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The ongoing witch-hunt for sex workers in Sweden (reddit.com)
200 points by barry-cotter 33 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 361 comments



Someone recently pointed out to me the parallels between prostitution and labor. And I kind of can't shake it out of my head now, since I feel you can draw pretty straight lines from one to the other.

Both are selling your body for (relatively) high pay. Both have you burn out usually by your mid-late 40's. Both are dangerous work. Both have high degree's of human trafficking*. Both subsist mostly on young naïve workers. Both have no education requirements. Both have success predicated greatly on genetics (strength vs. looks). Both are the oldest professions in the world.

Really the most substantial difference I can see is in how society values men vs. women, dispensable vs. protected. Which is of course the same way humans valued men and women for pretty much all of history.

*Trafficking is tricky because in the US it's basically if you do (illegal) sex work and have a boss you are being trafficked. Basically everyone in construction would be "trafficked" then, so instead I go with a high degree of desperate illegal immigrants who will do really any work (ripe for exploitation).

Edit: I should note that my take is that prostitution should be legalized, regulated, unionized, and not stigmatized. It should be on the same social rung as labor.


This is how I feel about many things that are illegal as well. We can sell our physical and mental health to our employers till the day we die, yet there are people imprisoned because of sex/drug crimes? Absolute insanity if you step back and look at it.

Even worse is that in a country like the US, they practically have their own version of slavery with how inmates are effectively forced into labour for insignificant wages, which then benefit private corporations.

This is definitely an aspect of humanity that will be looked upon very poorly in the future.


My apologies if you're mainly talking about relatively harmless drugs like weed/psychedelics, but the hard drugs like meth and heroin are absolutely devastating to humans and I don't see any benefit to legalizing their sale.

I realize drug dealers aren't forcing anyone to take them, but seeing what meth can do to a community is horrifying to the point where I feel most would agree it shouldn't happen (which is what laws are for).

Certainly the way our prison systems run needs a major overhaul, but imprisonment due to permanently destroying lives, their potential children's lives, and communities for personal monetary gain (drug trafficking) does not sound like absolute insanity.


I am extremely against criminalization for any drugs, regardless of their impact to the person. Yes, some drugs are horrible and people should not take them. That does not mean ruining their lives and imprisoning them is something to even consider. Especially given that their family's lives are impacted even more so from them being absent, and the worse yet the dark cloud that continues to follow them for the rest of their lives now that they have federal charges, which makes them discriminated against for employment and forces crime through desperation.

Harmful drugs and drug addiction should be treated through education, healthcare and community involvement. It actually disgusts me at this point that people think drug criminalization is a good thing despite what prisons are in much of the world.


Have watched a number of people decline from hard drugs. Have lost years and huge sums trying to help some. Now it’s to the point where entire family hopes they get arrested before they kill someone.

A few cleaned up some. But never the same.

Zero sympathy for people pushing stuff.


The post above yours said 'sale' though, not consumption. Do you think it should be permitted to sell heroin freely?


Unfortunately yes, but even more so I would prefer if there were safe, licensed places to buy these drugs so that people can do them safely if they so choose.

If/when we do eventually go down that road, I certainly hope people are well educated in the harms of these drugs, and that they are in a position mentally/physically/socially to not have to turn to such things...


Your first two words are pretty much exactly how I feel as well. I can't see how to avoid supporting the black market in any other way.

I would like to see some kind of hurdle erected to give kids (and young adults) a serious educational blast before selling them their first dose, but otherwise I think it has to be legal if you're interested in harm-minimization.


In my experience the only effective education about these particular drugs is experimentation. Problem here is that if they were administered safely and legally, there would be (predominantly) zero downsides. Barring unexpected negative side effects, the only time "this is bad" comes into play is long, long after addiction takes hold. You can tell somebody for 30+ years "this is bad don't do it" even up to the point of using unethical methods (i.e. force a teen to smoke a whole pack of cigs, or give a preteen a shot or three of Popov)... it doesn't really click that first time, or even after several times.

The missing element with drug legalization is the preventative aspect. It simply doesn't happen in large enough numbers using the exposure/education method.

However, shame based propaganda has been showing significantly positive(?) results with cigarettes. Most people I've e countered from younger generations cannot fathom smoking a cigarette. Vaping, sure, but stinky cigarette? Ewwww, gross.

Meth and heroin legalization and "it's all good if you're responsible" mentality isn't going to work.


I don't think anyone said "it's all good if you're responsible" lol...

You're right though, often times the only solid education is experience.


Do you see a distinction between consumption and clandestine trafficking?


Well the trafficking is necessary because the substances are illegal, so yes..? If there were just legal, safe ways to obtain these drugs, the vast majority of people who wanted to do them would choose to do so. For those who chose to go for the cheaper but riskier options, that's their choice, they should be educated on the dangers, and then that should be end of it


No one would become a meth addict if better drugs were cheap and legal. Even meth addicts would probably prefer some nice cocaine. Eventually, the most effective treatments for addiction will include supervised doses of psilocybin. Research is difficult when the law interferes, however.


You're missing one: those who literally actually have the power have somehow been subsumed by a system into becoming powerless.

Ergo, if workers realized that their work was valuable and created a bloc, we can turn the tables (unions come to mind as well as brothels and other collectives which seek to harness their power). The trick is you have to know you're powerful.

And I'm not suggesting that's enough to solve the entire problem, but its enough to enable negotiations to continue improving the situation.


If you create a bloc of people providing a service that is illegal, now you've formed a criminal organization, at least in the eyes of law enforcement, and you've painted a target on your back. Can't really unionize effectively unless you're on the right side of the law. Which is another argument for decriminalization.


> Both are dangerous work

Because the regulation is crappy. Current regulation and laws is what made them dangerous.

> Both have high degree's of human trafficking

Again. This is due to the current laws. If woman were able to travel to another country (say, USA) and do short-term entertainment work for a few months on her own terms, you will reduce human trafficking.

The current laws benefit lots of people. For politicians, this problem doesn't exist since prostitution is illegal. For human traffickers and clubs, this brings them money because if woman were to operate legally on a freelance basis, they'll have no business mode. The customers don't really care.


> For human traffickers and clubs, this brings them money because if woman were to operate legally on a freelance basis, they'll have no business mode.

Operating legally on a freelance basis is the norm for strippers right now. The club's business model is that they charge the stripper for use of the floor.


> If woman were able to travel to another country (say, USA) and do short-term entertainment work for a few months on her own terms, you will reduce human trafficking.

I don't think regulation would fix this. Is the main impetus for human trafficking the inability for sex workers to independently travel? Doesn't fit my mental model of the issue.


It could be a factor, but probably not a main one.

I know first hand that there are organizations that will help people in poor countries get a tourist visa to a wealthier country, and set them up with under the table jobs for a few months so they can go home with enough cash to support their families for the rest of the year. Not legal, but relatively harmless.

I've heard stories, but no personal knowledge, of traffickers pretending to be one of the above organizations, but once the victim is in the foreign country, they effectively enslave them using some combination of confiscating their documents, direct threats, threats against relatives, and lying/exaggerating what the local law enforcement will do if they find out they came to work illegally. By the time people back home realize something is wrong, the traffickers have already moved on. No idea how accurate or how common this is.

Same would apply to orgs offering to smuggle people into a wealthy country without a visa with the intention of staying indefinitely. In either case, I suppose a freer flow of labor could reduce that grey market and therefore the opportunity for abuse.


> Because the regulation is crappy. Current regulation and laws is what made them dangerous.

Regulation will never work to create better working condition. There will always be more laborers willing to replace you than amazing job opportunities. Also, labor regulation is constantly being worked around by companies. Eg. in Europe, due to tough regulation of working conditions, many workers are now being employed as freelancers and therefore receiving exactly zero worker protections.

Competition for workers is what has empirically worked to improve working conditions. UBI or just reducing monopolistic living costs, such as real estate rent, could give people the option not to work - the biggest contribution to competition for workers.


> Regulation will never work to create better working condition.

Regulations do already create better working conditions, including making workplaces safer and things like overtime pay for wage earners. Why do you think that more regulations can’t improve the conditions further?


> Current regulation and laws is what made them dangerous.

Could you please elaborate a bit more?


The very unparallel difference between prostitution and labor though (pre-modern-technology) is that the former often left a permanent, enduring, and very personal reminder of the activity ... a child. That's the genesis of almost all differences in treatment of prostitution vs labor, the one almost all commentators here have not addressed. With the "Brave New World" upon us in increasing degrees, that may change.

EDIT: Brave New World


Disease control is possibly a more compelling argument. I've seen some articles that suggest some prostitutes primarily provide oral gratification which does not lead to pregnancy. Your argument also presumes that all sex work is heterosexual which is another problem with it.

Human sexual morality is complex. Disease control and the consequence of pregnancy are large parts of the reason sex is such a loaded issue.

This is a poor argument for suggesting people should not be allowed to provide sexual services for cash if they so choose.


100% agree. That might look like only one difference, but it makes all the difference here.

Aside from that, you also have the personal aspect of the two. When you leave labor related work and go to your house, you don't generally do labor on your own or with other people you share an interest (or a deep emotion with) with, you might do it as an hobby, but that's pretty much it. Sex on the other hand, is different. You can still do it without any emotions attached, but you also do it when you are deeply involved with other people. It's one of the basic ways to share deep affection with other people, which can be hindered if you do it professionally.

Of course this depends on the person, or more generally, the society. Maybe that's probably why prostitution is legal in some countries.


I think the one big emotional difference which has put prostitution in a separate category is that it kind of overlaps with drugs and addiction.

Sex releases happy chemicals, just like drugs. Nobody is getting hooked on paying people to pour concrete.

There's the saying "if you look for yellow cars, you'll find them." I think your assumption that the difference was gender is just a product of the times: you were looking for that answer. Even though male prostitutes are illegal too. And there's clearly an emotional difference between having sex with someone, and having them mow your lawn.


success and completing things also release happy chemicals, but we you're allowed to build things or play sports for payment.

Even with that emotional connection, both psychologists and masseuses exist just fine


I've made a few friends in life who've done pretty much every drug under the sun. The only one that I've consistently heard described as "better than sex" is heroin.

Please, reflect on that for a second. Imagine going through all the drugs you could, trying heroin, and being like: "woah, this one drug is actually better than sex." It says a lot.


>There's the saying "if you look for yellow cars, you'll find them." I think your assumption that the difference was gender is just a product of the times: you were looking for that answer.

Without passing an opinion on the subject, isn't that kind of a flaming laser sword? You could apply it to any parallel drawn between two things regardless of whether the comparison is valid or not. It doesn't seem like a useful tool to discriminate valid ideas from invalid ones.


This form of argument does not seem to apply to every parallel drawn between any two things. It seems to apply specifically to comparisons that are very close fits with dominant cultural trends.

In 1800s Britain, it could be applied to reject claims such as "cholera is caused by the jews", but it could not be applied to claims such as "cholera is caused by contaminated water pumps".

Similarly, the claim "prostitution was made illegal because the Plumbers and Deliverypeople Union wanted exclusive nibs on spontaneous sexual encounters" would be impervious to this 'sword', because blaming plumbers for the problems of society is not a current trope of our culture.

Disregarding the merits of this particular instance, that seems like a reasonable general heuristic: after all, if some conclusion is socially desirable, then people may reach it even when it's not supported by the preponderance of evidence.


Why couldn't it? The statement has nothing to do with current tropes, but rather is an implicit accusation of a confirmation bias on a single person. You can make a claim, and regardless of what it is I can reply with "well, you're saying that because you have an a priori belief and you were looking for any evidence to confirm it".


The statement has a lot to do with current tropes: that's exactly what "product of the times" means.

Cf. a "sign of the times": something that shows the kinds of things that are happening, popular, important, etc., in a culture at a particular period in history.


~~If you watch any interviews with sex workers it's clear that they view it as a job, not as a pleasure act. Many porn stars for instance have boyfriends/husbands and note that sex with them is different then their day job sex.~~

Also I am talking more about hard labor, construction, dock work, mining, landscaping is is taxing but it doesn't pay the big sell-your-back-knees-and-possibly-a-limb bucks.


You misunderstood. The people who presumably get 'hooked' aren't the workers, but the customers. People don't sell drugs as a pleasure act either.


Ah, I see.


> Nobody is getting hooked on paying people to pour concrete.

So you think sex work is illegal / made very impractical in so many countries to protect the customers?


These things aren't illegal soas to protect the unfortunates who would become addicted, so much as the society as a whole. So that (most) people don't just give up and smoke crack all day or become too immoral or whatever. In principle at least, every individual vice has it's own complicated story.


Only one is a transmissible disease vector that presents a threat to all of society.


We expect men to pay for dates. We expect men to be the primary breadwinner in a marriage. Marriage is the only contract that can be annulled if it's not consummated with an act of sex.

And then we vilify sex work and torture sex workers on the theory that sex in exchange for money is A Bad Thing.

Our logic is idiotic and our world is broken.


Don't know where you're from, but I've rarely paid for dates; it's almost always either split or "I'll pay this one, you can pay next one". This has never been an issue, and seems to be the default in most countries I've lived in (Netherlands, England, Ireland, New Zealand, and even Indonesia! Although that last one is a bit more complex.)

This comment kind of seems 40 years out of date? Or maybe it's different in other places?


In the US its mixed as there are tons of cultures in one place all acting like their customs are the norm

It is pretty predictable to pay for a date here, go look at toxic relationship comment sections or even Clubhouse and you’ll see many people denigrating men if they are not paying for a date

The cishet male experience requires guessing which framework the woman present at the time is following and never being wrong. Paying for a food item can either be expected or offensive. It’s never benign like when your male colleague or friend drives across town to see you and you pay for the meal because its nice they went out of their way. With many women right now its not factoring in that it isn't a gendered action even if they are claiming that splitting is their form of equality when equality can mean treating the person that went out their way as well.


Forty years ago is when I swore off dating at the age of sixteen.

Maybe future generations will sort this out.

In the mean time, the world is being run by a lot of folks who are my age and older. And I think this general paradigm still is the crux of the issue.

Women still on average make less than men. Multimillionaire women, like Janet Jackson, can still marry up because men in her league are billionaires.


> Women still on average make less than men.

That's true, but as I understand it, it's not because of discrimination but because of different choices.

https://www.amazon.com/Why-Men-Earn-More-Startling/dp/154275...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pdnkbs4l_g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl0JcZfFGQw


That boils down to an excuse at best and a justification at worst.

Historically, teachers made relatively good pay and were respected. That was when it was a mostly male profession. That changed when it became a mostly female profession.

Conversely, programing was originally a more female dominated profession and not well paid nor respected. Now it is a male profession and very well paid.

Humans tend to pay men better for the same work. We come up with myriad explanations for the phenomenon but it's stubbornly persistent.

I think it's more complicated than "Women just entirely voluntarily choose something else."


> That boils down to am excuse at best and a justification at worst.

It's neither. It's a reason, an explanation.

> I think it's more complicated than "Women just entirely voluntarily choose something else."

From what I understand, the research shows that isn't the case. Basically all of the earning gap is explained by choices, not discrimination.

> Historically, teachers made relatively good pay and were respected. That was when it was a mostly male profession. That changed when it became a mostly female profession.

Correlation is not causation though. I know you know that, but just stating it for others that are reading this.


> Historically, teachers made relatively good pay and were respected. That was when it was a mostly male profession. That changed when it became a mostly female profession.

The alternative explanation can be this:

Societal expectations is that the resource provision is core to male value. This can be observed on the disproportionate impact of wealth on relationship attractiveness between the genders [1], men generally benefit more from status than women, and women tend to benefit more from attractiveness than men [2].-

With incentives like this, I find it unsurprising that men are more likely to chase status. It's also a cleaner model, with clearer causal lines than "society is built around paying women less".

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8531056/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6437035/


>Humans tend to pay men better for the same work. We come up with myriad explanations for the phenomenon but it's stubbornly persistent.

Citation needed on this one, particularly on the "same work" section. It's my understanding that studies that followed up on the initial gender wage gap studies found that the intial gap shrinks drastically once the data was controlled for type of work (the same work assumption you made), as well as for the number of hours worked across a given time period.


Programming then and programming now are as comparable of a job as a black smith forging utensils and a CNC operator making tools.


I don't know about any other countries but this is extremely common in the US. Dating is a line item in most men's budgets. In my experience, and I'm sure others, it's never pick a bar or something where it can be affordable. With modern dating and apps you are simply a number. I'm sure someone will chime in that they met their lover/soul-mate/girlfriend/whatever on dating apps but the data has time and time again shown this to be the exception and not the rule.

I generally will end a date if the bill isn't split at least for the first few dates. As a result, I had nothing but trouble to the point of swearing off dating until a chance encounter in the real world introduced me to my current girlfriend.


> Marriage is the only contract that can be annulled if it's not consummated with an act of sex.

This is no longer true. Most countries now have no fault divorce laws so withholding sex has no impact on whether or not you can divorce.


Though the fact that this was the case in recent memory tells us a lot. Rape within marriage wasn't even considered a crime in all states until 1993.


Meta rant:

Every day there's probably a few thousand morons on the internet clutching their pearls about how you theoretically don't need car insurance in a few states despite the reality that anyone who can afford to opt out is better served by buying insurance and the only people who opt out have very, very, niche use cases. You are using a a similar presentation of the truth but not the whole truth in your comment.

States have widely varying laws. Just because something isn't specifically illegal doesn't mean some existing clause wasn't used to prosecute it. If a state doesn't have a lot of frequency of some event it will likely not develop specific laws, it will just use existing laws and precedents in weird ways. For example CA has all sorts of laws about wells and water in order to mediate disputes. Arkansas for example simply doesn't have those laws because those issues aren't as common and the volume is low enough for those issues to go through different parts of the legal system without causing much problem.

Saying X wasn't illegal in every state until Y year is about as meaningful as saying Z is known to the state of CA to cause cancer for any value of X and Y you could pick.


Marital rape didn't start to become illegal until the late 70's. It wasn't universal until the early 90's. So you can pick some date in between and then use that date to draw the obvious conclusion that our deeply mysogynistic society has serious issues with sexuality and gender.


I am not familiar with the history of American laws. You and the comment you are replying to are saying different things using the same terminology, so I am confused which one of you is correct on history.

The person you are replying to is saying marital sexual assault did not have its own laws. Rather, it was prosecuted general sexual assault laws.

You are saying marital sexual assault did not have its own laws and it was NOT prosecuted under general sexual assault laws. For example, because the sexual assault laws had an exception saying the law does not apply if the perpetrator is married to the victim.

So, which one is correct? Did the law before 70's or 90's specifically exclude marital sexual assault? Or was it neutral and used for all sexual assaults, both within and without marriage?

We sometimes see laws covering things that are already covered, not changing things, but merely making them more explicit. In more recent memory, once can remember the debate surrounding Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which essentially aimed to criminalize something that was already criminalized by the existing statutes.


"You are saying marital sexual assault did not have its own laws and it was NOT prosecuted under general sexual assault laws."

I am saying this because it was a fact in the United States. Laws specifically and unambiguously stated that rape was not a crime if the women was married to the man (and yes, it was gendered in the law). Hence the need for the laws to be changed starting in the late 1970's.

Some background: https://nortontooby.com/node/13251


What part of your source are we supposed to look at?


The first result of searching for the word `wife` in the linked page:

See, e.g., Black’s Law Dictionary (6th ed.1990) (defining rape as the ‘act of sexual intercourse committed by a man with a woman not his wife and without her consent, committed when the woman’s resistance is overcome by force or fear, or under other prohibitive conditions’).”

Not sure it proves what the GP was saying, though. The second result is similar, and seems to be referencing an actual law.


Norms changed over the time period in question greatly reducing the need for physical violence or immediate threat thereof to prosecute someone for rape or a rape adjacent crime.

Marital sexual assault was generally prosecuted under domestic violence laws (which themselves became broader and stricter over time) on an as-needed basis but the required fact pattern for prosecution in 1965 or so was a higher bar in general than the standard set by the laws by 1990 or so. Furthermore, plea bargains rose in popularity over the same time period and DV went from a non-issue misdemeanor to a serious problem on your record over the same time period so examining conviction stats for various crimes is difficult.


> plea bargains rose in popularity over the same time period

That's interesting. I assumed plea bargains were always this popular. Any idea why they rose in popularity during this specific period?


>I assumed plea bargains were always this popular. Any idea why they rose in popularity during this specific period?

A variety of reasons but mandatory minimums and stiffer sentencing in general (both made popular by the war on drugs) are the bulk of the reason.

When your lawyer could say in confidence that based on the fact pattern you're all but assured sentence on the order of a lesser crime that more correctly fits the fact pattern you're more likely to go to court and try and clear your name. When you're guaranteed a minimum sentence should you lose taking the bargain seems more reasonable.


How about the fact that in England to this day, it is impossible for a woman to rape anyone, because rape is legally defined as non-consenting penetration with a penis.


Pertinent previous discussion like a decade back:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1622921

There are all kinds of diabolical issues with our current laws, etc. related to human sexuality.


not sure if you are talking about the same thing. GP mentioned anullment, you said divorce.


Society expects sexuality to operate under the cover of euphemisms and metanyms. This is why people talk about "making love" and "sleeping with someone" when they actually mean fucking. It's also why love movies are considered wholesome in a way that pornography is not. For sex to be acceptable, it has to be hidden under a layer of social niceties and be hinted at only indirectly. The problem with sex workers is they're too direct. They force us to confront the bodily appetites that are already there. People can't handle that.


I understand shit like rom-coms can sometimes perpetuate silly stereotypes around relationships, but "being direct" also isn't the solution. Sex should not be bluntly wielded like a tool. Engaging in it haphazardly can mess with one's brain chemistry around pleasure and reward and have consequences that can last throughout life.


What makes you think that engaging in sex haphazardly messes up one's brain chemistry?


that's your decision to make for yourself, and I respect that. I don't think any of us have any business making decisions about other people's sexual lives.


While true for the US, this is Sweden. Swedes don't expect men to pay for dates, don't expect men to be the primary breadwinner, and there is no such thing as marriage annulment, while divorces can be without fault.

https://everythingsweden.com/dating-in-sweden/ - "Coming from the UK, it’s very common that if you take someone to a restaurant, the guy pays for the meal. If the opportunity is there then great, but don’t be offended if your date demands to split the bill 50/50. Sweden is very serious about being gender neutral and this is a good example."

https://www.government.se/4a7738/contentassets/efcc5a15ef154... - "Women and men must have the same opportunities for economic independence. In Sweden, some of the most important reforms concerning gender equality took place in the labour market and in social policy in the 1970s. These reforms pushed gender equality and increased women’s prospects to have the same opportunities as men to enter the labour market, and to remain and develop there." including "Separate income taxation for wife and husband", "Development of public child care", and "First country to introduce gender-neutral paid parental leave benefit".

And https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_law_in_Sweden#Grounds_... - "One critical feature that marks Swedish divorce laws is the complete absence of any fault requirement when establishing a case for divorce. Fault is entirely irrelevant and has no legal consequences on the results of the proceedings ... under the Swedish laws, there is no preliminary requirement of a separation period before a divorce case can be established."

And https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_divorce-45-se-maximizeMS... - "There are no rules governing marriage annulment in Swedish law."


Thank you for that. But they have a ways to go to achieve actual equality:

In 2019, female workers in Sweden earned on average 25,500 Swedish kronor on a monthly basis, while the average salary for men was in the same class was 29,500 Swedish kronor per month.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/740048/monthly-salary-in...


> But they have a ways to go to achieve actual equality

But what are the causes of this inequality? What if it is simply different choices on average rather than discrimination? If it is the choice of free people that produces this inequality, do we force people to pick different jobs, or tax one side more heavily than the other to compensate? What is the proposed solution?


Cishet females are capable of getting pregnant. Most of our cultural norms are rooted in historical efforts to make sure everyone got cared for and men didn't just run around impregnating random women and not providing for the children that resulted and leaving the mother's life in ruins.

Birth control and other factors have made it possible to live differently than that but we still norm everything around practices that worked to get the least worst result for human kind historically.

The odds are good there will always be some differences between men and women. But those aggregate stats tend to downplay the degree to which women get barred from having a good life on their own efforts and tend to be condemned to poverty and hardship through no fault of their own, no matter how hard they try.

My proposed solution is we need to find ways to let women have enough more consistently without having to sleep with a man to get it. To my mind, one test for that is if I could just make my life work that would be a step forward, a step in the right direction.

I seem unable to adequately explain that to anyone here. I seem unable to adequately get across that there is something fundamentally wrong and gender-based when the highest ranked openly female member here still can't make ends meet and far too few people are at all helpful with that issue.

I remain essentially a charity case though people agree I add value, I'm smart, etc. It still fails to adequately open doors for me and people act like that has no bearing on conversations about gender inequality and dismiss me as just some loser and crybaby, as if I don't have some kind of legitimate point here.

I think I need to walk away from this discussion at this point. It's probably accomplishing nothing, as usual, and I find these kinds of conversations incredibly infuriating.


Certainly. But does wage inequality cause people to "vilify sex work and torture sex workers"?

I doubt it, as I see that the gender wage inequality in The Netherlands is much higher (https://www.statista.com/statistics/537993/average-monthly-w... ) and yet the Netherlands has legalized sex work.


does wage inequality cause people to "vilify sex work and torture sex workers"?

No, of course not. That's not what I'm suggesting.

When I was homeless, men repeatedly offered me money for sex or offered me a place to stay. Meanwhile, I was repeatedly told on HN that my desire to support myself with my writing was ludicrous, that writing dies not pay and I shouldn't expect it to.

And when I say my gender is a barrier to effective networking and a factor in my intractable poverty, I am routinely mocked and dismissed.

I am seriously handicapped, which limits the kind of work I can do. I don't qualify for disability.

I don't need a helluva lot of money. I still can't get what I need. All I get is BS personal attacks, dismissals and contempt.

It's very, very clear in my mind that men are willing to pay me for sex or marry me but far too few people are willing to pay me for other kinds of work and the networking that helps men make money via business is something I'm mostly cut off from.

And it's a tiresome situation because I'm given nothing but crap for trying to solve my problems no matter what I do.

I've been here nearly twelve years. Plenty of men make good money via HN. I don't, though my past front page post had over 15k page views and people thanked me for writing it. But it made not one thing dime.

And if you don't want to support my blog writing, I also do resume work and get too little business that way as well.


> It's very, very clear in my mind that men are willing to pay me for sex or marry me but far too few people are willing to pay me for other kinds of work and the networking that helps men make money via business is something I'm mostly cut off from.

What kind of networking is being recommended? I'd like to know so I can do more of it.


If I knew an effective answer to that, I wouldn't have this complaint.

All I know is multiple people here have comments in their profile "Don't hesitate to get in touch! I'm happy to hear from you!" And those people have proven to be generally unhelpful.

Saying too much more puts me in danger of getting in trouble for breaking the rules. It's perfectly acceptable for 5 million people to watch me starve and say "Not my problem." It's not perfectly acceptable for me to tell my story here, no matter how careful I am and I'm quite clear that being not careful would be more problematic for me and get me no remedy.


Then what of your comments anything to do with topic "The ongoing witch-hunt for sex workers in Sweden"?


> We expect men to pay for dates.

Where are you from? This is not true everywhere.

> We expect men to be the primary breadwinner in a marriage.

In a mysoginistic vision of marriage in your culture, maybe.

It's fine if you see marriage as a business arrangement (readily available sex for money AKA prostitution). But don't pretend everybody views marriage the exact same way.


> In a mysoginistic vision of marriage in your culture, maybe.

"Men expected to work hard and die early to provide for the family, women most affected." /s

Men being expected to provide is not misogynistic. It places a burden on the man.

Yes, if the woman were PREVENTED from working that would be misogynistic, but that's not what the parent comment said. The parent comment merely said that men are expected to pay, not that women are prevented from earning, and these are not the same thing.


TFA is about Sweden. GP is comparing the misogyny of "expecting men to pay for dates" to the misogyny of Swedish persecution of sex work.


> TFA is about Sweden. GP is comparing the misogyny of "expecting men to pay for dates" to the misogyny of Swedish persecution of sex work.

There is no misogyny in cracking down on prostitution. The amount of trafficked women forced into prostitution greatly outweighs the amount of willing participants in that "business". Believing the opposite certainly is misogyny.


Likening relationships to prostitution is pretty cynical. Some relationships may basically be an exchange of money/status for sex but not all of them are, right?

Ideally a relationship is about getting to know someone, experiencing mutal attraction, forming an emotional connection, and so on. Sex is part of it but it's not all of it and mutual desire is important to most people.


> We expect men to pay for dates. We expect men to be the primary breadwinner in a marriage. Marriage is the only contract that can be annulled if it's not consummated with an act of sex.

I know nobody outside of 19th century books and Americans online argue these points. I'm not trying to be facetious: do people currently alive actually think these things?


I sincerely believe it isn't dead yet, though some progress has been made.

People no longer default to assuming that women should be full-time wives and moms. Women in the US no longer need their husband's permission to seek employment. Etc.

But the general pattern still shapes a great many social phenomenon and I think it is a serious ongoing problem, yes.

Annulment isn't a "thought." It's a legal reality. You don't typically seal contracts with "and then we have sex and the contract is null and void if that doesn't happen at least once."


In my jurisdiction annulment is certainly not a legal reality. Canon law has not been of any legal importance since the separation of church and state.

I do see now that some countries achieved the latter by importing some church laws into their legal system, so I suppose that's how in some western countries annulment is indeed still a reality. Amazing!


I think the discourse around prostitution laws sometimes gets confused.

In my view, the main reason for making prostitution legal is to allow victims of trafficking and sex crimes to seek justice against their abusers without themselves being prosecuted. This doesn't mean that prostitution isn't still a negative and that we shouldn't try to eliminate it where possible.

I guess to be specific I think the police trying to expand anti-pimping laws to classify anyone who does business with a prostitute as a pimp are clearly detrimental to the well being of sex workers, but I don't think laws which discourage men from buying sex to begin with are necessarily more harmful than helpful.


> In my view, the main reason for making prostitution legal is to allow victims of trafficking and sex crimes to seek justice against their abusers without themselves being prosecuted. This doesn't mean that prostitution isn't still a negative and that we shouldn't try to eliminate it where possible.

And that makes the police behavior in the OP make much more sense: the goal of legalized prostitution (and criminalizing all related activities) wasn't to make sex work legal, it was only to reduce the leverage traffickers have over the trafficked.


Right, but clearly in some cases (if this post is accurate) the police have managed to turn these laws around and still use them to terrorize sex workers which defeats the purpose as it risks pushing these women underground again.

It's a tough problem...


> the police have managed to turn these laws around and still use them to terrorize sex workers

The OP isn't describing sex workers being "terrorized," it's describing people not wanting to associate with them because of the legal peril of supporting prostitution.

> which defeats the purpose as it risks pushing these women underground again.

I don't see any incentive for these women to go "underground" because they are in no legal peril themselves. The simple solution the ostracism is to stop being a prostitute and get a different job, which is probably what the law was intended to encourage.

> It's a tough problem...

The kind of strict-enforcement situation the OP describes actually seems like a tidy to solution to the problem of prohibiting prostitution without crating a trap for women in a trafficking situation. The key seems to be a broad interpretation of what "profiting from prostitution" is, so landlords, hotels, boyfriends, etc. won't want to take the risk. That replaces the legal pressure to get prostitutes to stop with social pressure.


>I don't see any incentive for these women to go "underground" because they are in no legal peril themselves.

Sure no legal peril, but if a sex worker does come forward to the police about an abusive John or a pimp she risks being kicked out of her home, locked out of her bank account and having her family and friends harassed by police.

This creates a strong disincentive to get help from authorities, which seems like exactly the barrier legalization efforts aim to eliminate.


Tell me you're missing the point without telling me you're missing the point.

>The kind of strict-enforcement situation the OP describes actually seems like a tidy to solution to the problem of prohibiting prostitution without crating a trap for women in a trafficking situation.

Except that’s not the situation this solution generates. It makes any aboveboard legal situation impossible, recreating the problems of prohibition and creating a trap.


I think you're missing the point. There appears to be no aboveboard legal prostitution in Sweden, nor is that what the law envisions. Rather all prostitution involves someone committing a crime (the John), and the law has chosen to not directly punish one party because that leads to undesirable outcomes in cases where that party wasn't willing participating.

There is no trap, if you don't break the law, and don't help other people break the law, then you aren't involved in the industry at all.

I'm not going to take a position on whether or not prostitution should be legal, but pretending that prostitution is currently completely legal when it always involves a crime doesn't seem like a good argument.


> Except that’s not the situation this solution generates. It makes any aboveboard legal situation impossible, recreating the problems of prohibition and creating a trap for women.

How does this create a trap, when a trafficked women can always run to the police and get everyone who tried to exploit them arrested, without being in any legal peril themselves?


that isn't how it works. any police interaction is fraught with legal peril.

nwsp has a report on harms involved with this model of prohibition

https://www.nswp.org/sites/nswp.org/files/4.%20Impacts%20of%...

occasionally there are news stories about particularly bad travesties of this kind of prohibition

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ireland-migr...

one thing to keep in mind is that many people cannot seek help from the police. people who are victims to forced labor are often in a complex legal situation created or exploited by the perpetrators. undocumented people, the most vulnerable victims of trafficking, risk being arrested and deported if they seek help. this may destroy lives, separate families, render people homeless, or deliver refugees back to their peril.

the only way to reduce this kind of exploitation is to legalize and proliferate good options that don't exploit people, and provide social support services to vulnerable people that do not involve law enforcement, so it becomes not easy or profitable to exploit people.


> one thing to keep in mind is that many people cannot seek help from the police. people who are victims to forced labor are often in a complex legal situation created or exploited by the perpetrators.

I mean, isn't that the exact problem that structuring prostitution laws in this way solves?

> undocumented people, the most vulnerable victims of trafficking, risk being arrested and deported if they seek help.

Illegal immigration is separate legal issue from prostitution, and issues caused by it won't get solved by normalizing prostitution.

I think a distinction needs to be drawn between legalizing prostitution and normalizing it. It's quite clear this Swedish model does the former without doing the latter, in order to solve a specific legal dilemma. That's still going to irk those who really want the latter.


>The kind of strict-enforcement situation the OP describes actually seems like a tidy to solution to the problem of prohibiting prostitution without crating a trap for women in a trafficking situation.

That's a good point, but if the government is going to do that they should be above board about it.

Presumably the law was sold to the public and legislators as applying to pimping under the everyday definition. Calling everything pimping is abusing the law, just like in the US where calling everything interstate commerce so that the Federal government can control it is abusing the law.

And if you passed law A, you shouldn't get to interpret it as law B and say that that's okay because law B is a tidy solution to a problem.


I don't think it's the case that prostitution is a social negative. Has anyone shown that?

I think your last paragraph relies on the concept that all sex workers are always victims and no one else (the buyers, coworkers etc) is ever a victim.

That really can't be true in practice. So we need a more nuanced approach.


We know that sex workers are frequent victims of violence rape and even murder as well as being at a much higher risk of catching stds or having unwanted pregnancies.

People argue about these specific numbers because frankly it's a hard population to get honest surveys of, but here's one I found.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9698636/

>As adults in prostitution, 82% had been physically assaulted; 83% had been threatened with a weapon; 68% had been raped while working as prostitutes;

...

>Eighty-eight percent of these respondents stated that they wanted to leave prostitution, and described what they needed in order to escape.

If those numbers are even close to reality I think it's hard to argue that the negatives of prostitution don't far outweigh any positives.

That said I think it's not at all obvious what the solution is here because clearly criminalizing prostitution is ineffective at eliminating prostitution.


Don't those stats only prove that criminalized prostitution is a negative? I expect you'd have a huge differential if you took similar stats from people selling weed in a place that strictly enforces a ban vs a place where it is legal and regulated. Probably not when it comes to rape, but violent/armed encounters are probably negligible for a legal weed shop, but common in an underground industry. Naturally, in the latter case, people would overwhelmingly want to get out, not because of the job itself, but the opportunists that crop up due to the lack of legal oversight.


Sure, but while there is evidence that less abuse and trafficking occurs where prostitution is legal (which is why I do generally support legalization) I think it's clear that it doesn't eliminate it.

I wasn't able to find any stats on violence in a country where it is both legal and normalized, but I did find this paper by a doctor of psychology about the trafficking and abuses that still occur under the German system.

https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol3/iss3/5/

I'm open to evidence to the contrary, but it seems like in many ways the legalization and normalization of prostitution has both failed to protect sex workers from violence and has normalized the trafficking and pimping of these women.


That article seems to be an anecdotal story from a single person. Sad, but hard to point at it as support for or against legalization without being able to show that similar cases are more common under one system than the other.

Sadly, people with mental health issues and difficult families being preyed upon by abusers is common, even here in the US.


> This doesn't mean that prostitution isn't still a negative and that we shouldn't try to eliminate it where possible.

Why?


Because it's extremely harmful to sex workers and many (perhaps a majority) of those who do it would prefer not to but lack the tools or support network to make a change.

What's the positive to society that justifies how frequently these women get robbed, assaulted, and raped?


"People routinely attack this group, QED we should ban this group" is odd logic. Lumber workers have the highest fatality rate of any profession in the US, at 1-in-1,000, should we also ban them? When queer people get attacked by homophobes, should we ban them from being queer?

Why is prostitution a different situation than those?

And how much of the violence against them is because they've been ostracized and routinely lack legal protections?

Is it really better for society that people who do prostitution to avoid starving to death... instead starve to death?

If you really believe people only do sex work because they lack the tools for something else, why not give them those tools instead of removing what little they already have? If your theory is correct, no one will decline these better tools; and anyone who does decline is reasonable evidence that your theory was wrong and sex work isn't actually intrinsically harmful.

Certainly, there are nations that legalize prostitution without falling in to anarchy and violence, and I don't just mean the Swedish model.


> In my view, the main reason for making prostitution legal is to allow victims of trafficking and sex crimes to seek justice against their abusers without themselves being prosecuted.

Yes that is precisely why it's not illegal to sell sex in Sweden, only to buy it. There is no need to allow the buying part, or pimping. The Reddit post is mostly bogus except for outlining the law in the first paragraph.

I mean come on, a landlord not allowing people to use his building as a private brothel isn't "a witchhunt".


Why do you think paying for sex is a negative that should be eliminated?


It's male chauvinism, abuse and oppression of women. As long as buying a woman just to exploit her body sexually is normalized we will never reach equality. The few happy sex workers that truly think they are not abused are not worth the enormous negative effects prostitution has on society.


Sounds like a lot of projection and presumption, combined with a complete dismissal of male sex work. I would argue that as long as people like you assume a woman con't control her own body without it being "exploited" or "oppressed", we will never reach equity.


I also believe in work safety laws that prohibit workers from operating machinery for 14 hours straight or climbing radio antenna without any kind of safety equipment. I fail to see how that's fine but laws about selling sex are somehow in violation of these worker's agency.


You really don't understand the difference between a safety regulation and a moral regulation? Or do you think sex work is intrinsically dangerous and prostitutes might fall to their death due to a lack of safety gear?


Prostitution is intrinsically dangerous and prostitutes are significantly more likely to die than any other workers. This isn't counting the incredibly high rates of physical violence and rape they face.


I have never once heard about this: what exactly are the intrinsic dangers of prostitution that make it so much less safe than being a lumberjack?


"I fail to see how that's fine but laws about selling sex are somehow in violation of these worker's agency."

You don't understand how limits on some types of work are different from a comprehensive prohibition on other types of work? I don't beleive you.


I don't see how banning prostitution isn't merely a limit on the kinds of sex work you can perform.

The distinction is arbitrary.


> It's male chauvinism, abuse and oppression of women

Do you think all sex workers identify as female?

> As long as buying a woman just to exploit her body sexually is normalized we will never reach equality

How is it any different from any other industry? What's the difference between paying someone to massage your scalp because it feels good and paying them to massage your genitalia because it feels good? For that matter, how is it any different to any job at all? Is a person being paid to restock shelves being hired for their holistic personhood? We're "exploiting" their body for their ability to lift items onto shelves. How are sexual skills any different from any other skill which we employee people for?

> The few happy sex workers that truly think they are not abused are not worth the enormous negative effects prostitution has on society.

Right, those sex workers are so dumb they don't even know of they're happy or not.


Not all sex workers are women but an overwhelming majority of them are and those that are women or trans are much more likely to face violence especially at the hands of men.

This is clearly a gender specific problem despite your desire to frame it otherwise.

As to your second point, we often hire underage people to do work such as restocking shelves. If sex work is truly the same as retail work would you also argue that hiring an underage prostitute is no different than when Walmart hires a 15 year old to push carts? If not, what's the difference?


We don't allow 15 year olds to sell alcohol, why would we allow them to sell sex? I'm sure one doesn't have to stretch far to find other examples of professions we don't generally let 15 year olds engage in - you don't seriously think a 15 year old cop with a gun is okay, do you? Or a 15 year old soldier on the front lines? Are you okay with a 15 year old doing your next heart surgery?

This is clearly a situation that society knows how to handle via a fairly wide variety of methods and control systems.


A 15 year old can't be a surgeon because they can't perform surgery. This is a false equivalence.


> As to your second point, we often hire underage people to do work such as restocking shelves. If sex work is truly the same as retail work would you also argue that hiring an underage prostitute is no different than when Walmart hires a 15 year old to push carts? If not, what's the difference?

I don't find this argument compelling. Are you saying that the only professions that are morally permissible are those that we would allow fifteen-year-olds to do? We don't allow them to bartend, drive trucks, nor be members of the US Senate, but I find it silly to think that fact makes those professions particularly immoral. 15 year olds aren't even allowed to work 40 hour weeks in most countries.

And, to answer your question, I think the answer is that the fifteen-year-old is not sexually nor emotionally mature enough to engage in prostitution. (Just like they are not mature enough to serve alcohol or drive, whereas they are likely emotionally mature enough to push carts.) They're below the legal age of consent by three years, for goodness' sake! Advocating for legalized and regulated prostitution is not equivalent to advocating for pedophilia, and I find the equivalence you've drawn troubling.


I'm not arguing that prostitution should be illegal because it is immoral (I don't even think it shouldbe illegal), I'm arguing that clearly sex is different than every other activity we engage in and its simply incorrect to pretend that having sex with someone is the same thing as scanning their groceries.


The market is men, the workers are not specifically women


Why do you view prostitution as a negative? The only argument I've heard against prostitution that's remotely convincing is that outlawing it reduces sex trafficking. But it sounds like you're acknowledging that outlawing sex work doesn't help trafficking victims and still think it's bad anyway.


Because it seems almost impossible to design a system where women aren't being abused as prostitutes. Prostitutes are routinely assaulted raped robbed and murdered even in places where prostitution is legal.

Also I think as a society we treat sex as different from other activities in a way that isn't really compatible with legal sex work.

For example, if some manager asks the intern to pick up their Dry cleaning as part of their job, some people might frown upon that but I don't think many people think the intern is being wronged or if they are that it isn't really a big deal.

On the other hand, if a manager asks his intern to have sex with him, I think most people agree that this should be illegal and that the manager in question is abusing his power, even if having sex with the manager was listed as a job requirement.

But if your job is only to have sex...suddenly it's ok again.

You can argue that we should treat sex as a normal activity like driving someone around or picking up groceries for them, but currently in society we treat sexual consent differently to prevent these power imbalances and pressured sex in the workplace, and I don't think that treatment is consistent with the sentiment of "sex work is just work"


Why do you think that prostitution has to mean that the prostitute's manager would be able to force them to have sex with him? Couldn't we have a form of prostitution where the prostitutes have sex with clients while still be protected from their bosses by normal workplace protections?


> to prevent these power imbalances and pressured sex in the workplace

The power imbalances and pressures are the same for picking up dry cleaning.

Sexual consent is treated differently because of how the laws shaped our views of prostitution. If prostitution, legally speaking, becomes a normal job like serving ice cream or sweeping the floor, then your sideline example naturally follows and is not some kind of exceptional case.


But is that a world you want to live in? Where your wife or girlfriend is sleeping with her boss to ensure she gets a favorable raise and that's just considered part of being a woman?


You are conflating sex work between a sex worker and their client, and sex between a boss and their employees. Most of your comments are conflating sex work, and sexual abuse. These are two different issues, and the data shows decriminalizing all parts of sex work, both buying and selling is the most effective way to make sex work a safer occupation.


If that’s the job she wants to do, it is certainly not my place to dictate her choices. It’s not the 1950s anymore.


There has always been tension amongst women’s rights advocates regarding sex work. One faction held (paraphrasing) that sex work was liberating (economically), the other that sex work was denigrating and exploitative (sex objects).


This is such a well known phenomenon that there is a shorthand for it: SWERF. Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist. The core of the belief is that if there is a financial transaction taking place then it is not possible for the worker to give meaningful consent so all Johns are rapists.

Thankfully I think this is a fringe viewpoint, you won't find too many people like this in the real world. They tend to stay on the Internet where they can be maximally amplified.


>Thankfully I think this is a fringe viewpoint, you won't find too many people like this in the real world.

The main problem is not SWERFs, it's that even sex-positive feminists tend to want to "normalize sex work" only from the production angle but not the consumption angle. This means that the rebuttal to SWERFs is not "sex work isn't exploitative", but "capitalism is exploitative and sex work is often the best option given the circumstances." Which leads to passivity at best towards attempts to shame/punish men who patronize sex workers.


That thought can really be generalised; the problem I tend to have with feminism is how it conveniently forgets to address the male side of many problems until it's specifically pointed out, only to be acknowledged briefly and then put on a shelf again.


That’s a great point you bring up. (diff attitudes toward supply side vs demand side from advocates)

I have not looked into the attitudes toward sex work on the other side of the iron curtain. That’s an interesting topic. Undoubtedly it existed, but in the absence of capitalism perhaps it could not be considered exploitative.


> The core of the belief is that if there is a financial transaction taking place then it is not possible for the worker to give meaningful consent so all Johns are rapists.

I mean, it's a very narrow view, but I can kind of see where it's coming from. Of course, the obvious implication is that working for money now becomes "slavery" by the same reasoning.

I think the problem is the assumption that prostitution would only ever happen as a last resort to stay financially afloat, and nobody would ever just choose it as their preferred way of earning an income; which time has shown, actually does happen, and more often than many might think.


> he other that sex work was denigrating and exploitative (sex objects).

All work is exploitative and the more so when the potential supply is larger than the demand. Look at the wages of office cleaners and supermarket shelf fillers.


> All work is exploitative and the more so when the potential supply is larger than the demand. Look at the wages of office cleaners and supermarket shelf fillers.

There is a difference between doing blowjobs for a "living" and flipping burgers, if you can't tell then, I can understand how you would make such an absurd point.


> There is a difference between doing blowjobs for a "living" and flipping burgers

No, there really isn't. If one seems less appealing to you, just as it does to me, then that's fine because nobody is forcing us to do that kind of work. If, however, somebody else is completely fine with earning their money that way, why would we care or even tell them they aren't allowed to?


> If, however, somebody else is completely fine with earning their money that way, why would we care or even tell them they aren't allowed to?

I'm pretty ignorant on this issue, so I may have this wrong. But my intuition is that sex work, on average and over the long term, is not positive for one's mental well being. Something about repeatably being so vulnerable and intimate with strangers who have little interest in your whole self. That said, even if I'm right, I'm not sure what the laws or policies should be.


Here's a few jobs that are OK:

- Shovelling shit all day

- Listening to and dealing with other peoples traumatic experiences

- Lying to people (this is really a whole lot of jobs)

- Making sure locked-up people don't escape, using violence if "necessary"

- Driving around with so few chances to take a break that one has to pee in a bottle

- Working several shifts in a row saving life

- Shooting people for a living

- Bombing people for a living

- Deciding who gets shot and/or bombed

All of these are perfectly okay, according to society, yet getting laid is somehow "spychologically damaging" to the point where the decision cannot be even left to the individual? In what world does this make any sense?

Let's ban sewers, therapy, all borderline-scammy business models, prisons, delivery drivers, hospitals, wars (3 times) first, then we can talk about telling people how bad it is for them to have sex for money.


We already allow people to do blowjobs for a living, it just has to be pornography instead of prostitution. Why is it OK in one case, but not the other?


> We already allow people to do blowjobs for a living, it just has to be pornography instead of prostitution. Why is it OK in one case, but not the other?

Says you, who's we?


I think legal sex work would be liberating - if it were possible to guarantee consent.

But in practice, really consential sex work is too expensive, which is why there are criminals willing to force sex workers to work for a lot less and pocket most of the difference. And when prostitution is legal, the police can't really tell the difference. You can't ask the women, they've either been brainwashed or threatened enough.

The johns don't want to know either, even though they are raping the girls every time.

That's the background of Sweden's prostitution law. Assume exploitation, because you can't prove its absence.


You are making sweeping statements that sound unreal to me.

I am in New Zealand where sex work is legal, and I know quite a few professional sex workers (disclaimer: not as a client but just random people that are somewhat open about it), and it is nothing like you have described.

Without doubt the work has its risks, just different risks from other jobs (for example bar work is dangerous and minimum pay). However sex work pays extremely well: pay off a house mortgage in a handful of years rather than decades well (without needing a degree). It is not very good for your mental health from what I can tell (but hard to tease cause from effect here).

That said, my social acquaintances don’t include the most at risk, the street workers doing dangerous tricks for a little money to get high. Those workers are definitely not saving for a home, and definitely are not getting the rewards for the risks.


The situation in New Zealand may be somewhat different. Here in Germany, the exploited sex-workers are often trafficked from eastern europe or even farther away. That would be hard with New Zealand being islands at the end of the world.

You may also underestimate the size of the exploitative "market segment". And sometimes the line between consent and exploitation is blurry.


There is never the possibility of guaranteeing consent. Not even for sex (sans 'work'), not even in the presence of a notarized written agreement.


I get your point. But there are better ways of assuring consent than paying the pimp...


Swedish moralism in a nutshell, really. It's a different topic, but "we" apply the same counterproductive "do-gooder" moralism to drug use as well - the entire field suffers the exact same problems with and by the law, no matter what, no matter who, no matter why.


It's never made sense to me with drugs either. Dealers are scum but recreational users are just exercising bad judgement. One side of the transaction has 100% of the culpability for a transaction that's voluntary on all sides.

Chris Rock (I think) even has a bit on it "no one ever sold you drugs, you went and bought them".


"Dealers are scum" makes no sense. Is the college guy selling weed and mushrooms to his friends "scum"? Maybe the guy that gives out free samples of meth or heroin to get people addicted is bad but that sort of generalising is why drugs are illegal in the first place.


What about dealers that only supply these recreational users?

Is there something about this “bad” judgement that puts it in a different class than drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or supersizing your daily McMeal?


The point of these laws is to sacrifice honest, voluntary, consensual prostitution in order to be able to prosecute and suppress involuntary, exploitative prostitution.

While I guess it would be preferable the prosecutors would use some more discretion to actually go after cases of clearer exploitation, I still think the situation in Sweden is preferable to that here in Germany, where forced prostitution is blooming in the shadow of a largely legalized sex trade.

It is near impossible for police to tell if prostitutes are being coerced. And a large part of all prostitutes probably are coerced or exploited, to some extent, even if the situation is more complicated (like drugs, homelessness, psychiatric issues etc).


Can't you say that buying prostitution is illegal unless you have registered with authorities as a prostitute? That way it is really hard to force people since you'd have to force them through the entire registration process, and police can just do routine checks to see if people are properly registered.


I doubt that it would be possible to screen trafficked women from registration. Then it would be a lot of work for the police to actually "just do routine checks", just like they don't check most businesses for illegal immigrant workers or whatever. Also, they wouldn't know where to look, because brothels would just open up and nobody would tell them, because the johns wouldn't know how to verify all the documentation.

Just as with firearms in the US: the more potentially legal prostitution there is, the harder it is to sniff out the illegal ones, even when hiding in plain sight.

In Germany we have exactly that situation. Prostitution is legal, though I am not sure about exactly what registration is required. It is a bloody mess, because it is assumed that forced prostitution is now rampant in Germany, to the point that men from other countries travel over the border just for the brothels...


Registration is now required in Germany (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitutes_Protection_Act).

> It is a bloody mess, because it is assumed that forced prostitution is now rampant in Germany, to the point that men from other countries travel over the border just for the brothels...

They aren't traveling there because the sex workers are practicing under force. If Germany has a reputation it is because of its brothels with a visible presence in the public sphere. It is also a rich country, centrally located, and organized brothels allow woman from poorer European countries to outsource a lot of difficult work; security, housing, marketing. Renting an apartment in Italy, advertising on the local websites, being familiar with the laws, compounded by the language barrier, is much higher-effort.

The trafficking narrative is always very thing on evidence.

It is certainly assumed that there is a lot of trafficking in popular imagination though, mainly due to successful activism that seeks to exaggerate the problem in order to further the goal of outlawing sex work. This activism is, as always, the fusion of paternalism, the ring-fencing of the decent from the morally subversive, and radical feminist thought, and human trafficking is mostly a convenient public lever.

You have to look no further then the United States, where police departments routinely have brain-dead local press disseminate how they are saving human trafficking victims in various raids, but half of which will face criminal charges for prostitution, and the other half will be lucky enough to be forced into mandatory diversion programs to avoid charges.


Trafficking makes sex work cheap, johns prefer cheap sex work. And then they rationalize the criticism along the lines of your comment.

You don't actually have any evidence that there is no trafficking, no exploitation. You assume prostitutes are taking drugs out of their free will. That they are not abused. That they live the lives they want to live. That "radical feminists" just have some evil agenda...

Well, why do you need to believe all this?


This is a great point for fully legalized prostitution, not just half-assed solutions like “FKK spas” and such.


“FKK” is German for “nudist/naturist” and means Free Body Culture, in case anyone was wondering.

Most spas in Germany expect everyone to be naked, but don’t involve anything sexual at all. Large scale brothels use the term as a transparently disingenuous way of pretending the sex isn’t part of the business.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freikörperkultur


How are FKK spas (the ones listed as brothels on google maps) half assed solutions for legalized prostitution, they are brothels grander than anything seen on Game of Thrones

Their sites are pretty clear about what they are and they are the registered institutions for that sex trade that the registered sex workers work in, if their area requires them to operate out of a brothel.


I see a bunch of people linking legalized sex work with a rise in trafficking. Is there any quality statistical evidence for that or is this just a foregone conclusion?


There isn't, because there is no true legalized prostitution (Germany comes close). The "Nordic Model" only partially decriminalizes sex work (and criminalizes sale), and has resulted in raids and poor working conditions for sex workers. Full legalization, including for auxiliary services like a brothel, would allow workers to organize and improve working conditions, therefore rendering trafficking a moot point as they would have to compete with institutions with good reputation.

We already reach similar conclusions with issues pertaining to hard drugs and mob control, but somehow things would be magically different with prostitution. For instance we know that legalization of certain previously prohibited substances has not eradicated mob control overnight, and in some cases they may have increased profits in the early stages as the market has not structurally changed much. As people move to govt-regulated substances, the narcos lose out.


Is your criticism on Germany that the licensed and regulated framework creates a separate illegal tier?

Or that municipalities in Germany can more strictly outlaw it anyway?

Something else?


Legalization puts barriers in place for sex workers, especially vulnerable ones and creates the illegal tier / market. Full decriminalization is the safest option for workers as they are all equal under the law regardless if they have registered.


You're advocating for the Nordic Model, which was a colossal failure. Sex workers have no protections, they're harassed by police, evicted, etc. Legalization opens the path to regulation and protection that otherwise isn't afforded.

The 'illegal tier' already exists, it's a farce to suggest that legalization "creates" it.


I’m advocating for full decriminalization of both buying and selling not the Nordic Model.


yes, this is a flaw in some legalization regulations. but only decriminalized lacks any consumer protection. I agree with you about optional registration, as least then consumers would have a choice about assurances of certain aspects.


On this topic, it's important to recognize that the fact that the crime of human trafficking exists and needs to be combatted doesn't change the fact that criminalizing the consensual buying and selling of sex is a violation of human rights.


There is plausible evidence that's the case: https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/lids/2014/06/12/does-legalized-...

However, I don't think it's right to use that evidence to shut down discussion. We should use it as a data point on how to strike the best balance between protecting sex workers and preventing trafficking.


Alternative link: https://teddit.net/r/SexWorkers/comments/n11oqk/the_ongoing_...

The posted link, at least on mobile, will try to force you to use the Reddit app to view the content.

Btw, teddit.net is a great alternative interface for Reddit.


You should try https://js4.red/r/SexWorkers/comments/n11oqk/the_ongoing_wit... as well. IMO it's better than teddit, as it allows commenting.


> Btw, teddit.net is a great alternative interface for Reddit.

I’m surprised how well it works and how few changes were needed to provide a big improvement in UX.


Meanwhile in Canada the concern is about some sex workers offering insurance receipts.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/massage-therapists-regulation...

AFAICT The laws in Canada are similar to that described for Sweden, but I don't think they are enforced as strongly. I could be very wrong though.


I find it a bit strange that she's decrying that the laws makes people afraid to associate with her, but she's perfectly fine with the fact that her clients/customers are criminalized. It appears to mike like some cognitive dissonance of her to think that her clients are justifiably "bad" by buying her services, but her selling these services is okay. Maybe I'm naive, but if my customers would face criminal charges for buying my products, I'd speak out on behalf of my customers or (if I really feel they should not buy such stuff) I'd stop selling it to them.


Yep, just a set of antiquated laws that punish people for using their bodies as they see fit. Worst part is that they do the exact opposite of what they are supposed to do, which is to keep citizens safe(ideally).

I'm glad people are slowly coming around to the idea that victimless crimes should not be a thing, whether prostitution or drug crimes. It saddens me that there were millions of lives ruined in the process, but that can be said for so many puritanical rules that all countries still have in place.


>>antiquated laws

...Rejuvenated. These are new. There's a new common ground around puritanism. The philosophical underpinnings have changed. Women's rights are, ostensibly, protected while the client side is criminalalised. The reason for the laws is no longer "public morals," it's consent.

However, we arrive at more or less the same place. Increasingly, bishops and feminists find common ground on these issues...

Imo, even legalization isn't enough. We need normalisation. While prostition is marginalized and ostrecized, sex workers will be at the bottom of the pyramid.


Bravo. This is the natural product of a culture that paradoxically wants to be sex positive for women but also sex negative for men. The outcomes are surprisingly similar to what happens to a culture that's sex negative for women and sex positive for men.


I wonder how much day to day violence would be reduced if prostitution was normalized. How much violence is a result of internalized sexual frustration without an outlet.


I would hazard a guess that it wouldn't improve.

The kinds of people involved in violence are overwhelmingly poor, young males. This is not a group that cares about laws or cultural norms. They lack the money to pay for sex workers, they don't have cultural hangups about it. They lack the money, education, and human decency to maintain a girlfriend relationship.

Which is to say they're not bad people because they're sexually frustrated. They're sexually frustrated because they're bad people. Which can be a negative feedback cycle.


How about those at the margin? I'd guess most policy proposals don't seem productive when you condense a population down to a scalar "model" subject and ask if he would change his behavior in light of the new policy. That doesn't mean that population-level effects won't be observed.


I'm going to guess the effect would be marginal :)

If you want to address violence it would be better to focus on reducing poverty, on education, and on rehabilitation. A lot of violence is drug related, providing a legal market for buying and selling illegal drugs would kill that element crime. Prohibition of drugs seems to be playing out the same that prohibition of alcohol did. Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.

Normalizing prostitution is not likely to move the needle for the reasons I mentioned.


That is a BS argument. Sexual frustration is the norm, rather than the exception, and if somebody commits a rape to act out sexual desires, then it is not because he didn't have access to prostitutes. I doubt there are a lot of people who frequent prostitutes as much as most couples have sex in a relationship...

However, honestly "voluntary" prostitution is also too expensive. Which is a big reason for the famed "management level" to exist. Through drugs, physical and psychological abuse they create a much cheaper supply, and only that way the demand can be met.


> if somebody commits a rape to act out sexual desires, then it is not because he didn't have access to prostitutes

I'd argue this is precisely the person who should not have access to prostitutes. Their existence, or our inability to adequately police them, is one of the stronger arguments against prostitution.


internalized sexual frustration without an outlet

Unless we’re talking about hi-class hi-paid workers here, which are far from common, this “outlet” has the same (or even lower) voltage than your hand-y discharger, if you get the analogy.

The more realistic result will be you and your kids living amidst endless brothels and their frustrated clients.


I can’t reply to eloff directly but you are wrong, which is why we should base law on hard numbers and not „guesses“.


If prostitution has to be done at places with security guards it wouldn't be a big issue though, she just screams and the guy gets thrown out and possibly charged/arrested.


Screaming might not be enough...


For a security guard sitting in the corridor outside to hear you? Definitely it would.


Plenty of violence is commited by men who have sexual partners. Also, violent men do commit violence againta their sexual partners.


In Sweden there are plenty of "yoni dearmouring" and similar sevices. I get that more women have a harder time orgasming than men usually have. Also more trauma amongst women than men.

But if you are a man with these kinds of problems you have nowhere to go.


Yep, I am in the UK. Prostitution/brothels are nominally legal where I am (and have been for three decades) but they began cracking down recently. Religious groups allied with violence against women charities. This has been with mixed success because legalization was introduced to combat HIV, and the local govt is loathe to turn this back completely because it will cause chaos (lots of job losses, increase in pimping, human trafficking). But there is a new puritanism.


Yup. 1999,to be precise.


An interesting way to test whether it is a victimless crime is to pay prostitutes $100,000 and to see how quickly they return to the profession. One possible theory is that prostitution is a victim of poverty.


If you give someone who works fast food 100k are the going to go back to fast food? Not really a meaningful test as the vast majority of retail level jobs would fail it.

What if some people just like working in sex work?


Big if, some may enjoy it. Sky Rojo on Netflix might change your mind.


Some people don't enjoy work, period either. That doesn't mean that having a job should be illegal.


Prostitutes are paid a lot since the number of men who are interested in casual sex is a lot more than the number of women. Then the pay goes up so much that many women who aren't originally interested in casual sex also starts to engage in it, just because men value it so much. So one way to reduce the number of "victims" would be to put a max cap on how much you are allowed to pay prostitutes, that way women wouldn't do it as an easy way to earn money. Because paying women too much for sex hurts them apparently.


> Prostitutes are paid a lot

That's not a fair generalization. Most sex workers remain in poverty, and it's extremely risky work -- for all that men's rights activists like to talk about men having the most dangerous jobs, their statistics are drawn from a perspective that sex work isn't a "job" -- so the actual #1 most dangerous job, mostly done by women, is overlooked.

Even in places like Canada were the work is decriminilized and clients are criminalized, sex workers rarely go to the police after being attacked or raped because the common response is that the worker "asked for it." Sex workers are freelancers: they don't get insurance or other benefits, so they need to charge a higher rate up-front.

Rather than limit the amount that sex workers get paid, it would be better to legalize it and treat it like any other job. Forced labor (pimps and sex trafficking) is already illegal; those laws just need enforcement, which will be easier with the transparency of legal employment. Also, individual workers and brothels can get insurance, medical and otherwise, hire security, etc. to improve the safety of workers.

Let the free market sort out the price.


> for all that men's rights activists like to talk about men having the most dangerous jobs, their statistics are drawn from a perspective that sex work isn't a "job" -- so the actual #1 most dangerous job, mostly done by women, is overlooked

By that token you'd also have to count "gangster" as a job, which is probably also pretty dangerous.

Furthermore, the entire notion that sex work is dangerous for women is exactly the reason it's widely prohibited in the first place.


If the issue is that it’s dangerous for women, then why do the lawmakers write laws that make sex work even more dangerous. It’s hypocritical nonsense pushed by religious groups.


>That's not a fair generalization.

You're nitpicking. You know they meant "a lot relative to the qualifications and difficulty of the job"

If something is illegal and people still do it to make a living you can be pretty much assured it's better than all the legal menial labor options.


> You're nitpicking. You know they meant "a lot relative to the qualifications and difficulty of the job"

No I'm not, and yes I know that, and I addressed it, but I'll spell it out some more.

Just about everybody is qualified to collect garbage, too. Garbage collection is physically risky and also disgusting and stigmatized. Like sex work, pay should compensate for those factors. Just because some people also voluntarily pick garbage in parks doesn't mean that garbage collection should be free.

The fact that sex work is illegal introduces additional risk to the workers, which, again, should increase its price. But, statistically, the highly paid sex workers are very uncommon. And that's not nitpicking; it's observing that OC is cherrypicking.

And anybody who thinks "sex is fun" and that comparing sex work to garbage collection is unfair has probably never done sex work nor had a serious conversation with somebody who has.


It is not nitpick. Prostitutes earn less then pretty much anyone on this forum. It does not pay as much as people assume.

And it has considerable risks, partially because they cant legally hire security.


If they weren't paid a lot you wouldn't have a problem since these women would just go and work at McDonalds instead to earn their money.

And if they remain in poverty even when being paid a lot they either work very few hours or they spend it on luxury goods like clothes or trips.

Edit: Anyway, the argument isn't that prostitutes are victims because there is a lot of violence related to the profession. The argument is usually that it is inhumane to subject a woman to involuntary sex, so women accepting money to have sex they otherwise wouldn't is seen as a bad thing for the woman even under perfect conditions. That is the main argument why sex work should be illegal, everything else can be fixed but that can't ever be fixed no matter how much you improve surroundings. I don't agree with that view, but that is what you are up against.


Well, in fairness, the few prostitues I've seen downtown where I live all seem to be meth addicts or crackheads, not super employable. I would assume your high end super desirable escorts make far more money and are subject to far less danger


Sounds like the problem here is drug addiction and not prostitution.


Sure, but are you willing to apply the same test to every other job and outlaw the ones that fail?


Maybe not what GP was getting at, but I would like to structure society so that people don't have to spend big chunks of their lives doing menial jobs in order to afford their basic needs!


More automation. Menial jobs still need to get done.


Pay the menial jobs better. The person cleaning the toilets at Facebook should earn more than the developers there.

EDIT: This is not meant literally, I am not talking about toilette cleaning jobs at Facebook, I am talking about paying people for the time they spent working and maybe how physically taxing or unpleasant the work is. This is in contrast to paying people what you can get away with because of the available supply of workers or how much money you have to throw around because you can get it from your customers.


Then you would have millions of people applying for a few thousand jobs. How would you decide who gets to work there and earn those salaries? Facebook does it by reducing the salary bit by bit until the number of people who wants to work there is roughly as many as they need.


Just pick the one you consider most qualified, there is no need to have the number of applicants match the number of jobs. But this is actually besides my point which is that even though menial jobs are often the harder, more unpleasant, or whatever jobs they are also often the worst payed for jobs because there is an oversupply of workers and this is used against them.

Economic theory might try to tell you that the low wages will incentivize people to seek better jobs which will reduce the supply of workers for menial jobs which will eventually get you a developer salary for cleaning toilettes, but as far as I can tell that is not what is actually happening.

My understanding of fair payment is not what you can get away with because of the supply and demand situation, it is that if you put eight hour of your life time into your work, then you deserve being paid for that time more or less no matter what you do.


Why should some workers gets paid vastly more than others for the same job? That isn't sustainable at all. Most places that hires janitors can't afford to pay anyone at the company even close to what facebook pays its engineers, it doesn't make sense that a few privileged janitors gets facebook engineering salary when most of them gets a small fraction of that.

People who comes up with those arguments just haven't thought things through.


Lets separate two things, what is fair payment on the one hand and on the other hand how this might be achieved. For the first question I already stated my position, I think it is unfair to have the supply and demand situation heavily affect your wage, especially if an oversupply of workers is used to lower wages for hard or unpleasant jobs.

For the second question I will admit that my initial comment sounds like it is an easy thing to do but you are right that I can not provide some policies that if implemented would yield my desired outcome. But you should also not take my comment to literally, I do not want a better wage for the janitors at Facebook but for menial work in general. So as a first step at least have a minimum wage that ensures that you are not living at the verge of poverty if you work full time. That is certainly a far cry from achieving what my initial comment asked for but it is better than nothing and as I said, I unfortunately do not know how to get there.


The problem with that is if you don't let the supply and demand price be the price, you create other issues. Like what to do about the excess or undersupply of whatever you are looking at.

I'm not denying that the price can seem wrong. Who really thinks that sports stars ought to make 20x what a doctor makes?


The problem is in my opinion that the price fulfills too many tasks at once, it is a measure of work and resources required for the production of goods, it is used as measure of value or utility a consumer assigns to the goods, it is used to decide how goods of limited supply are distributed, and there may be more things upon careful inspection. The problem is that those aspects do not align in a good way all the time and that there are no or no strong enough forces to fix this.


Look at pay scales in the former Soviet Union. In demand workers were still paid more but the state guaranteed a job for everyone and poverty was quite low - and average difference between a well-to-do person and a working class person was not huge (though I guess the living arrangements back then could be considered "poverty" today). Labor / Other salaries are always a choice (although the USSR experienced lots of brain drain because of their choices, so maybe it doesn't work too well with open borders)

(even though there were many other problems, and eventually the planned economy bit and large foreign-denominated loans backed by plummeting oil made the whole thing collapse like a house of cards)


This sounds to me exactly like a nice-sounding in the short-term but ultimately unsustainable system to me. That some of the most anti-socialist places in the world are ex-territories of the soviet union doesn't give me much confidence in the soviet way there.


I don't think you've tried very hard to figure out ways to decide. The obvious one is lottery, but there are many more.

I'll note that lots of people want FB developer jobs, but they don't solve that problem by cutting salaries until the number of applicants is roughly equal to the number of jobs. It's a tell that you use one hiring heuristic for people in your social class and a different one for people seen as lesser. That's a great illustration of the overall problem that the original article is part of.


A lottery doesn't feel very fair though, does it? Why should a few people get paid more for the same work? Doesn't make sense.


>>> Pay the menial jobs better. The person cleaning the toilets at Facebook should earn more than the developers there.

>> I don't think you've tried very hard to figure out ways to decide. The obvious one is lottery, but there are many more.

> A lottery doesn't feel very fair though, does it? Why should a few people get paid more for the same work? Doesn't make sense.

A lottery is about the fairest way to distribute a scarce resource imaginable. And it seems even less fair to declare that everyone whose job is to clean toilets should continue to get equally crappy wages, while there's massive inequality in income all over the place.


That is such a stupid argument, lottery is one of the worst way to distribute a scarce resource. It is better to split it up and pay everyone dividends rather than give a few the whole thing. In the case of Facebook we would tax it to hell so everyone could share, not do a damn lottery so a few janitors can get rich. Of course that is if you are in the "distribute resources to the people camp", but I see no reason why a lottery would ever be the right thing to do here no matter what camp you are in, it isn't like the world would be better off if we had a lottery of who gets to inherit the billions of dollars the 0.0001% owns rather than distribute it.

So in short, the right thing to do is either leave facebook as is, or tax it so that neither its software engineers nor its janitors can earn much more than an average American.


> That is such a stupid argument, lottery is one of the worst way to distribute a scarce resource. It is better to split it up and pay everyone dividends rather than give a few the whole thing.

Not every resource is divisible or practically divisible (e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judgement_of_Solomon).

You're kind of going all over the place to dispute everyone's points. If Facebook were to pay its toilet cleaners far above the market rate for that job, a fair way to solve the problem of "who gets these jobs" in the face of a glut of qualified applicants is by using a lottery.

You're right there's all kinds of other things that may be better to do, but we were talking about this specific artificial scenario.


As I said, I don't think you've tried very hard. I am not going to name all the possibilities one at a time.

If unfairness in jobs and compensation is what really motivates you, there are much bigger fish to fry than some totally imaginary jobs that will never exist.


> How would you decide who gets to work there and earn those salaries?

Pick the first person that applies who has seen a toilet before in their life and is physically able to clean one.


Costs. Facebook cannot replace a developer’s desk with auto-development station, but it definitely can do that to a toilet room. The only reason a toilet cleaner has a job is that they are cheap. If it was paid $300k/yr per floor, anyone at FB would automate floor mopping and sanitizer spraying in few weeks, if not rethink a toilet room completely.

(Which isn’t a bad idea given how much of ancient legacy shit we are still dragging in this area.)


Cut the salary of everyone by 5% and you can have one cleaner for every 20 developers. My point is simply that work should not be cheap, if someone works 40 hours a week for you, you owe that person a wage that allows a decent life, otherwise it is just a mild form of slavery.


if someone works 40 hours a week for you, you owe that person a wage that allows a decent life

I agree, humanely. But our entire competitive all-eating-optimizing nature works against this.

Raising min.wages would likely lead to the situation where they have no job at all, because if low-paid jobs were enforced as decently paid by law, companies would simply automate them. They didn’t do that yet, only because it’s cheap to use human labor. Taxi, delivery, cleaning, you name it.

If low skill job workers could get $$$$$$ jobs, they would. But they can’t, for various reasons. This is not fixable at the level we discussing.

https://www.google.ru/search?q=raising+minimum+wage+increase...


I essentially agree with you but I think this not an argument against raising the minimum wage. They will not lose their jobs, they already do not have a job. Ignoring the facet of work as self-fulfillment or being part of society or whatever, the relevant part of a job for a worker is that it earns them a living wage, not that they do some work. In that sense someone with a job not earning them a living wage is already jobless.

And if we actually run out of jobs valued at least a living wage for some part of society - and I have no illusion that everyone can become a developer if they just tried hard enough - then this is a problem that needs addressing. Just pretending that there are still jobs because there is work that is valued less than a living wage but still more expensive then automation, is not a solution.

But I am not in a position to really judge objectively where we are, whether we are already out of jobs or whether some jobs are just underpaid because it is possible in the current market situation, or what mix of the former.


You can do the same cash experiment with most office workers and the effects might surprise you. You can say garbage management jobs, sweeping streets or even bureaucratic positions are the result of one's poverty.

Just leave the god damned people alone, its sad that in 21st century some folks still feel above the rest of us and try to push their moral views unto everybody else.


I bet > 95% of all working people on earth would quite their current job if you gave them $100,000.


Is $100,000 supposed to be some kind of ‘set for life’ amount of money?


It's supposed to be a "solve immediate problems and buy time and/or education to find a better job" amount of money.

Not enough that you can retire but enough that you don't have to worry about making ends meet for long enough to pivot to something else.


It is enough to quit your job for many years, go study something, travel, or just take a break and try to pivot to a different kind of life.


It's enough buffer to make reasonable changes so as to get a more desirable profession if that is your goal, whether that's training for new skills, moving to a different location with better prospects, getting treatment for addictions, etc.


Nope


How do you prosecute poverty? Does poverty lose by default and you award the victim damages?


I mean, if you gave a janitor $100,000 in cash would they come into scrub your toilet again tomorrow? Does that mean hiring a janitor is a crime with a victim?

Most everybody would behave differently if they had substantially more money. I know I wouldn't be working where I am if I didn't need a paycheck. But choosing a shittier job because it pays better is not victimization.


This works with almost every job.


> Imo, even legalization isn't enough. We need normalisation.

Many of the FAANG companies are famous for their perks. One of those is having massage therapists at the office. By normalization, do you mean you would you be ok them also having sex workers (well paid with benefits) as well.

Just to be clear, I, and likely most people, would be against that, which shows that I don't think sex work is going to be completely normalized.


I think one could easily imagine that sex work could be given a similar treatment like legal Marijuana. Obviously there are differences in these (for lack of a more useful word) 'vices,' but "normalization" for marijuana in the US does not mean free weed edibles as part of your comp package. It means it's shunned/controlled/a sort of deal breaker in professional settings, but more and more understood to be a choice people can make with their free time outside of work as long as it's safe, legal, etc...


But you are talking about legalization, not normalization.

At many companies, it is pretty normal for there to be alcohol, even at work related events. I doubt, even if marijuana were made legal, that you would see marijuana at work related events.

There is a big difference between legalization and normalization.

One way you can think of normalization is with regards to its status in a professional setting. If you mentioned around the water cooler that you went to a nail salon and had a pedicure, no one would care. If you mentioned that you went to legal sex worker, you would have an HR complaint filed against you. One is normalized, the other is not.

I don't think sex in general will ever really be "normalized". It will always involve taboos of some sort.


By normalization I mean a social/cultural change, not necessarily a legal one... though the two are linked.

I mean a culture where being a sex worker is not something that most people hide or gasp at. Strippers are, in some places, semi-"normal." You can date an ex stripper, in some circles. Ex-prostitute is, generally, a no-go.

>>I, and likely most people, would be against that

Yes of course. That's what not being normalized currently means. Normalisation would be a change in these opinions. Homosexuality was also "most people against" very recently.

Also, I didn't say that I think this change is coming. Quite the opposite. The current trend is in the puritanical direction.


There is a strand of feminism that holds that women should have the right to work as sex workers, because women should have their own agency, yet at the same time men should at least be shamed – if not prosecuted – for recourse to sex workers. In this view, men’s use of sex workers is objectifying the female body, and on a societal scale that is not so straightforwardly a "victimless crime".

In the modern era, libertarianism quickly breaks down when certain demographics feel grievances.


And in all that mess everyone keeps forgetting that there are plenty of men and trans persons that sell sex.


> victimless crimes

I am not sure if it is really that clear cut. Germany has pretty liberal laws around prostitution and there are massive problems with human trafficking. Many women do not do the work out of their own volition.


Many? What percentage I wonder?

Through my last job for over a decade I had access to thousands of sex workers, many in Germany. I will attest, on everything I own, not a single one was doing it against her will.

I do not doubt there are some being forced, but this idea that it’s a large percentage… I can not get behind. I’ve been on the inside and never saw anything remotely like it. And since I wasn’t a client I spoke openly with the girls and discussed things like this with them. Most were from Eastern Europe and we’re just stacking cash.

The Philippines I came across some questionable stuff, but that was due to extreme poverty. South and Central America were not quite as above board as Europe. Frankly, America is the worst, and that’s why Americans have these strange overly negative views of sex work. Our laws make it dangerous and thus dangerous people are attracted to it.


Clamping down on sex workers as described in the Reddit post makes human trafficking more likely, though, as victims of it can't trust the authorities will help them.


According to the data we have, that is not true. From Harvard Law School [1]:

> Countries with legalized prostitution are associated with higher human trafficking inflows than countries where prostitution is prohibited. The scale effect of legalizing prostitution, i.e. expansion of the market, outweighs the substitution effect, where legal sex workers are favored over illegal workers. On average, countries with legalized prostitution report a greater incidence of human trafficking inflows.

There's a lot more nuance to it if you read the article or the actual study. I am in general for legalizing sex work, but if we want to protect sex workers we can't pretend legalization is a panacea.

[1] https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/lids/2014/06/12/does-legalized-...


That paper relies on some pretty dodgy data to reach its conclusion. Basically the UN's subjective classification is used unquestionably as the measure of human trafficking data. Just to be clear, it's not using objective data or accounting for the mis-measurement problem between legal and illegal countries.

Based on the dataset the study uses to reach its conclusions the US, Japan, and Israel are considered "very high trafficking" countries. Whereas Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Moldova are classified "very low trafficking". Does anybody in their right mind honestly think human trafficking is less of a problem in Sudan than Japan?

With that kind of dataset, you can reach any kind of conclusion you want. Garbage in, garbage out.


This is out of date. Working conditions are also better in Germany, and could stand to keep improving.

EDIT: here are some recent improvements in Germany according to the wiki: The Criminal Code was amended in October 2016 to criminalise clients of trafficked or coerced prostitutes. This change was led by Social Democrat Eva Högl.

The Prostituiertenschutzgesetz (Prostitutes Protection Act) came into force in July 2017. Amongst the provision of the Act are registration of prostitutes, annual health checks and mandatory condom use. Brothel operators also need to register and prove their 'good conduct' before registration. The legislation also places restrictions on advertising. -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Germany#Legal_...

As patrons stick with the well-regulated outlets, they won't fund the competing mob-controlled ones, and trafficking will slow. The conditions were just too easy to exploit at the outset.


Feel free to respond with a more recent study! I would be very happy to be proven wrong here.

Response to edit: I’m glad Germany is making progressive changes, but I’d like to see data (or at least firsthand anecdotes) that the amended laws are working as intended.


That's fair and I'll look later.


Legalization may not be a panacea. But the alternative is criminalization, and that is far far worse. Criminalizing prostitution guarantees a bad outcome for the affected prostitutes.


It’s not a binary issue. My point is that your argument can’t end at “criminalizing sex workers is bad!” That’s true, but there are many aspects to that, as well as adjacent issues like the ability to obtain health insurance. The Reddit post we’re discussing is a perfect example of how myopic “legalization” can be insufficient to actually protect sex workers.


It is a binary issue. Legalisation of prostitutes and customers (and supporting businesses like brothels) is a necessary prerequisite to actually protect prostitutes. Otherwise there will always be at least one party in a situation where its best interest is to hide everything and cover up things.


Alcohol is legal but there are restrictions on selling, serving and possessing it. Speeding and murder are both illegal but the punishment and enforcement of them are vastly different. Sex work and human trafficking are complicated, intertwined issues with many moving pieces and it doesn’t help the discussion to oversimplify them like this.


I think it is very difficult to compare stats between countries where prostitution is legal and countries where it is not. The linked article is light on details whether this is accounted for or not.


(not an expert, just Swedish) it is not illegal to be prostitute in Sweden, you are not allowed to buy it.

So I guess there is no problem for a human trafficking victim to go to the police since they don't break any law themselves


Read the Reddit post we're discussing. It's made quite clear that that's wonderful in theory, but not so great in practice.


I have read it, I wouldn't comment otherwise

I wouldn't want a neighbor operating a business that attract people, same as an hotel owner or guest. Criminalizing the owners is a step too far, I agree.

Filming arrests? they also film traffic offenders and other crimes, the names remain confidential until the trial though

Banks are worried to be involved in sex trafficking businesses, they don't have the tools to evaluate the legality of such a business so they simply ban all prostitutes. Similar rules apply BTW to large cash deposits or even unordinary sales of jewelry.

I couldn't find anything in Swedish prohibiting (explicitly or implicitly) being a spouse to a prostitute, unless of course if said spouse advertised her services which is illegal

TLDR; Sweden took it a bit too far maybe, but they also regulate alcohol sales so it makes sense.

Personally? I don't care too much, unless (and I haven't checked) someone can prove to me that legalizing prostitution can help reduce violence, rape etc in some way. I have the same opinion about legalizing some drugs- if the damages if significantly smaller then the benefit than why not?


To add to this, it's important to understand that there's the law, then there's the mythology surrounding the law. People rarely read the actual statues but rather rely on a sort of word of mouth heuristic transfer. Think adoption of GDPR, there's the actual text, then there's the cargo culting around cookie banners. Similarly patent trolls. The law is cut and dry but the internet of alight with stories about how someone in the wrong won buy having more money.

People routinely build models on what prosecutors will pursue and what kinds of violations will be successfully punished and these will frequently be orthogonal to the laws text. See any US discussion online about the ATF for instance.

If people believe of can be made to believe they will be prosecuted for doing something that isn't illegal then it's just as illegal as if it actually was.


Sex workers are not made criminally liable in Sweden. All the Reddit post is saying is that outside people will not want to be associated with their business - which makes sense if every sex worker might possibly be a trafficked sex slave and no one can feasibly tell the difference beyond reasonable doubt.


Again, that's the point - that not being criminally liable doesn't prevent the authorities from treating them like criminals and making their lives difficult.


Ah, but are the authorities treating them like criminals or possible sex slaves? The Reddit post doesn't give any evidence for the former over the latter.


#4 and #6 in particular sound targeted at the sex worker more than an attempt at preventing pimping/slavery.


#6 is simply a bank protecting itself, how would they differentiate a legal sex worker from a human trafficker? maybe in a country where some kind of prostitution is allowed they could show a certificate but not in Sweden.

#4 is simply a fulfilling what the law and the government meant, prostitution is illegal and the best way to catch the offenders is waiting for them outside of the business.


Surely you can see how "sex workers can't have bank accounts" winds up being punitive, even if it's an indirect result of the laws?

Same for "what you do is legal, but we'll sit outside your house and arrest anyone going in-and-out".


You can't have a bank account if you have too many unexplained, to the bank, companies or branches in "not so nice" places. Hell, as a newcomer to Sweden you can't have a bank account until you have a personal number even though it is not necessary or legal to refuse.

Police are not sitting outside anyone's house, they do detain sex buyers from time to time and the most sensible place to do that is outside of the business


Their clients are tho. So going to police endangers clients, so prostitute have to be reallu careful about it. Cause that sounds like sure way to loose clients.


Yes, I don't think the "Nordic model" is a good final answer. But I am not sure if there are more problems with human trafficking in Sweden than in Germany (of course geography plays a role, too).


Isn't that why laws should go after the seller and the purchaser not the product (especially in humans-are-the-product situations like this)?


The Reddit post in question pretty clearly describes the consequences of that approach; very substantial impacts on the sex worker.


if your manager and customer are criminals, whats are the odds youll be treated well?


> problems with human trafficking

But that's different - kidnapping is not a victimless crime, and human trafficking is investigated and prosecuted entirely differently.


Is there more human trafficking, or is the human trafficking more visible under the liberal laws?


Human trafficking is an actual crime and should be worked on. Doesn't mean someone doing what they want with their own body should be criminalized.


What if legalizing prostitution has the secondary effect of greatly increasing the amount human trafficking, which the previous poster seems to be suggesting is the case in Germany? Wouldn’t making prostitution legal be the opposite of working on human trafficking then?


Address the actual crime, and not the result of a part of society.

Would you also like fast food and sugar-filled foods to be made illegal because they directly lead to millions of early deaths and cost large amounts of money to healthcare?


If the result of banning unhealthy fast food is the saving of millions lives and massive healthcare cost reduction then I would support it. I assume different, necessarily healthier, restaurants would fill the void, so they wouldn’t be missed.

I’m not sure why you would think otherwise. You’re talking to someone who clearly prioritizes personal agency less than overall well-being or positive outcome in certain cases.


Human trafficking is it's own problem, it's a constant. It would be rendered a moot point if laws were permissive enough to allow sex workers to organize in such a way that they could operate under high quality conditions, e.g. reputable brothels.

The foreign mob who traffics would then have to compete with institutions that have a reputation among the populace for good working conditions.

The issues surrounding drugs are similar. Narco states and mob control don't disappear overnight from legalization, but the increase in legitimate avenues takes over their market share over time.

Even in countries were laws are relatively more permissive, operations are relegated to the streets, and the Nordic Model has resulted in terrible working conditions.


>The foreign mob who traffics would then have to compete with institutions that have a reputation among the populace for good working conditions.

If the brothel organization or the .gov adds too much overhead cost there will be ample room for the criminals' overhead.

Weed is an example of this. The .gov couldn't resist taxing the crap out of it so there's still a black market.


Of course there's still a black market for marijuana. There's a black market for tobacco and liquor too. But it will be reduced to a specter of what it was.


> Human trafficking is it's own problem, it's a constant.

This isn't necessarily true though. Research has shown that increasing legalization for sex work leads to both more "reputable" sex work and more sex trafficking.


The research doesn't show that it "scales" with legalization, it shows that quasi-legalization results in more increases in traffic than full prohibition. That's not surprising.


If it’s not surprising why do you seem so confident that legalizing prostitution is the best idea? It sounds like in the less than ideal world we live in it’s likely to lead to more human trafficking, and more negative situations for women generally.


Because full legalization would allow for stronger regulation and protections that would disincentivize patronizing of trafficked prostitution.

We can plainly see the advantage with drugs, it's the same thing. At the outset, decriminalization of marijuana increases trafficking from the underworld in the short-run. Legalization eventually leads to a regulated market that circumvents illegal channels, and decimates their market share. This is beginning to be the case with marijuana.

There's no reason to believe it would be any different for sex work. Germany unveiled new regulations just a few years ago, stay tuned for new statistics this decade.


There's an interesting theory that opposition to prostitution by other women is partially fueled by seeing seeing sex workers as "scabs", giving a resource away too easily in a way that devalues the artificial scarcity the others think it's "supposed" to have, taking away "negotiating power" in dating.


There is no absolute acceptance of "using their bodies as they see fit" or "my body my rules". It is just a made up rule no civil society accepts. Otherwise people can walk nakedly everywhere they want. There is simply not any constitutional right like that.

What is similar is that you can't do everything you want in your own house, like experimenting on bombs or making drugs, etc.

I am not totally against sex work. I am just pointing out the reasoning is flawed.


>there should still be regulations around the commercialization of a vice.

Why is getting laid a vice?

Or is it the "paying money to skip the BS" that's the vice?


It's a painfully frequent strawman/red herring, up there with "weed is just a plant", "all gun owners want to do is protect their families". I think it's useful to assume that not everyone who disagrees with you is malicious and/or insane, and hence their argument can't be condensed into something obviously false or indefensible.


See, the thing is, is that I do find it malicious if someone wants to tell me what to do with myself. I am very much in favour of personal autonomy above other people's morals or ethics that they feel the need to legislate onto everyone else, assuming no one is hurt in the process.

As much as I don't like that people eat/smoke/work themselves to death, I don't want a government having the ability to go and criminalize such things.


Yeah. I have the same philosophy. The thing is that, other than libertarians, nobody really agree with this philosophy. Especially the left, who loves the big government and hates libertarians to guts, sometimes suddenly pick a fundamentally libertarian position like this. This is just totally hypocrisy.


> just a set of antiquated laws

The law is from 1999 and prostitution was not illegal before it.


Nope. These particular laws are tailored to suppress coerced prostitution, which is rather the norm than the exception when prostitution is legal.

Unfortunately, when prostitution is legal it is impossible to tell coercion apart from consent. Sweden errs on the side of protecting the victims. It also means that "honest, voluntary" sex-workers have a much harder time while not technically committing a crime or being exploited.

But the laws are not designed to owe those prostitutes a living from sex-work, they are designed to be able to suppress exploitation, and it actually works.


>Nope. These particular laws are tailored to suppress coerced prostitution, which is rather the norm than the exception when prostitution is legal.

You'd really have to give good data to support this claim. Specifically, you'll have to prove that the majority of prostitution under a legal system is coerced.

And I'm adding an addendum here, a level of control equal to or lower than the standard job doesn't count. I.e. I'm not coerced in which I have to work to feed myself. That goes against what people generally define as coercion here.


You are underestimating how painful and denigrating sex work is for women, especially in the lower price segments, even without abuse, which is widespread.

To believe this is a voluntary choice of work, you need to assume these women have no other options. Which is ridiculous, as both Sweden and Germany have a social welfare system that values dignity. No, you don't have to hurt yourself just to get fed.

If a john visits a prostitute, and there is a chance that prostitute has been forced, at what level of chance does he become a rapist and at what level should he not be criminally liable? 90%? 50%? 1%? Point is: Neither the john nor the police can meaningfully tell the difference, and even a significant amount of forced sex labor is worse than prohibiting all prostitution.


All I'm asking you is to back up your claim that a majority of sex work in these regions is coercive.that's a huge claim to make that strongly undermines the typical counterargument that legalisation enables their protection.

It is also a claim that needs to be supported.


No, it does not need to be a majority of sex work that is coercive to decide that prostitution should be outlawed. What number of exploited sex slaves in your country do you tolerate? Again, the difference is almost impossible to tell, which makes prosecution and hard numbers so difficult. Legalisation just means that forced prostitution can hide in plain sight. A lower ratio would just mean better chances of hiding.

I doubt that anyone could amass the evidence that you would demand, because for some reason you want to believe that there is virtually no forced prostitution where there is legal prostitution. Here in Germany, social workers and charities who work in this areas, even police and prosecutors, know that this is anything but true. It is hard to actually prove trafficking beyond a reasonable doubt.

But when you regularly see young Romani prostitutes from eastern Europe, addicted to drugs, having been obviously physically and mentally abused, lacking teeth, etc and still saying they are doing this out of there own free will despite not living better than if they were living on social security. Especially if their pimp is standing behind them. Well. It doesn't add up, does it?


> victimless crimes

there should still be regulations around the commercialization of a vice.

sex billboards and youtube ads would definitely not be victimless.


so you are in favor of legalizing prostitution?


No one should face legal penalties for consensually buying or selling sex.


for selling sex? definitely no.

for buying? maybe, but only if your country monitors and supervise prostitution in some way. As much as I don't like it a model where there are licensed brothels could work


Why do you "maybe" think the state should penalize individuals for consensually paying for sex? And isn't it an indefensible hypocrisy to allow sex to be sold but not to be bought? That situation is basically a state-mandated black market.


No, Society (well, Sweden in this case) is against prostitution and want to eliminate or at least minimize it. It's the same with drugs laws or illegal downloads- criminalization of this side or another is just tactics, in this case to hurt prostitutes less


The law in Sweden ensures a black market for sex work. Much like drug laws, sex work can never be eliminated in a free society. The primary consequences of the futile attempt to eliminate these things is to reduce freedom and seriously harm individuals.


So is theft, rape and tax evasion


Isn't the difference painfully obvious? All of those crimes have victims. Sex work is work, not crime.


Why should prostitution be illegal?


good question, I have many answers but they are not good enough to justify a law. Since I am not a libertarian and I think that the state should have some control over their citizens I can understand why the state objects prostitution under the assumption that most (or many) sex works don't (or wouldn't) choose this lifestyle voluntarily. I also in favor of gun control, limiting SMS loans, limitations on drug usage (not sure to which level) etc.

Huge disclaimer- I don't have any numbers or data to support my feelings, the fact that there is a community with 170k members worldwide (probably not all of them sex workers) which have positive online attitude towards selling sex doesn't mean that this is their real life attitude. Mental problems or financial hardships can push people to justify things they might regret later.


>I can understand why the state objects prostitution under the assumption that most (or many) sex works don't (or wouldn't) choose this lifestyle voluntarily.

I've never understood how sex work gets singled out from all the other forms of selling your body for money. I can't think of many(any?) working class jobs that aren't some form of selling your body for money. Typically for way less money then I would argue our bodies are worth.


true, but it's a range where prostitution is on the lower side. Do note that some of those professions are supervised to some degree, for example by health services, or requires some license


True, but I feel like that is an argument for the state to not object to prostitution. If the state wasn't onjecting, the industry or the state could then have some more oversight/licensing and be 'safer' for all. I put safer in quotes because I don't think "oversight" is always very effective or makes conditions safer, easy to look at Amazon wearhouse workers or cell phone assembly factories as pretty exereme cases of people selling their bodies for money and the supposed oversight not really doing much to lessen the exploitation/abuse.


But then address the underlying problems, offer better ways out of financial hardships than going into prostitution, require a psychological assessment before granting a work permit, ...


I can't argue bout that, and actually Sweden is not that bad at that


> Since I am not a libertarian and I think that the state should have some control over their citizens I can understand why the state objects prostitution under the assumption that most (or many) sex works don't (or wouldn't) choose this lifestyle voluntarily.

So then shouldn't porn be illegal too?


Since I am not a libertarian and I think that the state should have some control over their citizens I can understand why the state objects prostitution under the assumption that most (or many) sex works don't (or wouldn't) choose this lifestyle voluntarily.

It gets chosen because women have too few opportunities to make similar amounts of money any other way. Not giving women the right to sell sexual services condemns them to having no means to adequately support themselves. It doesn't protect them from anything at all.

Think about why this conversation is always about women selling sex. Why is that? Why are sex workers almost universally female or assumed to be while their clients are almost universally male?

That's the real issue here and it doesn't get fixed by criminalizing sex work.


actually Sweden has a decent job equality, I have seen women doing work that is considered men's work elsewhere- we are talking low level, unskilled work here not computer science


Then I imagine it doesn't pay as much as prostitution.

So it's not really a rebuttal to my point.


I don't know how much prostitutes earn in Sweden but low skilled employees earn a very decent salary that includes pension, the state covers health and education. You can actually have a decent life by being a McDonald's worker ( obviously there are exceptions)


Look, I don't understand why you are arguing in this way. This is not a rebuttal to my point.

Whatever else is going on in Sweden, prostitution exists there as well and criminalizing it is not stamping it out and is not a means to address the concern some people have that "Women who become prostitutes without being trafficked do so because they are desperately poor, so they still aren't truly there voluntarily."

I'm not saying that "Good paying jobs will stamp out prostitution." I have no goal of stamping out prostitution.

I'm saying that criminalizing prostitution gives desperately poor women no remedy for the poverty that forces some of them into prostitution. It just closes another door and makes their life harder, not better.


Just a healthy discussion, no arguing

The swedish answer is simple- because they don't see prostitution as legitimate, criminalization or not


That also doesn't address my point.


Human trafficking. Prostitution is a lucrative racket for organized crime groups and unlike drug legalization, making it legal makes it _easier_ for organized crime to control it.

The legalization of prostitution in Austria resulted in a greater increase in illegal sex work:

“It indirectly supports the spreading of the illegal market in the sex industry,” the report concluded. “Organized crime has flourished and increased its influence in the sex industry.”

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/join/20...


Then crack down on human trafficking. Making something illegal that should not be illegal to solve a different issue should be one of the last options, not the first one.


I haven't seen any data yet, what's the percentage of human trafficking prostitutes? how many prostitutes are forced to work and haven't chosen that? what's the violence rate toward prostitutes (even the linked reddit channel shows not insignificant number)?

I am aware that some women are fully aware of what they are doing, and won't regret it but how many don't?


How high would the rate have to be? Sure, if 99% of prostitution is forced prostitution I might be willing to say make it illegal but even then I am not really feeling good about it, I am still interfering with the free choice of the remaining 1%. But one might argue that life will never be totally fair and the 99% are so much better off that we can justify the collateral damage we do to the 1%. But I can not really say how high or low the fraction would have to be, are 10% to much, are 50% acceptable?


Is there free choice in modern democratic societies? Not at all, the state decide for you on abortion, marriage, car safety, gun usage and even what medications can get used (pseudoephedrine is not sold in Sweden!) so why not prostitution if (and only if) data shows that it's beneficial? As to what percentage the answer like everything else is whatever the winning party in the elections think


No society is perfect, but existing failures should not be the standard or justification for future changes. And there will probably never be universal consensus on everything because many policies are, at least to an certain extend, a matter of personal preference. Whether you want the state to be involved in something is often a matter of personal preference, do you prefer universal healthcare, do you prefer private health insurance, or are you willing to take the risk and have no health insurance at all? At least at first glance there is no single right answer to such questions and letting everyone decide is also not generally an option, for example if all healthy people get cheap private health insurance then universal healthcare does not work.

And your preferences are often a consequence of who you are, if you are healthy and wealthy and have a good job, then it is easy to prefer a state that does not want your money and lets you decide freely. If you are poor or have health issues or a high risk of being unemployed then you might reasonable prefer a stronger state. What you should be actually doing to decide your position in such matters is using the veil of ignorance, what policies would you want implemented if you were not yet born and you did not know whether you will be born into the richest family, or the poorest, or what sex or skin color you will have. So even in questions of personal preferences one can at least to some degree be more objective by considering different points of view.

So if the state decides for you that does not necessarily mean that the state acts arbitrarily, it might just optimize for different goals. And those might be arbitrary preferences by the people in power but there might also be sound reasoning behind and the resulting policy just does not align with your personal preferences. And sure, if there is some sound reasoning behind making prostitution illegal, then one should do this. But if the reasoning behind making prostitution illegal is to limit human trafficking then I do not see how you can have the resources to harass all the prostitutes but can not target human trafficking specifically and keep prostitution legal. But this might admittedly just be ignorance on my side.


Decisions should be made and laws passed based on real-world projected efficacy and data-driven feedback, not wishful thinking.


I'm in favour of making as few things as possible illegal. Which means anything voluntary. Hence sex work, anything to do with drugs (children are obviously a different story), moving out to the woods and building some random shack to live, what have you.


It's already legal. Buying sex isn't, though. It's basically the inverse of some other countries' narcotics laws where it's illegal to sell but legal to buy.


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