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Why Sex Work Should be Decriminalized

By decriminalizing sex work, sex workers would:

1) Have legal recourse in the case of abuse by client, police or street gangs
2) Have social services including health benefits, unemployment, and retirement plans
3) Have protection from sexually transmitted diseases by reducing unprotected sex and having access to screening and other health services
4) Their human rights would be protected and their lives dignified
5) Last but not least, they would be able to chose the career of their choice


The society would also benefit from decriminalization, because:

1. The incidence of HIV and STI would decrease
2. It would be more just, with everyone enjoying their human rights, sex workers too
3. The corruption in police and judiciary would be decreased More

• Legalizing prostitution would not only underline the right to earn a living but, more importantly, legalize the fight against sexually-transmitted diseases and the AIDS epidemic.
• Without decriminalization, sex workers have no avenue for redressal when their rights are trampled.
• Currently, it is the sex worker who bears the brunt of criminalization of sex work.
• The criminality associated with sex work implies that the justice system either works to the disadvantage of sex workers or is unavailable and unresponsive even in the most glaring cases of infringement of rights.
• Organisation in sex work settings is a prerequisite for ensuring universal use of prophylaxis. Well organised brothels can facilitate provision of STD/HIV services among sex workers and clients alike and ensure that safer sex is practised ubiquitously.
• Other benefits could include reduction in trafficking of minors and the abatement of police harassment.
• Criminalisation of prostitution aims at eradicating exploitation, but by prohibiting organisation within sex work, which is necessary for empowering sex workers and reducing exploitation, it becomes self defeating.
• When accused, most sex workers plead guilty, even when they have not committed any offence. This, they say is less burdensome than contesting charges in court which entails hiring a lawyer, making repeated visits to the court and further antagonizing local policemen. Justice comes at a price - a price most sex workers cannot 'afford'.
• If the criminalization of sex work continues, the fights against AIDS is a lost cause.

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