Statement of Position
Commercial sex presents an ethical and economic dilemma, which inspires a hot debate in Australia and across the globe. Concerning the proposal to adopt commercial sex in Victoria, I would support criminalizing the policy. The legislation’s potential adverse outcomes to women, girls, boys, and the entire society inform my position. I am not convinced that selling sex is an autonomous decision and a liberal right. It is essential to understand that the sex market has a unique distinction compared to other markets because it observes an asymmetry proposition. According to Cunningham and Shah (2018), the commercial sex market degrades moral values, thus undermining efforts to promote gender equality. Therefore, I remain firm in support of the Nordic Model because selling sex represents oppression of women’s rights, and it would be ethically wrong for the Victorian Government to enact a law that harms females.
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Key Issue One: Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors
My first key issue against legalizing commercial sex relates to the sexual exploitation and trafficking of minors. Children’s safety, especially girls and boys, depends on social values and norms governing a particular society. I believe that an interaction of various factors ranging from family characteristics to cultural beliefs influences the behaviors acquired by children. In this regard, decriminalizing commercial sex changes the social expectations and public conversation concerning the entire subject of sex, thus exposing minors to commercial sexual exploitation. Selling sex may seem profitable to people operating in other labor markets (Baxter, 2020). The desire for money may compel them to use any means to reap the most benefits from commercial sex. As a result, some dishonest individuals may entice minors and establish brothels, thus exploiting them sexually at low pay. Unfortunately, with the legalization of commercial sex, it would be challenging for law enforcers to apprehend individuals exploiting minors because they would disguise their deceitful acts with legitimate business (Thompson, 2017). I am convinced that the Victorian Government should criminalize commercial sex because it would expose girls to traffickers and sex exploitation.
Legalizing commercial sex may also lead to child maltreatment and negligence. In the Australian community, parents should take care of their children. However, commercial sex would complicate parenting because of time scheduling, and parents would not have enough time with their children. According to Wodda and Panfil (2020), selling sex often happens at night when children are at home after a long day at school. I feel that it will be disheartening for young girls and boys to have absent parents. Inevitably, minors may interact with sexual predators exposing them to early sexual intercourse. Sadly, the research shows that young girls and boys exposed to sex at an early age are less likely to stop and remain at risk of sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, and drug abuse (Rissel et al., 2017). Indeed, early exposure to sex causes the loss of self-esteem, resulting in a disoriented life, which affects minors’ life both academically and socially. Decriminalizing commercial sex exposes young girls and boys to harmful behaviors that hurt their future ambitions in life.
Key Issue Two: Women’s Oppression
My second key issue is that decriminalizing commercial sex strengthens women’s oppression. Females are human beings with equal ability to men and have proved to be fundamental drivers of the Australian economy in respectable positions, including leadership. Vanwesenbeeck (2017) argues that women were historically perceived as male slaves whose roles were to give birth, look after children, and provide sexual pleasure. I believe that decriminalizing commercial sex in Victoria is similar to reverting to women’s historical injustices and oppression. Scarlet Alliance claims that everybody has a liberal right to make his or her decisions (Scarlet Alliance, 2016). Nevertheless, this argument is irrational because I do not think reducing females to objects of pleasure for men safeguards their liberal rights. I believe that Australia is a progressive country focusing on empowering marginalized groups, including females. Consequently, it would be ridiculous to waste the investments in women’s empowerment over the years with commercial sex legalization. Instead, the Victorian Government should strengthen its fight in promoting gender equality to ensure every resident feels proud of their country.
Additionally, the integrity of an individual rests on his or her body. Commercial sex encourages the use of a woman’s body as a source of income. This reasoning influences females to lose their value and dignity and start perceiving themselves as commodities. Irrefutably, nothing can make women different from goods if they can be purchased in the market. According to Thompson (2017), the sale of a female’s body alienates its moral personality, thus degrading a woman’s value in society. Despite the financial gains from commercial sex, it is essential to ask ourselves whether it is decent and ethical. Selling sex is shameful demonstrating that it fails to meet the civility criteria of legal business and should be forbidden. Besides, Vanwesenbeeck (2017) argues that prostitution represents a selfish desire of the capitalists at the expense of women’s dignity and marital legitimacy. In this regard, I support the Nordic Model because degrading love into commerce presents women as sex objects without self-respect and value in society.
Key Issue Three: Moral Deterioration
Moral deterioration is a critical key issue supporting the dire need to criminalize commercial sex. Every society subscribes to several moral values and beliefs, which govern its people’s way of life. Although individuals have independent rights to make decisions, they need ethical principles that inform them about the limits of their choices. I oppose commercial sex in the lenses of morality because it erodes foundations that shape people’s behaviors. Selling sex changes people’s perceptions of social ideologies such as feminism. While feminists should promote women empowerment and gender equality, commercial sex legalization seems to promote gender discrimination (Johnson, 2016). Although moral values discourage any form of discrimination, it has proved inevitable with the sex market legislation. For example, despite that commercial sex is an activity practiced by both males and females, society often blames the latter for the sex market’s proliferation. Therefore, selling sex continues to weaken moral principles, guiding the peaceful coexistence among all individuals by enhancing contemporary stereotyping mainly against women.
Commercial sex has also eroded the ethics guiding the common good of society. The constitution safeguards the rights of everyone but is in line with moral implications to most of the population groups. I agree with the commercial sex supporters that legalization may end the stigma and acceptance of sex workers as legitimate professionals (Yar and Drew, 2019). Nonetheless, it is significant to estimate the impacts of such legislation on the entire community. According to Nuttbrock (2018), commercial sex causes loss of moral values and the adoption of behaviors, which undermine other people’s independence and rights by risking their lives. For instance, commercial sex inspires a debate on consent age and limits that define it. Several individuals, especially females and small girls who may not desire to engage in prostitution, may find themselves harassed in their homes, schools, and workplace. Sadly, it may be challenging for them to prove the attempts of sexual exploitation in court. Accordingly, if legislation exposes the majority of the population to risk, then the common good supersedes the individual or small group’s interests because morality is superior to individualistic, selfish gains.
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Summary and Conclusion
I have demonstrated that commercial sex should not be criminalized in Victoria. In summarizing my arguments against the policy, I first illustrated how commercial sex exposes minors to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is the right of young girls and boys to have the best parenting approach that does not risk their life until they can make rational decisions as adults. Secondly, I have shown how prostitution revert Australia to a traditional society, which perceived women as a weak gender. Advocating for females to become males’ objects of pleasure degrades the efforts to strengthen women’s empowerment. Lastly, I have exhibited the dire need to embrace morality to ensure that we promote the common good rather than the interests of small groups. Undeniably, they do not care about the welfare of the rest of the society as long as they fulfill their capitalists’ needs.
In conclusion, I am convinced that the supporters of commercial sex pursue selfish interests. While it is a constitutional right to make independent decisions, there should be limits to avoid undermining others’ rights. In Victorian Society, some women believe in engaging in legitimate professionals, which do not discredit their dignity. It would be hurting to expose their children to early sex by demeaning the existing moral values. Significantly, Australia, as a progressive country, should not adopt policies, which disregard its continuous investment in women empowerment, among other marginalized groups. The most plausible action is to criminalize commercial sex because it contributes to more harm than good.
Baxter, A.L. (2020) ‘When the line between victimization and criminalization blurs: the victim-offender overlap observed in female offenders in cases of trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation in Australia’, Journal of Human Trafficking, 6(3), pp. 327-338.
Cunningham, S. and Shah, M. (2018) ‘Decriminalizing indoor prostitution: implications for sexual violence and public health’, The Review of Economic Studies, 85(3), pp. 1683-1715.
Johnson, C. (2016) ‘Sexual citizenship in a comparative perspective: dilemmas and insights’, Sexualities, 20(1-2), pp. 159-175.
Nuttbrock, L. (2018) Transgender sex work and society. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rissel, C., Donovan, B., Yeung, A., de Visser, R.O., Grulich, A., Simpson, J.M. and Richters, J. (2017) ‘Decriminalization of sex work is not associated with more men paying for sex: results from the second Australian study of health and relationships’, Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 14(1), pp. 81-86.
Scarlet Alliance. (2016) Scarlet Alliance, Australian sex workers association is the national peak sex worker organization in Australia. Web.
Thompson, L.L. (2017) ‘The global supply chain of sexual exploitation and the necessity of combating the demand for commercial sex dignity’, A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence, 2(3), pp. 8-24.
Vanwesenbeeck, I. (2017) ‘Sex work criminalization is barking up the wrong tree’, Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46(6), pp. 1631-1640.
Wodda, A. and Panfil, V.R. (2020) Sex-positive criminology. 1st edn. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Yar, M. and Drew, J. (2019) ‘Image-based abuse, non-consensual pornography, revenge porn: a study of criminalization and crime prevention in Australia and England & Wales’, International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 13(2), pp. 578-594.