In 12 months, Brothels will be legal in Canada.

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If prostitution is legal, it makes sense to make brothels legal so atleast it can be regulated.

Actually I believe it's only Ontario where they are now legal, in twelve months the Crown will attempt to appeal the decision by the Ontario Court at the Federal level, then that will either overturn the decision the Ontario court made or make brothels legal nation wide.

Road Trip! (although I need a jet to get there)

There really is no reason for there to not be brothels if prostitution is legal. It's a matter of there being safe and sanitary places to practice one's profession. Imagine if you had a doctor that only did house calls and had no office or clinic...

Point one for freedom and destruction of legal restrictions based on religious beliefs! :D

Now the total is...

1:3,456,789,239.2

Not G. Ivingname:
Point one for freedom and destruction of legal restrictions based on religious beliefs! :D

Now the total is...

1:3,456,789,239.2

I love the .2, just by the way.

OT: Better to have a physical location from which they can work, as a physical establishment might make it easier to regulate the safety/health of both the workers and the patrons.

F4LL3N:
If prostitution is legal, it makes sense to make brothels legal so atleast it can be regulated.

This.

In Britain prostitution is legal so long as you work alone... you can't work with anyone to advertise, you can't rent the property where you work you must own, you are not allowed to use any publicly owned anything either to publisise, or... use during your work... Its so restrictive that it may as well be illegal >.>
The only reason its legal is because it would involve more work to make it fully illegal and they wouldn't be able to track it anyway... Its going to happen, there will be a demand for it and there will be those willing to supply it. May as well make it legal and regulate it so that those who choose to work in the industry and then those who choose to "partake" in the industry are better off and safer (from one another normally).

This can only be a good thing. Criminalising it, or making it difficult to do it legally, is what leads to just about all the problems associated with it.

Good news, it's probably better that it becomes legal.

SamHC:
Actually I believe it's only Ontario where they are now legal, in twelve months the Crown will attempt to appeal the decision by the Ontario Court at the Federal level, then that will either overturn the decision the Ontario court made or make brothels legal nation wide.

You have it exactly.

A SC appeal looks to be guaranteed, and is really needed by both sides (to make it nation wide, no matter which way it goes, and also for a second kick at the communication laws that sadly were upheld).

If you read the ruling, the court also pretty much directed the Federal government to reexamine the law and gave strong hints as to what might be legal. It would not surprise me at all to see the Feds redraft the legislation in a way that appears to satisfy the judgement and then the process starts all over again.

One thing the feds could do, for example, is make prostitution a criminal offense. That would completely satisfy the judgement and make the old laws meaningless. I don't think it would be smart, but it would make it illegal again for years while another test case is brought through the system because the current judgement make no ruling about prostitution, they are about health and safety concerns in a legal business.

Not G. Ivingname:
Point one for freedom and destruction of legal restrictions based on religious beliefs! :D

*sigh*

This isn't about religion.

Kendarik:

Not G. Ivingname:
Point one for freedom and destruction of legal restrictions based on religious beliefs! :D

*sigh*

This isn't about religion.

Not per se, but it's the sort of issue where the religious tend to have very strong inclinations to one side of the debate (anti-prostitution, obviously).

Essentially, women are supposed to be restricted from and appropriately punished for unauthorised sex and leading men into sin.

Agema:

Kendarik:

Not G. Ivingname:
Point one for freedom and destruction of legal restrictions based on religious beliefs! :D

*sigh*

This isn't about religion.

Not per se, but it's the sort of issue where the religious tend to have very strong inclinations to one side of the debate (anti-prostitution, obviously).

Essentially, women are supposed to be restricted from and appropriately punished for unauthorised sex and leading men into sin.

I wouldn't say its so obvious. Some churches where I live have been publically calling for full decriminalization for some time. I think you have preconceived notions.

Its more an issue of the hanging on of an old cultural norm, also present in the non religious, that selling your body for sex is a bad and demeaning thing to do. Some feminist groups have traditionally opposed this because they feel its like selling woman as a commodity, it has nothing to do with religion for them. Other people are concerned that legalization will promote instead of diminish the very real and current problem of sex slaves in the country. There are at least as many people who are anti-prostitution for non religious reasons as there are religious people and there are lots of religious people who don't care if there is legal prostitution or support it.

ravenshrike:
http://volokh.com/2012/03/26/canadian-appeals-court-legalizes-brothels-under-canadian-prostitution/#disqus_thread

http://www.ontariocourts.ca/decisions/2012/2012ONCA0186.pdf

Right then, I know where my friends' bachelor parties taking place whenever they get married.

Here in Florida we have a ton of "lingerie modeling" aka brothels.

I'm totally in favour, wasn't it George Carlin who said 'Selling stuff is legal, fucking is legal, why isn't selling fucking legal?'

It's obviously more complex than that, but in the end, licensed, regularly inspected brothels, with safe places for the women (and men) to work, can only be a good thing.

Who'd be nuts enough to pick up a girl on a street corner and maybe get busted/robbed/diseased if you have a legally run brothel nearby?

There's a brothel in the town where I live. Goes, by the way, a small countryside-esque town in the Netherlands, known for it's active church communities and well-meaning but stupid municipality.
So yeah, a brothel. It's been here for quite a while, too. Never had any complaints, ever. I know some of the women that work there, great gals.
In my mind, a professional prostitute is that most rare of all womenfolk: smart, sexy and kind. Something you don't see everyday in a woman, if you catch my drift.

Good, let people do what they wish with their bodies, and let them band together for protection and the advantages offered every other small business which don't happen to fall afoul of puritanism.

Imperator_DK:
Good, let people do what they wish with their bodies, and let them band together for protection and the advantages offered every other small business which don't happen to fall afoul of puritanism.

And here is the fundamental misconception about brothels.

Brothels, in countries where they have been legalized, are not generally small businesses. They are not a nice caring little family who look after each other. They are large businesses run by companies (who are, in the worst cases, just fronts for the same organized criminals who were operating the industry when it was illegal, as police in Amsterdam are now concerned has happened there, and don't even get me started on Germany).

The fundamental problem is that prostitution has an extremely high turnover. The majority of people simply won't do it if they have other options, and those who genuinely don't have other options tend to be most at risk within the industry itself. The problem is that once prostitution becomes an industry with huge amounts of money invested, there is a constant demand for new bodies to replace the turnover, and this inevitably leads to dodgy practices to try and get more people in and prevent those who are in from leaving. There's no simple way around that.

In fact, there's little evidence that legalizing brothel prostitution improves the situation of the people who actually work in brothels. It certainly doesn't reduce rates of human trafficking or forced prostitution, it doesn't seem to have much effect on the social problems associated with prostitution (drug addiction, STD transmission, illegal prostitution).

To clarify, I have no problem with prostitution. Some of my closest friends have done it. However, there is a difference between asserting the rights of individuals to make transactions involving sexual activity and allowing large organizations to make a business out of selling other people's sexual services on a massive scale. In the face of massive questions over where you actually get enough people to staff a multi-million dollar industry which most people, in all honesty, don't want to do, I see no reason to legalize the latter. In every case it has happened it has inevitably lead to problems.

Anyone who sees legal brothels as somehow "empowering" or for the benefit of sex workers should probably sit and think about where this supply of supposedly-willing women who work in the industry comes from, because it has to come from somewhere.

I know a lot of sex workers rights advocates hate this kind of talk, and I can see why. However, I think it's more empowering to emphasize the rights of individuals to trade sexual services on their own terms, with legal protection and security, than to allow them the "freedom" to join a huge, highly profitable industry which directly removes and abrogates their own autonomy in the kind of transactions they make.

evilthecat:

That's true, people are assuming that legalising brothels would bring with it all the sorts of things making something legal should, which may or may not happen.

I'm led to believe that this isn't such a problem in my own country, it can be done right if people are interested in doing it right, but there's quite a few bad precedents elsewhere, yeah.

On the other hand, as long as any element of it is criminalised, the whole thing is likely to be outside the protection of the law.

evilthecat:
...
And here is the fundamental misconception about brothels.

Brothels, in countries where they have been legalized, are not generally small businesses. They are not a nice caring little family who look after each other. They are large businesses run by companies (who are, in the worst cases, just fronts for the same organized criminals who were operating the industry when it was illegal, as police in Amsterdam are now concerned has happened there).

The fundamental problem is that prostitution has an extremely high turnover. The majority of people simply won't do it if they have other options, and those who genuinely don't have other options tend to be most at risk within the industry itself. The problem is that once prostitution becomes an industry with huge amounts of money invested, there is a constant demand for new bodies to replace the turnover, and this inevitably leads to dodgy practices to try and get more people in and prevent those who are from leaving. There's no simple way around that.

In fact, there's little evidence that legalizing brothel prostitution improves the situation of the people who actually work in brothels. It certainly doesn't reduce rates of human trafficking or forced prostitution, it doesn't seem to have much effect on the social problems associated with prostitution (drug addiction, STD transmission, illegal prostitution).

So?

It's hardly going to be any worse than it is now when it's all under the radar due to being illegal. It even offers some chances of actual regulation and control, though my concern is that the negative rights of the prostitutes who've chosen this way of life aren't being violated by them being punished for organizing themselves however they wish.

I suppose one could make it a rule that the brothel have to be legally owned and run by the prostitutes themselves, though that probably wouldn't be hard to circumvent. But then again, this area - like all other victimless "crimes" - is not an area the state have much practical ability to regulate through the penal code to begin with.

If it does want to offer help, then it should concentrate on offering extensive programs for helping the men and women who get as far as wanting out, so long as the initiative comes from themselves. And then do what it can to curb trafficking (and other illegal immigration) without sacrificing the due rights of the domestic prostitutes.

To clarify, I have no problem with prostitution. Some of my closest friends have done it. However, there is a difference between asserting the rights of individuals to make transactions involving sexual activity and allowing large organizations to make a business out of selling other people's sexual services on a massive scale, and right now I see no good reason to legalize the latter.

And what of the rights of the prostitute who might wish to be part of larger organization that'll take care of marketing, filing taxes, providing housing, regular medical check-ups, protection from clients etc.?

If many of these women are indeed at wits end, then they can hardly manage all that on their own, and will hence be punished by the state, or abused by clients as they stand alone. People are selling the labours of their bodies and minds to all kinds of corporations every day, prostitutes should not be given inferior opportunity of doing the same. If just a single one want to be a wage slave like the rest of the population, then no one have any right to get in his/her way.

Anyone who sees legal brothels as somehow "empowering" or for the benefit of sex workers should probably sit and think about where this supply of supposedly-willing women who work in the industry comes from, because it has to come from somewhere.

I know a lot of sex workers rights advocates hate this kind of talk, and I can see why. However, I think it's more empowering to emphasize the rights of individuals to trade sexual services on their own terms, with legal protection and security, than to allow them the "freedom" to join a huge, highly profitable industry which directly removes and abrogates their own autonomy in the kind of transactions they make.

And just who are you to make that decision for them? To tell them what they should and shouldn't want, what'll "empower" them and what won't?

That's exactly what's always been wrong with any and all legislation that have dealt with prostitution; That it never respected their own wishes, never gave them the freedom to practise their business everyone else have.

evilthecat:
it doesn't seem to have much effect on the social problems associated with prostitution (drug addiction, STD transmission, illegal prostitution).

Well, then, it follows with an elegant inevitability that the ban is useless, since a ban that doesn't actually do anything, either bad or good, has no use. If there is no difference between a society with and without a ban on prostitution then the only reasonable course is not to ban it.

Agema:
Essentially, women are supposed to be restricted from and appropriately punished for unauthorised sex and leading men into sin.

That's a really grossly-oversimplified portrayal of the debate.

Personally, I have no problem with women authorizing sex and women leading men into sin is something I'd personally keenly encourage. But I still oppose prostitution without incredibly strong, well thought-out regulations being simultaneously put into place to protect women and limit the spread of STIs.

Imperator_DK:
It's hardly going to be any worse than it is now when it's all under the radar due to being illegal.

It certainly can be.

As I said, the problem of legalizing brothels is that it increases the size of the sex industry, both in the overall gross value and in the size of the organizations running it. This actually pushes out the kind of small-scale transactional behaviour which you and I both seem to hold up as the ideal. It also creates more demand for people to work in it, which certainly can result in more abuse, more trafficking, and higher rates of problems.

If I am working in a large retail chain and a customer comes in, I am obligated to do nothing more than to smile at them and sell them products. Call that "wage slavery" if you want, but it does not fundamentally impinge on my bodily integrity. Since you insist on viewing everything in the language of "harm", there is little risk of my being physically or psychologically damaged by having to smile at people and sell them products.

If I am working as a prostitute for a large brothel and a customer comes comes in, I have to have sex with them. It doesn't matter if I want to or not, I'm no longer free to make my own transactions because my sexual services are not marketed by me. A company can legally sell sexual intercourse with me without my consent and then threaten to terminate my employment (and consequentially financial hardship) if I don't go through with it.

If I, as a private citizen, coerced someone into having sex when they didn't want to by threatening them financially I would be looking at something like an 8 year prison sentence. Do you understand how that's not the same thing as paying someone to do data entry?

thaluikhain:
I'm led to believe that this isn't such a problem in my own country, it can be done right if people are interested in doing it right, but there's quite a few bad precedents elsewhere, yeah.

On the other hand, as long as any element of it is criminalised, the whole thing is likely to be outside the protection of the law.

I agree to an extent, there are definitely ways to do it better than others. As I kind of implied, I think the Netherlands is far better at the whole thing than Germany (probably because the actual numbers involved are so much lower). But the lesson we keep learning with every country that legalizes prostitution is that it is not just a business like any other. It does grow out of control and it does cause social problems.

Psychologically, it's an extremely high-risk profession, up there with joining the military during wartime. To call it "victimless" is a cynical technicality. Get close enough to it, and you will start to see victims.

Because it is so dangerous, my argument is that it requires people to have a high degree of autonomy and independence. It requires people to have control over how much stress they put themselves under. This means that what is good for workers is actually diametrically opposed to what is good for business, because businesses need to instrumentalize their workforce to the greatest degree possible. Businesses, at least on the scale that legalized brothels tend to produce, cannot have people routinely dropping out or taking breaks.

When someone reaches the point where they start dissociating or become sexually dysfunctional or any other danger sign that the stress (by which I mean stress disorder, not "wow, being a trader is pretty stressful") is getting to them, they need some immediate way out, and I don't think any brothel system currently in operation has ever provided that.

In short, I think legalizing brothel prostitution in this day and age, especially wherein the stated aim is to improve "workers rights", is remarkably short sighted.

evilthecat:
...
It certainly can be.

As I said, the problem of legalizing brothels is that it increases the size of the sex industry, both in the overall gross value and in the size of the organizations running it. This actually pushes out the kind of small-scale transactional behaviour which you and I both seem to hold up as the ideal. It also creates more demand for people to work in it, which certainly can result in more abuse, more trafficking, and higher rates of problems.

Or it could result in more income for the prostitutes who're there voluntarily, and more positions being available for those want to take up prostitution out of their own free will.

And your ideal counts for as little as mine; What matters is that the prostitutes aren't discriminated against by having legal limitations which don't apply to other employees or small business owners forced upon them because they're viewed as poor hapless creatures who just don't know any better.

A company can legally sell sexual intercourse with me without my consent and then threaten to terminate my employment (and consequentially financial hardship) if I don't go through with it.

You mean exactly like the client wouldn't pay you for services not rendered if you worked alone, imposing similar "financial hardship" upon you?

There's no reason it can't be a (mandatory) term of the employment contract that the sex worker is entitled to say no to clients at any time, with only a proportional deduction of his/her pay as a consequence (just like he/she wouldn't have been paid by that client when working alone). And if the company should fire you, then you can obviously become an independent prostitute working on your own; The thing you wish to force people to be from the very beginning, whether they want to or not. How will a single prostitute pay for a place to operate out of (that isn't his/her own home), a security guard, regular medical check-ups, and all the other advantages offered by not being denied the right to band together?

If I, as a private citizen, coerced someone into having sex when they didn't want to by threatening them financially I would be looking at something like an 8 year prison sentence. Do you understand how that's not the same thing as paying someone to do data entry?

Not really, as you knew the terms of employment when you took the job, the company needn't be able to contractually force clients upon you, and you are free to terminate your employment at any point to pursue an independent career (in prostitution or elsewhere), which is what you'd have to do anyway when brothels are illegal.

I love how some people are in the "women have a right to their own body" frame of mind.

Really? Prostitution can be a dangerous profession, both physically and mentally. I doubt many women who are in it actually want to do it. Using prostitution as an argument for women's rights is a truly wonderful idea. Apparently having no respect for your own body is now considered the right thing to do.

F4LL3N:
I love how some people are in the "women have a right to their own body" frame of mind.

Really? Prostitution can be a dangerous profession, both physically and mentally. I doubt many women who are in it actually want to do it. Using prostitution as an argument for women's rights is a truly wonderful idea. Apparently having no respect for your own body is now considered the right thing to do.

Contrary to popular belief, not all prostitutes are teens imported from ex-Soviet republics. I'm also not entirely sure just what constitutes "respect for one's own body", to be completely honest...

I once knew a guy who was paying a prostitute for what most people would use a shrink every two weeks - literally, he'd take her out to dinner and ramble on and on about his life and how it sucks. No sex involved.

Yeah, there are dangers in prostitution, but the idea that the entire thing is seedy back-alley business ridden with drugs and abuse is wrong. There is that, yes, but that's why the governments are regulating it.

evilthecat:
here is a difference between asserting the rights of individuals to make transactions involving sexual activity and allowing large organizations to make a business out of selling other people's sexual services on a massive scale.

No, there's not. You cannot both support the right of individuals to make their own choices, and say that they aren't allowed to make choices if many other people are choosing the same thing (which is what it means if an organization has become "massive", assuming everyone involved wasn't simply kidnapped or something--in which case, yeah, shut the place down).

F4LL3N:
I love how some people are in the "women have a right to their own body" frame of mind.

Really? Prostitution can be a dangerous profession, both physically and mentally. I doubt many women who are in it actually want to do it. Using prostitution as an argument for women's rights is a truly wonderful idea. Apparently having no respect for your own body is now considered the right thing to do.

Australia here. Brothels are a thing from where I hail. I can only speak of NSW, my state, because it's the only one I've seen any data on. However; Only 26% of our sex workers identify as being regretful with their profession, and there are multiple support groups, run internally by the industry and externally by charities and support groups, who exist to shrink that number. In addition, we have some of the (if not *the*) healthiest sex workers on the planet.

Katatori-kun:

But I still oppose prostitution without incredibly strong, well thought-out regulations being simultaneously put into place to protect women and limit the spread of STIs.

The women involved are keenly aware of these issues. Give them spaces to work legally and the ability to establish business practices in a commercial environment, and they'll probably think of more safety measures than you and me put together for a week.

My partner knows and is friends with a few sex workers, people who maintain healthy, intimate and understanding relationships of their own.

Brothels are like... baseball pitches:

"If you build it, they will come"

It's good in principle because it allows to better combat exploitation and human trafficking.

Just don't make the mistake that we Dutch did and legalise, but then think that'll be enough and proceed to elect local authorities who still live in the 1950's and force everything back underground. Illegal prostitution in Amsterdam took a huge leap since they began shutting down the famous red light district (the De Wallen neighbourhood) and semi-criminal brothel owners have been replaced by hardcore criminals who stop at nothing.

Such a legalisation policy has to be accompanied by other policies aimed at pulling prostitution away from anywhere near the criminal sphere of influence, and policies that smoothe the transition. Suddenly paying taxes in a business that never paid any for instance can be a reason to keep underground, so a laid back tax enforcing policy is called for, to name an example.

F4LL3N:
If prostitution is legal, it makes sense to make brothels legal so atleast it can be regulated.

Who are you and what have you done with F4LL3N, who even denies people are not even entitled to normal consensual sex, by banning contraceptives and abortion?

Blablahb:
It's good in principle because it allows to better combat exploitation and human trafficking.

Just don't make the mistake that we Dutch did and legalise, but then think that'll be enough and proceed to elect local authorities who still live in the 1950's and force everything back underground. Illegal prostitution in Amsterdam took a huge leap since they began shutting down the famous red light district (the De Wallen neighbourhood) and semi-criminal brothel owners have been replaced by hardcore criminals who stop at nothing.

Such a legalisation policy has to be accompanied by other policies aimed at pulling prostitution away from anywhere near the criminal sphere of influence, and policies that smoothe the transition. Suddenly paying taxes in a business that never paid any for instance can be a reason to keep underground, so a laid back tax enforcing policy is called for, to name an example.

That's the trick, isn't it? Laws are only as good as the people who enforce them...a lot of the debate about whether laws would be good or not tends to base around the effects similar laws had in different nations, where things don't work quite the same.

Partialy decriminalisation doesn't work, you need the law firmly on the side of sex workers. In my country, there were worrying moves to force legal prostitutes to display licences in their homes or somesuch in WA, which would fuck the whole thing back up again.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

I love my country.

Ultrajoe:
The women involved are keenly aware of these issues. Give them spaces to work legally and the ability to establish business practices in a commercial environment, and they'll probably think of more safety measures than you and me put together for a week.

Yeah, I'm not going to buy that without evidence. We know that a lot of people go into sex work out of a desperate financial situation. Drug addictions are sometimes involved. Such people are easy to exploit. They need protections to ensure that doesn't happen.

My partner knows and is friends with a few sex workers, people who maintain healthy, intimate and understanding relationships of their own.

That's well and good for your friend, but that doesn't prove that there aren't sex workers in need of regulations to protect them.

But in any point, the purpose of my post was not to debate the merits of prostitution, but to demonstrate that religiously motivated impulse to control women's bodies and keep them from having sex needn't be the only or central reason a person opposes it.

BrassButtons:
No, there's not. You cannot both support the right of individuals to make their own choices, and say that they aren't allowed to make choices if many other people are choosing the same thing (which is what it means if an organization has become "massive", assuming everyone involved wasn't simply kidnapped or something--in which case, yeah, shut the place down).

Supply and demand mean anything?

People aren't "choosing" to become prostitutes, not if there are any other options. It's a job which very few people want to do, and which very few people can psychologically stand for long periods of time. There are maybe a few people (generally working independently at the upper end of the profession or in strictly voluntary roles) who genuinely will gain something from that job, and power to them, but regardless they are a small fraction of the population. Most women in the world would rather do just about anything than work in prostitution, not because they're prudish and sexually repressed, but because for the majority, for the people who work in industrial brothels, it is a disempowering and emotionally gruelling job. Accept that, and you'll be better equipped to talk about it.

The industry doesn't grow large because it has an excessive supply, it grows large because it has an excessive demand. There is a huge amount of money to be made in instrumentalizing large numbers of women into prostitution at prices which are affordable to the average person. By definition, however, this means cutting corners, and it's not a case of just going out and shutting down brothels where you suspect these things are happening, you have to actually go in and gather evidence, and that takes a lot of police time. When you need to constantly survey a rotating group of half a million women, over half of whom are bought in from other countries, it becomes impossible to fully regulate. The rewards of organized trafficking actually increase in countries with a deregulated sex industry because there is more market for it, there are more outlets for the product. It's just not as easy as rooting out the bad apples.

What's more, it's still lucrative for companies to legally buy work visas for people in very poor countries who have very little choice, dump them in a country (where they often don't speak the language very well) and keep them there in full knowledge that if they don't work their visa will expire and they'll be sent home to absolute poverty. This is just one example, but basically.. in order to keep that many people working in prostitution, you need some level of coercion. The idea that hundreds of thousands of willing women are out there just waiting for a chance to go and work in brothels is a patently ridiculous fantasy.

The reality is, for the vast majority of people, not pretty or sexy.

Imperator_DK:
You mean exactly like the client wouldn't pay you for services not rendered if you worked alone, imposing similar "financial hardship" upon you?

The kind of people who actually enjoy or want to work in prostitution generally make enough money from it that they can afford basic professional standards.

You sit there and claim I stereotype these people as unfortunate. No, I don't. They become unfortunate when they become a mass commodity and the extremely demanding job which they do is industrialized on a massive scale. They become unfortunate when huge amounts of people from poor countries are bought in under questionable circumstances to force prices down to the level where anyone can afford to pay for sex. They become unfortunate when they are pushed into having sex every day just to keep their jobs and still make less money than my friends did seeing one or two clients a week while still holding down other jobs as backup.

Most businesses want to force prices down as far as possible and expand to service as many people as possible to compensate, because that's generally the best way to make money. With prostitution, this drive is diametrically opposed to worker's rights and sense of self-worth. All legalizing brothel prostitution does is to decriminalize that demand, it doesn't change the circumstances under which people work, because those circumstances remain the best way for third parties to make money. Whether those third parties are small-scale criminal gangs or massive taxable corporations (and there isn't always such a clear line between the two), they are still making huge amounts of money at the direct expense of worker's rights.

I don't know where we got into this mentality that if you can't regulate something you have to legalize it because, you know, it can't make anything worse can it? Well actually, yes it can.

evilthecat:
Any business wants to force prices down as far as possible and expand to service as many people as possible to compensate. With prostitution, this drive is diametrically opposed to worker's rights and sense of self-worth. All legalizing brothel prostitution does is to decriminalize that demand, it doesn't change the circumstances under which people work, because those circumstances remain the best way for third parties to make money. Whether those third parties are criminal gangs or taxable corporations (and there isn't always a clear line between the two), they are still making huge amounts of money at the direct expense of worker's rights.

I don't want to regurgitate the "Is that not true of all work?" line, but if prostitution is outside the law, then people working as prostitutes have no legal means.

If they are allowed to work legally, they can use the legal means available to people to prevent exploitation of workers. Now, it's not going to be perfect, and if the people involved don't care about people working as prostitutes, it's not going to do much of anything, but if you have that they have a way of protecting themselves they can't use if they have to keep hidden from the law.

Secondly, what benefit does it actually have to expend police resouces on prostitution as a whole, rather than the criminal elements associated with it?

thaluikhain:
If they are allowed to work legally, they can use the legal means available to people to prevent exploitation of workers. Now, it's not going to be perfect, and if the people involved don't care about people working as prostitutes, it's not going to do much of anything, but if you have that they have a way of protecting themselves they can't use if they have to keep hidden from the law.

You've assumed that prostitutes want to be legally visible.

Whenever prostitutes are interviewed anonymously, they almost always say that they don't want to draw attention to themselves. They don't want to be registered as prostitutes on a government or police database, they don't want it on their medical records, they want to leave the profession with no legal record that they were ever there. Can you blame them, would you want something like that following you around for the rest of your life?

At best, a very small minority of prostitutes, generally those working at the upper end of the profession, do become politically involved through advocacy groups, but the overwhelming majority of people in that position (particularly those in the worst positions who are actually at risk of exploitation) do not want to go public. Thus the overwhelming majority of abuses, which are incredibly private, tend to remain hidden.

The idea that if prostitutes don't have to fear arrest or criminalization they'll instantly come forward and report any violence they suffer and get regular health checks and actively campaign for better working conditions is just wrong. Most of the people who most need these things still won't.

In fact, the people who are most at risk are still not going to come forward under any circumstances because they don't want to be deported. Those people have no legal protection and no legal visibility, and they tend to become more numerous, not less, when brothel prostitution is legalized.

thaluikhain:
Secondly, what benefit does it actually have to expend police resouces on prostitution as a whole, rather than the criminal elements associated with it?

Because there's no fixed line where one ends and the other begins. You can't just assume that it's only a few dodgy illegal brothels in the backstreets where coercion or assault or any other kind of illegal activity happens, you have to police the whole thing. It's also something which has to be actively policed, you can't rely on people coming forward to report infractions. This isn't easy when you're looking at populations of hundreds of thousands of people.

This is actually meant to be the biggest advantage of a brothel or a red light district. These things are theoretically meant to contain any resulting problems within a limited space and to make it easier to police. Unfortunately, I don't think it's ever been shown to really work, often I think because legalization campaigners attempt to present prostitution as "just another job" which people want to do, which people aren't ashamed of doing, and which doesn't require specific regulation to prevent abuse.

evilthecat:
You've assumed that prostitutes want to be legally visible.

Whenever prostitutes are interviewed anonymously, they almost always say that they don't want to draw attention to themselves. They don't want to be registered as prostitutes on a government or police database, they don't want it on their medical records, they want to leave the profession with no legal record that they were ever there. Can you blame them, would you want something like that following you around for the rest of your life?

But there's no reason why it should. There's no reason why you can't make something legal without keeping tabs on everyone who does it.

Yes, if you put those kinds of legal restrictions on it, there's not much point legalising it, but they aren't necessary, surely.

evilthecat:
Unfortunately, I don't think it's ever been shown to really work, often I think because legalization campaigners attempt to present prostitution as "just another job" which people want to do, which people aren't ashamed of doing, and which doesn't require specific regulation to prevent abuse.

Oh, I tend to agree with that, but there's no particular reason why that has to be such a problem. You're absolutely right, half-arsed attempts to legalise prostitution are at best pointless, but my position is that it could be done by people who actually understood the issues and cared about the wellbeing of the people involved.

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