Monday, November 17, 2008

On Prostitution

Re: sex workers, the keys to legalization seem to be as follows: 
1) criminalize excessive and unwanted solicitation, which allows the workers to avoid coercion; 
2) legalize prostitution, which requires police protection and presence for both customers and workers, furthering increasing the safety of the transaction; 
3) tax the transaction, thereby funding other services, like education as well as the police squads assigned to the "Hamsterdam" districts; 
4) require STD testing and databases of all participants before any activity; 
5) place all districts far, far away from "core" business activity, including K-12 schools; 
6) provide housing dormitories and free health care (in exchange for waiving some privacy rights in order to study physical changes or some other constructive health care purpose, and only when the workers themselves choose to see a doctor for more than the required STD-testing) to ensure that they can save their money (think military-style housing); 
6) require that at least 10% of all earnings be set aside into an irrevocable retirement fund until age 50 and put into a balanced fund; 
7) require 5% of all earnings be put into a liquid account accessible upon exiting the business; 
8) require maximum employment of 15 years (I'm not sure about this step, but the idea is that at some point, just like prison rehabilitation programs, the participants would re-enter "core" societies with marketable skills); 
9) apportion some tax revenue to the workers to decide what to do for communal purposes, allowing an indirect education into economics and politics.

BonusPolice protection is necessary to prevent trafficking and mafia involvement--the whole point of legalization is to eliminate the underground economy; again, the idea is to shift police resources away from undercover work and targeting the informal economy into protecting consensual behavior; 

You'll notice I included social services, too, but in non-traditional forms--free housing, vocational job training, healthcare, and financial independence.  

You'll notice I want a time limit to get the women and men out of this business eventually. 

Prostitution is not something most people want to do, but it happens, it will always happen, and we must choose where we want our resources to go and whether we want a society that favors above ground or underground systems.  Re: imbalances in power, they exist in almost every single business transaction. Does anyone suggest all results of imbalanced power relationships are automatically immoral? Shouldn't the touchstone of the analysis be voluntary consent, safety for all parties, and fair pay rather than subjective criteria? In other words, shouldn't the analysis center on how to avoid using the worker as a means rather than imposing a legal structure based on subjective criteria, which will only drive the business underground? 

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