Argument: Criminalization of prostitution fosters blackmarket abuse and violence

Issue Report: Prostitution


  • Melissa Ditmore, Ph.D., Coordinator of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects. WashingtonPost’s PostGlobal. Feb. 28, 2007 – “…Police cannot and do not simultaneously seek to arrest prostitutes and protect them from violence…. 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.”[1]
  • “Sex is Their Business”. The Economist. Sep. 2, 2004 – “Criminalisation forces prostitution into the underworld. Legalisation would bring it into the open, where abuses such as trafficking and under-age prostitution can be more easily tackled. Brothels would develop reputations worth protecting.”[2]
  • Marjan Wijers, LLM, Chair of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Trafficking in Human Beings. “Women, Labor, and Migration: The Position of Trafficked Women and Strategies for Support, Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance and Redefinition”. 1998 – “Criminalizing the sex industry creates ideal conditions for rampant exploitation and abuse of sex workers…[I]t is believed that trafficking in women, coercion and exploitation can only be stopped if the existence of prostitution is recognized and the legal and social rights of prostitutes are guaranteed.”[3]
  • Khushwant Singh, columnist and novelist. “How A Rapist Should Be Punished”. The Tribune (India). Sept. 28, 2002. – “…[A] necessary step [to prevent rape] is to legalise prostitution — carried out in brothels or by call-girls — provided the sex workers are adults and have not been forced into the trade. The more you try to put down prostitution, the higher will be the incidence of crime against innocent women. You may find the idea repulsive but ponder over it and you will realise there is substance in the argument.”