According to a survey conducted by Foundation Scelles, there are around 42 million working prostitutes in the world. In another study from a 2015 book titled “Prostitution: Prices and Statistics of the Global Sex Trade,” there are an estimated 1 million prostitutes in the U.S. alone.
Sex work is an industry that deserves legitimization and decriminalization.
The Times also states that prostitution in the U.S. is estimated to be worth $14 billion per year.
With that much money being funneled into sex work, the stigma surrounding voluntary sex workers needs to be eliminated. Ten years ago, in the United Kingdom, Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) was established in an attempt to advance UK sex workers’ rights.
In an article from Dazed, a former sex worker and organizer for SWOU states that “many sex workers aren’t interested in forming a political identity.
The SWOU organizer also claims that “for those people, it’s even more important that we advance their rights and create better working conditions. These events allow
The largest piece of the fight regarding sex workers’ rights is about removing any legal penalty for selling or buying sex.
Sex work is legitimate work. For those men and women that choose to make a living off of their bodies, there is certainly no reason to try and delegitimize a practice such as this. It is everyone’s individual choice as to what they want to do with their bodies – should they wish to make a profit off of their sexual attractiveness is entirely up to them.
Being free with one’s body should not be a crime.
In a perfect world, most sex workers agree that complete decriminalization is the goal. Although, according to Dazed, “many don’t want legalization, as it would still involve a level of regulation and police interference.”
For years activists have pushed for worldwide decriminalization of sex work.
Anna North of Vox writes that, “Recently, legislation to decriminalize sex work has been introduced in both DC and New York state, and several presidential candidates, including Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, have said they support some degree of decriminalization.”
According to Dazed, Molly Smith, who represents a sex worker charity Scot-Pep, said her charity hopes to repeal four key laws with a 41-page long bill.
“Besides changing laws around brothel-keeping and streetwalking, we want to introduce a law which would make it legal for four people to work together without fear of prosecution. It would massively improve sex worker safety,” Smith explains.
Sex work has been legal in Germany since 2002 and is a booming industry. According to an article from the New York Times, “it is estimated that one million men pay to use 450,000 girls and women every day. Sex tourists are pouring in, supporting ‘mega-brothels‘ up to 12 stories high.”
No matter how one chooses to look at it, one thing is true: the buying and selling of sex being illegal is not doing anything to deter people from participating in it. The illegality of sex work only proves to make the lives of those working in sex more dangerous than necessary due to the lack of any kind of regulation or protective policies.