VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN / October 2004
sex workers, to protect sex workers from exploitation, to promote the welfare and occupational safety and health of sex workers, and to create an environment that is conducive to public health. It was also alleged that the law would protect children from the exploitation of prostitution (New Zealand Justice and Electoral Committee, 2001).2
Underpinning laws that legalize or decriminalize prostitution is the belief that prostitution is inevitable. This notion is advanced from different quarters: from pimps and johns,3 governments, public health officials, and from sexologists and evolutionary psychologists. Pimps have, for example, promoted legalized prostitution with the following arguments:
Why make a married man who is looking for nothing more than an alternative to masturbation, get busted in a sting, have his name and picture be published in his local paper and have to explain everything to his wife? Isn’t that destructive to society? Why have a legion of free-lance STD-spreaders when you could control and regulate sex-field workers’ health? Why consume law- enforcement time and resources to the tune of hundreds-of- thousands of dollars per year instead of collecting at least an equal amount in real estate and income tax withholding? It only makes sense. (Patrick, 2000, p. 12)
Public statements by pimps emphasize that prostitution is here to stay, with Dennis Hof in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Heidi Fleiss in Sydney, Australia, repeating the mantra that “boys will be boys.”4 A Canadian attorney defended legal prostitution stating that prostitution “is a bottomless market” (Young, 2003). These stereo- types about men not only normalize and trivialize prostitution but are also good business strategy, relieving johns of any doubts regarding the social acceptability of their sexual predation while at the same time inviting them to spend their money.
Prostitution has been proposed as development policy for newly industrializing and developing countries. Often, those promoting prostitution are sex industry businessmen and gov- ernment officials. Sex businesses such as escort prostitution, mas- sage brothels, strip clubs, phone sex businesses, and Internet prostitution have been described by Lim (1998) as the sex sector of a state’s economy. In some countries, profits from the sex sector are included in estimates of its economic activity. For example, in