Thursday, September 3, 2009

Freedom actually works ...

In 2003 New Zealand completely decriminalized prostitution with the Prostitution Reform Act.

Recently a government report summarized what has occurred since:

The PRA has been in force for five years. During that time, the sex industry has not increased in size, and many of the social evils predicted by some who opposed the decriminalisation of the sex industry have not been experienced. On the whole, the PRA has been effective in achieving its purpose, and the Committee is confident that the vast majority of people involved in the sex industry are better off under the PRA than they were previously.


As JD at Disloyal Opposition points out:

In contrast with conditions where prostitution is illegal, only 4.3% of female sex workers (and half as many male prostitutes) in New Zealand have been coerced into the business. Employment conditions have dramatically improved now that sex workers have access to legal redress for mistreatment by employers and customers. They can also go to work on their own, without need of the "protection" of an established pimp.


Of course this requires a society willing to acknowledge that an individual has the right to do whatever he or she wants with his or her own body, including selling pleasure from it, and not a society so driven by church and state enforced morality that we can't even consider the idea.

Should prostitutes, if the business is legal, have the right to decide which customers they will or won't take, regardless of the reason? Libertarians would say, "Yes."

4 comments:

Delaware Watch said...

I agree with you that prostitution should be decriminalized. It's no one's business what one does w/ his/her body. But I have a question about this statement you made:

"Should prostitutes, if the business is legal, have the right to decide which customers they will or won't take, regardless of the reason? Libertarians would say, "Yes." "

Decide which customers? What if those "customers" are children?

Steve Newton said...

Dana
Poor writing on my part; I was attempting an inside slam on somebody else regarding the ability of a prostitute discriminating between different possible adult customers.

That said, I have no idea what the legal age of consent is in New Zealand, and I have a general philosophical problem with "one size fits all" rules like 18 is the age of sexual consent. Having nothing better to suggest, however, I am not advocating abandoning it.

d.eris said...

Arguably, there's already some momentum toward full-scale decriminalization in the US . . . I'd go on to compare Republicans and Democrats (not to mention their enablers in the media) with prostitutes, but I don't want to demean sex workers.

Bowly said...

I have a general philosophical problem with "one size fits all" rules like 18 is the age of sexual consent. Having nothing better to suggest, however, I am not advocating abandoning it.

I generally agree. It's not like some magic switch gets at midnight between the day before and the day of one's 18th birthday. My gut says that 16 is probably a better answer than 18 (i.e., you're roughly as mature at either age), but it's still an arbitrary number. That said, if someone my age starting chasing my 16 year old daughter, I'd probably end up in prison for murder.

I'd go on to compare Republicans and Democrats (not to mention their enablers in the media) with prostitutes, but I don't want to demean sex workers.

I'm guessing you meant that as a joke, but I actually believe it. Sex workers are far more honest than politicians. I have more respect for the sex workers. Seriously. At least they earn their money, rather than steal it. Much like the Backstreet Boys, Two And A Half Men, or the Jackass movies...it's not my cup of tea, but I don't begrudge them a living. I can't say the same for politicians.