be able to tell me otherwise. Many single moms find it hard to make ends meet and they are, also, often classified as unskilled workers. This means that whatever work they get in the marketplace is poorly paid, and the problem here is compounded by the fact that moms don’t have much time on their hands because they need to look after their kids.
So, it is a kind of double whammy for mothers who are struggling economically. Sex work, on the other hand, pays very well, for relatively little time spent on the job; so to speak. If a mother can earn some extra cash providing a service, as long as it is nowhere near the children and happens elsewhere in a safe and clean environment, I cannot see the problem. Other countries accept that the world’s oldest profession is a fact of life, and this has reduced crime rates around prostitution and removed criminal elements from the industry.
In Holland, the sex industry is legal and regulated by the government; in 2011 prostitutes were encouraged to begin paying tax on their earnings. There are some 25 000 sex workers in Holland and since the legalisation some brothels associated with organised crime have been shut down by government agencies. In Australia, Perth escorts are legal but brothels are illegal and not regulated, as they are in the eastern states of Australia. Prior to the sixteenth century and the involvement of the church, prostitution was a tolerated fact of life in most European cities; it was not a celebrated profession by any means but it was not outlawed.
In my opinion, you cannot eradicate things by limiting supply, just look at the failure of the prohibition on alcohol sales in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century, you must treat the symptoms which cause demand. Why is there a demand for prostitution in our communities in the US and elsewhere? Is this sexual appetite, which is being unmet by those not classified as professionals, something that we could all manage better through education programs for both men and women? Are there cultural and/or religious impediments preventing more people experiencing fulfilling sex lives? I think we need to have a public discussion about these things, rather than just banning things and sending them underground and into the arms of criminals.