Disadvantages and Alternatives to Legalizing Prostitution

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Anthropology professor and author of “Lydia's Open Door” Patty Kelly presents several compelling arguments for the legalization of prostitution in her article “Enough Already, it's Time we Legalize Prostitution”. Kelly believes firmly that legalization of sex work, and the introduction of state regulated brothels would protect both the women who offer sexual services, as well as the clients who obtain these services. Mostly based on her time spent visiting a legal, state run brothel in Mexico, Kelly observed and spoke to many women involved in the legal sex trade taking place there. She concluded from her time in the Galatica Zone that most of the women had considered the advantages and disadvantages of working in the sex trade before gaining employment at the brothel. Sex workers in the Galatica Zone had a great deal of control over there jobs, both in deciding which services they would offer, as well as prices and hours they would be available for work. Kelly noted that most of the women stated they enjoyed there job, while only a few would have been happier in another line of work. Most of the women interviewed considered working in the brothel to be preferable to the other kinds of employment available to uneducated women, which is both lower paying than sex work, and requires longer hours. Kelly states better disease prevention, and less violence as benefits to state regulated brothels. Although she states there are downsides to government regulation; stigmatization of sex workers fuelled by mandatory registration and medical testing which is not always effective therefore creating a false sense of security for clients and sex workers, she asserts that criminalization does not achieve the desired effect of curtailing prostitu...

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... several important factors that must be considered before legislation can be changed that are missing from Kelly article. Considerations such as unwanted pregnancies, spreading of sexually transmitted disease and the bigger picture of social and economic support for women need to be considered in much more detail before sex work can be considered a legitimate trade.

Works Cited

Gertler, P., Shah, M. and Bertozzi, S. 2005. Risky business: The market for unprotected sex, Journal

of Political Economy, vol. 113, No. 3.

Kelly, P. (March 14 2008). Enough already, it's time we legalize prostitution, Edmonton Journal,

Petro, Melissa (n.d.) I did it...for the money: Sex work as a means to socio-economic opportunity. Research for Sex Work 9: Sex Work and Money Retrieved March 14, 2011, from http://www.urbanjustice.org/pdf/publications/swp_sex_workers_and_finances.pdf

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