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Prostitution

Why is this illegal again?

Selling sex is something I find morally repugnant, but I have difficulty seeing in what way the free trade in sex is any worse than the free trade in other services, from plumbing to roofing. I think many people would find the sale of sex horrific than unclogging fouled sewage pipes.

I mean, sure, making prostitution illegal has a legitimate purpose, preventing the spread of STD’s, and it appears to be at least moderately effective. But should we outlaw plumbers because of how horrid the occupation seems?

I kind of think no.

Read Superfreakonomics that book has some fantastic insights about the sex trade.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2012/01/27 at 01:17

    I doubt outlawing prostitution improves STD rates. If anything, it probably increases them. A well regulated system where testing was required, such as in certain counties of Nevada, would keep rates down better than anything.

  2. 2012/01/27 at 09:57

    I meant uncontrolled prostitution. Not that making something illegal actually controls it, but it usually does effect supply in some manner. Uncontrolled prostitution is still illegal in Nevada, even though it still occurs alongside the legal kind.

  3. 2012/01/27 at 11:21

    I think the primary reason it is illegal in most states is that it makes humans into a consumable commodity. While it is not the same as slavery in that the person is choosing to sell themselves, it shares with slavery the notion that that what is being sold is the person themselves rather than a service or talent a person provides.

    It is no accident actual human trafficking occurs as a way to fulfill the demand for prostitution.

  4. 2012/01/27 at 13:15

    You have a point there. But like so many other things, prohibitions may reduce something, or they may drive it out of sight, but they really only hide the problem.

  5. 2012/01/27 at 13:22

    Actual human trafficking occurs as a way to fulfill the demand for farm labour as well. In previous eras human trafficking occurred to fulfill the demand for literate clerks. The Ottomans staffed their armed forces with slaves, and so do many African militias today.

    Yet no one looks at farm labour or secretarial duties or armed service and suggests banning them for their association with slavery.

  6. 2012/01/27 at 13:57

    Truthfully, what makes me uncomfortable with prostitution isn’t that different from what makes jackhudson uncomfortable: I see sex as something intensely personal which is being made impersonal by the financial transaction. That isn’t so different from his ‘person as consumable commodity’ argument.

    I just don’t see any punishment for prostitution being worth the crime of not agreeing with me on the merits of chastity and fidelity.

  7. 2012/01/27 at 16:59

    Actual human trafficking occurs as a way to fulfill the demand for farm labour as well. In previous eras human trafficking occurred to fulfill the demand for literate clerks. The Ottomans staffed their armed forces with slaves, and so do many African militias today.
    Yet no one looks at farm labour or secretarial duties or armed service and suggests banning them for their association with slavery.

    I am not sure how employing the Ottomans and African militias helps here?

    Human trafficking for whatever purposes is illegal in Europe and the US for good reason; it is akin to slavery.

    But I do understand the libertarian case for prostitution – I just don’t think making it legal will do much to quell the detrimental aspects of it.

  8. 2012/01/27 at 22:04

    He was just remarking that there is human trafficking brought about by things other than the sex trade. Meaning an argument against prostitution based on that fact doesn’t work well since few would apply it to cause other than the sex trade.

  9. 2012/01/27 at 23:31

    Paying for a massage makes humans into consumable commodities. Does anyone see anything wrong with that?

    The best case against prostitution is not a libertarian one since that has a tendency to ignore details. A utilitarian position works better: the legalization and regulation of prostitution will bring about less suffering and more pleasure in the world. And if you don’t believe me, imagine how life would be for many ‘actresses’ if pornography was made illegal.

  10. 2012/01/28 at 15:59

    Paying for a massage doesn’t make a human into a consumable quantity anymore than paying for one’s taxes to be done does. The reason there is no international trafficking in massage therapists and there is in prostitution is because what is being sold by a masseur genrally is a skill, what is being sold by a prostitution is a man or woman.

    And I think there were probably considerably fewer porongraphic actresses before pornagraphy was legal, which means there were many fewer women being degraded, discarded, and recruited for the purposes of pornography. And pornoagraphy is hardly ‘regulated’ at all; a lot of it comes from outside the country, and we know nothing of the lives of thise women participating at all.

  11. 2012/01/28 at 17:56

    You do have a point there. If people are concerned about the child labor that produced my sneakers, what do we know about the labor involved in the production of foreign porn?

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