Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
11 April 2007

Sex work (again…)

A reader is still hot under the collar because of my remarks on sex work last week and write:

Prostitution not only affects those who make use of its services (broken marriages, STD’s and HIV/AIDS, robbed clients, embarrassing situations for our esteemed politicians, etc.) but for the practitioners of the practice. While they are abused every day, they are still on the wrong side of the law (except if they’re under-age, or coerced) and should be punished.

I agree that prostitution may affect those who make use of the services of sex workers as well as sex workers themselves. It just seems logical, though, that the solution is not to criminalize the behaviour – which was what led to the harm in the firs place.

If we legalized sex work, it would be easier to ensure that sex workers practices safe sex and did not rob clients (but of course its impossible to pass any law that would stop politicians from making fools of themselves). Men who visit sex workers and whose marriages then break up should never have stayed married in any case.

Legalisation would also protect sex workers from exploitation by clients and pimps because they would be doing a job like anyone else and would fall under the same labour law which would protect them. They would also have to pay tax, which would make Pravin Gordhan very happy.

And what would the downside be? Sex workers would be allowed to do a job that was perhaps not the most glamorous or enjoyable job on earth. Still seems like a no-brainer to me.

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