Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Society's hard-on for criminalising sex

Published:Wednesday | October 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Sean Major-Campbell GUEST COLUMNIST

What if sex workers were legitimately recognised under the law? What if brothels were charged with meeting public-health standards? What might happen if brothel operators knew that the authorities would make random checks?

It is an open secret that Jamaica has thousands of sex workers. Would the country be better off with an open and transparent approach to this reality? Human trafficking is real, and many are the victims who are further victimised by false judgement, especially young girls who have been forced into sex slavery, and then treated as delinquents under the law. Double jeopardy!

What if all adult sexual behaviour were recognised under the law, with particular reference to the place of consenting adults? What if adults, regardless of sexual orientation, were equally treated under the law for any sexual offence against children? And imagine a Jamaica where minors were not judicially charged for sexual experimentation with peers!

We are going to benefit immensely from a political directorate that leads. While it is commendable that the voice of civil society and religious perspectives be brought on board, we must, of necessity, always operate like a civilised democracy, where the elected are the first protectors of human rights. If we had depended on the fundamentalist population, we would never have achieved equal recognition of children born out of wedlock. And if we had depended on the moralising crew, we would still have to pretend that many common-law unions lack the essence of marriage.

Jamaican children do not need any more punitive measures added to their already-challenged existence with the many social ills. Instead, let there be more alternative non-judicial procedures. Let there be more honest and open discussions on matters of sexuality. If we continue to live in pretence and ignore lived reality, we will ensure the demise of generations to come.

Let us not bury our heads in old wives' tales and gallery appeal. May we work and pray for a Jamaica where justice and truth will be ours forever.

The Rev Fr Sean Major-Campbell, an Anglican priest, is the rector of Christ Church, Vineyard Town. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Diocese of Jamaica & the Cayman Islands. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and seanmajorcampbell@yahoo.com.