Sex Workers’ Rights are Human Rights

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Prostitution is seen by people as the worst thing a woman can do for money. When we hear about prostitution, we sometimes ask ourselves: why do they need to have sex with multiple men for money? Don’t they think about all the diseases? Despite the fact that prostitution has caused many sexual transmitted diseases, prostitutes or sex workers should not be arrested for committing a crime if it was consented by both parties, done for the need of money, pleasure or forced to sell their bodies. Prostitution has been around for many years; it is legal in several countries around the world and should be regulated in more states in the United States other than Nevada; legalization should be granted in order to provide a safer environment for the prostitute and their clientele. Prostitution is the oldest profession that has existed since 2400 BCE; several countries around the world would see prostitution as an honorable trade; but in the Middle Ages, having sex outside of marriage was considered a horrible sin, and punishment for prostitution was curl. Even though prostitution was considered a sin or caused severe diseases, it flourished. Several regulations of prostitution were passed in the United States causing several acts to be attempted. In 1910, the Mann Act, also known as the White-Slave Traffic Act, was passed, making prostitution or debauchery, for any immoral purpose a federal crime (Sexton). The Mann Act is still on the books and is used to prosecute escort agencies; this act caused the resignation of a governor from New York in 2008. Even though there were regulations passed, prostitution legalization started to spread around the world. Several licensed brothels in rural counties in the state of Nevada passed the legalization of prostitution in 1971 after England passed theirs in 1959. After this occurred, in San Francisco, California a group to protect the rights of the sex workers in the United States called COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), was formed in 1973. This group formed was supporting the regulations, licensing and decriminalization to help protect the sex workers.

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Around the world HIV and STDs have impacted the prostitution profession; mainly in the Western countries causing for several brothels to enforce medical check-ups for sex workers to prevent the spread of any diseases to their clientele. The legalized brothels have several requirements but mainly that every sex worker must have a medical check-up regularly to make sure they do not carry any type of STD or HIV. If this occurs, the sex workers are forced for leave the brothels to prevent the disease from spreading. There is an article from Jennifer Pyett which talks about a research done on several sex workers showing statistics about STDs and HIV. The International a Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology states, samples of female prostitutes have usually been obtained from populations of women in detention (qtd. in Pyett). This research shows that the majority of the sex workers not working in legalized brothels were diagnosed with a certain type of STD or HIV. As a requirement that the legalized brothels must have, condom usage is required, and they are provided in the brothels for the sex worker to utilize with her clientele. Condoms are provided in the brothels to prevent the clean sex workers from getting HIV or an STD from an infected partner. Pyett also mentions in her article, about a condom usage report that was taken on sex workers using condoms on clients and non-clients.

The report shows that 1 out of 253 sex workers always use condoms with paying clients; the other report shows that less than half of the sex workers did not use condoms with non-paying clients. Pyett also states that some sex workers are able to detect an infected client. How is that possible? The clients might refuse services, insist on using condoms and still perform service, or limit service (no intercourse). HIV and STDs are becoming a big issue around the world and several clients and sex workers do not know they might have it; legalized prostitution will prevent this from spreading and make every sex worker to be tested. The Netherlands, Germany and several rural counties in the state of Nevada, have several policies to protect the sex workers from not being arrested if the guidelines are not followed, even though it is legal in these areas. The Netherlands has a policy to end the abuse in prostitution by providing a licensing system to control and regulate the employment of sex workers. By having this, it will protect the sex workers from being forced to sell their bodies and protect minors from sex trafficking. To meet these requirements, the sex worker must have a landline telephone number and a physical address to make sure she is not being exploited or forced. Even though the policy the Netherlands have, it has been difficult for it to utilized in several work places; brothels, window rooms, hotels, clubs, and the sex workers private home need to meet three requirements from the government. The governments regulation is that every place mentioned must provide a safe working area, hygiene and maintain the size of the place to a minimum; the safest area that meets the requirements is the window rooms. Sex workers must have a working permit to work as a prostitute in a work area, by not having one they are not able to work; if the sex worker is working in a brothel, they are encouraged but not required to have a medical check-up for any STD or HIV about four times in a year. In Germany, an act called The Prostitution Act which recognized prostitution as a valid occupation and sought removal of its immoral label under the law to give prostitutes employee rights (Kavemann, 2007) (qtd. Seals). The policy provides the sex workers with unemployment rights, sick leave and being able to sue a client for non-payment. In Germany, the sex workers are required to have a tax identification number to be able to file for taxes.

The difference between the Netherlands and Germany: the brothels are not required to provide a safe work environment; no examinations are required, and they are not required to use condoms with their clientele. On the other hand, the rural counties in the state of Nevada brothels, are required to provide condoms for their workers. The state of Nevada has established a licensing system as well as the Netherlands and Germany, but only for the owners of the brothels. In these counties, prostitution in the brothels is legal, but anything other than the brothels is still considered illegal. The license for the brothels to operate, may be revoked by local authorities if the brothels provide any harm to the workers’ health, safety and to the public. Most of the brothels are open 24/7; few of the brothel owners have a limit of how many workers could work for them. The reason for the limit is to avoid license fee increase as they hire more workers. In these counties by law, the sex workers must pay a licensing fee and must be tested for STDs and HIV to be able to work. If their results are negative, they move forward on getting a working card in the police or sheriff department. Sex workers are required to live in the brothel they are working in order for them to be monitored and make sure they are not having sex with anyone else other than their clientele. For these reasons, prostitution in the Netherlands, Germany and Nevada have provided a way for legalized prostitution to protect the rights of the sex worker, the brothels and the government. By legalizing prostitution, just like the Netherlands, Germany and Nevada; it will promote safe sex, unnecessary arrests, and help the government by collecting taxes from it; legalizing it is the best solution in a country like the United States that is based on the idea of freedom.

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Sex Workers' Rights are Human Rights. (2019, Jul 19). Retrieved December 1, 2022 , from

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