With little attention, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination — declared this week she is “open” to decriminalizing brothels, pimping, and prostitution, a collection of crimes she, like many others, has described as “sex work.”
What’s most befuddling to me is, if it weren’t for male privilege, which has only served to further elevate this particular sinful desire in this broken world, the purchase of sex likely wouldn’t exist, at least not as it does right now. And the left, with its endless virtue signaling and privilege preaching, should be keenly aware of that reality. But apparently, they aren’t.
Alas, Warren made her announcement in a Twitter thread posted early Thursday morning ahead of a town-hall event on LGBTQ issues hosted jointly by CNN and the progressive Human Rights Campaign.
This is not the first time Warren has spoken on this issue. She made a similar comment in June, telling The Washington Post:
I’m open to decriminalization. Sex workers, like all workers, deserve autonomy but they are particularly vulnerable to physical and financial abuse and hardship. We need to make sure we don’t undermine legal protections for the most vulnerable, including the millions of individuals who are victims of human trafficking each year.
It’s incredible to watch allegedly woke candidates like Warren embrace the legalization of “sex work,” a misnomer that propagates the continued abuse of women, children, and men, when it’s an industry that stems almost entirely from a patriarchal worldview that has largely privileged men by degrading and dehumanizing women and children (men have also been victimized and abused as a result of this dastardly industry).
“There would be no prostitution, there would be no sex trafficking were it not for men who buy human beings to use them for sexual gratification,” said Norma Ramos, a social justice attorney and the former executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. “What we have learned is that we are talking about prepaid rape. We are talking about male privilege; the self-perceived entitlement that if a man wants to have gratification, he has the right to access the bodies of lesser-privileged women and children.”
The suggestion that legalizing prostitution, brothels, and pimping could result in greater transparency and less harm has proven itself unworkable in reality.
One study from 2013, for example, revealed that, of data collected from 150 countries, those that have legalized prostitution “experience larger reported human trafficking inflows.” Another analysis from 13 years earlier compiled evidence that “seems to show that legalized sex industries actually result in increased trafficking to meet the demand for women to be used in the legal sex industries.” In other words, sex trafficking and potentially legalized prostitution work hand-in-hand, because one fuels the other.
Anyone with a basic understanding of supply and demand should be able to see how and why that’s the case. So by keeping prostitution illegal, the supply of men who are soliciting prostitutes is decreased, because it weeds out the potential so-called “johns” who are unwilling to pay the costs associated with seeking out a prostitute, such as facing arrest and/or being exposed for their illicit behavior.
It should also be revealing to us so few women choose voluntarily to enter the prostitution industry, leading pimps to turn to trafficked women. The supply of women interested in selling their bodies for male sexual gratification is, unsurprisingly, naturally low. So what happens when prostitution is legalized? The number of men who want prostitutes goes up and the number of women who want to continue selling their bodies goes down. Then enters the solution to the supply and demand problem: sex trafficking.
While the intentions of those on the left might be altruistic, it’s plain to see legalizing prostitution would do exponentially more harm than good to women and children.
There is, though, another option Warren and her fellow progressives seem to be missing. Earlier this year, I spoke with Laila Mickelwait, director of abolition for Exodus Cry, about the Nordic model, which would favor the protection of those prostituted by instead punishing the pimps, johns, and traffickers who seek them out.
“It doesn’t put women in prostitution behind bars,” she explained. “It sees them as victims, provides social services and exit services for them, and then goes after the pimps and the johns and the traffickers and the brothel owners and those who would seek to exploit women in prostitution.”
Israel, in December of last year, became the 10th country in the world to implement the Nordic model, a policy first applied in Sweden in 1999. It has since been enacted in countries like Canada, France, Norway, Northern Ireland, and Ireland, among others.