Legal Prostitution Condones Humiliation of Women

On October 22, 2013, by Shayla Wakumoto

Lauren Hersh, New York Director of Equality Now and head of its Sex Trafficking program, states, “Prostituted persons are not only dehumanized by the act of prostitution but by society treating prostituted persons like second class citizens.” The negative stigma places prostituted persons at a higher risk of violence by abusers who act with impunity. In hope of getting rid of the negative stigma, governments around the world have been legalizing prostitution.      

Rachel Moran, a formerly prostituted person, stated (when talking about the possibility of registration as a prostituted person), “I understand exactly why many reject that and work illegally to avoid it, because if I had been forced to choose between working in secret or being officially tagged a prostitute I would have done exactly the same thing. The pro-prostitution lobby would say I was suffering from the ill-effects of ‘whore stigma.’ No. The only ill-effects I was suffering from were the ill-effects of prostitution.”

Many countries legalized prostitution in hopes of getting rid of the stigma. For example, in the past thirty years, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Australia legalized prostitution in hopes of getting rid of the negative stigma and underage prositution. Today trafficking still exists in both the legal and illegal sector. According to Prime Minister John Key, there are no significant reductions in sex trafficking and underage prostitution because of the legalization. The negative stigma still exists and is still used against prostituted women. (article)   

Rachel Moran wrote about her stigma in a book titled “Paid For”, which focuses on her story of being a victim of sexual exploitation. At the age of fourteen, she was brought into state custody and within one year she became homeless. Due to the lack of resources, Moran had no option but to prostitute herself. During the seven years of being prostituted, she was repeatedly raped, physically harmed, exploited, and more. In her book, she recounts not only her experience but also expounds on the negative effects of the legalization of prostitution.

The Renewal Forum believes prostitution is the buying of a person’s organ and treats people as objects; it is inherently against the dignity of a person to pay a person not for the work of a person or a service provided but for their body parts. It contributes and adds to violence against women and we must see prostitution for what it is: the objectification of a person and violence against women.

“To be prostituted is humiliating enough; to legalize prostitution is to condone that humiliation, and to absolve those who inflict it. It is an agonizing insult”, stated Rachel Moran. Check out Rachel’s story and how she overcame being prostituted. (to see more)


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