Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Letter of the Day: Pro-prostitution push institutionalises abuse

Published:Tuesday | April 5, 2016 | 4:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

According to your report of Wednesday March 30, 2016, "some business stakeholders in Negril, Westmoreland, want to see prostitution decriminalised and regulated ". I have some questions for those business owners. Which of them would be proud to tell others of how well their daughter is doing as a prostitute? Why do we want for others that which we do not want for ourselves?

One thing leads to another, so in Germany some years ago, it was ruled that an applicant for unemployment benefits could not get same as she had not tried the job of prostitution. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/1482371/If-you-...)

Aren't we concerned about the abuse that our women face as they sell their bodies? According to Janice G. Raymond, professor emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Coalition Against Trafficking in Women: "The majority of women in prostitution come from marginalised groups with a history of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol dependencies, poverty or financial disadvantage, lack of education and histories of other vulnerabilities. A large number of women in prostitution are pimped and drawn into the sex industry at an early age.

"These are women whose lives will not change for the better if prostitution is decriminalised. Many have entrenched problems that are best addressed not by keeping women in prostitution but in establishing programmes where women can be provided with an exit strategy and the services that they need to regain their lost lives. Furthermore, there is no evidence that in countries that have decriminalised or legalised prostitution, things are better for women in prostitution, or that trafficking and other crimes are reduced."

Decriminalisation of prostitution will institutionalise the abuse of our women under the guise of legality. The operations of brothels are an example of the strong taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable.

Before we hustle down the road of amending or passing laws that may seem to solve one problem but actually create far greater ones, let us, together with Negril Chamber of Commerce, be actively involved in finding solutions to lift our women and also our men, from these activities which destroy the body, soul and dignity of the human being.

SHIRLEY RICHARDS

sprichards@cwjamaica.com