PROSTITUTION by Norm Gottlieb

Amnesty International has drafted a proposal for complete global decriminalization of sex for both buyers and sellers.  Sex trade has been with us historically, and will continue forever.  Natural forces are inherent, and cannot be legislated away.  Current laws and practices have not curbed this activity,  but have generated a large underground economy and associated criminal behavior.

Prostitution is an issue of human rights, health and incarceration.  Morality and religious considerations fuel debate; nevertheless, we agree with Amnesty International in its recommendation to decriminalize the sex industry.  Legalizing prostitution could prevent much of the exploitation of people who work in the sex trade against their will. It would enable all sex workers to seek protection from abuse and  give them better access to health and social services.  Sexual activity should not be a crime.  For-profit businesses should be regulated for public health and safety, and should be taxed appropriately.

Intercourse between consenting adults, whether it is for “love”, physical need, financial transaction or for any other reason, should be treated the same-but not criminalized.  Battery, rape or other acts of coercion should continue to be illegal and should be prosecuted accordingly.

Child prostitution is particularly shameful, but the children should not be stigmatized as prostitutes.  The children are not criminals-they are victims and those who profit from this practice and should be severely punished. Any intercourse with underage persons is statutory rape.  First-time offenders should be heavily fined, say 50% of the person’s net worth.  Repeat offenders deemed a threat to society should be jailed.

Incidentally, prostitution and drug use are similar in one respect-they are both criminalized.  It is futile to criminalize sex or drugs when people act or use them to fulfill basic needs, resulting in a lucrative supply and demand situation.  Drug use and prostitution mainly affect individuals or consenting adults, and are not damaging to society as a whole.  On the other hand, police actions and incarcerations trying to quell human behavior have resulted in massive family and community tragedies.


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