Prostitution: the U.S. should adopt the Nordic model to reduce harm for sex workers.
How does this solve problems?
In most cases the seller is the agent with less power, the seller is making a choice from a more desperate position, and has less options. Conversely, the buyer is usually the agent with more power, having the financial freedom to buy the services of another human being.
Because of this power differential the chance for exploitation and violence against the seller is great - while the buyer is often held less responsible. The Nordic model attempts to reverse this inequality.
First round is for acceptance - contender may state thesis, but argumentation should begin in the second round, rebuttals in the third, and closing statements in the fourth. No new arguments in the final round.
I am interested in debating this topic because I am personally intrigued by the Nordic model, but also curious to hear opposing viewpoints. I would like to thank the contender in advance for agreeing to engage me on this subject, and to complete all four rounds of the debate.
I have read up about it and I definitely oppose it.
Consensual sex of any nature should be permitted.
1. Prostitution does not qualify as consensual sex if the seller's agency is compromised. If their consent is coerced by either an actual third party, or by economic hardship, then the choice to sell their bodies or allow someone else to do so, is made under duress. The consent of a desperate person is not consent freely given, it is encumbered by the force of economic need. I will assert that most people who sell their bodies do so because they perceive it to be their only, or best option - not because sex trade is their ideal career choice. There are a few highly paid escorts who enjoy their work and do quite well, but those women are the minority. The majority of working girls might have done something else given another set of circumstance. Although, it may appear to many people that prostitutes are working by choice, the most compelling statistics are these, reprinted from the same link:
"There are many reasons that women do not or cannot leave prostitution. Ninety-two percent of women who were involved in prostitution said they wanted to leave prostitution, but couldn't because they lack basic human services such as a home, job training, health care, counseling and treatment for drug or alcohol addiction.* A prostituted woman might also be afraid of what her pimp will do to her and afraid for her life if she tries to leave. For many women, prostitution and sexual exploitation might be the only life they know. The average age for girls entering prostitution is between 12-13.** And studies show that 75 to 95% of all prostitutes were sexually abused as children.*** " (from WomensLaw.org http://www.womenslaw.org...)
More statistics: 75% started working as children, 74% cite poverty as their main motivation to sell themselves, 95% are addicts of one kind or another, and a global study shows that 9 out of 10 would exit the profession if they could. http://www.object.org.uk... This is not an occupational choice as much as it is an inevitable means of existence for people who lack alternatives.
Sex trafficking is perhaps the most egregious of human tortures, the enslavement of women and children for sexual exploitation at the hands of predators is a fate that, if not worse than death, often leads to death. The commodification of a human being into a product - to be literally fucked to death, is one of the greatest shames of our species. "Letter from the Balkans: A Horror Story"http://www.ajr.org...
The Cho study looked at sex trafficking stats in Germany from 1996-97, and they saw a slight decline. Checking in again after 2002 when prostitution was fully legalized in Germany, the number increased from a maximum of 19,740 in 1997, to a max of 24,700 in 2003. In 2004, the official estimate was that approximately 32,800 trafficked sex workers were operating within the country’s borders. The stats from the Cho study are consistent with the results of the older study indicating a positive correlation between the legal status of prostitution and inward sex trafficking. Comparing Germany to Sweden, Germany has 62 times more trafficked sex workers than Sweden (Cho 75.) Even though trafficked women are not the majority of prostitutes, they constitute a large enough number of the population (15-17%) to bring the entire enterprise into question (Cho 75). If our goal is harm reduction, and legal prostitution has a direct correlation to human trafficking, then it becomes very hard to justify its existence.
3. What is good about the Nordic model? The Nordic model shows actual harm-reduction, which cannot be offhandedly discounted. The rate of trafficked workers dramatically declines, because the overall amount of sex trade declines. At the same time, selling of sex is decriminalized, so that laws do not further victimize persons who choose to sell themselves. Without fear they may seek assistance from the police if they feel coerced, or abused in any way. Sellers hold all the rights to determine the conditions upon which they engage in sex trade with their bodies. In Sweden, street prostitution has reduced by half, and the number of male buyers went down from 13.6% to 7.9%.http://www.equalitynow.org...
In 1999, Sweden criminalized the buying of sex, although the selling of sex is still legal. Finland introduced a partial ban on selling sex in 2006, and Norway followed by criminalizing the buying of sex in 2009. Iceland decriminalized the selling of sex in 2007, and then in 2009, criminalized the buying of sex. One of the central issues, especially for Finland and Iceland, was regarding third party involved. Finland specifically prohibits any pimping, by men, women, or organizations of any kind. The involvement of a third party increases the chances and opportunity for trafficking and exploitation. http://www.jstor.org....
One might complain that this unfairly places all responsibility upon the buyer - it does, but this makes sense, because it is the seller who allows an intrusion of the most intimate kind. The seller permits herself/himself to be penetrated, in both a literal and psychological way. During the act of prostitution the seller gives up agency over his/her own body and allows another person to take possession of it. This constitutes a loss of power, and so the equalizing factor of the Nordic model works to shift this agency back to the seller, thereby providing them with more control and protection.
Connoisseur forfeited this round.
Connoisseur forfeited this round.
Well, I do hope that someone else will take me up on this topic in the future. I would love to analyze it in more depth!
When this final round is over, I'll repost it for a more seasoned contender.
Connoisseur forfeited this round.
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