Published On: Fri, Apr 4th, 2014

Legalised Prostitution Increases Human Trafficking

The laws on prostitution vary considerably around the world. They can vary from total prohibition of both the sale and purchase of sexual services, bans on either, regulation to varying extent of some or all aspects, to minimal regulation or restriction of any activity. Even when the sale or purchase is legal, prohibiting some or all of the activities necessary to work such as communicating between worker and client (soliciting), working from premises (brothel or bawdy-house), and involvement of third parties (managers, drivers, security) produces a de facto prohibition.

In practice neither capital punishment, incarceration, nor remedial training have had any appreciable effect on the trade. The issue of prostitution as a whole is socially and politically divisive, and difficult to form a consensus. In North Korea, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, prostitution is a crime punishable by death.

Prostitution is illegal in the majority of African countries. Nevertheless, it is common, driven by the widespread poverty in many sub-Saharan Africancountries and is one of the drivers for the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Africa.  Social breakdown and poverty caused by civil war in several African countries has caused further increases in the rate of prostitution in those countries. For these reasons, some African countries have also become destinations for sex tourism.

AIDS infection rates are particularly high among African sex workers.  Long distance truck drivers have been identified as a group with the high-risk behaviour of sleeping with prostitutes and a tendency to spread the infection along trade routes in the region. Infection rates of up to 33% were observed in this group in the late 1980s in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In Tunisia , prostitution is legal, The majority of women prostitutes are foreigners.

In Asia, the main characteristic of the region is the very big discrepancy between the laws which exist on the books and what occurs in practice. For example, in Thailand prostitution is illegal, but in practice it is tolerated and partly regulated, and the country is a destination for sex tourism. Such situations are common in many Asian countries.

In Japan, everything but penis in vagina is legal and there are ads that detail what each individual prostitute will do (bj, anal, …). Of course many of them ignore the law. The point is while Japan is painted red by some countries standards it would be considered technically legal by others since anal sex, oral sex, etc are legal. See Prostitution in Japan

Child prostitution is a serious problem in this region. Past surveys indicate that 30 to 35 percent of all prostitutes in the Mekong sub-region of Southeast Asia are between 12 and 17 years of age.

The most common legal system in the European Union is that which allows prostitution itself (the exchange of sex for money) but prohibits associated activities (brothels, pimping, etc.).

In Sweden, Norway and Iceland it is illegal to pay for sex (the client commits a crime, but not the prostitute).

In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to pay for sex with a prostitute who has been “subjected to force” and this is a strict liability offense (clients can be prosecuted even if they did not know the prostitute was forced), but prostitution itself is legal.

In Turkey while prostitution is legal there are emerging disturbing problems in it. Flat-rate brothels, where the prostitute has to service any number of men and do any sex act with them for a single price that’s paid by the men as an entrance fee, is a current trend in Turkey. Prostitutes overall don’t benefit since they have to do more sex acts that are sometimes not wanted with any number of men for less money.

Also Axel Dreher, at the University of Heidelberg, has attempted to answer “Does legalized prostitution increase human trafficking?” with data from 150 countries. After his investigation of the reported statistics, he concluded that human trafficking is an increasing problem where prostitution is legal.This human trafficking is now a growing problem in Turkey’s industry of legalized prostitution.

The enforcement of the anti-prostitution laws varies by country. One example is Belgium, in which brothels are illegal, but in practice, they are tolerated, operate quite openly, and in some parts of the country, the situation is similar of that in neighboring Netherlands.

Prostitution is illegal in most of the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe. Here, prostitution was outlawed by the former communist regimes, and those countries chose to keep it illegal even after the fall of the Communists. In Hungary, however, prostitution is legal and regulated