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< Back to question What should the legal status of prostitution be? Show more Show less

Sometimes called ‘the world’s oldest profession’, prostitution holds a complex cultural place. While it is underpinned by gender norms and has been linked to violence, it also represents a source of agency for some and a viable career option for many. Should it be treated like any other job by the state? And if the state wishes to curtail prostitution, is making it illegal the best option?

Prostitution should be decriminalised Show more Show less

There should be no laws around prostitution that separate it from any other profession.
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Decriminalisation enables sex workers to unionise

Sex work is work, and sex workers, like any other members of society are entitled to safe working environments. Decriminalisation would enable an independent body to provide union support to sex workers and help to regulate industry standards. This is possibly a better alternative than to give authority to the government on the circumstances in which sex work can be legal as it removes the idea that the selling of sexual labour is inherently problematic.
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Proponents


Context

Unions allow workers to form groups that protect their individual rights, as well as their overall ability to gain better benefits and a more safe and inclusive work environment. There is vast support for the decriminalisation of sex work and the industry's ability to unionise. Major international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Campaign. [1] support the decriminalisation of sex work.

The Argument

Unions are a natural part of many societies. Workers fight for their rights and are protected by the law against discrimination and harsh conditions in labour unions. Unions would provide sex workers with more internal and external safety measures, such as decreased work hours and regular sexual disease screenings. For sex work, all of those issues are critical within the industry. By allowing sex workers to unionise, not only will the individuals be safer, but so will the market as a whole. Sex workers face external discrimination and bias by the police and public.[2] If societies legalize prostitution, allowing sex workers to unionize, sex workers would have more protection under the law against violence and abuse. Unions would give sex workers a greater ability to fight against discrimination and improve their rights. With unions, sex workers would also have greater wages and therefore, a greater ability to spend money and spur their local economies. Labour unions would not only provide extra safety measures for sex workers, but also for the industry. In order for labour unions to form in sex work, nations must decriminalize prostitution.

Counter arguments

The debate on unionisation in prostitution is deeply rooted in whether or not prostitution is considered a legal profession.[3] In many nations, it is not. Unions would not make sex work safer for any party involved. The legalisation of prostitution and unions would only allow for further exploitation under the cover of the law. [3] Unions would make abuse and violence internally amongst sex workers harder to prosecute. In the prostitution industry, workers operate as independent contractors, often without bosses or supervisors. Unions would not be possible or effective within the current system. It is not feasible to unionise an industry that is extremely difficult to track or regulate.[4]

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://decriminalizesex.work/issues-advocacy/endorsement/
  2. https://www.humanityinaction.org/action_project/sex-workers-and-trade-unions-what-the-u-s-can-learn-from-europe/
  3. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/otras-sex-workers-union-spain-feminism-prostitution/
  4. https://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/04/03/why-doesnt-anyone-talk-about-unionizing-arms-manufacturers-on-the-idea-of-sex-worker-unions/

This page was last edited on Tuesday, 8 Sep 2020 at 05:03 UTC

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