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Readers debate the question and more. Contribute via hello theatlantic. Earlier we heard from a reader who solicits prostitutes. I consider myself a feminist and I also have worked as a sex worker.

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The two are not mutually exclusive. I have a college degree, but I had a job I hated that was sucking the life out of me. As something of a whim, I decided to try sex work.

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I was good at it and it was fun. I did not have a pimp or work for an agency. Most of my clients became regulars, so I only occasionally needed to put an ad out. I kept my to an absolute minimum to avoid potential exposure to law enforcement stings.

Many of my clients were married and totally devoted to their spouses, who were unable or unwilling to be intimate.

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I also did some work as a domina in the BDSM type of interaction. I got paid extremely well. I stopped doing sex work not because I felt exploited or ashamed, but because the worry about the consequences of getting caught was too much of a burden. Also, having to create a fake employer and job to satisfy friends and family felt dishonest. I now have a regular desk job in insurance snoozetwo kids, and a partner.

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There are plenty of days while slogging through my current job that I long for my former job. As a sex worker, I felt more like a therapist. I connected with others. I felt valued and desired.

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There was only one time I felt unsafe and that was when a client got a little rough. I chose not to see him again. One of the good things about RedBook and Back and other sites used by sex workers is they allow women to share information and warnings about bad clients. Any thoughts on the Nevada model discussed in the video?

This part of the Wiki stood out:.

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The Nevada brothel system has been criticized by activists in the sex worker rights movement, who are otherwise supporters of full decriminalization of prostitution [41] [42] for three reasons: [43]. In the context of this debateI think we need to remember that not everything we disapprove of needs to be illegal.

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For example, there is widespread societal disapproval of adultery outside the context of e. I think the question is whether making something illegal is an effective and appropriate way of dealing with a situation that we disapprove of or is harmful to the participants. Another reader, Peter Schafer, touches on several of the same themes highlighted in the brothel video from Reason :. Besides being able to make a decent living to support themselves and their families, the sex workers I met in the Dominican Republic are primarily concerned with safety and good working conditions.

One of the women I became friends with later worked in a brothel in Curacao on a three-month contract and she talks about how this particular place stood apart from other places she has worked: All clients have to present their passport to be photocopied; there is an alarm button in all rooms to call security; and there is a driver to take and pick up workers from outcalls, which has its supervision purposes but also helps ensure worker safety.

This is what full decriminalization can look like.

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I think the photocopying of the passport is a pretty key deterrent for abusive behavior, and that is something impossible under sex buyer criminalization schemes like the Swedish model. But brothels are often made illegal even when other aspects of prostitution are decriminalized, with the assumption they are inherently exploitative. If two sex workers share a flat for security and mutual support, that is considered an illegal brothel under the Swedish model. And where my friend worked in Curacao, the driver who provided her security and, in effect, earns his living off of prostitution would be considered a pimp and therefore outlawed under the Swedish model.

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An American-British university student, Sarah Fletcher, defends the Swedish model criticized by an earlier reader :. Sex work is not work.

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In the UK, 70 percent of women in prostitution are single mothers who do not receive benefits. The 63 percent of women in German brothels, where prostitution is legalised, are foreigners who lack the resources or German language skills to get other work.

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Miranda Farley interviewed prostitutes across nine countries and found that 89 percent wanted to escape [ pdf ]. These are women we seldom hear from; they lack the educational means to write blog posts about their experiences. Prostitutes are not killed because they are stigmatised, despite what people in the pro-decriminalisation lobby believe.

They are killed because men hate them. They are killed because Johns know no one likely will be looking for them.

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The answer here is to decriminalise the women who are pushed to these desperate conditions and create easier exit strategies—no woman should be criminalised for poverty, for wanting to eat, for wanting to provide for her children—and criminalise the men who exploit this desperation. I can see why so many millennials—including myself—have bought this narrative: pornography is widespread the average viewer starting at the age of 12 and hookup culture is common on college campuses.

Supporting decriminalisation and the sex industry also goes against the liberal support of enthusiastic consent laws: How can enthusiastic consent be achieved when money is the sole motivator for consent?

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The PTSD rates of exited prostitutes shows that this is false. Are you a feminist and disagree? Have you ever been in involved in sex work?

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Drop us an. Update from a reader:. The linked-to surveys are all from places where sex work is still criminalized. You should compare satisfaction rates between places where it is legalized, places where it is partially legalized, and places where it is outright banned. The safest form of prostitution, regulated brothels, are banned. If you were a prostitute, would you rather advertise on illegal websites to men who are breaking the law, or instead work at one of the highly regulated FKK clubs of Germanywhere IDs are checked and people make sure the girls are safe?

Sadly, I think the desire to shame Johns gets in the way of good sense.

This may seem like rough justice, considering the lamentable tradition of arresting the prostitutes and ignoring the johns. Whether commercial sex ought to be decriminalized is both an ideological and empirical question.

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I favor decriminalization in the interests of civil liberty, but I recognize the likelihood of unintended and unwanted consequences. Whether some women freely engage in prostitution or all are forced into it is an empirical question, too often presented as an ideological one. Anti-trafficking activists tend to regard prostitution as at least effectively or virtually coercive for most if not all women--a reflection of sexual inequality and gender roles if not actual extortion or abuse. If you adopt this expansive view of coercion, you can justify the unequal punitive treatment of johns pragmatically, as a necessary means of reducing demand for a presumptively abusive sex trade.

Anti-trafficking activists claim that prostitution in Sweden has dropped as a result of criminalizing buying and decriminalizing selling sex.

Further, given the beliefs about both held by anti-trafficking activists, I am not suggesting that many of them are motivated by something than outrage at the sex trade or that they share the disdain for male sexuality and hostility to civil liberty of anti-porn dogmatists. But I am asking that they consider the costs of uncritically allying with the anti-porn movement and not just because for some activists on the right, opposition to trafficking is another weapon against reproductive choice; Planned Parenthood has been accused of sex trafficking. Do you favor the Swedish model?

Your reader with mixed feelings about prostitution states :. My concern is that legitimizing [sex work] might make it more common because being poor is becoming more common in this society. In many parts of the world, prostitution is legal, and in many of those places—Colombia and the Dominican Republic, for example—there are many poor women who work in the sex trade.

In Cambodia, where sex work is not legal but largely tolerated, there are occasional crackdowns on sex workers by the police working with NGOs, often in response to U. State Department pressure. The NGO solution is to divert the women to the garment industry to make cheap clothes for Americans and other Westerners. However, many women return to sex work because the working conditions and pay are so poor in the garment industry:. In the Dominican Republic, poor women can work in Dominican maquiladoras outside Santo Domingo making shoes.

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Poor women who make difficult choices from a limited set of options are not helped by removing the best paying option because we might find it distasteful. Instead of further limiting their choices, that energy could be put toward working to ensure a living wage is available through various forms of work. It would be like any other job complete with health care benefits, retirement benefits, etc.

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It would end illegal sex trafficking … why would you go to some shady place when you can go to the t that has health certificates for all the workers prominently displayed? My attitude is what two adults do—if there is no coercion involved on either of their parts—is fine.

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People get so up in arms when the talk turns to sex. The young people I talk to take prostitution seriously, but they don't seem to have the moral baggage that older people have. Another reader addresses the question :. I think bringing it out of the shadows would end certain types of exploitation, and it is absolutely clear that there is no prohibition that will end the practice of prostitution.

My concern is this: Will legalization make more desperate, poor women turn to prostitution because we offer them no other alternative?

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