Human Rights and Prostitution: A discussion

Human Rights and Prostitution – a Discussion
In this essay, I will argue that a person has a right to sell his or her body for sex and that this right is violated by societies in which prostitution is illegal. I willfirst present what seems to be a powerful case against the legalisation of prostitution and then attempt to show that it rests on false assumptions. As the majority of prostitutes are femaleand, as any discussion of male and child prostitution necessarily involves the extraneous issues of the rights of homosexuals and children, my focus will be on adult heterosexual intercourse between a female prostitute and a male client.
A major case against prostitution can be based on the assertion that the industry violates more human rights than it asserts – specifically, that prostitution should continue to be abhorred and illegal as it contravenes the sexual and economic rights of persons, particularly women. According to this argument, prostitution is sexual slavery as, by selling their bodies for sex, prostitutes give up all power over their bodies to their clientele, who temporarily'own' them. Thus, the industry degrades its workers to the level of sex object; this is inhumane and violates the right of all people to be treated as sexual equals. Further, heterosexual female prostitutes are dependent for their income upon their male clients; in this part of the sex industry, women are economically subjugated to masculine control and this violates their right to economic independence from men. As an article by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women claims, prostitution "assumes that all women can be!
accessible according to patriarchy's purchasing capacity, that all [women] can be tagged and named for a price" . By exploiting women as sex objects, heterosexual prostitution involving male clients reinforces traditional paternalistic prejudices about the status of females; it can …


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