Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS

For decades, AIDS has afflicted and killed millions of people worldwide. In 2007, it was estimated that 33 million people had the disease and 2 million died from it. Fortunately in the last 10-15 years there have been great developments in the treatment and prevention of AIDS, mainly through the development of new drugs and promotion of contraception and safe sex methods in world. However, one group of people who do not receive any protection are sex workers in countries where what they are doing is illegal. There is no regulation or enforcement of safe practices in the sex industry. We propose that all nations with AIDS concerns legalise the sex industry and introduce regulations to make sure that sex workers use safe practices, provide a registration system for sex workers and provide condoms for registered establishments, we further propose that these states look at ways to reduce the social stigma around this work as a way to battle the spread of HIV/AIDS.--------------------------------------------------------------------Opposition Introduction----------------------------------------------------------As indicated by the motion, the crux of the debate is under which legal paradigm are sex workers best protected from HIV infection. Opposition wants the continued prohibition of prostitution and in addition educational campaigns to eradicate misconceptions about the disease that render society vulnerable. Prop on the other hand wants to legalize prostitution as a way of protecting them from HIV. As we pointed out in our first refutation, there is no correlation between the legal status of prostitution and the HIV prevalence in a country as we have states like Russia where it is illegal and you have less than 1% prevalence and others where it is legal eg Mozambique but they have 16% prevalence. What makes the difference is the level of a societies education about the nature of HIV, how it is spread and how to protect oneself.


All the No points:


Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
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(75%) (25%)

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
Yes because...

Prohibition Doesn't Work.

Banning prostitution doesn’t stop people from wanting sex, and plenty of people are still willing to pay for it. This means that there is significant demand for prostitutes, even in places where AIDS is prevalent. In fact, people with HIV and AIDS and Africa are less likely to be able to have sex in a regular setting, so are more likely to turn to prostitutes. In addition, countries with high rates of AIDS and HIV are most often poor countries with high unemployment and very low GDP [[http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/28/069.html]], meaning there are a lot of women in desperate situations who need money, usually so desperate that obeying the law (especially in places where law enforcement is often corrupt and under-funded) doesn’t matter very much compared to making a living. These two factors mean that prostitution is going to happen whether it is nominally illegal or not. Evidence of this can be seen in the estimated 40,000 prostitutes who entered South Africa for the Soccer World Cup [[http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2010/0512/Prostitutes-flock-to-South-Africa-ahead-of-World-Cup-2010]].

All prohibition actually does is prevent any effective regulation. If prostitution is legalised, Governments can impose regulations such as compulsory use of condoms (which could also be provided by Government), regular blood testing to see if prostitutes have HIV, and general enforcement of safe sex practices. If prostitution is illegal, then there must be a denial of the existence of any brothels or prostitutes, as if they exist and are illegal it becomes the Government's responsibility to get rid of them rather than ensure they are being safe.

Having these sorts of regulations also creates a type of self-regulation. The brothels and prostitutes that are being safe will have a direct incentive to report ones that aren't, as this removes competition and will help build their reputation as a safe option. If prostitution is illegal, then no-one will report anything.

No because...

It is contradictory for prop to say on one hand, "especially in places where law enforcement is often corrupt and under-funded" and simultaneously say that all the regulations they are putting in place will indeed work. If it is true you cannot stop people from being prostitutes now, whatever their HIV status, how will you stop those that refuse to comply with your regulations. If they are as poor and desperate as they say even the ones with HIV will continue to want to work.

Prop correctly points out that, "countries with high rates of AIDS and HIV are most often poor countries with high unemployment and very low GDP." The reason that they have such high rates of infection is not that some how banning prostitution leads to higher HIV rates. If this where true, then all countries which ban prostitution eg Sweden, Russia[1]) should have significantly higher prevalence rates than those who do as they propose eg. Côte d'Ivoire & Senegal[1]. This is not the case.[2] What causes such high rates of infection is ignorance or mis-education about HIV and the way it is transmitted. This is more pervasive in countries with poor education systems & high levels of illiteracy. Many people believe ridiculous things about HIV[3][4][5]. Like the belief that the withdrawal method is effective in preventing HIV infection. Education is the only way to solve this, not legitimizing a a crime which brutalizes women.

It is logical to believe that the instinct of self preservation (the one that drove her to prostitution over starving in the first place) will lead to prostitutes using condoms. Many currently do. Those who do not are ignorant of the dangers and how to protect themselves. This is what needs to change.

[1]-http://goo.gl/HCgr
[2]-http://goo.gl/jrMN
[3]-http://goo.gl/TEMd
[4]-http://goo.gl/rKu1
[5]-http://goo.gl/tnsP

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
Yes because...

Everyone has AIDS. AIDS, AIDS, AIDS.

As we’ve mentioned in our previous point, prostitution will take place whether it is legal or not. We believe prostitution should be legal. By regulating brothels and the conditions for prostitution through regular health checks, condoms et cetera, we can make sure prostitutes are safe from HIV.
In places where prostitution is illegal, it is merely driven underground; controlled by cartels and gangs. In this situation prostitutes live under no rights[[http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/3/515.full]] Moreover they tend to be associated with drugs, they are hooked by dealers who force them into prostitution to fund thri habit, through multiple sexual partners and needle sharing there is significant risks of HIV.[[http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_4_35/ai_53390350/]].
If a sex worker contracts AIDS, a man or woman client using them will be at risk of contracting the virus, they then run the risk of not knowing that they have it, infecting other sexual partners and the cycle continues. Also let us not forget future children who contract the disease while in the uterus.
So it is in countries where prostitution is illegal where we can’t keep sex workers safe from AIDS. In these countries prostitutes aren’t even allowed to be prostitutes. They tend to enter the profession because they have no other way of earning money or they may be forced to do it.
On the other hand, if prostitution is legal and regulations are put in place, sex workers will be safer from STI’s and HIV/AIDS. Regular health checks will pick up any possible infections and there will be laws to protect the well-being of sex workers. What’s more, these laws will not only protect sex workers, but their clients too. Making prostitution legal will improve the work conditions of people who have to go into prostitution for one reason or another and will protect society from a further spreading of HIV/AIDS. This is a signifcant benefit to greater society and individual workers and cl

No because...

Prop seem to believe that they have just invented "high class escorts", which is essentially what their proposal seeks to do. In every country in the world one can always access disease free prostitutes who conduct their business in a safe environment, and who are not abused by their employers. You just have to pay a lot for these prostitutes, the same as props mechanism, if a brothel is gang run and does not wish to comply to props expensive requirements, then they will employ the HIV+ prostitutes who are not protected by props model. The people in status quo who visit the types of brothels prop is targeting, will not be able to afford the disease free prostitutes (otherwise they would do so in status quo) so they will still go to the HIV+ prostitutes. And there will probably be more prostitutes in the community because prop has declared the business legitimate, so poor women who were deterred from prostitution by the law now consider it an option, and seeing as these are countries where law enforcement is poor, this means more women being exposed to STD's. Why? Well, let's consider that South Africa has the largest antiretroviral therapy programme in the world (1), the government distributes free condoms at public toilets and clinics/hospitals across the nation. Yet there is still a problem with people having unprotected sex, even with prostitutes, the reason is not a lack of condoms, it's a reluctance to use them. Hence, prop does not fix the problem, but rather exacerbates it, under status quo cultural programming makes people feel as if sex with a condom is unnatural, so people will pay more to have intercourse without a condom. If this is already happening under status quo, it will only worsen once you create more prostitutes with your endorsement of prostitution, and they will still have sex without condoms because they are still as desperate for money, particularly those who are already HIV+.

(1) http://www.avert.org/aidssouthafrica.htm

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
Yes because...

Changing Social Stigma and flow on benefits.

The social stigma towards AIDS means noone wants it, indeed Ban Ki Moon suggests that stigma is the reason sex workers are reluctant to go and seek treatment [[http://www.avert.org/hiv-aids-stigma.htm]]

This negative stigma needs to change to battle AIDS in the sex industry. Strategies like in Brazil and Kenya introduced campaigns to reduce stigma and help sex workers feel good about their jobs to and to take care of their sexual health, leading to positive benefits for AIDS checks and condom use; Thailand’s 100% condom strategy led to a sharp decrease in HIV cases within the industry. [[http://www.avert.org/sex-workers.htm]]

Our model is similar and will benefit all stakeholders

There are many benefits to why we should adopt our policy and how changing the social stigma of AIDS will effectively remove it from the legalised sex-industry.

Government:
Identifying AIDS victims early, through compulsory testing, this means quick reaction to the diagnoses, offering treatment options swiftly and having the worker removed from the position which would lead to the infection of more people.

Business:
A Business is not going to want to hire a worker who will contract HIV to their customers, this is just bad business. A business needs to compete in a market and they need to supply a service of high quality. This doesn’t work if your company is branded as selling unsafe products which kill customers.

Customers:
They get the benefit of paying for a service which they want and are ready to pay for. With a much lower chance of contracting a nasty STD and get all the pleasure they can pay for.

Sex-Workers: Not having AIDS, being able to be getting treatment swiftly and not feeling the social pressure to not reveal profession to public.

Many Benefits, no harms, tried tested and successful, this policy is beneficial to all stakeholders.

No because...

Again prop contradicts themselves. They say that there is a very strong social stigma against HIV & HIV patients (which we agree happens, and in many cases sufferers are rejected by their families and have to fend for themselves). This stigma leads to the prostitutes not wanting to be tested and seek treatment in SQ (status quo) in fear that their status will become public. Then they turn around and tell us that these same prostitutes in these stigmatic societies will accept govt mandated health checks? Many prostitutes will not accept this and continue to operate underground.

To add insult to their self inflicted injury they cite the example of Kenya where they say, "Kenya introduced campaigns to reduce stigma and help sex workers feel good about their jobs to and to take care of their sexual health, leading to positive benefits for AIDS checks and condom use." They neglect that prostitution is totally illegal in Kenya[1] and this "campaign" did not even attempt to legalize it but rather to change societal misconceptions about HIV which is our counter model and they agree has been effective in helping solve the problem cited in the motion.

[1]-http://goo.gl/yiQX

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
Yes because...

Prostitutes will be safer under legalisation

As we have shown, prostitution will always exist whether it is legal or not. Therefore, we need to look at whether prostitutes will be safer with legalisation. They most definitely will be.

It is important that prostitutes and safe and free from harm. There are many reasons why women go into prostitution. Often it is due to financial desperation and/or children commitments. These women are in a very vulnerable position and it is very important that we ensure they are as safe and healthy as can be. Prostitutes are subject to gangs, violence, drugs and rape. Prostitutes are often forced to take drugs by the gangs who employ (or own) them so as to make them addicted. This means they have no way to escape.[[http://www.un.org/rights/dpi1772e.htm]] There is also no regulation, which means prostitutes are subject to unprotected sex and rape from countless people, which means they invariably become infected with AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases[[http://www.caps.ucsf.edu/pubs/FS/revsexworkers.php]].

When the market is legalised, it is no longer controlled by gangs. This is because legal businesses operate the industry instead. This is better for prostitutes as they no longer suffer the horrific abuses that they face under a system of illegal prostitution. This is because legal businesses face regulation. They are required by law to ensure that contraception is used by their employees. They are also required to ensure that their employees are healthy by directing them to appropriate medical treatment when it is necessary.
When legal its easier to monitor. This is because the government knows how many prostitutes there are, where they are located, and what issues are affecting the industry. This is beneficial as the government can better plan appropriate health and social policies.

Prostitutes are legitimate stakeholders that need protection. Under our model, we better protect prostitutes. They are safer, they are healthier, and they are happier

No because...

We agree with prop that women often turn to prostitution due to financial desperation and/or children commitments. These incentives will still exist even if they are caught to be infected and banned from practicing. As is the case now, they will have no choice but to break the law and continue prostituting. Because the "legitimate" brothels will be subject to regulation and taxes - which means significantly higher costs - illicit brothels can under price then in order to compete. This will be very effective in countries with low incomes. A parallel example is how tobacco tax spurs and illicit market for duty free cigarettes[1]. This puts pressure on non-infected prostitutes to relieve themselves of the burden of regulation and go underground so they can continue making money.

Effectively regulation is a partial ban and will always result in an illicit market. Example: prescription drugs are legal and regulated (need for prescription) yet we still have an illicit market for prescription pain killers. The black market and it's harms are not mutually exclusive to either side in this debate unless prop wants absolute legalization with zero restrictions.

[1]-http://goo.gl/MsP4

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
Yes because...

The Market solves all:

Simple concept, allowing competition fixes the gang/abuse problem for two reasons. One, there are Government regulations, they have to be above board, if they are then even if gang’s are running brothels they are doing nothing illegal. Two, there will be competition, a brothel will want to sell a quality service, generally meaning drug/bruise and AIDS free, these are all things good.
Basically with the legal market sex workers will need to compete within the rules set by the Government, this means that they will need to be STD free, there will be protection of their rights as people, the prices won’t be exorbitant because of competition, the price can only be as high a a consumer is willing to pay so the businesses can reach maximum profit, again this demand will be increased by lack of Government sanctions against the business for being abusive. They will not employ people with AIDS or keep them working because this is not good for customers.
The social stigma of AIDS means no one wants it so no one will sell it.[[http://www.mcwdn.org/ECONOMICS/SupDemand.html]] Businesses, because of this stigma are also likely to develop their own restrictions on workers, they are going to want AIDS in their industry less than the Government because of the profit they will lose.
Businesses will dob in unregistered workers because they are not going to want people having some of their market share.
The demand for sex workers is great, this is undisputed. Therefore because AIDS is a problem it better that the Govt can regulate and watch its transgression rather than ignore it. It us better to set the private sector against the virus because frankly it is currently out of control and if people are going to loose profit over it this is sadly a greater incentive to get rid of it.[[http://www.pearson.ch/HigherEducation/Journalism/1471/9781405835367/Journalism-Ethics-and-Regulation.aspx]]

No because...

Prop is ignoring that there is a demand for having sex without condoms due to ignorance about the dangers. If they prohibit this a black market for it will develop and all the harms they point out for us apply to them. Secondly, they premise this argument on the claim that the government has the capacity to enforce all these new regulations. If the government does have such power then our paradigm of prohibition will work. What they have failed to address is what would happen is their regulations did not work. Their entire case is based on a best case scenario of perfect regulation which is unlikely in these poor nations. Also these regulations (like having condoms regular testing) are in the best interests of the prostitutes and brothels even with prohibition. They have not yet engaged with the idea that demand for unsafe sex will still exist.

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
Yes because...

Legalisation Can Be A Part of a Wider Education Program

The problem with the opposition proposal is that it is not mutually exclusive to legalising prostitution. It is perfectly possible for a Government to provide an education program and legalise prostitution at the same time, in fact that is what is done in places like New Zealand where prostitution is legal and we provide sex education in schools.

In fact, legalising prostitution actually helps a wider education program. If the opp wants people to be properly educated about AIDS, then they should not want to exclude and stigmatise sex workers. If you continue to ban prostitution, then it actually entrenches the idea that prostitutes are somehow lesser people whose welfare we shouldn't care about when it comes to HIV. As it is, countries that ban prostitution make no effort to protect prostitutes at all.

To have a free and open discussion, it is necessary to allow a free discussion about prostitution, which can only happen if it is legal. If it is not, it is much more difficult to acquire information about prostitutes and about the conditions in which they work, because they are less willing to come forward and admit to what they are doing.

The opp has conceded that there is a problem of people having unsafe sex with prostitutes, and yet it seems like the only group of people they want to exclude from their education program are the prostitutes themselves. If we can identify who the prostitutes are, then we can educate them. If prostitution is illegal and forced underground, we can't provide them with info. In addition, we can't provide information with people who use prostitutes, both because they won't admit to committing an illegal act and because banning prostitution increases the stigma on these people. The prop has missed the point entirely when they say we will be unable to enforce regulation, because it will be in the interests of the prostitutes and brothels to abide by regulations and report those who don't.

No because...
Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
Yes because...

Proposition Summary

At the beginning of this debate we showed that prostitution (and demand for unsafe sex) will still exist whether it is illegal or not, the question is whether or not making it legal will allow for better protection of prostitutes and better help to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The opp has never disputed that there will be prostitution either way, so it was up to them to show harms of legalising prostitution, which they never did.

3 questions: 1) What best allows for the Government to protect people and regulate? 2) Will regulations be effective? 3) Are there any real harms to legalising prostitution?

On the first point, we showed you that if prostitution is illegal it is an underground affair, unsafe and controlled by gangs. It creates a stigma around the desperate women in prostitution, causing people to care about them even less, and stops anyone involved in the industry seeking any protection or help. The opp tried to say that we were contradicting ourselves, missing the point entirely: the way to lift the stigma is to legalise, then prostitutes will come forward. Stigma around prostitution doesn't just exist inherently, it is promoted by banning it. The opp tried to propose a counter-model providing education about HIV, however this model is not mutually exclusive and as we showed you, will actually work better if prostitution is legalised. It is contradictory to not allow education for prostitutes.

On the second point, the opposition tried to say that illegal, unsafe and unregistered prostitution would still exist. We had three responses: 1) Because it is in the interests of legal prostitutes and brothels to report illegal practice, the industry will self-regulate. 2) It is actually no more expensive to provide the legal services, because most of the expenses will fall on the Government, which is providing the condoms etc. 3) Even if some illegal practice still exists, if there is any increase in safe practice and the use of safe methods, then that is a good thing.

Finally, the opp tried to say an increase in prostitution would be bad. Firstly we told you that as long as the prostitution involves safe methods, that would be fine, and then that essentially means that the other team thinks people having sex is a bad thing. It is not a bad thing if people are having more sex with prostitutes, if it is safe. They then tried to say we would be placing more people in danger. They never showed how this would happen under our model, which insists upon safe practices. We are certainly not forcing any women into prostitution, who are not currently doing it. The opp's final point was to say that we would be sending a message that this is a legitimate way to make a living. Unfortunately they seemed to have missed posting some of the point, but basically we do think that prostitution is a legitimate way to make a living. It is the poor treatment and health risks that prostitutes face that is illegitimate. Our model helps with this.

No because...
Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
No because...

Proposal will exacerbate the HIV problem

Despite the prohibition of prostitution many people still end up being sex workers. However, many more are deterred by the penalties imposed by the government as a result of its illegality. As a result of the proposal, many people would enter into the sex industry. Also many more people would start using sex workers. This larger pool of sex workers and consumers will make the spread of HIV & other STDs more likely.

Secondly, legalization makes detection of illegal sex workers harder. These gangs that prop says currently run prostitution can have a few legal workers in order to window dress their business with legitimacy while having other illegal workers. The incentive for this is that regulations on the legal workers make them less profitable but also offers an opportunity for them to cloak themselves with legitimacy. Hence, brothels can avoid the penalties under status quo, and at same time provide unregulated/unsafe services to the less informed members of society. As it is these countries are facing difficulties in terms of regulations. Not directly engaging with the lack sex education will incentivize brothels to continue running legally with unsafe sex workers as there is a demand for such services. The financial incentive of having unregulated or partially regulated brothels only makes it worse.

Yes because...

The only NEW workers in the industry under our model will be safe ones, because our model only allows regulated workers. Even if all the old workers remained unsafe, these new workers would attract some people to use them, meaning more safe and less unsafe sex, so this point actually falls to our side.

Opp admits that prohibition does not work, this reinforces why it should be legal, to keep track of these sex workers. Saying that the Govt has a harder job detecting legal sex workers is ridiculous, it is much harder to find ones who are undeclared and hidden. It is silly to suppose a gang would provide underground brothels, which would be much harder to run and much more expensive when there is a legal profitable option, considering most of the expenses such as condoms will be paid for by the Government. If the Government is providing free health checks, condoms and education programs then why wouldn't a business accept them? It is a benefit with no cost.
Stating that brothels can avoid penalties under the status quo just reinforces how fruitless it is to ban the sex industry.

The Opp has failed to address the reasoning we put forward over how competition would mean that there is a business and Government agenda to keep AIDS carriers out of the industry, businesses are incentivised to dob in unregistered sex workers to the Government to be tested.

They have not addressed the rights of the sex-worker, how they are not the problem and need support, if as the OPP suggests there is going to be this large black market under the status quo.

We proposed that because prohibition does not work, because their is no support for the worker and because their is an AIDS problem in the industry that we should fix this under our model. Our benefits have not been attacked, they have been ignored, this does not make them go away. There are clear benefits to the worker/government and consumer there are no harms except for under the status quo as the opp states there are.

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
No because...

Costs of the proposal outweigh the benefits

Prop says that once prostitution operates in a legal framework there will be recourse for sex workers who are abused. This may be true but we have to remember that assuming the stringent regulations they say they will impose will work, an illicit market will still exist. More importantly though this recourse comes at the cost of having more people being exposed to the dangers of prostitution to begin with. Because the govt would have removed deterrence to prostitution many people would now view it as a viable option. The higher probability of making reports comes at the cost of having more people in danger in the first place. It is wrong for the govt to take actions that intentionally place people in danger.

Yes because...

Making a job legal and telling people not to give other people AIDS is hardly a 'stringent criteria’. Through this debate the Opp has agreed with us on several points we made. They agreed that there was high demand for prostitutes which currently make a black market; we showed how this would be beneficial when legalised. They agreed that sex workers are a cause of the spread of AIDS, they agreed that abuse was a problem, we showed how under our model these harms would deminish. They have agreed that using condoms and practising safe sex is for the best, under our model this would become the new status quo. They even agreed that there wil be recourse for abused workers. We have proposed a model which makes a better life for sex-workers, customers and society as a whole.

The Opp asserts that the costs will outweigh the benefits. What costs are they specifically targeting? Their entire case started by saying we needed more education, we proved this as not mutually exclusive and showed how education would be a flow on effect of our model.
The Opp then attacked our model on the harms it will cause, the only harms being stated by the Opp are that more people will become sex workers and this increases the danger.
These harms ignore our substantive arguments on how our model wants to see sex workers accepted, we see this as a legitimate job and business, we explained how our model would increase the safety of the workers by making their job stigma free and encouraging quality service through legislation and competition, this hasn’t been addressed. We also discussed how the customers would be safe, because they would be paying for such a quality (and AIDS free) service. Workers with AIDS would be able to be found and treated by the Government as businesses would feel obliged to dob them in.

The Opp has failed to show any harms at all, clearly this does not outweigh the benefits.

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
No because...

Detrimental to womens rights

When the govt legalizes prostitution and is actively involved in it's operation through regulation. It sends the message that this is a legitimate way to earn a living. This combined with the poverty in these countries can lead to many poor families pressuring (which is harder to detect and not really illegal than

Yes because...

Why isn’t prostitution a legitimate way to earn a living? It is one of the oldest and most widespread professions in the world. People do practise this en mass voluntarily, under our model it would simply allow current workers to do this without the social stigma meaning that gangs who do run the show and the social and legal pressure which means sex workers do not to go and get checkups on their sexual health because of the social and legislative deterrent would disappear.

I can only assume from this point’s title that the Opp is attempting to label prostitution as a strike against women.
Well how is it that prostitution breaks women’s rights but when a Government takes a moral high ground and refuses to give aid and support to a woman who works as a prostitute who has a severe risk of contracting a deadly virus and is likely to undergo significant abuse in an underground black market run by criminals is not anti-women?

How is it that our model is detrimental to women’s rights when what we propose is to allow sex workers to be liberated from Governmental and societal discrimination?

Under the status quo where prostitution is illegal there is no support, women find themselves trapped in a cycle where they need to do this job to earn a living while at the same time cannot complain if they are taken advantage of by gangs, cartels or even their customers because to do so would be admitting to being guilty of a crime.

This is not pro women, this is not moral or right, we propose that this is a status quo which cannot be allowed to continue abusing the women who practise the profession of sex.

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS
No because...

Summary

The first basic claim made by prop was that the prostitution industry is only abusive because of its illegality; the abuses highlighted were drugs, assault, and STIs. But in order to demonstrate that their proposal is effective, they would need to show that there would be no more people desperate enough to subject themselves to atrocious conditions, there would be no more demand for these prostitutes, or that this new law enforcement would somehow be more effective than current law enforcement which they spent their entire first argument discrediting. But prop failed to do that, all they did was give a list of requirements legal brothels must abide by with no explanation as to how they would enforce them. Their self-regulation model does not work either because if these brothels are gang run as prop asserts, then they also told us that these gangs are involved in other illegal businesses as well, so even if one gang knew of another that wasn’t following the regulations, they would not report for fear of being reported as well for something else they did was illegal. So if regulation cannot work, then are prop reducing the drugs violence and STIs at least? NO! The assumption made on STIs was that prostitutes either do not have access to or are ignorant about facilities that could help them preserve their health. On ignorance we explained how THAT is the major problem, and that status quo is dealing with it, Prop needed to show how they are going to educate people better than now which they failed to do. As for the accessibility, we explained how South Africa (which seemed to be their prominent example) is extremely advanced in dealing with HIV; they have education programs, free ARVs, free condom dispensers at convenient locations, so obviously if a prostitute wanted a condom they could get one. If they need to get tested (which the government already encourages) they can do so for free, so seeing as they cannot enforce their regulations and all the precautions they are taking already exist in status quo, it is clear that the proposal will have none of its alleged benefits.

Yes because...


Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS

What do you think?
(75%) (25%)

Continue the Debate - Leave a Comment

3 Comments on "Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS"


Dave
June 29, 2016 10:07 am

We would love to hear what you think – please leave a comment!

Talya
August 10, 2016 12:18 am

Can you please change legalised to decriminalised. Please read the link (1)
They are two very different systems. The reason Amnesty calls for decriminalisation and not legalisation is because legalisation is barely better than criminalisation. It just creates a two-tier problem where the Government can force and change regulations as it fits onto sex workers.

When sex workers can’t keep up or comply they become criminalised again and go back to the abuse and problems that are currently happening. The people this affects the most is the poorest and the most marginalised, the very people who need the most protecting which is counterproductive to the whole point of trying to decriminalise sex work to those people who do sex work are safe from the current levels of abuse that is happening around the world
(1) http://www.queensfreepress.com/2016/07/05/does-legalizing-prostitution-help-or-hurt-women/

Talya
August 14, 2016 12:47 pm

Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS, A response to the arguments put forward so far.

Prostitution legalised, absolutely not. Prostitution fully decriminalised yes, that would provide the needed framework to finally get the HIV/AIDS issue under control.
First, it must be clear that this does not remove trafficking laws. All this does is making the people who are in the industry safe. Thanks to Australia’s quick response efforts when the AIDS epidemic first exploded in the 1980s. Not only has Australia proven that by decriminalising sex work and other related law reforms protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS, it also proves that it protects the general public at large (1).
This is because when sex workers have access to condoms and health information without fear when clients bring disease in. It stops there rather than being passed on to the person doing sex work or others.
The Stigma also needs to be addressed.

The Opps argument under ‘prohibition doesn’t work’ is too idealistic. I agree education is a major factor and needs to reach all people in and out of the industry. This also extends to Law Enforcements training to change attitudes. But their argument shows ignorance to the practical application where public who know the dangers and have the education already will still try to force sex workers into unsafe sex practices regardless.

To say that the sex workers who don’t use condoms are ignorant of the dangers is to ignore the violence and precarious positions that are currently happening where the law does not support sex workers. In America for example, in four states (it was five) a person can be arrested for prostitution just for carrying condoms (2) (3) These types of laws need to be removed which decriminalisation does.

Also if a client forces the situation, they don’t have the law to back them up. The sex worker doesn’t know if the client has HIV and has no support of the law to stand up and say NO. Also with in the education is the Stigma (4). HIV Positive Sex Workers CAN work safety but only when they have decriminalisation. HIV can now be manageable (5) By decriminalisation, a HIV positive sex worker can get access to the education needed about HIV and low risk options and how to manage HIV as it isn’t passed on to clients, but also again allows them to refuse clients who refuse safe sex practice knowing the law enforcements can be called on for support and help if needed without fear (7).

In regards to the everyone has AIDS position, the prop is incorrect on how the industry works. It not run by gangs and cartels. The greater part of the sex industry is independent people. Individuals. I am a sex worker. I engage with sex workers globally. It’s the clients that bring in STIs which in turn infect the worker. Decriminalisation Stops that so breaks the Infection cycle.

If a sex worker is doing drugs it can be much reason, including many of the same reason the mainstream public do drugs. They are correct about drugs increasing the danger of catching HIV especially is there are sharing needles. Removal of any laws that prevent support systems and harm reduction programs needs to happen. (6) The removal of bad laws has already been proven in Australia.(8)

In light of the Opps argument, Sex work is a legitimate business. It is a business. I find their position defeats their own argument and shows a lack of knowledge of sex work. Firstly, the Opps defence that “countries where law enforcement is poor” is exactly part of decriminalisation. Law enforcement is also taught to how to react (9). And if a woman makes a free choice to try sex worker, what business is that of the opps unless the opp feels they have the right to force a woman to do what they want her to do rather than giving the woman a choice. There are many non-sexual skills that are a part of sex work. It is not for everyone.

The opp doesn’t seem to believe sex workers have standards and if the law protected us many of us would be saying No. If the opp also wishes to use Africa as its reason to keep prostitution from becoming decriminalised (or legal) the argument falls apart again because the poor women in Africa are crying out for law reforms and to have sex work decriminalised (10). When will people listen to what the “poor women” they claim to be protecting actually want? They have a voice and are trying to be heard.

Regarding Social Stigma, though the props support is appreciated their own stigma shows in the belief that HIV Positive person cannot undertake sex work safety in the right environment. This is just a matter of proper education. I agree with the opp that government mandate checks a pointless, Which has been shown in Australia (11). Yet on the opps side, they embarrass themselves by thinking they can talk on behalf of sex workers. They also make the incorrect assumption that sex workers want to be unhealthy. Being In NSW Australia sex workers regularly go for check up, Even those who have HIV. We have clinics that are non-judgemental. Our health is one of the highest priorities to sex workers because without it we cannot work. To think that a HIV positive sex worker would not go to a clinic where bad laws have been removed, where they are now supported, where antidiscrimination laws are in place, to get the help they need defies all logic.

In regards to sex workers being safer under decriminalisation the props assumptions on what the sex industry is, is incorrect. As mentions the sex industry is not run by gangs. Most sex worker work individually. There are also trafficked persons in sex work but that is also the reason to make sure that sex work is decriminalised to ensure victims get protected. Prostitutes are not often forced to take drugs by gangs. I am sure it happens but not this picture that’s been brought forwards by the props. They have the right foundation, just the wrong details. The Opps argument I agree with because this is that Legalisation does. This does not work it just adds more laws and keeps the old bad laws creating a two-tier problem where the most marginalised become criminalised and they are the ones that need the most protection. Decriminalisation is the only option.

In regards to the market solves all, I agree with Opp that the prop shows little knowledge. The sex industry (which is individuals, not gang lords) will still set the price. If the client doesn’t like it, they can go elsewhere. Decriminalisation ensures the right and safety of the sex workers so they set the price, and if a client wants to intimate or force the sex worker they can all the cops. An example is in New Zealand where a sex worker flagged down a policeman because a client was trying to short change them and made sure the client paid (12).

Opps position is not much better. Poverty does not equal dumb. Being Abused does not equal dumb. Decriminalisation means we protect ourselves from HIV by being supported and able to access health care and we the police will back us up. Let us not forget that the US Anti-Pledge is playing a HUGE part in keeping the epidemic going because to get any funding for HIV NGOs have to actively say they oppose prostitution (even if they don’t) are are not allow to even hand over a condom to a sex worker otherwise they will have their funding pulled.(13) These are bully tactics. Especially as a couple of American NGO took them to court and won because what they are doing breaks the first amendment (14) . This gets even worse when the PEPFAR allows the religious organisation the freedom NOT to give out HIV Stopping condoms etc if it is against their religion, yet still gives them funding. (15) Its almost as if America doesn’t want to stop HIV if it means helping people whos job is sex work but that would be inhumane would it not. And another debate.

So once again on Opps position saying since they’re argument is that “poor women” need money so desperately that they will accept all offers of extra money it’s an illogical argument. If all sex workers only care about money before their health and everything this else which is what is suggested then under decriminalisation the sex workers are still more likely to say no. Its basic maths (also please remember I am inside the industry). If a man offers me an extra say $50 (that is nothing) for unsafe sex. If I say Yes. I have $50 but then I catch something and am off work for however long, in the example lets say 1 week. I can’t earn money. So that week I made the base price plus $50. Say I only make$100 per day. He has cost me $600. The Opps seems to think sex workers are not smart if they are poor or abused but any person can see that risking $600 for $50 is not worth it on the desperate for money scale.

And if the comeback is to make out all sex workers are on drugs. (misconception).Then it is best to compare sex workers next to the rest of the public who work. Drugs in not a sex worker problem is a public community problem. A recent report showed that 1 in 5 employees regularly uses drugs (16)… and sex workers were not included in this study. Many people in general function fine on drugs, many more people don’t use drugs. I completely agree with the Props ‘larger education Program argument. I also agree with the summary but having Decriminalisation, not legalisation. (17)

In Regards to the continued Opps Argument that it won’t exacerbate the problem . See Australia (1)
In regards to the opps of cost out weights benefits, the US alone is spending Millions of dollars trying to eliminate the commercial sex industry (18) which just hurts and abuses sex workers. And once again the Opp is trying to Force women to do what they think is right rather than let the women chose for themselves, which is almost like trafficking.
It is not detrimental to women’s right and the fact that the Opp and many anti-prostitution groups use this argument is an insult to women. Women are being abused because of the current aims to eliminate the sex industry. Although Amnesty reported on these abuses the Opps still hold this stance which is Abusing Women right now. Also because with Decriminalisation WOMEN CAN SAY NO. They start to hold the power over men in this industry. (17).

When the women have the support of laws, the men know they can go to jail but the woman is safe. They start to behave better. IF they try something, they find the police are after them. If a sex worker does get murdered, the police hunt that man down (17). How is it in Women’s rights to have the current system where men are allowed to do what they want. Using gender to continue to abuse on your own gender is low.

In regards to the Opps summary, the proof is shown in Australia and new Zealand the major reduction in harm to women. To have the Opp ignore this evidence, would show a bais and allowance in the Opp to let harm continue to women for no other reason but because the Opp doesn’t understand the job. The Opp also makes the assumption that dictatorship is okay as long as women do what the Opp thinks they should do even if by changing their stance AIDS, STI and Abuse would majority reduce once through educations and retraining. The public follows what the government says is ok.

The gang argument does not work on either side because it’s not how it works. Opps argument fall apart in the closing as well because once again they assume if you are poor and do sex work you don’t have a brain. It is not ignorance but the lack of supportive laws. Yes, we do get condoms but when the law takes them off you and arrests you for it, or a client forces you not to use it because THE LAW ISN”T SUPPORTING YOU, then it is not stupidity but survive that is at play. Opps also being illogical that because condoms and medical testing already exists legalisation won’t work. Yes, we have those things but when the Laws aren’t there, we can’t get to them. Hence we need the support of the law.

Only by instating Full discrimination can this happen.

(1) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-13/kirby-and-wong—hiv-law/4128420
(2)http://www.nocondomsasevidence.org/ (this is a website by sex workers)
(3) http://accesstocondoms.org/evidence/fact-sheet/ (this is by sex worker orgs & non sex worker orgs. Pleased to say New York has now removed it condoms as evidence bill)
(4) http://www.hivlawandpolicy.org/issues/stigma
(5) http://www.vac.org.au/hiv-fact-sheet
(6) https://www.avert.org/learn-share/hiv-fact-sheets/sex-work
(7) http://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-programming/prevention/harm-reduction
(8) https://www.afao.org.au/news/archive/hiv-and-the-law-report-bad-laws-stifle-the-global-hiv-response#.V7A6oPl97IU
(9) http://www.ibac.vic.gov.au/docs/default-source/guidelines/opi-guidelines/interacting-with-sex-workers—a-good-practice-guide-and-self-check—november-2008.pdf?sfvrsn=6
(10) http://www.sweat.org.za/sexworkiswork/#
(11) http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/monthly-sex-worker-tests-are-ridiculous-health-experts-say-20110530-1fctn.html
(12) http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11292537
(13) http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/PEPFAR_Special_Conditions_foreign_governments.pdf
(14) http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040207#s4
(15) https://www.guttmacher.org/about/gpr/2012/08/absence-balance-sweeping-refusal-policies-pepfar-and-proposed-trafficking-victims
(16) http://www.cipd.co.uk/pm/peoplemanagement/b/weblog/archive/2016/04/08/one-in-five-employees-regularly-uses-drugs.aspx
(17) queensfreepress.com/2016/07/05/does-legalizing-prostitution-help-or-hurt-women/

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Debates > Prostitution should be legalised to protect sex workers from HIV/AIDS