Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Legalize prostitution to promote health and stem trafficking, infection and abuse
Sex workers face violence, infection, slavery, poverty and poor access to health care. The few countries that have managed to improve the plight of prostitutes are those who have made sex work legal. Laws against sex work demoralize workers, promote their abuse and keep them in fear of prosecution if they seek help. The criminalization of consensual adult sex also keeps workers from reporting sex trafficking, endangering children and adults alike.
A PubMed study shows that 45 to 75 percent of sex workers will face physical violence in their lifetime and 32 to 55 percent are likely to be victimized every year. Due to criminalization, it is estimated that prostitutes will be abused more often by police than by clients, keeping workers reliant on pimps and madams for protection.
In 2001, Germany legalized sex work in an effort to reduce sex trafficking and violence against women. With its legalization, prostitution was given the same protection and benefits as other employment in the country, providing access to medical treatment and testing. A study by the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training shows that after sex work became legal in Germany, the rates of sexually transmitted infections were the same among sex workers as they were within the general population. The World Health Organization (WHO) supports sex work legalization, citing the correlation between violence and increased risk of infection. “Violence against sex workers is associated with inconsistent condom use or lack of condom use, and with increased risk of STI and HIV infection. Violence also prevents sex workers from accessing HIV information and services,” states a recent WHO report.
Amnesty International also supports the decriminalization of prostitution, as does the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, which stresses that even prosecuting the clients and not the workers has done nothing to stem trafficking in sex slavery. In ten years of legalized prostitution in Germany, sex trafficking had decreased by nearly a third, according to an article by Spiegel.
The idea of legal prostitution isn’t new in the U.S. If the sex is being filmed and the client is an agency and not an individual, workers are typically better paid, more respected, above the age of consent and provided medical treatment, testing and safety. We call it porn.
Add your name to this petition in support of the legalization and regulation of sex work to protect consenting adults and end instances of sex slavery.
Dear President Obama,
The legalization of sex work reduces sex trafficking and slavery, lowers the risk of infection and abuse for workers, and puts money in the government’s pocket. Regulation provides access to medical treatment and testing, increases reports of abuse and trafficking without fear of prosecution, and helps to keep children from abuse. Regulation also leads to taxation, raising the GDP instead of spending it on prosecuting victims.
The mean age for legal sex workers in Germany is 31 years and the rate of STI in the industry is comparable to that of the general population. When prostitution was accidentally legalized in Rhode Island, reports of rape decreased by 31 percent and instances of gonorrhea dropped by 39 percent statewide.
It is time to stop marginalizing sex workers. I urge you to legalize sex work immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Eric Steuer via Flickr