I actually worked in the softcore end of the porn industry for about 15 years as a photographer, and one of the things I learned would be counterintuitive to many people: Most of the models I worked with enjoyed the work.

I'm sure many in "the straight world" would assume that only sheer desperation would drive an attractive young woman to pull her knickers down and show off her breasts and vulva. However, most shoots were quiet chit-chatty affairs with a lot of laughter, about 80% of it from the model. And not that nervous laughter, but just the laughter you hear anytime a girl is having fun.

It was fun.

I didn't work with girls who were being run by a pimpish boyfriend or agent. They were almost always college girls or girls of college age, and many in the latter group were saving up for college. The college girls would tell me that they loved the porn work because they could make money in an afternoon that it'd take them weeks to make serving up food in a restaurant or espresso at Starbucks.

But of course, I'm actually writing about prostitution, which is a somewhat different case. 

Unlike the sort of models whose time I bought, many prostitutes are sex slaves run by violent and exploitative pimps. And many of them are actually imported from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. 

HOWEVER—and this is what I'm writing about—there are two sides to prostitution. First, you have the girls (and sometimes boys) I just referred to. However, you also have the true escort or call girl. The first is a victimization, the second is freelance work.

Feminism falls into two general schools when it comes to prostitution. The conservative school of feminism sees all prostitution as the product of predation and sexual exploitation. The more liberal school of feminism is focused on protecting and empowering sex workers, which includes everyone from strippers/exotic dancers to independent escorts and call girls, to the poor streetcorner hookers.

In Canada, the conservative feminists want to criminalize the customer side, which makes initial sense because in the past the injustice has been that the prostitute has been treated as the criminal and the male customers have got off scot free.

Following a Supreme Court decision, legislators have passed laws criminalizing the customer and brothel-running side and making the marketing of their services illegal, which seems more fair on the surface, but it still leaves them in a quasi-illegal underworld where they are more easily exploited.

However, as I pointed out, not all prostitutes are victims. Some are just businesswomen working in the sexual field of their own free will, and if anyone is being exploited there, it is the customers.

So, how do you feel about prostitution and what should be viewed as criminal and what not? And why not?

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"First, you have the girls (and sometimes boys) I just referred to. However, you also have the true escort or call girl. The first is a victimization, the second is freelance work."

Shouldn't that be the other way round? Call girls = victimization; softporn pics = freelance work.

Any person entering the field of prostitution should do so voluntarily and without duress. It is the oldest occupation and provides a very relevant service in today's culture. A secular society should be open to the business of sex as long as it only involves those of legal age and no violence or injury occurs to the participants. Besides, the tax incentives could be very substantial for we beleaguered taxpayers.

Shouldn't that be the other way round? Call girls = victimization; softporn pics = freelance work.

Not really sure what you mean there.

I pretty much agree with the rest of what you said.

What people don't understand is that there will always be prostitution, and even if you don't criminalize the providers (prostitutes) but concentrate instead on the customers, you are still relegating the prostitutes to a criminal underworld, and that exposes them to danger.

If one really wants to protect the prostitutes to the greatest degree, one must legalize sexual commerce.

Honestly, I've flipped a 180 on this issue. When I was a Christian I think my response would have looked something like, "Legalize prostitution? Are you crazy? That's a SIN!!".....lol....

Now I say, ABSOLUTELY...it needs to be decriminalized because it would allow women who ARE being abused to get help. it would allow them (for example) to carry condoms with them without getting harassed or arrested by police. It would allow them a voice to stand up and get help if they are mistreated. It would solve a lot of problems that are women's issues.

I went through a time about a year ago when I was seriously considering becoming a stripper. I went as far as the audition and just....couldn't do it. But...it was enticing because of the money and the flexibility of it. I reasoned to myself that I could work the nights my son went with his dad, and then go to school during the day and have time to still be a Mom. I have always kept it in the back of my mind, but I honestly don't think I could do it. But I now understand why some women do. And they need to be protected.

I have been fortunate that I've since found a way to go back to school. I'm now entering a world of the "male-dominated" professions. The last time I did that was when I was a CO but that didn't feel like a male dominated profession because honestly I worked with SO many women. And my Captain was female. Now I found myself yesterday becoming the project manager over a group of guys in one of my classes, all of which are older than me. I was shocked at how I was able to actually...lead men like that. a couple of times I saw their eyes wander, and at the end one of them tried to hit on me, lol, but I saw through it right away. One of the men worked in an "adult" store on the side. He is an ex-vet, WAY older than me, and he can be totally domineering. But I don't let him push me around, lol. To think that in that kind of role I can end up in a job making more than I ever would stripping.....it is definitely the better choice for me. but it has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of counseling to be able to even be in a room full of men. In the not too distant past I thought it was impossible. Now.....i see a bright future. so I could have been their stripper. Now I'm their boss, lol.....I think the later is better. but I respect both. Women should be protected and respected, no matter what they do for money.

In an ideal world I think you could legalize prostitution and treat it just like any other form of business. One of the arguments I have seen against this view is that it actually is qualitatively different from other businesses. This is because the product itself has a moral aspect to it. Other businesses can employ immoral practices and unethical techniques (such as the hard-sell or monopolization) but it is unusual for the product itself to have an ethical/moral dimension. This is not due to prudery but just to how society generally views sex.

The arguments I have read go along the lines that by legalizing prostitution you are implicitly endorsing casual sex with many different partners and without emotional investment. The argument is that this behaviour, either through prostitution or through promiscuity generally, leads to low self-esteem and a difficulty in emotionally committing to a relationship. I don't know whether this is true but it is an interesting point. 

I am personally for legalization because I think the main reason for people's opposition is similar what Belle mentioned above (it's a SIN, etc). These are just knee-jerk reactions based on society's repressed and puritanical views towards sex. I think we need to normalize the idea that people can just have casual sex if they both want it and it's not such a big deal. Then prostitution no longer seems so shocking.

This is because the product itself has a moral aspect to it.

As do many other products. Tobacco products, fast food, whole life insurance.

The arguments I have read go along the lines that by legalizing prostitution you are implicitly endorsing casual sex with many different partners and without emotional investment. The argument is that this behaviour, either through prostitution or through promiscuity generally, leads to low self-esteem and a difficulty in emotionally committing to a relationship. I don't know whether this is true but it is an interesting point.

So, young women engaging in weekend hookups to get laid with no emotional outlay are lowering their self-esteem? What about their sex partners?

I realize this isn't your view, but I'd like to hear someone who believes that horseshit defend it.

I agree Strega. We're behind the rest of the world on so many levels...I want to become an expat so badly you have no idea! Ah!!!

The last time I looked Canada's Supreme Court had ruled on several laws which, when set aside, essentially made being a prostitute legal. I think the legislature responded by leaving the selling of sex legal but making the purchasing and marketing of sex illegal, which kind of makes the legalizing of prostitution a rather moot point.

Any Canadians want to weigh in?

The infographic is a little wrong in not listing New Zealand as a legal prostitution country. Prostitution has been legal in NZ since 2003 and the results have been almost universally hailed as being very positive for both sex workers and society in general.

One can have a look at the "Adult Entertainment" pages of the New Zealand Herald to see how many willing workers there are advertising on any given day. 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/classifieds/results.cfm?pillar=15&sub...

Perhaps it is not coincidental that NZ and Germany where prostitution is both legal and regulated are also both highly secular states.

Is being a "john" (a prostitute's customer) also 100% legal in NZ? In some countries who are at least trying to be rational, they still make the transaction illegal in a way by making being a customer illegal. They often also forbid brothels (which may be a good idea) and the marketing of sex.

hi Unseen 

Yes - all prostitution is legal in NZ (with the exceptions you would expect -ie no coercion, 

minors ,etc.) just click on http://www.sexygirls.co.nz/ProstitutionReformAct2003.php  to see the basics of the law and the kind of services offered at one brothel including the friendly

 http://www.sexygirls.co.nz/SexyGirlsYoungPrivateAucklandEscortBlowj...

or check on any of the many websites like this - for hours,prices etc.

http://www.deelicious.co.nz/

It is a situation with which the workers, police, and 90% of the community are completely at ease with. a very civilised state of affairs.

Not sure how this chart was compiled, but prostitution has been completely legal in NZ for over 10 years. One major result has been that the girls can and do look to the Police for protection (instead of as the enemy) and they are protected.

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