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What should the legal status of prostitution be? Show more Show less

Sometimes called ‘the world’s oldest profession’, prostitution holds a complex cultural place. While it is underpinned by gender norms and has been linked to violence, it also represents a source of agency for some and a viable career option for many. Should it be treated like any other job by the state? And if the state wishes to curtail prostitution, is making it illegal the best option?
The Nordic Model decriminalises prostitution for sex workers, while criminalising buyers.
<< Previous (4 of 4 Positions)

Penalising buyers

The Nordic Model removes penalties for vulnerable women while discouraging prostitution. This leads to reduced demand.

(1 of 1 Argument)

Context

Originating in Sweden in 1999, the Nordic Model makes the purchase of sexual services illegal whilst removing criminal prosecution for suppliers.

The Argument

The Nordic Model prioritises the interests of the sex worker by removing state sanctions on sex workers themselves, while penalising those who solicit sex from sex workers. This means that vulnerable women do not have to live in fear of prosecution, and are not made more vulnerable by the state. Along with this change in law, the Nordic Model is often accompanied with increased support for those attempting to exit prostitution.[1] Countries that have adopted the Nordic Model have experienced a decrease in rates of prostitution. Two years after the Nordic Model was first implemented in Sweden, there was a 50% decrease in supply and a 75% decrease in demand for prostitution.[2]

Counter arguments

The research regarding the success of the Nordic Model is far from conclusive. Research has shown that criminalising the clients of sex workers does not guarantee an increase in the safety of sex workers.[3] An Amnesty International study found that in Norway since the Nordic Model was introduced safety has not increased, leading to a severe contravention of the human rights of sex workers, especially at the hands of police.[4] Sex workers in countries under the Nordic Model are pushed to work in criminal situations due to the illegality for their customers.[5] Safety for sex workers is severely compromised under the Nordic Model. Just because sex workers do not have to fear being prosecuted specifically for prostitution does not mean they are safe.

Premises

[P1] Prostitution should be eradicated without victimising prostitutes, who are often vulnerable. [P2] Therefore, buyers should instead be penalised. [P3] Penalisation of buyers leads to a decrease in demand.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Penalising buyers does not necessarily ensure sex worker safety.

References

  1. www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140221IPR36644/html/Punish-the-client-not-the-prostitute
  2. https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ei/rls/38790.htm
  3. https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2018/criminalisation-and-repressive-policing-sex-work-linked-increased-risk
  4. https://www.amnestyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/norway_report_-_sex_workers_rights_-_embargoed_-_final.pdf
  5. http://prostitutescollective.net/2018/08/briefing-why-the-nordic-model-undermines-womens-safety-and-rights/

Proponents

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 5 Dec 2019 at 14:32 UTC