If one were to get the general opinion on prostitution, then they’d, more often than not, know that most opinions would be in favour of legalizing prostitution. These favours would be based on the belief that there always will be women throwing their body for money, and men looking for ways to satiate their sexual thirst. Decriminalising all facets of prostitution—including brothel-owning and sex-seeking—according to this argument, will safeguard women from being subjected to sexual violence. Those who propagate decriminalisation of prostitution, including feminists and liberals, believe that prostitution is just ‘work’, and assert that prostitutes should be protected by unions and governments. The recent years have been swept by this argument. In 2000, the Netherlands, lifted the ban on whoredom, essentially also legalising sex trade. Just three years later, the New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act was brought into effect which decriminalised the functioning of brothels and street-based prostitution.
The antipodal view of this argument is not only criminalising prostitution, but also abolishing it completely. Most proponents of this belief believe prostitution to be inherently abusive, and a sign of abusing women’s rights. Abolitionists believe prostitution to be a form of violence in which human flesh is viewed as nothing more than a commodity. If prostitution is regarded as work, then it stands to reason that these very ‘workers’ be given their rights. The problem arises when the term ‘sex worker’ is not used just to describe prostitutes and harlots, but also pimps, strippers, pornographers and those selling sex. A researcher reports that, in Nevada, where prostitution is legalized, they saw a pimp maintaining an uneducated young woman who’d been sold by her boyfriend’s father. The fact that this brothel was legal implicated that the girl would be shown to customers and was made to live under the false notion that this was a favour done by the pimp to the girl by employing her.
In the UK, those in favour of decriminalisation have won the support from many unions. In 2010, it had already become palpable on the streets the rising number of ‘sex workers,’ as they were thronging the streets in attempts of protesting against decriminalisation. The International Union of Sex Workers started as a ‘grassroots organisation,’ which stood up for the prerogatives of those working in the sex trade. One of the members is Douglas Fox, who happens to be an active member of the Conservative Party and Amnesty UK. Fox is also a co-owner of a large escort agency. At the Amnesty International annual general meeting, which was held in 2008, he proposed the decriminalisation of sex trade, which later became the Amnesty policy. The bright side to this is that pimps do not win all the time. A new law that criminalised the buying of sex and decriminalising the selling of it, was enforced in Northern Ireland in 2015.