Friday, August 8, 2008

It didn't work out that way!

This is a fairly ugly subject. But if we face up to the bad things in the world there is more chance they can be changed.
If you ever read "The Catcher In The Rye" then you'll remember how Holden Caulfield became really depressed thinking about the woman working as a prostitute. I share that feeling entirely. It's just bad and cruel for a person to be used that way.
Today's news report: "More slaves are alive today than were shipped out of Africa for the Atlantic slave trade during the last millenium, says Kevin Bales, an American academic on modern slavery". That is the Sydney Morning Herald, August 8th.
What he tells us is that some of them are 'working' (that is, bonded) in the sex industry. They are children or young women deceived into travelling overseas on work visas, some of them knowing they were going to be put to work as prostitutes but some not knowing - and being held in their 'workplace' by threats of violence, often not being paid. Of course this is not news to any one who follows current events. Neither is it news that this is a vile way to treat people. When the subject comes up of 'mans' inhumanity to man', the things often referred to are the holocaust, the massacre of native peoples by invaders to their country and war generally. It is just as evil to think of someone being forced to submit to repeated violation of this kind a slave, and a sexual assault victim as well. But there's no need to tell anyone that - we know. The angle I'd like to look at is this.
When people argue for the legalization of prostitution they say that if it's legal it can be monitored and supervised, so that certain standards are kept. Make it illegal, they say, and you just drive it underground so that the people working in it have no lawful protection. And it looks like that argument is pure rubbish - because even when it IS legal, there is still gross mistreatment of some of those involved in it. Could it be that prostitution is just an entirely bad idea?
Bales, the academic being quoted, says something else worth noting. The problem exists partly because people will will buy what what is being sold. If it sickens you to think of people-trafficking happening, say that to people who go to 'sex workers'. After all, some of those who do are quite open about it. And sometimes women hire men for that purpose, too. If no-one would buy sex, the whole filthy racket would collapse. But to stick to the point, it does not seem to work to make the thing legal. Allowing that gross 'industry' to exist openly does not guarantee that the 'workers' involved will be protected.
It must be a rotten sad thing if someone can't find a partner to love and share certain things with. If the only individuals who went to a bordello were lonely, that would be sad as much as wicked. But from what I've been told, that's not how it is. From time to time a scandal breaks about someone powerful and wealthy - and married - being caught out buying call girls. There's something amiss there. Do some people get their thrills being able to treat the partner they are with as a captive, not a person for sharing with?
Whatever it is, there are good arguments for not making prostitution legal. As soon as something is allowed by law, that can be taken as meaning that it's respectable. And of course it can be shown that outlawing something does not mean it won't exist. When governments tried making alcohol illegal, a huge illegal trade in it began - Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties, all the gangsters and all that. Likewise, narcotics like marijuana and ecstacy are illegal, but people still obtain and use them. But to legalize something might mean that the use of it increases, and if it's a bad thing then reducing the use of it is good. And to come back to the point: there seems to be something evil about prostitution, such that it will always involve mistreatment of the people involved. The damage can be to the 'customer', as well. I can's speak from experience - that is one mistake I did avoid, when younger and a lot sillier - but it's been reported that using sex-workers can become a compulsive, and the habit can ruin people.
If a thing is bad, you don't make it better by legalizing it. Sometimes people try to say there is nothing wrong with that trade. We can all have our opinions! It seems to me that paying for 'love-making' is like paying someone to pretend they are your friend: it's not real, and how long can you kid yourself?


Democracy Lover said...

This is one of those subjects where the counter-argument is not often made, so...

Basic economics tells us that if the availability of a desired commodity is decreased, a black market will develop, and conversely if the supply is increased, the black market will dry up. Legalizing prostitution would be a severe blow to the sex slavery industry.

Mistreatment and abuse of women (or men) engaged in prostitution comes from 2 sources - pimps and johns. If prostitution were legal, pimps would be unnecessary and pimping could still be outlawed if needed. As for johns, abuse often occurs because they don't believe the woman has recourse to the authorities since she is engaged in illegal activity. Legalization would change this as well.

I would agree that legality has no bearing on the moral quality of prostitution. Most people will still consider it immoral to hire someone for sex. Consider smoking where we are moving toward making smokers social outcasts while the trade is still legal. That could easily be the case with prostitution (and drugs too for that matter).

Regulating this trade by restricting it to certain locations, prohibiting overt advertising or marketing, requiring regular health inspections, etc., could benefit the sex workers and the population as a whole.

I would advocate that the federal government remove all laws against prostitution and all drug crimes and leave these matters to the states. Some states might choose to legalize and others would not and we could examine the consequences for both and determine what course is best.

Prisioner of the Suburbs said...

Thanks, I'll take your advice and see if I can take it any further in time.

dragon_spirit said...

um... well, 1st thankz for the comment, im very excited to turn 14. and, 2nd, I have never really experienced troubles with this anywhere I've lived, but, I've heard about it. So, if it's eligal, how could you get a job of a hooker? I'm confused... oh, well, who cares! as long as people young and old are smart, and don't do that stuff!

Farrah said...

I am quite well at the moment. :-) Thank you for asking, and I very much appreciate your prayers. :-) I wonder what time of the day you felt a need to pray for me. I was having a flare up that was more intense than usual. It made eating lunch very uncomfortable.

I agree with you 100% on this issue. Legalizing something makes it more common and accepted.

Democracy lover's argument assumes that there is a form of prostitution that is not bad. Making it legal would be a blow to the "bad" side of prostitution. However, I would agree with you that there is no good form of prostitution. There is nothing good about it. Nothing at all. No redeeming qualities. Like any other bad thing, it should be illegal. Plain and simple.

I don't know how familiar you are with the pornography industry. Several years ago, I read a number of stories about it in the news and elsewhere. It was very enlightening. People try to say that there is a "good" form of porn and a "bad" form. Of course, the bad ones include children, torture, animals, etc. Well, the problem is that people who start out with "good" porn tend to evolve into other forms.

This is the problem with indulging sexual appetites with no restraint or boundaries. We are not to live like animals. Lust can never be satisfied. It will always be hungry for more, and it will always be looking for something new for excitement. Unexplored and forbidden territory. It will always be pushing the envelop of decency.

I read that several years ago, officials were battling child porn surrounding ages around 8 or 11. But they noticed that those ages kept decreasing over time. Today child porn involves babies. This is a depth of sickness so deep that...It is hard for me to fathom this kind of...evil. And yet, it grows because of the easy access people have through internet. The click of a mouse is all it takes to begin.

In my opinion, there is no good form of prostitution or pornography. Both represent a problem with humanity that can only be helped by self restraint and a love for Jesus, Who will give one the strength needed to resist these temptations. We must all use restraint. God's way is best. :-)

Andrew Clarke said...

I've heard the same sort of accounts as Farrah describes. The level of pornography becomes more and more graphic and the subjects of it younger and younger. That could be because a compulsion to something self-indulgent and evil gets stronger and stronger with repeated indulgence in it. Some people caught and prosecuted in Australia had thousands of images on their computers. It had become an addiction which controlled them.
Some of the subjects on pornographic images, like some of the people involved in prostitution
could not have given informed consent, they were being abused by those who controlled them. Prostitution links with human trafficking. That is another reason to make it illegal.

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