Relax ladies and gentlemen! Before you all viciously attack me, hear a brother out… I know I can be a pervert at times (well, most of the time… okay, all the time. But that’s not the damn point, okay?). What I’m trying to say is, I’m not rallying for the legalization of prostitution for reasons of me freely going to Voortrekker Road to fork out cash for nooky. I’m just saying that there are greater crimes the police can focus on than arresting adults engaging in (consensual) sexual activity (for payment). South Africa has greater problems to resolve, like the ever-escalating unemployment rate, the substandard quality of education most black kids receive, and our ailing public health system (wait, did all this smart shit just come out of my brain? Damn! 🙂 )
Okay, back to the subject at hand. It is important to distinguish different kinds of markets in sexual services in order to determine the appropriate response. For example, markets in sexual services that involve children, fraud & deception, and non-consensual & exploitative sexual practices, are immoral and should be restricted. Terms often used are “human trafficking,” “sex trafficking,” or “sexual slavery” to describe such practices, and the service providers in these practices have the status of a victim or slave.
But there are markets in sexual services (brothels or escort agencies) that do not appear to involve forced sex, and in which the workers seem reasonably well compensated. Debates over prostitution often focus on the issue of whether is it possible for prostitutes to voluntary do this sort of occupation, or whether brothels are oppressive, harmful and forcing the individuals who participate.
Prostitutes are highly stigmatized for the work they do, and those who condemn this work believe that it is shameful and immoral, and has no place in a just world. Others believe it is a necessary evil, in that if men (mainly) could not satisfy their sexual urges through some form of sexual service, these urges would lead to unruly methods like rape. Many “sex workers” (I think I should use this word from now on, “prostitute” seems too vulgar) report that their clients have various reasons, but mainly to find relief from loneliness or to have uncomplicated sex. These sex workers believe that they are providing a valuable and morally legitimate service to their clients and, by earning a living doing valuable work, they are making a contribution to their societies. Before you ask how I know all this, I actually have met a sex worker before (& no, I wasn’t a client… or a pimp for that matter). In short, women (and men) who offer their labour in various types of sex trades believe that the stigma that is attached to them and their work is unfair and undeserved.
The appropriate response to human trafficking and slavery is abolition or termination. This approach criminalizes only the activities of the client and others who profit from sex trafficking, but not the provider of sexual services. Providers are treated as victims whom others exploit by tempting them (mostly by threats or blackmail) into sex trades. For brothels or escort agencies not involving forced sex, there are two standard approaches we should use: legalization and decriminalisation. The legalization approach tolerates sex markets and businesses, but restricts them in ways that are specific to this industry. Regulations may include compulsory STD testing or condom use, special licensing for businesses, government registration of sex workers (I know I’m kind of pushing it lol), and minimum age restrictions for providers and customers. The decriminalization approach removes criminal restrictions and treats sex businesses the same way as non-sex businesses.
Some sex workers are not forced by conditions to do what they do, some actually live lavishly and love and enjoy what they do, whether you think of it as morally right or not. South Africa is a liberal nation, is it not? So let them ladies free the nooky if they want to. Let’s legalize prostitution!
‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!