Advocates for the complete decriminalisation of prostitution and all aspects of the sex trade often deride abolitionists and others against the legalisation or decriminalisation of sex work for being “moralists.” Being moral used to be a good thing. What they mean by this is that those who disagree with them are coming to the discussion from a religious, prudish, and puritanical point of view, and that it is their dim opinion of all things sexual which motivates them to cast judgement on the prostitute qua sinner. In fact this could not be further from the truth. The only real religious puritanism in the debate comes from the permissivist position.
@Redtography Demand rises exponentially in countries that legalise and implement full decriminalisation; this inevitably fuels demand.—
Rachel Moran (@RachelRMoran) April 29, 2014
The argument that decriminalising the sale and purchase of sex as an interim measure until the socio-economic causes of prostitution have been addressed is nothing more than a messianic dream. Religious people coming to the debate – especially those from a Christian background – have come to a better understanding of the messianic timescale, and we’re not talking years, or decades, or even centuries. Messianism operates in millennia and eons. When we speak of the causes of prostitution we are talking for the most part about poverty, and notions of decriminalisation as a stopgap in lieu of a solution to poverty relegates the protection of the prostituted to the never-never.
Great day 4 survivors of prostitution & sex trafficking in Ireland, as our government votes 2 implement Nordic Model oireachtas.ie/parliament/med…—
Mia de Faoite (@miadefaoite) June 27, 2013
Getting back to the point of moralising, there is nothing wrong with confronting social problems from an ethical or moral standpoint. Yet those who dismiss the “moralistic” argument do so in an attempt to paint its defenders as people sanding in judgement over prostitutes, and this could not be further from the truth. Morality has always been the spoilsport at the hedonistic party of Libertarianism because it puts the human person – as an end in itself – before the desire of those who would see others as means to their own ends.
Nowhere is this better seen than in the language of those supporting the legalisation of prostitution. In an attempt to rehabilitate and normalise the exploitation of women’s bodies prostitution has been reframed as the “sex trade,” and those involved – from the traffickers to the pimps to the prostituted themselves – as “sex workers.” The difference between being prostituted and flipping burgers in a fast food restaurant, as Rachel Moran points out, is that in prostitution the “worker” is the meat. The fact of the matter is that, from the moral position, human beings cannot be reduced to things, and any reality that does this can only be described as deeply immoral.