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The Great Divide

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I know that this has been done before, perhaps ad nauseam, but in the light of recent developments I think we need to re-examine what is going on here. We have the proposed legislative changes, with depressingly unhelpful comments from an influential Primate, and a politician shining a very public torch on us.

On the one hand we have the abolitionists. Their fundamental premise is that all prostitution is inherently degrading of women and morally wrong. Their villains are not only the drug dealers, pimps and traffickers but also us punters. They see the girls as victims, which some of them are. But they see even the fiercely independent non-drug-taking career prostitutes, typified by the many remarkable women posting on this Board, as being in denial and needing help. The letter to HH subscribed to by so many on this Board will not shake their conviction in this respect one iota.

Among their numbers they have subsets. One is the group that thinks that all sex away from the betrothal bedchamber is wrong, and an even smaller subset holds that any act of penetration of a woman by a man represents invasion or assault. At the moment these disparate groups with very different agendas have come together, united by the objective of abolition, to form an unholy but effective alliance.

Then on the other side we have us. Our take on it is that this is an activity that has been going on for all of recorded time and no regime, no matter how repressive, has successfully prevented it from happening. As long as there are men willing to buy sex, women willing to sell it, units of exchange and free transfer of information, it will continue in some form or another, and that the key objective therefore should be to ensure that it is managed in a way that ensures safety and discretion for participants.

In many ways this is like the old debate between idealistic socialism and prgmatic capitalism. But at the moment the idealists seem to be winning. They have successfully focussed attention on some of the worst abuses of a small part of the industry and are using shock horror tactics to get through a programme of legislation designed to hurt the whole industry but which, ironically, will make life much worse for the people they are pretending to help. Did any of us foresee in 1997 that the Blair Babes might come to have this effect? I didn't.

Will it change things in the long run. I don't think so, but what do others think?

Edited by bottom liner
amend an error

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The economist was one heavy weight bastion of good sense.

Wonder if they will update this

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The economist was one heavy weight bastion of good sense.

Wonder if they will update this

Tx for the link AKN

I knew that there was an Economist article knocking about, because Irgendeiner had referred to it, with comments from a senior plod:

Sept 2004 - Economist - Bill Tllbrook - Head of Vice, Scotland Yard

'Trafficking is very rare.....By far the smallest group [of previously listed taxonomy of sex workers].....consists of those tricked or coerced into the trade'

This was at a time when politicians were issuing on ministerial notepaper proclamations, based on propaganda from preferred lobby groups, to the complete contrary, and now they're rushing to get the legislation through before they get booted out.

Bet the bureaucrats can't wait for them to be gone.

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It's not idealistic to be anti-sex in all it's forms, it's just misguided.

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Our take on it is that this is an activity that has been going on for all of recorded time and no regime, no matter how repressive, has successfully prevented it from happening.

I think it's a mistake to present this as an argument against criminalisation. The obvious riposte is such an argument is "Well, so have murder, rape and robbery - do you think they should be legalised?", which is a perfectly reasonable point. By presenting the "It's always gone on and it will always go on" argument, you're handing your opponents a simple win, making them look as if they're in the right and you're in the wrong!

I tend towards the libertarian approach: "If I, as a competent adult, agree with another competent adult to engage in X, Y or Z activities in exchange for n amount of money, what right has the state to say that we're not allowed to do it?" What the antis are trying to claim, of course, is that the WG in such a contract is not competent, because she must have been coerced in some way and so she can't be acting of her own free will.

Which we know to be bollocks. <sigh> :D

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I think it's a mistake to present this as an argument against criminalisation. The obvious riposte is such an argument is "Well, so have murder, rape and robbery - do you think they should be legalised?", which is a perfectly reasonable point. By presenting the "It's always gone on and it will always go on" argument, you're handing your opponents a simple win, making them look as if they're in the right and you're in the wrong!

I tend towards the libertarian approach: "If I, as a competent adult, agree with another competent adult to engage in X, Y or Z activities in exchange for n amount of money, what right has the state to say that we're not allowed to do it?" What the antis are trying to claim, of course, is that the WG in such a contract is not competent, because she must have been coerced in some way and so she can't be acting of her own free will.

Which we know to be bollocks. <sigh> :D

Yes, the missing word was 'consensually'

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Yes, the missing word was 'consensually'

Ah, that makes a difference! ;)

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Yes, the missing word was 'consensually'

I agree ;)

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