Laws banning prostitution were recently struck down in Canada. There are many who believe that the legalization of prostitution is an effective way to minimize violence and discrimination against women. What do you think?
19% Yes, legalization is a positive step toward protecting women
76% No, legalization will harm women
5% Not sure what to think
Take a look at some of the statistics from countries that have legalized prostitution:
- In the Netherlands, 60 percent of prostituted women suffered physical assaults; 70 percent experienced verbal threats of physical assault; 40 percent experienced sexual violence; and 40 percent had been forced into prostitution and/or sexual abuse by acquaintances. (Vanwesenbeeck I., de Graaf, R., van Zessen, G., Straver, C.J. & Visser, J.H., 1995)
- Eighty percent of women in the brothels in the Netherlands are trafficked from other countries. (NRM, 2002)
- The legalized sex industry in the Netherlands now accounts for five percent of the Netherland’s GDP. (Daley, 2001) (By way of comparison, the entire health industry in the U.S. is 12 percent of GDP.)
- Following legalization of prostitution in Victoria, Australia, the number of legal brothels doubled, but the greatest expansion was in illegal prostitution. In one year (1999), there was a 300 percent growth of illegal brothels. (Sullivan, M.,& Jeffreys, S., 2001)
- Fifty-nine percent of German prostitutes reported that they did not think that legal prostitution made them any safer from rape and physical assault. (Farley, M., Cotton, A., Lynne, J., Zumbeck, S., Spiwak, F., Reyes, M. E., 2003) Fifty out of 100 prostitutes in a Washington, D.C, survey reported the same opinion. (Valera, R., Sawyer, R. G., & Schiraldi, G. R., 2001)
- Legal prostitution cannot possibly protect children from being exploited. The existence of a neighborhood adult sex industry constitutes one of the risk factors for adolescents’ entry into prostitution. (Estes, R. J., & Weiner, N., 2001)
- Eighty-eight percent of people working as prostitutes said they wanted to leave prostitution. (Melissa Farley, Prostitution Research and Education)
Prostitution is objectification and exploitation of women—whether they consent or not, whether they are paid or not.