Thursday, December 27, 2007

FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa may bring trafficking with it

From Independence Online:

Prostitution needs to be legalised in South Africa ahead of the several hundred thousand football fans expected to arrive for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Child and human rights organisations have warned that human trafficking could worsen in the country ahead of the World Cup, with "trafficked" women and children being forced into the sex industry.

The experts say that the only way to prevent this is to decriminalise prostitution and promulgate trafficking laws.

This comes after a seminar by the Human Sciences Research Council and the International Organisation for Migration in Pretoria this week.

Professor Vasu Reddy, the acting director of the gender and development unit at the HSRC, said that if South Africa did not expedite the decriminalisation of the sex industry, it would have a ripple effect on human trafficking.

Read the full article

*But is legalizing prostitution really the answer? Let's hear what some other experts say...

Sidebar: The Debate Behind the Legalization of Prostitution


Two scholars debate whether or not to legalize prostitution. Professor Janice Raymond is the co-executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, the author of 5 books, and Professor Emerita at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dr. Melissa Ditmore was the principal investigator for Revolving Door, the first report released by the Sex Workers Project, and is currently a research consultant for the organization.

Against Legalization

Professor Janice Raymond - When the question of legalization of prostitution is discussed, many commentators start with the unproven assumption that legalization protects women. Who said so? Let’s look at the evidence in countries that have legalized or decriminalized prostitution.

In the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia, legalization has failed to protect the women in prostitution, control the enormous expansion of the sex industry, decrease child prostitution and trafficking from other countries, and prevent HIV/AIDS -- all arguments used for legalization. And it has transformed these countries into brothels. Legalizing prostitution is legalizing the prostitution industry.

What many people don’t realize is that legalizing prostitution means not only decriminalizing the women in prostitution, but also the pimps, brothels and buyers.

My organization favors decriminalizing the women but not the pimps who promote prostitution and trafficking and exploit the victims. In countries like the Netherlands when legalization took effect, pimps overnight became sex businessmen. One day, they were criminals and the next day legitimate entrepreneurs.

There is no evidence that legalization of prostitution makes things better for women in prostitution. It certainly makes things better for governments who legalize prostitution and of course, for the sex industry, both of whom enjoy increased revenues.

Instead of abandoning women to state-sanctioned brothels, laws should address the demand. Men who use women in prostitution have long been invisible. There is a legal alternative to state sponsorship of the prostitution industry. Rather than cozying up with pimps and traffickers, States could address the demand – as Sweden has done -- by penalizing the men who buy women for the sex of prostitution. And as in Sweden, this would help create a chilly climate for the buyers and the traffickers.

For Decriminalization

Dr. Melissa Ditmore - Prostitution should be decriminalized. This would remove prostitution from the criminal code and thereby render prostitution akin to other businesses. It’d be taxed and subject ot business requirements. Decriminalization of prostitution has been a success in New Zealand and parts of Australia. They cite decriminalization as an advantage over legalization because removing prostitution from the criminal code avoids both the problems of graft and abuse associated with police jurisdiction over prostitution and the sometimes overbearing regulations that accompany legalization. (For example, in Nevada’s brothels, brothel-owners decide whether licensed prostitutes are allowed to leave the brothel during their off hours. Prostitutes can be required to stay on the premises for weeks at a time, no matter their working hours.) Decriminalization would better protect people in the sex industry from violence and abuse.

Legal reform clearly does not solve all problems related to the sex industry. However, advocates and activists would rally behind legal reform that would lead to police addressing violence committed against sex workers.
Police cannot and do not simultaneously seek to arrest prostitutes and protect them from violence. Currently, under New York Criminal Procedure Law, sex workers who have been victims of sex offenses, including assault and rape, face greater obstacles than other victims. Indeed, women describe being told, “What did you expect?” by police officers who refused to investigate acts of violence perpetrated against women whom they knew engaged in prostitution. The consequences of such attitudes are tragic: Gary Ridgway said that he killed prostitutes because he knew he would not be held accountable. The tragedy is that he was right – he confessed to the murders of 48 women, committed over nearly twenty years. That is truly criminal.

Read the full article

Is there a one-size-fits-all solution (continued criminalization or straight decriminalization) when it comes to legalizing prostitution or does the answer lie in a compromise such as Professor Raymond's position to decriminalize sex workers but not pimps and customers? Does legalizing prostitution protect sex workers, opening up access to government protection and services or does it allow traffickers to operate more freely? Or both? If both, is the benefit worth the cost?

Clearly legislation alone doesn't sufficiently address prostitution, but it is integral in setting up the legal precedent from which a holistic, ideally multi-sector effort of governments, businesses and citizens can grow.

What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment