Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Leagalisation of prostitution does nothing to alleviate abuse

Turkish political candidates talk about how legalised prostitution does not mean better circumstances for prostitutes.

"They talk about domestic violence, but it was the state that beat us up," she says, in the stuffy, shabby office that is serving as her Istanbul headquarters.

Frequently breaking down in tears, she goes on to talk about 18-hour working days in the brothel, social security payments withheld, even murder.

"Serpil, mother of three; Fatma from Diyarbakir; Hatice from Izmir; all three were killed while I was inside and their deaths passed off as overdoses," she says. That was the rule for disobedience, she explains: first, a beating, then rape, then murder.

"We're not here simply to get attention," Tukrukcu says. "We're here so that people know the truth about all these things."

Two women are bravely overstepping the public taboos against former and current prostitutes by running for office. They seek to ban prostitution, focusing on the state-employed prostitutes that both were pushed into. Their stories, like the one above show that it doesn't matter if prostitution is legalised and regulated (like the state sanctioned brothels in Turkey) that prostitutes still fall victim to rape and abuse, and even murder, which is the same problems that women working as prostitutes the world over have problems with.

I hear a lot from people who support the legalisation of prostitution saying that it will make conditions better for prostitutes. There are not many places where prostitution is legal, so looking at Turkey's problems with prostitution give us a glimpse into how legalised prostitution works. The bottom line is that it is no safer then illegal prostitution.

Now I do not support the arresting of prostitutes. This I think is a crime. These women all ready have enough problems without having to deal with the law. I support the Swedish Model which criminalises the buying of sex and decriminalises the selling of sex. The also offer programs to help the women integrate into society by offering a plethora of job skills for them to learn. And those are the people that should really spend time in jail: the johns. It is not the woman's fault for needing to sell herself to get by, but it is the john's fault for raping these women for money. When mens demand for women to be accessible for rape on demand diminishes then we will see prostitution disappear. But this means that we need an equal society where women are not treated as the sex class, but instead seen as fully human.


Arella said...

I read a lot of the same stuff last year while writing a paper on child prostitution... Aaaargh it makes my brain hurt! Thank you for being part of the solution....

p.s.: lol "what the hell is wrong with people" tag :)