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The dangers of legalizing sex as a profession

Triveni

Triveni

The dangers of legalizing sex as a profession

This state’s capitalist idea of selling women is violating basic human rights

In Nepal, those who advocate legalizing sex as a profession aren’t aware of its consequences. It’s a disastrous idea to endorse violence against women. Before making such demands we must understand the history of prostitution and its socio-political and economic consequences.

The early humans participated in sexual intercourse primarily for reproduction. Several socio-biologists have studied this pro-creative human nature. It’s a commonly held position of anthropologists that in the original social structure of humans, sexual activity and behavior were fundamentally oriented towards reproduction.

Proper food wasn’t available and to save energy for hunting and defense their biology didn’t allow them to waste energy in sexual activities. In the ancient world, sexual behavior was costly to both sexes. Energy had to be dedicated to food gathering, hunting, and defense—it was an imperative winning strategy (Demonic males). Later, humans acquired recreational behavior and started participating in intercourse for pleasure.

This new sexual behavior of homo sapiens was probably the initial socio-biological cause for prostitution. In almost every civilization, women were controlled by men. Firstly, society controlled women’s sexuality and excluded them from being a part of the economy. At that time, females were taken as animals who had taken human form and were a source of chaos (A Historical Study of Prostitution).

After that, they were treated like commodities and men started possessing them. Then, they are forced to be involved in sexual activities just to satisfy men—sexually and economically. Women were even offered to guests by their husbands.

Once, Socrates offered his wife to his friend for sexual intercourse. Moreover, several women were forced to offer sex to several men for political motives of the state and the institutions. Military prostitution was one of the several forms of violence at that time. The ‘comfort women’ were kidnapped, deceived, or bought in Korea, China and other invaded and colonized countries for the Japanese military brothels of the 1930s and 1940s (The Industrial Vagina by Sheila Jeffreys). Prostitution was part of American politics too.

In the book ‘The New Confession of an Economic Hitman’, John Perkins talks about the supply of American models to Saudi Arabia’s prince to get diplomatic and economic control over the Arabian peninsula. These are just some examples that show prostitution was a part of gender based violence, carried out at an institutional level. Prostitution, thus, has its roots in patriarchy and legalizing prostitution is an act to endorse patriarchy.

Prostitution has become a billion-dollar industry now with several pornographic companies doing great business. The listing of the pornographic company ‘Beate Uhse’ in the stock market is an example of how such businesses are prospering. Capitalists are earning billions of dollars from the sex industries while sex workers suffer.

Most sex workers can’t even afford a good meal, proper room and clothes. Decriminalizing sex is a way to earn dollars through brutality, which is why the idea shouldn’t be entertained. Also, legalizing prostitution will endorse violence.

Several countries have decriminalized sex. They have even structured sex tourism by advocating capital proliferation. It has led to several issues regarding health and human rights. Research shows decriminalization of sex has also increased women trafficking.

One report found that 80 percent of women at brothels in the Netherlands were trafficked from other countries (Budapest group, 1999). These women are reported to be living horrible lives. In 1994, the International Organization of Migration stated that in the Netherlands alone, nearly 70 percent of trafficked women were from the CEEC (Central and Eastern European Countries). In 1993, it was widely recognized that 75 percent of the women in Germany’s prostitution industry were foreigners from Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and other countries in South America (Altinl, 1993).

This state’s capitalist idea of selling women is violating basic human rights. Sex workers are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. It’s not uncommon for sex workers to be paid a little extra to have sex with their clients without contraception, in particular condoms. Raymond mentions the experience of a sex worker in his work quoting, ‘I’d be one of those liars if I say ‘oh I always used a condom.’ If there was extra money coming in, then the condom would be out the window. I was looking for extra money (Raymond et al, 2001).’

Then, there is also the risk of child prostitution. The Amsterderdam-based child-right organization estimates that the number of children in prostitution has increased by more than 300 percent between 1996-2001, going from 4,000 children in 1996 to 15,000 in 2001 (Tiggeloven, 2001).It has also been found that decriminalization of sex leads to street prostitution. Several HIV-positive people have been found conducting illicit sexual business from the street, and legalizing sex will further fuel that.

Prostitution violates basic human rights and leads to violence against women. It can have catastrophic consequences if not curbed. If Nepal legalizes sex as a profession, given that we share an open border with India, we will be opening a pandora’s box that we won’t be able to contain.

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