Friday, May 30, 2008

Not For Sale

From the European Women's Lobby, a documentary on prostitution, and why full legalization cannot grant women the agency they deserve in three parts:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Like I have said before in the comments section of an earlier post, I do not support the legalization of prostitution because I feel that legal systems would not be interested in women's rights over the market demand or the privacy of the pimp or john. From stories like the D.C. Madam to the normalization of violence against sex workers, it is very clear that the American justice system is not as interested in protecting the extremely vulnerable women in the sex industry as they are demonizing them. With statistics coming out of European countries like Britain's deplorably low rape conviction rate, it looks as if my skepticism for any legal institution is well founded. Like this documentary, I think that the only solution is to criminalize buying sex and decriminalize selling sex like Sweden did. There are hundreds of trafficked women and children in Sweden, compared to the thousands elsewhere. While Sweden's solution is hardly ideal, it seems to be doing a lot of good.

So while I believe that the best policy is always legalization, and I shy away from anything that looks like morality legislation, there are simply too many human rights violations in the market of prostitution that legal systems are not equipped, or willing, to handle. The interest of protecting women from the most grievous harms trumps any right to buy sex. I have never yet seen any argument that is capable of convincing me that the sex trade is so demonstrably important that it must be allowed to flourish even if the majority of women meeting the demand for sex are raped, trafficked, abused, or coerced. As long as we live in a patriarchy unwilling to hold our agency over our own bodies above any wrongly perceived right to abuse, neglect, harm, and fuck, it is shamefully irresponsible to legitimize the deplorable conditions in which the sex trade operates.

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