Legalize It, Don’t Criticize It

Second thoughts on a failed liberal experiment

Do you remember the rather brilliant comedy sketch featuring Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse in which they played laid-back police officers in Amsterdam, bragging that they no longer have to deal with the crime of murder in the Netherlands since the Dutch legalised it? Don’t laugh too hard. In 2000 the Dutch government decided to make it even easier for pimps, traffickers and punters by legalising the already massive and highly visible brothel trade. Their logic was as simple as it was deceptive: to make things safer for everyone. Make it a job like any other. Once the women were liberated from the underworld, the crooks, drug dealers and people traffickers would drift away.

Twelve years on, and we can now see the results of this experiment. Rather than afford better protection for the women, it has simply increased the market. Rather than confine the brothels to a discrete (and avoidable) part of the city, the sex industry has spilt out all over Amsterdam — including on-street. Rather than be given rights in the ‘workplace’, the prostitutes have found the pimps are as brutal as ever. The government-funded union set up to protect them has been shunned by the vast majority of prostitutes, who remain too scared to complain.

Read the whole thing. A sad, sad ‘social experiment’ that has ruined the lives of many young women.

13 Responses to “Legalize It, Don’t Criticize It”

  1. Skyler says:

    So, the problem is the brutal pimps. They should still be illegal.

  2. NJSue says:

    Let’s face it. Free women without substance abuse problems or extreme poverty or backgrounds of traumatic abuse just are not going to work as prostitutes if there is absolutely any other kind of work they can get to survive. It is by nature unpleasant and uniquely degrading, and you have to be stoned up to your eyeballs to tolerate it. Prostitution can never be the same as, say, waitressing or working in a shop. Sorry, it’s the truth.

  3. Kathy Kinsley says:

    What NJ Sue says.

    Oh, I’ve met a few exceptions. In SE Asia, where the parents sell the girls into prostitution quite often. Some have found that marrying multiple men (and doing a lot of juggling) is VERY lucrative.
    They are, one might say, happy hookers. The men deserve what they get, since they are usually married in their own countries.
    Sigh.
    And the girls get to be selective – not doing everyone one on the block. Win-win? Or Lose-lose? Who knows?

    “But today there is no day or night
    Today there is no dark or light.
    Today there is no black or white,
    Only shades of gray.”

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    And people say you Monkee around…

  5. Kathy Kinsley says:

    But…making it ILLEGAL hasn’t helped either. SO what’s the answer? I don’t know.

  6. Kathy Kinsley says:

    @Mr. Bingley – yeah, and they do, too. :-P

  7. Kathy Kinsley says:

    P.S. That’s a wonderful song, but I’ve always thought of it as the left’s lament. Or maybe the libertarian’s lament, since I like it too.

    Thing is – we cannot judge everyone by our own background. (And I’m not talking worldwide – I spent through 9th grade in the NE and then moved to NC. Culture shock. Seriously – I’ve lived in SE ASIA and had less culture shock.

    We vary – that’s both our strength and our weakness. And we need to find a balance somewhere in those shades of grey.

    There is one, somewhere.

  8. Ebola says:

    I don’t see the problem. Simply put up a sign that says “Violence free zone” on the door of every brothel. It fixes violence everywhere else!

  9. Chancy girl says:

    Yes. I remember the “Drug Free School Zone” signs too. Brilliant!

  10. Skyler says:

    I’m disturbed by the implication that because legalization hasn’t stopped all crime that this means prostitution should be illegal again.

    Prostitution is legal in Nevada, and until relatively recently was legal throughout most of the United States. The result wasn’t brothels on every street corner.

    The crime is what the pimp does. That should remain illegal, it is a form of slavery. Here’s a disturbing quote from the article:

    “Abuse suffered by the women is now called an ‘occupational hazard’, like a stone dropped on a builder’s toe.”

    This is crazy. Abuse is still abuse, and abusers do not create “occupational hazards,” they should go to jail. Because their police haven’t bothered to protect the women, they will instead put the women in jail?

    They got all wrapped up in some socialist paradise of unions for prostitutes, that they ignored the crimes being committed. They don’t need unions or tax collectors. They need to protect the women, just like before, but stop protecting them by putting them in jail.

  11. Mr. Bingley says:

    One of the problems is not that legalization hasn’t stopped the crimes; it is that it has made them worse. As you point out some of the the problems are the pimps and non-existent police protection of the women, but the other huge problem is the johns, and they need to go to jail as well. The combination of abuse, drugs, slavery, large amounts of cash and an indifferent political apparatus to these abuses means a horrible, terrible life for these women.

  12. Skyler says:

    Drug abuse is another problem. Making drugs illegal has made our country worse, and we can’t keep drugs out of prisons, so how will we keep them out of a free country? Making drug abuse illegal just makes it harder to help the people who become addicts.

    Drug sales should be held to the same standards as alcohol sales, that is dram laws should apply. If you sell drugs to someone who is abusing them, then you are civilly and crimnally liable for their treatment, just like if you sell booze to someone who gets into a car and drives home while drunk, then you are civilly and criminally liable for the result.

    The answer is not to create a socialist utopia where union bosses profit from prostitution, because they just become another layer of pimps.

  13. Kathy Kinsley says:

    I doubt it has actually made them worse. It has made them more visible. In an area where X is illegal and Y therefore happens, you aren’t going to report Y because you may go to jail for X. In an area where X is legal, you are much more likely to object to Y. Thusly increasing reports of Y.

    Oh, and standing and APPLAUDING what Skyler said. With an addendum. We HAVE to – everywhere, including things like putting ladders on slick ice – start holding people responsible for their OWN mistakes.

    If you are stupid, NOT my problem. If I am stupid, NOT yours.

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