Decriminalize prostitution one way to end slavery in U.S.



Tina Dupuy

Americans have warmed up to the idea of marijuana being legal. Most polls now report more than 50 percent voters think pot should be legal if not decriminalized.

And with good reason: more than half (52 percent) of drug arrests are for marijuana. This is a drug proven to be less harmful with fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco, and we’re throwing silly amounts of tax dollars away trying to do away with it.

For the last few months pot has been legal in two states, Colorado and Washington, and other states like Alaska and Illinois are considering following suit.

This isn’t even medicinal. This isn’t even under the guise of helping your back pain; this is recreational – extracurricular - just-for-kicks marijuana consumption.

We used to wink at the medical benefits of whiskey during temperance and the subsequent prohibition. We’ve stopped having to do that and we can all just have a drink and chill out about being morally compromised. This seems to be where weed is going.

So Americans are basically saying they’re OK with allowing grown-ups to indulge in a drug for the sake of indulging. This is a big turning point for a drug that’s been consumed for 5,000 years and been vilified in this country for the last 100.

There’s a coalition of people coming together on this issue. There are the libertarians who think all drugs should be legal; fiscal conservatives who see it as a big waste of resources and money; and the hippies who’ve been pro-marijuana since before it was cool. So this unlikely axis of legal can agree on some pragmatic policy. They’ve proven it.

So it’s time for a serious discussion about the decriminalization of prostitution.

Stick with me.

As I mentioned, we’ve been cultivating pot for at least 5,000 years. But is pot dealer the world’s oldest profession? Not even close.

First off, prostitution is not totally illegal in the U.S. It’s legal and regulated in some counties of Nevada. It’s also legal to pay someone to perform sex acts if it’s for entertainment purposes such as film and stage productions. So there is not an all-out ban on the selling of sex.

And yet roughly 80,000 people are arrested every year for solicitation.

Americans are coming around to the idea of letting consenting adults get stoned if they choose. We are also dead set against slavery as evidenced by the wholesale rejection of ranting rancher Cliven Bundy last week, wondering if black people were better off under slavery. Even those calling him a patriotic martyr for freedom collectively clutched their pearls as soon as he suggested slavery wasn’t all that bad. Of course, slavery is that bad. It’s the violent dehumanization of people for the sole purpose of profit - and it’s not just a relic of the 19th century.

A report last year by Australia-based Walk Free Foundation estimates there are currently 30 million slaves in the world. They report 60,000 of them are in the U.S. We have two kinds of slaves in the U.S. and both are easily fixed by legislation: illegal immigrants (another column for another time) and sex workers. Because these two groups are forced into the shadows, their existence can be very dark.

We are not going to wipe out the sex trade. We will not arrest our way out of having prostitution in our communities. It’s not going away. No amount of public shaming, arresting or prosecuting will make us free of sex exchanged for money. What we can do for those who are working in the industry is make it legal. Give them back their rights and access to the courts to redress their grievances.

Decriminalize sex between consenting adults. If we really believe in freedom, then let people live their lives and let sex workers work in the light of day.

The upside is we can be on our way to eradicating slavery. Which is just the right thing to do.

Isn’t that something we can all agree on (save Cliven Bundy)?


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PeopleBuilders 4 years, 1 month ago

We applaud Ms. Dupuy and the Daily Sun News for the courage to publish this article that gives voice to a very important issue. We at People Builders agree: the only way to reduce sex trafficking and secure human rights for sex workers is to decriminalize prostitution. It would allow law enforcement to focus on what is truly important: arresting the violent traffickers, pimps, and johns that intentionally use the current illegal/criminalized framework as a tool to exploit their victims. Not only would decriminalization reduce harm but also preserve the adult workers rights: access to law enforcement and protection of their BASIC human rights (that the rest of us have).

The general public does not know that violent offenders are terrorizing our community members and getting away with it! Exploiters know that their victims are terrified to go to the police. Why? Because even though they are being victimized/abused/slaved, the police will arrest them because they are engaging in illegal prostitution. Now, this isn't the fault of law enforcement - they just do their jobs and enforce the laws on the books. It is OUR fault. The community's fault. As a community we have failed to protect our own. We have allowed our rigid views of sexual morality to legislate in ways that cause harm and strip people of their human rights.

I would like to think it is a simple misunderstanding: that once the community understands that adult sex workers are suffering and being mistreated because of the current laws that the constituents will demand legislative change!

So again we applaud you. You are true allies in the movement for truth, humanity and social justice.

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amueller 4 years ago

Tina Dupuy might not write such idiotic nonsense if she could only see the wisdom in doing a few minutes of research before forming her opinion AND PUTTING IT IN WRITING!

Her opinion couldn't be farther from the truth, check with the Thai, the Dutch, the Swiss, Nevada, etc... Decriminalizing prostitution does not stop human trafficking, in fact it encourages it, and helps to hide it.

The only method I've heard of that seems to have been effective is the Swedish approach, which is to criminalize the purchase of sex (not the selling). The johns disappear so the traffickers make no money.


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