‘Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart’: Prostitution Harms Women Even if Legalized or Decriminalized

With examples from a 2003 New Zealand prostitution law, this article discusses the logical inconsistencies in laws sponsoring prostitution and includes evidence for the physical, emotional, and social harms of prostitution. These harms are not decreased by legalization or decriminalization. The article addresses the confusion caused by organizations that oppose trafficking but at the same time promote prostitution as a justifiable form of labor for poor women. The failure of condom distribution/harm reduction programs to protect women in prostitution from rape, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and HIV is discussed. The success of such programs in obtaining funding and in promoting prostitution as sex work is also discussed.

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