We live in the 21st century and the age of the internet; however, some things are still considered taboo and illegal in some parts of the country, be it marijuana, sex work, or even homosexuality. However, for me, all the things I previously listed shouldn’t be illegal, but I’m also a queer radicalist who believes that sex work should be completely legal. The criminalization of sex work and homosexuality impinge on our human rights. Queer rights are human rights, and I personally believe that sex work should also be decriminalized because having it be a taboo makes it more damaging than having it legal.
The following statics come from San Francisco, and for the purpose of this study, 130 people were interviewed. 82% of prostitutes reported that they’d been assaulted at least once while selling their body, 83% of them have been assaulted and threatened by a weapon, and 69% of sex workers have been raped while working as sex workers. 84% of them also reported to have experienced or are currently experiencing homelessness at least once in their lifetime.
Why does it infringe on our human rights?
One of the primary cornerstones of the human rights declaration is that all people are born equal and free in dignity and rights. Although, I tend to agree with George Orwell’s statement that:
“All Animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
Those who are more equal in our society are straight cis white men because people of color, women, and queer people have been marginalized for decades and have always been treated as lesser than. This is why I believe that sex work should be legalized because it hurts people who are lower down the social ladder and not those on the upper echelons. There are also many reasons why adults do sex work; for some people, it is to supplement their income; it can be their main source of livelihood or is a temporary means to survive. For some people, sex work is an option because it is more flexible and offers better pay than the jobs they can get. However, whatever the reason why someone do sex work, they should be treated with dignity because at the end of the day, it is still work, and where there is demand, there will be supply. In some parts of the world, sex workers are treated as criminals and sometimes worse than and they are denied access to proper justice and health care. They can also be arrested arbitrarily, and this infringes on their human rights. Because they can be arbitrarily arrested because of their job, they fear going to the police when they are victims of sexual assaults and rape.
It prevents people from reporting violence and assaults.
We need to get this idea out of our minds, and we need to separate sex work from violence. Sex work is not inherently violent, and we need to decolonize our minds when it comes to that heteronormative definition of how sex and needs work. Because of fear and arrest, sex workers and their clients have to move to disenfranchise areas that are less policed and visible to law enforcement, and this means that they have to go in areas where violence is more prevalent. The fear of police and being arrested means that sex workers have less time to screen their potential clients and assess the potential danger of doing their job. The fear of law enforcement officers means that sex workers are also less likely to report crimes they witness or are victims of. The rate of rape and sexual assault is alarming and highly high for sex workers because their clients know that they are not likely to go to the police to report the crimes they’ve been subjected to because of fear of being arrested. Police also wield a tremendous amount of power over sex workers, and the latter are usually threatened, arrested, extorted, and publicly humiliated for their job. This is all about power dynamics because the police know that they will go unscathed and unpunished for what they did to the sex worker. After all, no one will fight for the underprivileged. In New Zealand, since sex work has been decriminalized, sex workers are able to screen their potential clients and work in safer areas. They are also given access to security services and can report crimes to the police. It also allows sex workers access to justice and can do so without fear of prosecution and stigma. Decriminalization removes these kinds of social barriers and makes sex work safer, which is good for those selling their bodies for a living.
Personally. I believe that sex work should be decriminalized and we need to desacrilize the notion of sex and desire. Sound off in the comments section below and share your thoughts on sex work.