Irgendeiner

Economist Debate

23 posts in this topic

The Economist (a newspaper) runs debates on its web site (www.economist.com). Next week's, starting on monday is on the motion:

"This house believes that prostitution should be legal."

The preface is:

A matter for consenting adults?

Almost everyone would accept that criminal behaviour—rape, human trafficking, sexual exploitation—is closely associated with prostitution. But are these crimes intrinsic to prostitution itself, or are they the result of criminalising it? This debate will try to tease out answers to these questions, and look at whether prostitution is a victimless crime or just another word for sexual abuse; whether prostitution can really be a free choice of profession; and whether it is wrong to buy and sell sex.

I hope that we don't leave all the running to HH / Bindel and Eaves / Poppy.

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Thanks for the info Irgendeiner. That could be interesting...

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Is not the motion completely flawed anyway as respects the UK?

Is it not the case that prostitution is not an illegal activity - nor is purchasing sexual services from another person - unless that person is being coecered Etc. by a 3rd party?

Uncle Pokey

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Is not the motion completely flawed anyway as respects the UK?

Is it not the case that prostitution is not an illegal activity - nor is purchasing sexual services from another person - unless that person is being coecered Etc. by a 3rd party?

Uncle Pokey

It is an American debate http://www.economist.com/debate/upcoming with Melissa Farley against the motion. Sienna Baskin is proposing the motion and is from the http://www.sexworkersproject.org/

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Key debate here on sex work, with arch-prohibitionist Melissa Farley batting for the Let's Hang All Punters By Their Balls From the Nearest Lampost Brigade, and Sienna Baskin from New York's Urban Justice Centre fighting in favour of:

"This House Believes that Prostitution Should Be Legal"

Please VOTE AGREE and HAVE YOUR SAY and RECOMMEND PRO COMMENTS at

http://www.economist.com/debate/overview/182/Prostitution

Debate lasts two weeks.

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"As a reader, you are encouraged to vote. As long as the debate is open, you may change your vote as many times as you change your mind. And you are encouraged to air your own views by sending comments to the moderator. These should be relevant to the motion, the speakers� statements or the observations of featured guests. And they must be addressed directly to the moderator, who will single out the most compelling for discussion by the speakers."

I will certainly submit a vote and a comment and would hope that our other members will contribute too.

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It is an American debate http://www.economist.com/debate/upcoming with Melissa Farley against the motion. Sienna Baskin is proposing the motion and is from the http://www.sexworkersproject.org/

Er, both "Leaders" are US based, but the Economist is a respected newspaper published in London. Although it has no legislative authority (obviously? Government by tabloid during the recent Labour government - possibly by serious press under Coalition?) the Economist's print edition is distributed world wide. I'd suggest that this debate is a good vehicle to put over the two messages that:

A) Sex-workers are humans, and as such they have just the same human rights as other humans,

and,

:D Not all sex-workers are drug crazed, trafficked, pimp bonded and so on and so forth. Quite a few are serious tax payers running their own businesses!

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Is not the motion completely flawed anyway as respects the UK?

Is it not the case that prostitution is not an illegal activity - nor is purchasing sexual services from another person - unless that person is being coecered Etc. by a 3rd party?

Uncle Pokey

The debate is whether you believe "that prostitution should be legal."

The status quo in the country you happen to be in is not necessarily relevant.

I think the proposer does a great job in pointing out the damage done by common criminal justice interventions in the matter.

I'm a little disappointed this thread is categorised on the "legalities and legislation" board, rather than general discussion, which is perhaps understandably more viewed.

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the Economist's print edition is distributed world wide.
In fact, I am pretty certain that they sell more copies in the US than they do in the UK.

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Key debate here on sex work, with arch-prohibitionist Melissa Farley batting for the Let's Hang All Punters By Their Balls From the Nearest Lampost Brigade, and Sienna Baskin from New York's Urban Justice Centre fighting in favour of:

"This House Believes that Prostitution Should Be Legal"

Please VOTE AGREE and HAVE YOUR SAY and RECOMMEND PRO COMMENTS at

http://www.economist.com/debate/overview/182/Prostitution

Debate lasts two weeks.

so far, 78% agree

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Was 81%, slipped back. Any way what a farce, the last Guest speaker is an anti prostitution activist, and the previous speaker was unintelligable, but also came down on criminalization

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OK, so I'm biased, but I still think that is a shockingly bad case made by the other side. Purely anecdotal, immediately rebuttable with BdJ and other anecdotes on the other side. If that's the best they could come up with...

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plenty of good comments made

I see some antis have been in, voting for the comments against legalizing. The vote in favour has also slipped a little, but still a substantial favour in freeing up the laws.

There are some good posts, I like the ones where people have had experience of Melissa Farleys lies and mis-representation, and example is this one.

I have long been concerned about manipulative statistics and unethical research in the field of sex work and prostitution. This incident seemed particularly egregious and surely represents a departure from ethical standards of research. I wanted to post this here (having requested and received permission) as this topic has been broached for the first time in a public discourse. It seems that this and similar incidents noted during this debate shed some light on issues in contemporary prostitution research.

Many years ago I received a very angry email from an ally in (SWEAT) Sex Worker Education & Advocacy Taskforce in South Africa objecting to the "friend" we sent over to research sex workers. I didn't know what he meant, but he explained that Melissa Farley was there and that she presented herself as an ally in order to gain access. Apparently he had no reason to imagine a researcher would so misrepresent themselves and therefore did not contact COYOTE, but trusted this referral. Shane's email explains what ensued:

Melissa Farley in my opinion misrepresented her studies intentions to me in the early years of my activism around sex worker rights. To my knowledge there was no approval by any board, council or ethics committee of her study on sex workers in South Africa at the time. Not to compare levels of violence and or post traumatic stress disorder of sex workers with other groups of marginalised, criminalised or highly stigmatised people shows that the intentions of the study needs to be assessed against what is considered a reasonable standard of research by the University or Research body supervising her work at the time. I don't think Melissas study shows us anything valuable other than what we already all agree on - sex workers are subject to violence and have no recourse to any legal remedy due to criminality.

She seemed affable and supportive of my efforts and work and appeared a kindly person. She told me she was an activist for sex workers and gave me the impression that she was a well known and respected advocate and academic in this arena. There was nothing about her that made me think I should check her credentials out. The outcomes of the research were to be used to advance public understanding and sympathy of sex work.

I am saddened that Melissa continues to use her data to attack us. I never felt traumatised by sex work - however I am traumatised by the abuse, lies and deceit of academics who invade the world of sex workers through personal misrepresentation of themselves and then use the data to achieve their own personal academic goals at the expense of the marginalised.

I have no argument that sex workers face violence and many may suffer from mental illness, and other conditions in much the same way as other sub-cultures and populations and communities of people do. What I do have argument in this case is the betrayal of personal interfacing, between two people - me and Melissa to achieve what in my opinion are nefarious ends through the gaining of trust of people who trusted ME to participate in her study.

I think a lot of these sorts of skewed research studies are going to show the egg in their face that they deserve as more credible research data starts disproving their archaic notions.

Shane A. Petzer

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I see some antis have been in, voting for the comments against legalizing. The vote in favour has also slipped a little, but still a substantial favour in freeing up the laws.

Given the inclination of the antis to try to mislead the public that the figures are in their favour I'm not surprised that they're trying to massage these figures to something more respectable until the very end in the hopes that the pros have by now lost interest.

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Key debate here on sex work, with arch-prohibitionist Melissa Farley batting for the Let's Hang All Punters By Their Balls From the Nearest Lampost Brigade, and Sienna Baskin from New York's Urban Justice Centre fighting in favour of:

"This House Believes that Prostitution Should Be Legal"

Please VOTE AGREE and HAVE YOUR SAY and RECOMMEND PRO COMMENTS at

http://www.economist.com/debate/overview/182/Prostitution

Debate lasts two weeks.

Voted, Yes, should be legal.

Judging from the slowly climbing votes against, it looks like the antis are ballot stuffing, so post this link widely as possible to sympathetic sites.

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Voted, Yes, should be legal.

Judging from the slowly climbing votes against, it looks like the antis are ballot stuffing, so post this link widely as possible to sympathetic sites.

will they have time as the winner will be announced monday

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Voted, Yes, should be legal.

The Economists' readership includes not only irrelevants like me, but a good few movers and shakers. How many of them take the time to read "Debates" I have no idea, but I think that it is important to make the point that decriminalisation isn't all! Sex workers MUST be able to have premises and plant just like all other workers, without legislative or "market" disadvantage.

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If you haven't voted, it might be a good time to do so....

I guess that there'll be some canvassing going on in the 'anti' camp, as well as on punting boards.

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If you haven't voted, it might be a good time to do so....

I guess that there'll be some canvassing going on in the 'anti' camp, as well as on punting boards.

Good idea to up the votes on the "Most recommended comments" as well, and relegate the anti comments out of sight.

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Winner announcement

September 13, 2010

Mr John Parker

Readers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion, which is carried: this house believes prostitution should be legal. The majority is higher than most other measures of public opinion (though because the wording varies, exact comparison is impossible). In Nevada, for instance, which is the only US state to allow some legal prostitution, one poll found that just over half of the population supported the idea.

To judge by readers' comments, the main reasons for supporting the motion are as follows: governments should not, in general, legislate for morals; prostitution is part of human nature and it is foolish to try to stamp it out by using the law; existing laws against sexual violence are enough and decriminalising prostitution would make it easier to apply these to the benefit of victims; criminalisation distracts attention from the real problems, which are trafficking, abuse, sexually transmitted disease and so on; and people become prostitutes for a variety of reasons, including voluntarily, so it is wrong to use the law to condemn the whole trade.

One disappointing aspect of the debate has been the occasionally aggressive tone of some comments. It should be possible to disagree with someone's opinions without claiming that they are motivated by malice, ignorance or greed.

On a more positive note, many respondents wrote not just with reasoned views but links to studies to back them up. These added materially to our knowledge of the subject. For that, many thanks.

Our thanks, also, to our featured guests, Lionel Tiger of Rutgers University, and Taina Bien Aim

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its good to see that the moral supremacists have lost the argument,it remains to be seen whether the politicians will take any notice

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