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News & Politics News & Politics

Legalize Prostitution to Fight Sex Trafficking? Sex Workers Say "Yes"

Posted by on Jan. 14, 2014 at 6:02 PM
  • 41 Replies

Published on Jan 14, 2014

When California passed the anti-sex trafficking measure Proposition 35 in 2012, an overwhelming 81 percent of voters chose "yes on 35."

After all, who could be against a law that sought to crack down on traffickers of juvenile sex slaves?

As it turns out, some of the most outspoken opponents of the law were sex workers themselves. They balked at the provision requiring sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, fearing that the overly broad definition of trafficker could ensnare them, their customers, and their family members. The anti-pimping provisions, they argued, blurred the legal lines between coercive underage trafficking and consensual, adult prostitution.

"They're calling themselves the anti-trafficking lobby, but they're really a group of people primarily against commercial sex work," says Mariko Passion, a San Francisco-based sex worker, artist, and self-described "whore revolutionary."

Other sex workers echo Passion's anti-Prop. 35 sentiments. One Los Angeles-based prostitute, who asked to be known only as "Holly" for fear of legal reprisal, says that she freely chose her line of work following the 2008 housing crash. She had grown tired of the corporate rat race and wanted to go "off the grid." Holly, who runs her own online escort service, says the draconian provisions of Prop. 35 have made her less likely to report an assault and that she resents those who think of her as a victim in need of salvation.

"The difference between human trafficking and prostitution is coercion," says Holly. "I'm not a victim. I'm not being coerced. But the law doesn't see me that way."

What might an alternative system of legalized sex work look like? Reason TV traveled to the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, a legal brothel in rural Nevada, to try to answer that question (note: link to Bunny Ranch may not be safe for work). Proprieter Dennis Hof says that legalization is the fastest, most efficient way to battle underage sex trafficking and other ills associated with prostitution. He points to the remarkably high rate of HIV infection among prosititutes in nearby Las Vegas where, contrary to popular belief, sex work remains illegal and underground. By contrast, he says, there has never been a documented outbreak among Bunny Ranch workers.

"When you legalize something, it takes all the nonsense out of the business," says Hof. "It takes the criminals out of the business. It puts money into the coffers of society, instead of taking it out to police this ill [of sex trafficking]."

Can legalized prostitution do more good than celebrity-backed anti-trafficking organizations could ever hope for? Watch the video above for the full story, and scroll down for downloadable versions.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Associate Producer Will Neff. Shot by Sharif Matar, Alex Manning, and Neff. About 8 minutes.

Go to http://reason.com/reasontv/2014/01/14... for links, downloadable versions, and more resources.

by on Jan. 14, 2014 at 6:02 PM
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Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Platinum Member on Jan. 14, 2014 at 6:44 PM
3 moms liked this
"The difference between human trafficking and prostitution is coercion," says Holly. "I'm not a victim. I'm not being coerced. But the law doesn't see me that way."





There should be no laws telling consenting adults what can do in privacy
slb235
by Bronze Member on Jan. 15, 2014 at 2:39 AM

That's true, but a lot of people think that if a woman wants to sell her body for sex, she is a victim.

JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Jan. 15, 2014 at 10:40 AM
2 moms liked this

If a women wants to be paid to have sex then she should be allowed to do so.

numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Jan. 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM

 Most don't. They feel like they have no where to go otherwise their pimp beats the shit out of them

Quoting JoJoBean8:

If a women wants to be paid to have sex then she should be allowed to do so.

 

JoJoBean8
by Silver Member on Jan. 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM
2 moms liked this

If it was legalized there wouldn't be the need for pimps. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:

 Most don't. They feel like they have no where to go otherwise their pimp beats the shit out of them

Quoting JoJoBean8:

If a women wants to be paid to have sex then she should be allowed to do so.



Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jan. 15, 2014 at 11:44 AM

The devil is in the details.

Text of Proposition 35, the Ban on Human Trafficking Initiative (California 2012)

(source)

236.1.

(a) Any person who deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent to obtain forced labor or services, is guilty of human trafficking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 5, 8, or 12 years and a fine of not more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000).

(b) Any person who deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent to effect or maintain a violation of Section 266, 266h, 266i, 266j, 267, 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, 311.4, 311.5, 311.6, or 518 is guilty of human trafficking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 8, 14, or 20 years and a fine of not more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000).

(h) For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Coercion" includes any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process; debt bondage; or providing and facilitating the possession of any controlled substance to a person with the intent to impair the person's judgment.
(2) "Commercial sex act" means sexual conduct on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.
(3) "Deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another" includes substantial and sustained restriction of another's liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out.
(4) "Duress" includes a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to cause a reasonable person to acquiesce in or perform an act which he or she would otherwise not have submitted to or performed; a direct or implied threat to destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim; or knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim.
(5) "Forced labor or services" means labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, duress, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person.
(6) "Great bodily injury" means a significant or substantial physical injury.
(7) "Minor" means a person less than 18 years of age.
(8) "Serious harm" includes any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing labor, services, or commercial sexual acts in order to avoid incurring that harm.


(i) The total circumstances, including the age of the victim, the relationship between the victim and the trafficker or agents of the trafficker, and any handicap or disability of the victim, shall be factors to consider in determining the presence of "deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another," "duress," and "coercion" as described in this section.
UpSheRises
by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM
4 moms liked this

Why can you get paid to have sex on film and it's okay but if no one films it, it isn't?

JanuaryBaby06
by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 1:53 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting UpSheRises:

Why can you get paid to have sex on film and it's okay but if no one films it, it isn't?

Haha! Nice one! I have never thought of it like that.


mrs.hartman12
by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 1:57 PM
1 mom liked this

I live in Nevada. Prostitiution is legal here with guidelines, licensed, taxed and you have to go through weekly and monthly health screenings. Yes there are still street prostitutes but overall it seems to work well. The sky hasn't fallen, our daughters are not running to the brothels for easy money. Actually the majority of the women who work in the brothels come from other states. I say to each their own.

UpSheRises
by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 2:30 PM

 

Quoting JanuaryBaby06:

 

Quoting UpSheRises:

Why can you get paid to have sex on film and it's okay but if no one films it, it isn't?

Haha! Nice one! I have never thought of it like that.

 

 There has to bea actual reason though, right? Like maybe what matters is who cuts the check?

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