Legalize the sex trade?

Legalize the sex trade?

Some people argue that China should legalize the sex trade since it is impossible to eradicate it and this could also help prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but such arguments underestimate the effects legalizing prostitution will have on society, says an article on Xinhuanet. Excerpts:

When prostitution is criminalized, there will be nagging worries among sex workers, pimps and the customers and anyone involved in the business about getting caught and being punished. The legal and moral consequences, therefore, help restrain such activities.

However, if prostitution was to be legalized, those involved would no longer have to worry about being brought to justice. Nor would they have to worry about their work being subject to a moral backlash, as the public's attitude toward sex work would undergo fundamental changes with the legalization of prostitution, no matter how slowly.

Under such circumstances, the sex trade would grow. Some argue that legalizing prostitution will lead to protected sex, but there is no guarantee. Instead, a growing number of sex workers may increase the risk of unprotected sex. This is understandable, since when prostitution is criminalized, sex workers and their clients are worried that unprotected sex will result in harsher punishment. While in the context of legalized prostitution, some of them will probably give in to their personal preference and engage in unprotected sex. Worse, the walls of social ethics will tumble down along with legalized sex trade, which will cause a moral crisis and also fuel the transmission of HIV and STDs.

The prevention of HIV and STDs and the crackdown on the sex trade are two daunting tasks that should be carried forward simultaneously. It is simply unwise to facilitate one while compromising the other.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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