By Priscilla Ko, M121 Intern
On Monday, CNSNews posted an article that has raised hundreds of heckles about the United Nation’s (U.N.) global commission report on HIV/AIDS. Amongst its contents was a disturbing subchapter dedicated to decriminalizing consensual sex work, (a.k.a. prostitution). For such a recognized and revered organization, it’s baffling to wonder how the U.N. missed several implications on its legalize-and-regulate model. Here is a list of reasons why their approach is aloof.
- It will gravely increase human trafficking
By permitting prostitution, the U.N. will have increased the demand for sex, an eventual procession that will require a larger supply. This creates a beneficiary effect for traffickers, who can lure and deceive young girls into brothels and sex trafficking, supplying and further fueling the sex trade. In an already very gray line between what constitutes as willingness versus coercion in the selling of sex, the U.N. is unprepared for the global effect of its decision.
- It will not bring about the desired solution for HIV/AIDS
In 2000, Netherlands took the unorthodox stance in the model of legalizing and regulating prostitution. Their results in a 2004 report showed no evidence of a decline neither in STDs or HIV, but did, however, discover an increase in sex tourism and trafficking (as aforementioned). Furthermore, many countries are ill-educated in the causes and consequences of sex and HIV. A 2007 World Development report looked at various ways to educate young girls in Africa to reduce teenage childbearing (and consequentially, HIV). They noticed that if you could prolong a student’s schooling (towards secondary education), it could lead to reductions in teenage pregnancies and decreased risk of HIV. Even the U.N. has noted that education does play keynote effects on reducing the spread of HIV in its document, though has dismissed the suggestion due to funding burdens.
- It reduces rather than reinstates the role of women
Women will never be respected solely for their bodies and their ways to curb sexual desires. Rather, it is in liberty and intellect that women have shown, time and time again, their resilience and determination to rescue themselves out of poverty and live sustainable lives. Prostitution will only objectify women as playmates instead of allowing them dignity. Properly educate and equip the women so they may contribute, with pride, for their society.
- It underestimates the power of the “weak”
Though it is true that cultures ought to try and decrease the stigma associated with HIV, we shouldn’t belittle the afflicted and feel they must be macro-managed to live a dignified life. People do not need a constant watchful eye hovering over, and by doing so it will only hinder the possibilities in moving out of their low social statuses. They must be given opportunities to rise from their oppressive circumstances and fashion for themselves a new future.
- It doesn’t address the fundamental problem
These are just solutions that seem to be band-aids covering up a festering wound called poverty. Prostitution, illegal drug usage, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. are often due to a lack of knowledge, resources, and opportunities for individuals to get out of vulnerable situations. There is hardly ever a desire to become a prostitute, but rather, because of a necessary means of survival to feed their families. Address poverty and create sustainable living first rather than implementing a quick fix that will only preclude greater harm.
In short, what is permissible may not be beneficial. If U.N. proceeds with its controversial accounts in legalizing prostitution, it will create a trapping and confinement for the impoverished. Instead of taking the easier and faster solution, the U.N. would do better to invest in the education and economic ventures for the citizens they are claiming to protect. Perhaps if they realized the greater effects of their decision, they would reconsider their position on such a concerning issue.