Farley / HARMS OF PROSTITUTION
criminalization advocates allegedly want to avoid. Reflecting the social isolation of those in it, prostitution is often removed from the mainstream. Whether in Turkish genelevs (walled-off multiunit brothel complexes) or in Nevada brothels (ringed with barbed wire or electric fencing), women in state-zoned prostitu- tion are physically isolated and socially rejected by the rest of soci- ety. Often, when prostitution is not physically removed from other businesses, for example in the case of strip clubs, club own- ers deny that prostitution occurs in their venues.
Advocates of decriminalization argue that the health of those in prostitution will be improved by decriminalization because otherwise women will not have access to health care. It is assumed that women will seek health care as soon as the stigma of arrest is removed from prostitution. If the stigma is removed, advocates argue, women will then file a complaint whenever they are abused, raped, or assaulted in prostitution. They assume that the complaint will be followed with a police response that treats women in prostitution with dignity and as ordinary citizens. Unfortunately, health care workers and police too often share the same contempt toward those in prostitution that others do.
Aformer prostitute in NZ said to the Parliament: “This bill pro- vides people like me . . . with some form of redress [italics added], for the brutalisation that may happen...when you’re with a client and you have a knife pulled on you” (Georgina Beyer, speech, Wellington, NZ, June 26, 2003). The specific form of redress offered by the NZ decriminalization law was not described by the speaker, nor is it articulated in the law. The dilemma for the per- son in prostitution is not that there is no legal redress for coercion, physical assault, and rape in the new law or in old laws. The dilemma is that in prostitution there is no avoiding sexual harass- ment, sexual exploitation, rape, and acts that are the equivalent of torture.
Decriminalization in NZ was promoted as a means of provid- ing those in prostitution with legal redress against violent johns. However, prostituted women could already take legal action under existing laws but rarely did so. Explaining this situation, a NZ Prostitutes Collective member stated, “They don’t want to draw attention to themselves and what they’re doing” (Else, 2003, n.p.). Women in the Netherlands have expressed similar senti- ments, even though prostitution has been legal there for many