Prostitution is illegal in most parts of the world, including the United States but should be decriminalized. Even though there’s still a huge stigma surrounding sex work, the adult entertainment industry attracts plenty of clients. In fact, the main reason why people engage in sex work is because of the money — not through coercion or drug habits.
But why does sex work still have negative connotations? Many of the problems surrounding sex work, such as the spread of STIs and HIV, sexual violence, and sex trafficking, can be decreased by decriminalizing prostitution.
Here are 3 reasons to decriminalize sex work.
1. Reduces Sex Trafficking
There’s a major difference between sex trafficking and sex work. Sex work is when the individual chooses to engage in the line of work, usually setting their own rates and creating their own rules, such as using protection and not engaging in certain activities.
On the other hand, sex trafficking is when one is forced into sex work. It’s impossible to know the exact number of sex trafficking victims, but most estimate the number could be as high as tens of thousands of victims.
Many believe decriminalizing prostitution will decrease sex trafficking. Legal sex workers can promote a safer environment for themselves and their clients, taking away the need to seek out sex workers who are potentially coerced into the position.
The legalization of sex work can also help law enforcement identify a sex worker who’s offering a legal and safe service versus a potentially illegal operation. They won’t condemn and punish the legal sex workers; rather, they will punish those who coerce others and risk their safety.
2. Reduces the Spread of HIV and STIs
When the law is on the sex worker’s side, there will be a significant reduction in HIV and STIs. Globally, female sex workers are 13% more likely to get HIV compared to other women.
Under the decriminalization of sex work, safe sex practices will be required. This usually includes wearing condoms and other contraceptive methods. This will significantly reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs.
Not only that, but the sex worker will likely undergo regular HIV and STI tests and may even require them for their clients. Since the sex work stigma will be reduced, sex workers will feel comfortable seeking medical treatment if they happen to contract an infection.
3. Prevents Sexual Violence Against Sex Workers
Sexual violence against sex workers is a human rights issue. Sex workers have a 45%-75% chance of experiencing sexual violence in their careers. If the law is on the sex worker’s side, they can report their client’s behavior.
In addition, decriminalized sex workers can set their own rules that clients need to abide by. Going into the service, clients know that sexual actions have to be consensual, or else they will face repercussions.
Let’s Advocate to Decriminalize Sex Work
Even though prostitution is illegal, more people want to decriminalize sex work. Sex work should be decriminalized because it will decrease the spread of HIV and STIs, can reduce the issue of sex trafficking, and may even reduce sexual violence against sex workers.