Thursday, July 24, 2014

Decriminalizing Sex Work

The Scientific Case for Decriminalizing Sex Work
It's the least bad option for the worlds oldest profession.  Legalize, regulate and recognize that these are people too.  The current state of affairs is not good for anybody.
"Arguments in favor of decriminalizing prostitution often rely on empathy for sex workers themselves: Activist and journalist Melissa Gira Grant contends, for example, that criminalizing sex work implicitly condones violence against sex workers, who are often afraid to go to the police to report violence and are frequently ignored when they do. Current laws (sex work is illegal in 116 countries) require that sex workers render themselves largely voiceless and invisible — which makes their interests easy to ignore. But new research suggests that existing legislation against sex work may also be harming society at large — and that decriminalizing sex work could help slow the spread of HIV. On Tuesday, scientists at the annual International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, recommended decriminalizing sex work across the globe — arguing that legalization is the most effective way to reduce global HIV infection rates. According to new research — a series of seven studies recently published in the Lancet medical journal — scientists estimate that HIV infection rates among sex workers could be reduced by between 33 and 46 percent if the activity were not illegal. "Governments and policymakers can no longer ignore the evidence," asserted Kate Shannon, an associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and the lead author of the study. "

People operating on the margins of society are vulnerable to predators.  Legalizing and regulating the more benign criminal enterprises e.g., marijuana and sex work eliminates attractive targets for violent criminals, e.g. extortionists, pimps, stick-up crews.

So in addition to the other benefits from this approach, we should expect to see a reduction in violent crime from legalizing, regulating (and taxing) what are currently underground cash businesses.

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