Location

Room 212, West Center

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

sex worker, prostitution, human rights, decriminalization

Abstract

The female body is the site of endless controversy, with sex work as one of the most hotly debated issues. Historically viewed as an ethical and moral issue, arguments to criminalize sex work were dominant until the mid-to-late twentieth century when sex workers began to argue for decriminalization of adult “consensual” commercial sex. As one of the most marginalized populations in the world, sex workers are subjected to a multitude of violations against their bodies and their human rights. They routinely face physical and sexual violence, arrest and incarceration, extortion and harassment (frequently by police and other members of law enforcement), as well as forced HIV testing and medical intervention, and denial of health care, housing, and legal protection. In recent years, the purported relationship between sex work and the sexual aspect of human trafficking has been very divisive in policy and social issues as the line between “consensual” sex work and forced sex work became blurred. Of late, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other prominent organizations have taken the bold step of endorsing the decriminalization of sex work as a human rights issue. This paper will explore the moral and ethical arguments for decriminalization; and the inherent harm criminalization imposes on not only adult consensual commercial sex work, but forced and trafficked sex work for adults and minors, as well.

Comments

Lori holds two Master of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro – Peace & Conflict Studies (2012) and Women’s & Gender Studies (2015). Currently, she is a doctoral student in the Department of Leadership Studies at North Carolina A&T State University. Her volunteer work includes reducing violence and prejudice in schools and communities, improving adult literacy, teaching job skills to human trafficking survivors, and working with the Leadership Beyond Boundaries division at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), focused on empowering women and marginalized individuals. Her academic interests focus on sex work issues and feminism.

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Apr 2nd, 3:30 PM Apr 2nd, 4:45 PM

The Moral Obligation for Sex Worker Rights

Room 212, West Center

The female body is the site of endless controversy, with sex work as one of the most hotly debated issues. Historically viewed as an ethical and moral issue, arguments to criminalize sex work were dominant until the mid-to-late twentieth century when sex workers began to argue for decriminalization of adult “consensual” commercial sex. As one of the most marginalized populations in the world, sex workers are subjected to a multitude of violations against their bodies and their human rights. They routinely face physical and sexual violence, arrest and incarceration, extortion and harassment (frequently by police and other members of law enforcement), as well as forced HIV testing and medical intervention, and denial of health care, housing, and legal protection. In recent years, the purported relationship between sex work and the sexual aspect of human trafficking has been very divisive in policy and social issues as the line between “consensual” sex work and forced sex work became blurred. Of late, the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other prominent organizations have taken the bold step of endorsing the decriminalization of sex work as a human rights issue. This paper will explore the moral and ethical arguments for decriminalization; and the inherent harm criminalization imposes on not only adult consensual commercial sex work, but forced and trafficked sex work for adults and minors, as well.