Contrary to what many believe, prostitution is legal in many countries of the world, and Canada should not be left behind. For example, in the state of Nevada, USA, prostitution has been legal since early 1970’s. In Germany, prostitution is legal and is regulated by the municipal councils. Within the cities, like Munich, there are places that are designated for prostitution and are not allowed to operate outside certain limits. Within the city of Hamburg, prostitutes are only allowed to conduct their businesses in the nightclubs at certain hours. Whereas in Berlin, there are totally no restrictions and prostitutes can conduct their solicitations in the streets. Brothels in Germany are considered ordinary businesses, and do not require any license (Flowers 129). Most sex workers can be seen as independent contractors who pay taxes. In France, prostitution is not illegal, but what surrounds it is considered illegal. This view is almost similar to the Canadian view. French prostitutes pay taxes, and there are laws that prohibit soliciting for sex in public places. The laws governing prostitution in France prohibit individuals from selling or buying sex from persons who are below the age of 18. In Netherlands prostitution, brothels have been legal since 2000, so long as the workers are over 18 years and the client needs to be at least 16 years. The prostitutes are protected under the labor laws and have to pay taxes. The prostitutes must be registered with the authorities, and the municipalities do not require a license. In Greece, prostitution is legal, and each worker has to be registered, and must be at least 21 years. The prostitutes have to undergo medical checks after every two weeks, and any sex worker with medical records, which are not up to date, could be arrested (Weitzer 89). Prostitution, therefore, should be legalized because of the numerous benefits to the prostitutes, their customers, and the government.
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In Canada, selling and buying of sex is legal, but and activities surrounding it is illegal. For instance, soliciting for sex in public and procuring of prostitution are all illegal. This implies that the outlawed activities which surround the sex trade will make it extremely difficult for the prostitutes to carry out their work without breaking the law. In fact, the exchange of sex for money has never been illegal in Canada (Malarek 65). This apparent contradiction has always generated controversy and confusion for many years, and that is the main reason why the prostitution should be legalized by the government so as to remove all the contradictions and confusions. In March 2012, in their ruling, the Supreme Court in Ontario legalized brothels citing the laws on prostitution as unfairly discriminating against the prostitutes and did not guarantee safer working environment for them. In their ruling, the judges observed that banning the brothels is a gross violation of sex workers’ rights. They further, argued that the only safe way for a prostitute to work indoors, should be in a location that is within her control (Weitzer). The implication of this ruling is that the prostitutes are now being brought into the society and are being recognized as full citizens. All laws governing prostitution in the whole country should change, because any attempt to criminalize prostitution, will only serve to push the industry underground, and these will give rise to predators (Weitzer 109).
The ruling of the judges was not to take effect immediately, but should take at least one year to allow the government to amend the criminal code. These changes will be applicable to the whole nation and not just the province of Ontario and when it is legalized it will protect all the players in the industry. Prostitution is touted as the oldest profession, and it is as old as humanity. It has existed despite being labeled as a criminal activity. A study by Simon Fraser University in British Colombia found that 80% of the surveyed persons were in favor of legalizing prostitution so as to protect the buyers and sellers of sex (Flowers 138). Those who favored the legalizing also expressed some form of government regulation in the industry. This study corroborates the argument made in the court of appeal in British Colombia, by a group of sex workers who challenged the constitutionality of the prostitution laws in Canada. This study found that 8% of those buying sex were gay, and 13% were bisexual. Also, those buying sex 65.7% said they never use a condom with their partner, a similar proportion said they have taken HIV test. 26.9% said they have been tested only once, and about 79% said they were hiding from t their partners that they were buying sex (Malarek 96). These findings indicate that the government has to legalize prostitution to guarantee the safety of others because the lives of many are always at risk. To reduce the risk factors is among the reasons why prostitution has to be legalized in the whole country. Illegal prostitution is placing the lives of many citizens at risk, and the government has a duty to ensure that safe sex is practiced by the prostitutes by regulating it. The government of Canada can take a cue from other countries, which have experienced greater success without criminalizing prostitution, for instance New Zealand and Australia, where they have registered numerous success measures for prostitution (Weitzer 105). The governments of the two countries have licensed the brothels, and it has been found to provide the safest working environment for the prostitutes. The brothels in the two countries have provided a sustainable model for crime free, safe, healthy, legal and licensed brothel industry. In Queensland, Australia, they are the best model for the sex industry. This is a clear indication that legal and well regulated prostitution is by far more superior compared to criminalizing it (Flowers 146).
Criminalizing prostitution has always been extremely expensive undertaking because money is spent on law enforcers to apprehend the prostitutes and their customers. They are put through the legal process, which is also extremely expensive. The police and the courts are overwhelmed with cases which have no effect on prostitution. The whole process of arresting, charging, and releasing them have not deterred prostitution (Malarek 102). They get back to prostitution, and the same process starts again. Legalizing prostitution will allow the government to manage the industry and ensure it is run like any other professional job. Legalizing is the position that all prostitutes support, all other measures that have been adopted previously have not taken into consideration the view of the prostitutes themselves. As stated earlier, prostitution is among the oldest profession, and it is not about to end any time soon. The reason why prostitution has persisted for many years is because there is a demand from men, and women are ready to supply it, and as long as there are people there will always be prostitution. The best way forward is to legalize it and manage it (Weitzer).
Flowers, Ronald B. The Prostitution of Women and Girls. Washington, DC: McFarland, 1998. Print.
Malarek, Victor. The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It. Toronto: Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2011. Print.
Weitzer, Ronald. Legalize Prostitution in Canada?. “CNN World International”. 2012. Web.
Weitzer, Ronald John. Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business. New York, NY: NYU Press, 2011. Print.