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The Damage in Permitting Prostitution

Interviews conducted in the United States of America reveal that majority of Adult Americans do not favor decriminalization of people based on their sexual orientations. Many researches on the subject indicate that it is only a small percentage of Americans who support strategies of restraint, toleration, or validation. Many research findings show that maturity and schooling were the only demographic variables that extensively influenced opinions on the sexual control policies to be enacted in the United States of America (Ryan 1988). Approach towards government obstruction in matters of victimless crimes such as prostitution and other sexual activities had the greatest influence on the majority of the kinds of policies that are enacted. Attributions of prostitutes’ motivations conversely, accounted for very little in the determination of strategies to be adapted. In general, several researches on the subject about sexual orientation discriminations reveal that respondents are heartless to victimless crimes like prostitution and are ignorant about unconventional certified responses to it (Ryan 1988).

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Not many people would argue that prostitution is a risk-free job. There are many risks for women who practice prostitution which include STD and AIDS, unplanned pregnancy, physical violence, rape, and mental trauma among others. Some people assert that the sex deal is connected with planned misdemeanor and brutality, while others uphold that it undermines sex egalitarianism. In the cotemporary world, the Netherlands and Swedish have adopted very ineffective strategies to stop the problems associated with prostitution. The Netherland which has for years formalized prostitution lifted its outlaw on brothels and their dealings in 2000. One year prior to that, Sweden became the primary country to rule out the acquisition of sexual services as decriminalizing the sale, treating prostitutes as sufferers of sexual offense. Proponents of the Dutch approach dispute that prostitution is an inescapable facade of the public. They assert that the most effective strategy to develop health and lessen aggression in the sex trade is to permit and control prostitution. Those who support the Sweden argument propose that exclusion is an essential stride towards abolishing an intrinsically coercive, brutal, and misogynistic sex trade. Both sides declare that their strategy is the most suitable approach to battle sex trafficking and the reliance of women and children to labor in the sex trade. Regardless of their differences, both approaches are entrenched in an open-minded commencement of liberty, which is regarded as a beginning of an outstanding of the highest degree of recognition to the political philosopher John Stuart Mill. In 1859, Mill penned his most powerful toil on freedom in which he sought after define standard of sovereignty that may possibly be used to critic all laws. He argued that men were liberated to imagine and reside as they please awaiting their measures debilitated or dishonored the privileges of others; only then could society limit entity freedoms. Mill’s so-called the ‘harm principle’ has since been appealed to give good reason for the validation of narcotics use, prostitution, and other victimless crimes. This squabble rests on the supposition that persons who freely take part in such actions do not result to any damage to the society at range. Nevertheless, when the sex trade association to sex trafficking is well thought-out, prostitution proves to be far from victimless. Using Mill’s harm code as a principled standard, the researcher argues that the corroboration of prostitution really violates the harm principle since it stimulates claim for sufferers of trafficking. In addition, countries efforts to battle sex trafficking ought to imitate Sweden’s demand-side replica and criminalize the customer of rewarded sex fairly than the victim (Richards 1988).

Mill and the Harm Principle

On Liberty, Mill argues that the general public or its decision class has customarily wanted to inflict its own definitions of ethics on its people. In general, laws reflect the likings and disliking of society, which are not universally accepted standards. He argues that intellectuals have been unsuccessful to query the goodness of daunting ethics (Hunt 1974). Mill’s preposition on Liberty is to set up a basic, objective principle to govern absolutely the dealings of society with an individual. A decent standard through which all laws can be judged. This means that the only reason, for which authority can be fairly exercised above any affiliate of a civilized group of people alongside his determination, is to avert damage to others. Thus, either substantially or ethically is not an adequate guarantee (Gallup 1972). Mill’s harm principle is a denial of paternalism or the constraint of an individual’s freedoms of anxiety for his or her best wellbeing. In a liberated society, Mill argument is that an individual is independent. Government can merely limit a person’s freedoms, if his or her actions damages or infringe the rights of others. In order to give a good reason for such a wide explanation of freedom, Mill argues that diverse lifestyles including those lifestyles that are well thought-out or abnormal and wicked are all precious to the society. He states that mankind is not perfect and that a lot of thoughts that were once regarded as perfect have been confirmed wrong. For instance, there are many Christians in the past that were very devoted to Christianity belief, but currently they are all deviants (Geis 1972). If the world were conceited sufficiently to declare domination on truth, genuine truth would by no means be exposed. Therefore, if optional thinking and lifestyles were not to some degree accepted to subsist, society would turn out to be sluggish.

Practices well thought-out to be corrupt should be tolerated because they may eventually include some truth. Subsequently, they may eventually endow those that may opt to follow them. Thus, if the foremost faction is so persuaded of the honest truth in its own lifestyle, then it ought to allow other lifestyles to be experienced and to fail consequently: “The worth of different modes of life should be proved practically, when anyone thinks fit to try them (Ryan 1988, p.34).” Any society that refuses to bear alternative beliefs and lifestyles will lead to a tyranny of the majority when the preponderance of people imposes its moral will on the minority. In open-minded societies, the harm principle serves as a make sure on majority will. Roe famously argued that, “The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it (Roe 1988 a, p.70).” Thus, we are completely without charge and supreme individuals until we get in the way of another’s sovereignty.

Mill makes more than a few significant qualifications to the harm principle pertinent to a discussion on prostitution policies. First, the harm principle does not cover all kinds of “harm” – only the infringement of individual “rights.” Mill is unspecific concerning what constitutes a right, but this discussion will take for granted that Mill had certain, basic rights – existence, freedom, and possessions – in mind. The harm principle intrinsically promotes autonomy of option, the right to pursue our own good in our own way. Secondly, society being capable of and must approve paternalistic actions (in violation of the harm principle) in the wellbeing of shielding children, since they have not so far reached a condition of cause. Mill states that, “Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others must be protected against their own actions as well as against external injury (Shaver 1975, p.90).” Lastly, Mill argues that, society has the right to charge crimes by instilling appropriate precautions (Snell 1985). Subsequently, if knowledge warns us that certain freedoms are tending to create certain harms, the harm principle enables society to proactively limit those freedoms. The numerous harmful aspects of prostitution such as illness, rape, aggression among others are well thought-out seriously by some people to necessitate government meddling in the sex trade. However, these reasons unaccompanied are not sufficient to justify the rule or ban of the sex trade based on Mill’s harm principle. It must be renowned that proponents of the Dutch and Swedish approaches to prostitution in cooperation employ paternalistic point of views. The Dutch argue that their approach is in the best interest of the prostitute. They perceive that the use of a corroboration and directive approach will help to reduce the dangers of gender toil. The Swedish unproductive effort to stop accusations of paternalism by deeming prostitution inherently coercive, sidestepping the reality that some women gladly make a decision to sell their bodies. Any law that restricts prostitution based on possible risks to agreeable parties is paternalistic, and it violates the rights of women who willingly seek service in the sex trade. Mill would argue that prostitution is another lifestyle that ought to be tolerated still if humanity deems it morally wrong. In order to give explanation for ruling out this assertion based on the harm principle, prostitution should infringe the rights of a non-consenting party. This instinctive party consists of the women and children required into sexual slavery during sex trafficking (Peters, 1998).

Sex Trafficking – An Overview

In February 2009, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime made public its Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of the UNODC, acknowledges a somber truth in its foreword. Human trafficking is one in the middle of many expressions used nowadays to hide the appearance of contemporary slavery. Trafficking is simply the act of dependence, the transportation and maneuver of human beings as merchandise. According to the U.S. State Department’s 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report, a predictable 600,000 to 800,000 persons are trafficked from one country to another yearly; of these, 80 percent are female and 50 percent are children (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2009). This data does not report for the millions of people that are trafficked inside their state borders each year. Though men, women, and children can be trafficked with the intention of compulsory work, most of those people that are trafficked are mainly women and children who are trafficked for sexual slavery. According to the 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report, a person becomes a victim of sex when she/he is coerced, forced or tricked or maintained in prostitution as a result of coercion (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2009). The account furthermore defines any child (under the age of 18) affianced in prostitution like a victim of sex trafficking, despite of approval. In relation to Mill’s viewpoint, children ought to be sheltered against some of their own dealings. UNODC estimates that more than one million children (under the age of 18) have engaged in sex trade every year for the precedent thirty years (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2009). In An offense so hideous, investigatory reporter Benjamin E. Skinner explains how women and children are misled into prostitution. Most women are at peril for sex trafficking due to frantic financial situations. Victims of trafficking in Western Europe arrive as far as from former Soviet bloc countries like Moldova and Romania or African and Southeast Asian countries where employment opportunities for youthful women are tremendously limited. They entice women into departing their homes with the view of a high-paying profession in a bistro or lodge in a foreign country. In a number of cases, a delightful, good-looking, rich young man called a ‘lover-boy’ develops an idealistic affiliation with a woman for a few weeks, or months. He promises her an improved existence in his state if she would go home together with him. In most cases, the woman is betrayed as soon as they reach her destination – the recruiter or lover-boy (trafficker) sells her into a brothel. The brothel proprietor or pimp informs her that he used quite a lot of money to transport her abroad, and she is supposed to have sex with customers in order to pay back her debt. If the woman resists, he rapes her into compliance. With additional interest to her liability and the steady menace of aggression, she will by no means be able to flee the brothel. She has turned out to be a slave in each sense of the expression (American Bar Association 2004). Mill’s harm principle protects individual liberty against those freedoms harm, or obstructions through the rights of others. If the freedom to pursue our own good in our own way is an unchallengeable human right, sex trafficking must be well thought-out as the major monstrous damage. The injured party is strained to follow another’s good by advertising her most confidential ownership to total strangers. This is slavery and it is a great threat to women and children universally (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2009).

Trafficking in people is at the present the third leading and greatest rising illegal venture in the world at the rear of drug and artillery trafficking (Roe, “Pizza to Seek Inquiry Into Escort Services. 1988d). A number of estimates put the worldwide annual worth of modern-day slavery as far above the ground as $32 billion (American Bar Association 2004).

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The 2009 report about Trafficking of People Reported claims that trafficking of humans does not respect any security, physical conditions or sanctuary of any State (American Bar Association 2004). The sex trafficking violates Mill’s harm code. Consequently, if legalizing prostitution increases trafficking of humans for sex, thus, legalization of sexual services can be prohibited based on the harm standard (Peters 1998). The research will at present view the newly adopted sexual law approaches enacted in Netherlands and Sweden in order to recognize a relationship amid prostitution and claim for sex trafficking. Many critics of the new approach on prostitution merely show that the sex deal has been driven dissident. Nevertheless, Sweden law enforcement has had huge achievement in reducing prostitution. Within the first five years of enacting the law (1999-2003), 234 men had either pleaded culpable or been convicted of purchasing sexual services under the Swedish law (Roby 1972). According to Roby the rule has in addition simplified the enforcement law in order to examine and take into custody human traffickers. In summary, the Swedish law has influenced some women in Sweden to stop prostitution.

The Prostitution component in Stockholm which is an association that assists those women who engage in sex trade reported that 60 percent of their customers in 2002 had enduringly stopped prostitution and many of these women associate their decision to stop prostitution to the enacting of the Sweden prostitution Law that acts as an incentive that influenced them to sought appropriate assistance (Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution 1985). Therefore, the Swedish law has accomplished a great deal of what the Dutch law simply planned to do by adapting the approach of corroboration. According to the Trafficking in Persons Report, Swedish police approximate that 400 to 600 people are trafficked into Sweden every year. Majority of those people who are trafficked are women and children for obligatory prostitution (Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution 1985). Funkhouse and Popoff compare this figure with the figure recorded in Denmark of approximately 5,500 to 7,800 women and children that are trafficked for prostitution in Denmark. Denmark’s inhabitants are partially Sweden, but it has no laws that prohibit sex trade (Funkhouse and Popoff 1969). It was mentioned previously that 68 to 80 percent of the Netherlands 30,000 women and kids in prostitution are foreigners and majority of them are those women and children who are victims of human trafficking. In spite of these persuasive results about the success of the law in fighting prostitution in the country, Sweden prostitution law is far from achieving its objective of stopping the high prevalence of prostitution in the country (Milman 1980).


American Bar Association. Criminal Justice. New York: The Section, 2004. Funkhouse, Ray G, and David Popoff. “Your Thoughts on Crime and Punishment.” Psychology Today 3 (November), 1969: 53-58.

Gallup, George H. The Gallup Poll, Public Opinion 1935-1971. New York: Random House, 1972. Geis, Gilbert. Not the Laws Business? An Examination of Homosexuality, Abortion, Prostitution, Narcortics and Gambling in the United States. Rockville MD: Sage, 1972

Heider, Fritz. The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations. New York: Wiley, 1958.

Hunt, Morton. Sexual Behavior in the 1970’s. Chicago: Playboy, 1974.

Peters, Hanson. Popular Public Opinion 1935-1946. Littleton CO: Fred B Rothman, 1998.

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Richards, David J. “Liberalism, Public Morality and Constitutional Law: Prolegomenon to a Theory of the Constitutional Right to Privacy.” Law and Contemporary Problems 51, 1988: 123-50.

Roe, Sam. “Pizza to Seek Inquiry Into Escort Services.” The Blade (Toledo), 1988d: p.8.

Ryan, Carl. “Prostitution Not Top Public Worry, Councilmen Say.” The Blade, 1988: pp. 23-24.

Shaver, Kelly G. An Introduction to Attribution Process. Cambridge, MA: Winthrop, 1975.

Snell, John. “Portlanders Split on Legalization oof Prostitution.” The Oregonian (Portland) May 5, 1985: p. 1.

Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution. Pornography and Prostitution in Canada,. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services, 1985.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “Global Report on Trafficking in Person’s.” Geneva: UNODC, 2009.

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