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Comments on: What does legalization actually look like? – The Netherlands http://stanford.edu/group/womenscourage/cgi-bin/blogs/sextraffickingandprostitution/2010/05/20/what-does-legalization-actually-look-like-the-netherlands/ Subject to Terms of Use: See http://www.stanford.edu/home/atoz/terms.html Thu, 15 Sep 2011 20:30:52 -0700 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 hourly 1 By: amariagreer http://stanford.edu/group/womenscourage/cgi-bin/blogs/sextraffickingandprostitution/2010/05/20/what-does-legalization-actually-look-like-the-netherlands/comment-page-1/#comment-759 amariagreer Sun, 23 May 2010 04:15:55 +0000 http://stanford.edu/class/humbio129/cgi-bin/blogs/vulnerablepopulations/?p=1961#comment-759 I find it incredible that despite having legalized prostitution for regulation purposes the Netherlands have what sounds like a large black market for prostitution and a strong draw for traffickers. I am really curious why the illegal brothels exist. Are all of the women in these brothels trafficked? Do some of the women in these illegal brothels want to be prostitutes but are underage or do not have the right paperwork to be working in the Netherlands? How does regulation of prostitutes and brothels work to try to ensure women are not victims of trafficking? How did the legalization of prostitution lead to an increase in illegal prostitutes? Obviously this topic is very interesting for me. I wonder how the Netherlands should be viewed by other countries interested in changing how they deal with prostitution. Is there a way to improve upon this model so that other countries can regulate prostitution for the improvement of safety, health and social services? Or is it better to maintain prostitution as an illegal occupation but only prosecute the pimps and traffickers? I don't have the answer. I find it incredible that despite having legalized prostitution for regulation purposes the Netherlands have what sounds like a large black market for prostitution and a strong draw for traffickers. I am really curious why the illegal brothels exist. Are all of the women in these brothels trafficked? Do some of the women in these illegal brothels want to be prostitutes but are underage or do not have the right paperwork to be working in the Netherlands? How does regulation of prostitutes and brothels work to try to ensure women are not victims of trafficking? How did the legalization of prostitution lead to an increase in illegal prostitutes?

Obviously this topic is very interesting for me. I wonder how the Netherlands should be viewed by other countries interested in changing how they deal with prostitution. Is there a way to improve upon this model so that other countries can regulate prostitution for the improvement of safety, health and social services? Or is it better to maintain prostitution as an illegal occupation but only prosecute the pimps and traffickers? I don’t have the answer.

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By: svernez http://stanford.edu/group/womenscourage/cgi-bin/blogs/sextraffickingandprostitution/2010/05/20/what-does-legalization-actually-look-like-the-netherlands/comment-page-1/#comment-757 svernez Fri, 21 May 2010 22:30:59 +0000 http://stanford.edu/class/humbio129/cgi-bin/blogs/vulnerablepopulations/?p=1961#comment-757 Like our visitor from the Global Fund and Anne said on Monday, I think that the key to fighting for women’s rights is to champion her right to make choices of her own. Just like I reserve the right to choose abortion should circumstances push me to make such a decision, I reserve the right to make a living by any legal means. Therefore, I thought that I came down on the side of legalizing prostitution. If a woman wants to use her resources (her body) in order to maximize her earning power, she should. There is a demand for sex work and so, why shouldn’t women capitalize on that demand? But as I read this post and started to consider my position more seriously, I began to see problems with my reasoning. First, it follows from the above philosophy that selling one’s body is like selling any commodity. It allows for the idea that a woman’s body and sexual favor can be bought and owned. I see these notions of objectification as fundamental to women’s inferiority. No matter how you spin it as empowering women to have control over their body, you can’t escape the fact that that control can be bought if the price is right and while I try (and mostly fail) to be practical rather than idealistic, I see no way of overcoming such injustice without enforcing what should be normal and everyday rather than idealistic: that women are human beings, not objects of sex. Second, it presumes that sex work can be effectively monitored and its workers protected. The whole reasoning behind legalization is to eliminate safety concerns for women working as prostitutes and furthermore to help to eliminate illegal trafficking. However, from what was said in your post, neither of those goals are being achieved. Trafficking has increased and likely along with it more human rights abuse and more infringement on women’s choices. So, it seems to me that the legalization of prostitution is an ineffective means for fighting against social and practical subordination of women. So this leaves us with the question, if we can’t monitor a legal system, can we hope to monitor and illegal one? Like our visitor from the Global Fund and Anne said on Monday, I think that the key to fighting for women’s rights is to champion her right to make choices of her own. Just like I reserve the right to choose abortion should circumstances push me to make such a decision, I reserve the right to make a living by any legal means. Therefore, I thought that I came down on the side of legalizing prostitution. If a woman wants to use her resources (her body) in order to maximize her earning power, she should. There is a demand for sex work and so, why shouldn’t women capitalize on that demand?

But as I read this post and started to consider my position more seriously, I began to see problems with my reasoning. First, it follows from the above philosophy that selling one’s body is like selling any commodity. It allows for the idea that a woman’s body and sexual favor can be bought and owned. I see these notions of objectification as fundamental to women’s inferiority. No matter how you spin it as empowering women to have control over their body, you can’t escape the fact that that control can be bought if the price is right and while I try (and mostly fail) to be practical rather than idealistic, I see no way of overcoming such injustice without enforcing what should be normal and everyday rather than idealistic: that women are human beings, not objects of sex.

Second, it presumes that sex work can be effectively monitored and its workers protected. The whole reasoning behind legalization is to eliminate safety concerns for women working as prostitutes and furthermore to help to eliminate illegal trafficking. However, from what was said in your post, neither of those goals are being achieved. Trafficking has increased and likely along with it more human rights abuse and more infringement on women’s choices. So, it seems to me that the legalization of prostitution is an ineffective means for fighting against social and practical subordination of women. So this leaves us with the question, if we can’t monitor a legal system, can we hope to monitor and illegal one?

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By: naikhoba http://stanford.edu/group/womenscourage/cgi-bin/blogs/sextraffickingandprostitution/2010/05/20/what-does-legalization-actually-look-like-the-netherlands/comment-page-1/#comment-755 naikhoba Fri, 21 May 2010 04:09:47 +0000 http://stanford.edu/class/humbio129/cgi-bin/blogs/vulnerablepopulations/?p=1961#comment-755 I really enjoyed reading your post because I think it presents an example of how globalization can be shifted to have its positive aspects (if they exist in the sphere of prostitution) outweigh the negative aspects. Like the 4 cornered diagram of change presented in class, the Netherlands have attacked the issue from a law and policy standpoint. Except, as we realized, it is necessary to effect changes in beliefs, attitudes, access, and culture among many other things in order for the effects in government to take hold at a broader level. One thing I will definitely agree with however, is that prostitution has become a deeply rooted industry on an international level - as horrific as it is, especially for minors and women who are forced into it, the industry itself will probably not disappear. I think that other countries need to realize, such as the Netherlands has done, that persecuting the women involved in sex work is a futile way to address the greater issue. Those women should be supported, especially given the fact that, if provided with a different option, they would not choose prostitution. I really enjoyed reading your post because I think it presents an example of how globalization can be shifted to have its positive aspects (if they exist in the sphere of prostitution) outweigh the negative aspects. Like the 4 cornered diagram of change presented in class, the Netherlands have attacked the issue from a law and policy standpoint. Except, as we realized, it is necessary to effect changes in beliefs, attitudes, access, and culture among many other things in order for the effects in government to take hold at a broader level. One thing I will definitely agree with however, is that prostitution has become a deeply rooted industry on an international level – as horrific as it is, especially for minors and women who are forced into it, the industry itself will probably not disappear. I think that other countries need to realize, such as the Netherlands has done, that persecuting the women involved in sex work is a futile way to address the greater issue. Those women should be supported, especially given the fact that, if provided with a different option, they would not choose prostitution.

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