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What if prostitution were legal?
What if there were sanitation procedures, taxation and employee protection laws? What if these women were actually treated with dignity instead of plagues on society while the men who supply the demand are left to drift back into the shadows unscathed, reputations and family intact?
In an exclusive interview with NewsOne, Jocelyn Morris, national board member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the chairperson of the NOW Combating Racism Committee, weighs in on the nuances hidden beneath the surface of the sex trade and explains why patriarchy and male sexual privilege both lie at the heart of the “world’s oldest profession”:
“Prostitution should be legal for many reasons, says Morris. [Chief among them is that it] leaves organized crime with one less money-making enterprise. Historically, women have been considered men’s property.
It wasn’t until 1947 that the U.S. court system recognized a woman’s right to sue in court for lost of consortium if her husband was injured by another person, corporation, etc. Prostitution laws seem to be written to control what women do with their bodies [and punish them for it], but not the buyers of their services.
As is the case with many illegal careers, services, and products, society often judges an individual based on their lack of adherence to judicial rulings, instead of examining the influencing circumstances surrounding their behavior. Not willing to merely take a superficial glance at the industry, Morris delves deeper to hypothesize that prostitution is a last resort for women running out of viable options.
I would guess if there were other options for a woman to help her family financially she would not elect to be a prostitute, Morris says. Many countries undervalue women/girls and their culture/religion makes their father/husband their keepers.
Many women/girls are sold by their fathers into sexual slavery to earn money for their family. Women are not trusted to make their own decisions or to even own property or land. In African culture and other countries, this is practiced to this day.”