Letter: Two arguments over prostitution

It’s interesting to see dueling arguments over prostitution in Hawaii. Yet most people don’t understand what the arguments are about and who the sides are. It is a case of those who seek to abolish prostitution (abolitionists) versus those who seek to make it safer (harm reductionists).

The abolitionists include radical feminists, religious conservatives, much of a growing rescue industry, and since 2001 the U.S. government.

The harm reductionists include people working in public health (particularly those fighting AIDS), sex worker-led organizations, civil libertarians, some leading anti-trafficking organizations and many mainstream feminists.

The abolitionists believe most prostitution is forced and there are multitudes of “slaves” to be saved. Their method is to arrest buyers.

The harm reductionists believe most prostitution is done for survival or economic needs without force. They prefer the New Zealand decriminalized system. Let’s hope the media pays more attention to this side in the future.

Tracy Ryan

Makiki


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