This House Would legalise prostitution

The revelation of the true identity of high class call girl, Belle de Jour, made famous by the blog and follow-up TV series, 'Diaries of a Call Girl', has re-opened the debate over prostitution. Many current and former prostitutes have denounced the government's continued refusal to legalise the world's oldest profession and have called for reform.

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

The law as it stands is wrong and patronising to women

Women (and men) should be free to decide what they do with their own bodies. The state has no right to tell them they cannot make a living out of having consensual sex. If individuals are allowed to smoke, drink and even commit suicide without facing legal repercussions, then banning prostitution is simply hypocritical.

Forced prostitution 'is' illegal ,which means the 'law' does not protect women/men from being forcibly solicited.People dying to be prostitutes cannot do so alone without facing the law, and therefore have to resort to large illegal criminal underground organisations, that exploit them.

Prostitution is one of the oldest ways of making money. Making it illegal does/would not put an end to it.

The law exists to protect women, many of whom are forced in prostitution by circumstances such as drug abuse, or more directly by unscrupulous human trafficking gangs. These women, experts such as the police say, face a life of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse unless the authorities are legally empowered to shut down the establishments they work in when they are detected.

Bonded forced prostitutes are shipped or urged to come to Europe where it is legal and are then exploited there, in general.

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

law fails women by its very existence

Although the law "exists to protect women" by its very existence it completely fails to do so; with prostitution a black market trade, unregulated and practiced on street corners and behind closed doors, the women who ply this trade are far more vulnerable than they would be if they were operating from a licensed venue. Such a venue could have security, panic buttons etc. Sexual health checks could be mandatory (for customers and workers) The women would be in no danger from curb/kerb crawlers, like the Ipswich lorry driver who murdered several prostitutes after picking them up in poorly-lit back streets
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Much of the abuse suffered by these women comes from the pimps who exploit them and keep them hooked on drugs so as to keep them utterly dependent. Women would be free from such servitude and would have much better access to counseling and welfare services. The industry could be taxed with revenue reinvested in improving the work environment.

One could make reference to the landmark lobbying of the U.N by Cambodian prostitutes for their trade to be decriminalised and for the right to work; [[www.rabble.ca/taxonomy/term/3138/all/feed]]

Keeping this huge and unavoidable industry illegal on nothing more than principle is a narrow minded and obviously counter-productive approach.

Prostitution is illegal but paid dating services are legal.

Prostitution is not addictive/'a drug' and as long as it is illegal it is costly and the cost does affect demand(since demand is not inelastic).

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

Help control prostitution

If prostitution was legalised then attempts to control the business would be made. Those who prostitute themselves would be in safer environment and measures could be taken to control those who come into the business. This would also mean that there could be more steps taken when any violent acts or wrongdoings such as not paying could be controlled and then actually prosecuted if needed.

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

The law should not condone illicit behaviour

It is a key principle of the Common Law system that the law is not there to act as an instructive manual for public morality. It exists to regulate the basics of conduct necessary to ensure the functioning of society. This is in contrast to other jurisdictions such as France, where the law is used quite openly to impose moral duties on citizens, for example by criminalising failure to assist strangers. The position is supported by a large amount of statutory and case law, and is the established position within English law. To say what the law "should" be doing in this case is either to ignore the jurisprudence as it currently stands, or to propose a radical overhaul of some fundamental assumptions.

To go beyond this position raises a number of issues:

1. Whose morality?

The most obvious point is that in a pluralist society this cannot be an obvious answer. We have multiple value systems operating at any given time, and the state proclaims no business in determining which of these value systems is correct. The state starts to go down a shaky path if it starts to endorse one of these value systems over another on grounds greater than the maintenance of public order.

One may counter this by arguing that this is a country of Christian heritage and institutions, and that the common good is thus defined by the intellectual underpinnings and legacy of the Christian faith. This only raises further problems. "Whose morality?" becomes "whose Christianity?" Is it the Anglican Church, which has never been in the majority of this country? Is it that of the evangelical or liberal wing? I may find as easily find one churchman vehemently opposed to the legality of prostitution as I may find one in favour of its legalisation. To effectively determine public policy on this basis of a fundamental Christian morality would require the active involvement of the state in church politics and the endorsement of a particular theology. The arrangement would be beneficial to neither the state, nor society, nor Christianity itself. The basis of secularism is that the church and state are separate. The law and general morality operate in separate spheres accordingly.

2. Where do we draw the line?

This question is present in many legislative issues, but raises particular problems when it comes to the imposition of civic duties. Who owes the duty? At what point is it owed? Trying to adequately define the boundaries of acceptable moral behaviour is ultimately futile as human behaviour is fractal in nature. The result will always be that some people end up on the wrong side of the line. Legislating in fields better suited for public opprobrium simply risks criminalising people unfairly. One need look no further than the opposing argument on this topic: the writer's words could easily be interpreted as arguing in favour of the criminalisation of speed-dating. To suggest that a professional draftsman would be able to draw the line more easily than the (I assume) layman who wrote this is disingenuous.

(For a more detailed discussion, see Smith and Hogan's "Criminal Law: Cases and Materials, 10th Edn., Chapter 4: Omissions").

3. Law and morality are never in lockstep.

This is where I have to disagree with the person who wrote what is below, for two reasons. First, legislation does not drive a change in social attitudes. Think about it for a moment: if people's minds were only ever changed by changes in the law, then there would never be any changes in the law in the first place. Changes in general moral understanding have to occur first, otherwise there is no impetus to alter legislation. A reforming spirit is required before the act of reform occurs. Where legislative reform appears to change general attitudes, one is actually seeing simply a greater communication of a change in the general morality. The law is far more dependent on what people's sense of morality is than vice-versa, as can be seen in any purposive judicial interpretation. To suggest otherwise is, logically speaking, to put the horse before the cart.

Second, the process of legislation is fundamentally slower than that of the individual or public opinion. As soon as a law is passed it is, in effect, out of date. Think of an Act like a newspaper: it does not tell you what the news is _now_, simply what the news was at any given time prior to the publishing deadline. So it is with legislation. Statutes and cases are snapshots. They may well be out of step with public opinion and morality. Even if there was a universal consensus in favour of changing a piece of legislation, it would still take time for the legislative process to give effect to that will. The law is thus out of step with general morality at any given time.

One need look no further than Blasphemy laws: they are at odds with the general public opinion that such behaviour should not be subject to criminal (or possibly even moral) sanction, yet they remain on the statute book. Is it true to say that this is synchronous with public morality, let alone to say that that morality is influenced by the letter of the law?

The law is not there to serve the whims of those who would impose their particular view of morality upon us. To do so is only to invite disaster.
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This would have been an argument made by those who were not in favour of legalising homosexuality in the 1950’s. What needs to be realised is that people’s moral views are dependant on what the law states. Homosexuality was made legal when people still did not agree with it but a few people were beginning to change their opinion. The change of the law resulted in people being a lot more open to homosexuals. If we were to legalise prostitution much the same thing would happen. People are beginning to see the sense of legalising prostitution for protection and if the law was changed this view would consequently become more widespread. Our ‘moral fibres’ are mere sheep that follow what is written.

The law should never be changed so as to make provisions for the most morally blameworthy of behaviour. The girls may have some sympathy among the public, however, how can it be legal for men to pry around women and pick and choose who they wish to take to bed that night? How can a Christian society be seen to condone such behaviour? We may have a secular society, but the morals that run through our fibres are that of Christian teachings. The law should not be able to go against such moral fibre of its society for any amount of benefit; seen as the detriment to society’s moral balance would always be a far greater factor to weigh.

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

Legalised prostitution still victimises the vulnerable.

Extortion is wrong and illegal but that is not what Schaapman talks about here.

While the idea that women in prostitution are the 'Weak ones' not only comes from a very moral perspective but also a very subjective value system, Karina Schaapman has fallen into the trap of pigeon holing and casting a vast generalisation over a large segment of society.

Despite the fact that women (by definition) are more than just their career choice and also (by definition of being human) are abjectly incapable of making the 'strong' choice every time in every period of their lives,Schaapman has tared them all with the same brush.

Having been forced and chosen to associate with people from 'all walks of life' it has been harder to hold my intellectual prejudices which were fostered and supported in public school . Because of this it became much harder to view the parade of prostitutes marching through Soho in defence of the expression of their life choice to be a symbol of ignorance, weakness and low intellect.

While the definition of weak and strong is still highly debated across cultures, philosophies and religions its actual existance is strongly questioned in many psychological fields.

I do wonder how Schaapman can work for a news paper who hasn't once questioned (and has even supported) the surge in recruits to the British Military in recent years despite the highly dubious reasons for the deaths we are causing in the ME( you would have to be strong to publicly pick that one though!!!). From all the past articles Schaapman has never targeted these trained killers as subjects of weakness.

I'm not a hippie but (whether I agree totally with the life choice or not) I lean towards chosing to make love not war while exploring God's Green Earth.

Whether prostitution is legal or illegal, the women who become subject to the trade are weak ones. Whilst only 1 in 300 women in London is a prostitute, 1 in 35 are prostitutes where such a profession is legal. Of that number, 75% are from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. [[Karina Schaapman, The Times, December 2008]]. Women come from these poor countries expecting wealth and all they get is paying customers waiting at their door. This would be a particular problem in London whereby it is known to those in the Eastern hemisphere as the place where you will be able to make a good living for yourself. With this high expectation, many will turn to prostitution to meet their financial aims. Legalised prostitution would be nothing more than exploitation of the vulnerable for tax purposes.

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

Would lead to similar policy towards drugs

In response to the 'No';

Surely the only reason prostitution is illegal, is that the House has needed the votes of those who claim to 'morally object' to prostitution (and drug users). Are there any other reasons?

Only a brave and radical House would legalise both. It would put and end to the damaging state of denial the nation wallows in. Both could be dealt with - rationally. The difficult part would be dealing with the moral objectors outrage and the inevitable booting out of the House at the next election. So be it! Legalise it!

The Netherlands legalised prostitution in the 20th Century as part of a gedoogbeleid (policy of tolerance). This policy was adopted in the belief that it would reduce harm to those involved and others. The Government believed that outlawing prostitution was counter productive and therefore should be regulated. This reasoning equally applied to drugs. If Britain were to legalise prostitution, the legalization of drugs would be a logical necessity. As the reasoning behind the two systems is the same; “they may be morally undesirable but we are to regulate them to reduce harm”. We cannot pick up one side of the stick without the other. Therefore, keeping both illegal would be desirable as too many people would be morally offended by these two morally wrong acts being made legal.

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

It would not solve the violence of prostitution.

The reasoning behind legalising prostitution is to prevent harm to prostitutes themselves. However, there is no actual evidence that this would occur. In fact, Amsterdam, our closest case study into what legalising prostitution can do, violent crime and killings have been on the increase and the Mayor of Amsterdam is now seeking to clean the Red Light District up. With so many Eastern European women entering the country in order to become prostitutes, Eastern European gangs have followed and the results can be seen in Amsterdam’s gang crime statistics. The illegal trafficking of women is still rife, as are other crimes which these gangs use the prostitution to fund. In truth, the prostitutes are no more protected when prostitution is legalised, and the public are not safer under such a rule.
[[Marlise Simons, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/24/world/europe/24amsterdam.html?_r=1, February 2008]]

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

Bad for Business

The evidence doesn't bear this out. Notwithstanding the Netherlands, one may look further afield at Germany and Nevada to see that this just isn't the case. The opposing argument appears to be more based off prejudice than knowledge.

Although prostitution, as an act, is not legalised. The girls who are forced to, and those who are not would lose money. Prostitution is illegal due to its sometime violent outbursts and the danger that it can put people in. However, legalising prostitution would mean that it is no longer a taboo and would somewhat decrease the desire to hire a prostitute.

Amsterdam has its legalised prostitution and it works fine, yet it is mainly a tourist attraction and the men that do use prostitutes in Amsterdam do it as it is a form of souvenir, something to cross off the list. Because of the way that the girls are advertised and portrayed they can charge large amounts of money. This would not be the case in the UK. The UK would not embrace ideas of sexuality like Holland and this advertising and promotion of the girls would not be the same if legalised in the UK. With this in mind prostitutes would not have the same ability to charge as they do.

Also, would leglising prostitution mean that people could manage prostitutes in a harsher sense than pimps or madames? Charging as they wish and possibly giving a wage rather than commission based pay? These would all need to be taken into account and if so the reason that people go into prostitution is usually because they are forced into due to lack of money. If it was a wage based system there is nothing then stopping people from getting another job that puts them at less risk. Legalising prostitution should not happen, not due the fact that it would make prostitution seem morally acceptable but that it would not help the people involved in the industry as well.

This House Would legalise prostitution

Yes because... No because...

No, can you imagine the ADS on TV?

For the younger generations, it would act as a kind of education and by the time they are ready for sex themselves, they know what they're doing. LOL

Don't take that seriously. Anything that happens in a decent country takes into consideration everyone, not just companies wanting to get into the act for a bit of $$$

Unless if it could take on the form of cigarette advertising. The closest thing to an advertisement is the logo on the packet behind the counter. There's not even a picture of what a cigarette looks like. And that's how it should be. B)

Im fed up of alcohol ads, gambling ads and now maybe ads for whoring?

The big global multi conglomerate supermarket chains would get in on the act.

I don't want to go into Walmart for a loaf of bread and be harangued by desperate females eager to know if I needed 'a bit of company' or be offered Buy One Get One Free, or double loyalty points if I go for a threesome....

Debates > This House Would legalise prostitution