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Should we legalise prostitution?

Iain Croft | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 9 November 2007

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morning / afternoon / evening, Peter here (writing on Iain's login) with news of todays World Have Your Say, on air @ the usual time, 1800 GMT :o)


Prostitutes exist. Prostitution exists. Men use prostitutes. They may not sell their wares on your street, outside your front door, or around the corner from where you live, but they're out there, somewhere, doing their thing - for money. We're not asking about the morality of selling sex, we're not asking for your opinions on the rights and wrongs of selling sex, of working in this, the worlds oldest profession. No, we're asking should it be legal.

The Women's Institute (yes, the jam-making, cake-selling, charity-workers of a certain age - cliché ? ) Women's Institute says if it was all legal, then the women would be safer. Prostitutes are exposed to all sorts of dangers, from hard drugs to violence, from long hours to sexually transmitted disease. But, the logic says, if it was legal, then all those risks would be lessened.

Slight fine tuning of our debate today: we're asking you about legalising it. We will, we suspect, get into the argument about decriminalising prostitution as well. Now, these are two distinctly different concepts. Legal prositution means women working in specific areas and very probably in in specific properties, in a structured work-place. Decriminalising protitution is something totally different - that means it's not against the law - anyplace - and the women can work for themselves. Some of the women who World Have Your Say has been talking to have already told us that this second option is better, because with decriminalising comes a reduction in the level of people trafficking. Why? Because the women can, and do, work for themselves, so the shady networks of people who traffick women, all over the world, has no need to get involved in the first place. This aspect to the "profession" withers and dies, because there's no need.

What do you think ? If it was legal would the girls be safer ? Would you accept a legal brothel next door to your house, next door to your childrens' school ? Would you talk to a prostitute if you knew what she did for a living ? And if she felt empowered by being "legal", would you have a choice, but to live with it ? Accept it ? Is this debate about the women, or is it about our attitudes towards them -- the prostitutes.

Let us know via the blog, e-mail or text.


Just a little point of WHYS housekeeping. As usual yesterday's debate flew, we had many many people who didn't get on. But some of our e-mailers today think we got the question wrong. They seem to think we SHOULD have been saying 'whats wrong with us adults', to lead to the kind of radicalisation we mentioned on Thursday. Fair point maybe. One of our e-mailers sums up the other stance, the other way of looking at yesterday's debate thus:

"It's not what's wrong with our youth; it's what's wrong with us. Our children are in the coaches as we drive the train down scary tracks. At any one time a bunch of us are killing some other bunch of us, because we've skillfully neglected effective communication, even while chatting away for the last 100K years, or so. The children are frightened. They are able to do simple math. They can estimate the likelihood of finding food, water, career, spouse, energy supply, quite place away from wild-eyed pistol wavers, cure for the next pandemic, haven from the flood of immigrants wearing odd clothes and chanting weird chants, etc. etc. Unfortunately, for an ever growing number of children, the sums are starting to come up on the minus side. They don't see a bright future."

Discuss ?

As ever:
TEXT: + 44 77 86 20 60 80
PHONE: + 44 20 70 83 72 72

Later, Peter :-)


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