Legalising Prostitution Will Only Provide Cover for the Traders in Human Misery

Cape Times (South Africa), November 17, 2009 | Go to article overview

Legalising Prostitution Will Only Provide Cover for the Traders in Human Misery


BYLINE: Errol Naidoo

I refer to the Cape Times editorial of November 13 in which the newspaper nails its colours to the mast of the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce's (Sweat) ideology of demonising law enforcement, while romanticising the inherently harmful and exploitative sex industry.

I am curious to know how the Cape Times arrived at its fundamentally flawed conclusions - that once prostitution is decriminalised and prostitutes provided with access to labour rights, healthcare and other services, the abuse, criminality and sexual exploitation inherent in the sex industry will disappear.

Apparently, and according to the "expert opinion" of Sweat and the Cape Times, decriminalisation is the wand that will magically transform the sex trade into a respectable industry in South Africa - a social experiment that has failed with devastating consequences in every nation that has attempted it.

In fact, Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen admitted defeat and is reversing many of the policies that surrendered the sex industry in the Netherlands to the exclusive control of international crime syndicates.

The Cape Times seems convinced that since prostitution "is the oldest profession in the world", it deserves to be decriminalised. Imagine if we had applied this logic to slavery - another ancient trade that has much in common with prostitution. Perhaps the Cape Times would be extolling the virtues of a regulated slave trade today.

The arrogance of organisations like Sweat and others is staggering. These so-called NGOs, who in effect are lobbying for the free reign of pimps and crime syndicates to further entrench their merciless exploitation of women and children, demand that elected government leaders and police officials consult them before fulfilling their constitutional obligation to enforce the law.

Sweat and its cheerleaders in the liberal media will have us believe that sex traffickers, pimps, brothel owners and the criminal syndicates that control and sexually exploit women and children will suddenly be transformed into paragons of virtue once prostitution and the organised crime networks that control it are decriminalised.

Tragically, the facts drawn from local and international research prove the opposite. In May this year, the Daily Telegraph reported that, despite Australia legalising prostitution for similar reasons (to contain and regulate the sex industry), Sydney now contends with an illegal sex industry operating alongside the legal trade - but which is four times larger. Criminal syndicates dominate both the legal and illegal sex industry, using the cover provided by the Australian government to extend other criminal activity like sex-trafficking, drug dealing and money laundering. …

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