The Oldest Profession

…is of course technical support. Such as:”Damn it, how do I get this axe working?” Or: “The sunlight keeps going away every day, what’s the story?” Or: “I rubbed the stupid sticks on the stupid rock for an hour but still no spark. What? I rub the sticks together? Oh.”

But people will also insist on informing us that prostitution is in fact the oldest profession. And while this depends on your definition of “profession” I suppose they may be right, in that the actual service provided has changed so little over the millennia.

In Sweden in 1907 prostitution was legalised. And then in 1999 the act of buying sex was made a crime. So in Sweden prostitution is sort of half-legal. This means that the seller of the service will not be charged or fined, only the buyer, which is a bit odd.

Now it happens that San Francisco might be about to fully decriminalize prostitution, using the Swedish situation as an example of when it can work. Well the thing is that it doesn’t really “work” here at all. It is the usual Swedish compromise of appearing to take a stand while in reality wimping out.

Now in New Zealand they have actually legalised prostitution, since 2003. So perhaps this would be a better guide for the San Francisco attempt that lukewarm Sweden.

According to the Freakonomics blog, “the Swedish law decreased street prostitution by two-thirds between 1999 and 2003”. And in new Zealand the legalization has led to increased taxes, better protection for sex workers and has not incresaed the overall number of people on the game.

So the question is – should Sweden de-criminalise prostitution properly? Is it rational that a considerable workforce should be excluded from the tax and pension systems – and are officially considered to be unemployed – because they have a job that is frowned upon as “immoral”?

I can’t see many downsides to fully legalised prostitution, as I am not religious and don’t have a pre-masticated moral agenda to force upon others.

And the other advantages, aside form the economic ones, include: taking power out of the hands of criminals; making it easier for the police to keep tabs on the business; giving the women the proper protection of the law in case they are beaten up, threatened or raped, which happens a great deal in black-market prostitution and is rarely reported.

And, once this can be taxed like any other service, you might be able to get a tax deduction for “Sexual services”, as you now can in Sweden for “Household services” like cleaning.

You cannot expect something to go anyway by simply moaning about it and by applying your own standards of morality. There are certain men out there who will pay for sex, and there are certain women who are willing to provide it, and that’s the reality. And it’s up to us as a society to decide how we should deal with this situation: ignore it, forbid it, or treat it like a legitimate business and give people who add value to our economy the same advantages that we all have.

And it sure does bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “shagged after a hard day at the office”.

/ paddy

13 thoughts on “The Oldest Profession

  1. Legalisera det mesta, låt det avkriminaliseras, sedan kan vi ägna oss åt sådana brott som förtjänar tunga straff: pedofili, mord, rån, inbrott, utpressning, misshandel, hot och den riktigt tunga ekonomiska brottsligheten.
    Låt hororna och torskarna sköta sitt under ordnade former. Som goda samhällstillvända medborgare med skatt och allt.

  2. Why, more specifically, aren’t you happy with the current Swedish system where buying sex is illegal? As I understand it, the motivation isn’t that prostitution is immoral, but that prostitutes feel bad about themselves and nobody wants their sister to turn tricks for a living. I’d feel really sorry for you if I found out you were selling yourself.

  3. Blackout: Let’s make a docu-soap about it!

    Martin: I just think it’s a bit odd – either have it illegal, or legal, and not some strange “oh you can sell this, it’s just that nobody can buy it”.

  4. The reasoning behind the Swedish and Canadian systems is that a prostitute is basically a victim whom it is pointless and unjust to persecute. I mean, come on — if you rent out your bodily orifices to make a living, can you really sink much lower in the estimation of yourself and society at large? I pity hookers. And I think it’s good that the law signals that buying sex is not acceptable. Criminalisation lowers demand, and lowered demand leads to lessened availability.

    But I think it’s a tricky issue.

  5. mmm.. It is definitely WEIRD that buying sex is illegal but not selling it.. seems a bit of a paradox .. I mean, it still goes on so it is still 50% illegal then over here in Sweden?

    I vote for legalizing prostitution and then using all the tax money that generates for getting to the root causes of it, getting rid of them (the causes) – thus wiping out the need for prostitution.

  6. The one that is a victim is either drug addict or a sex slave and the rest who isn´t should pay tax for it,right! A drug addict already commit a crime by taking drugs. ( Anyway, I don´t know if it´s legal to buy but to have and to sell , even those laws are strange in Sweden). For good sake, In Sweden we can´t even give free empty shoots to prevent hiv and save life because its dubble standard but let them sell sex it´s ok because they are victims!!!!!!!! And if you are slave, someone else is profiting on your misery and get all the money. So by leting them sell sex you support the lifestile of all maffiosos in the world.

    I know if we would illegalize it, we would loose more of the control. And the only real thing to stop it is not to buy sex, simply! How do we deal with that? Not to make it naughty and nasty? I don´t know.

    In Germany there are women paying tax, getting pensions and all that, but it´s normally middle aged way-out, low educated mothers that make more money by selling sex than cleaning, not Moldavian kids. They will never get a part of the social welfare care, crime or no crime. They don´t even own their own bodies and if the prices goes down or some brothel is discovered by the police, some other Moldavian girls or kids have to sell more intercourse per night, simply.

  7. Martin: “The root cause of prostitution is that there is a demand for it.” And the root cause of murder is that people sometimes kill each other. I don’t like it either, but can we make it go away with laws, is the question?

    H: But then isn’t it better to take the control of prostitution away from gansters, instead of trying to ban it (which you won’t be able to do anyway)? So maybe the answer is to teach idiot men how to play with themselves peoperly so they don’t need to go to hookers? Or perhaps just breaking their fingers when they get caught.

  8. > Or perhaps just breaking their fingers when they get caught.

    Oh no, says Joe Taxpayer. Do that and the social security system will have to spend a lot of the taxpayers’ money on technical aids. J. T. foresees a lucrative industry based on producing sex aids by governmental fiat to the fingerly challenged.


  9. Paddy, you can´t teach men since they are many resons why men and women buy sex. From power to sexual needs and some of those men also think they help the woman by buying sex since they come from poverty. And many men that would never buy sex in Sweden do it abroad. I have male freinds seeing how men Swedish men are behaving in Thailand, I have seen Swedish diplomats with Russiand women in their laps in S:t PEtersburg. In most countries is totally ok to go to a prostiute to get it over with when you are 15, you father even pays sometimes.

    If alla men would be as overprotected as women by their family, less crime would be commited. What about burka on men too, interesting, and what if men in the surburb have to go home after school, less crimes would be commited for sure!!!!

  10. H, your last point reminds me of something Golda Meir said in the 70s after a series of rapes in Israel. In order to prevent more rapes, the Israeli government imposed a curfew on women (for their own good). Meir wondered why it wasn’t the men who had the curfew, since it was men doing the raping.

  11. Well I do think men from some cultures are victims too. My ex. colleague from Turkey was more or less forced to marry a woman from Turkey who he didn’t know nor liked but she was the best of 10 he was presented with. And they got a child with down syndrome and has to try until they got a healthy boy, and now they have one handicapped son and two healthy daughters. The wife refuses to take any of them to kindergarten since she is ashamed of them and my ex. colleague who has a good job is forced to stay home and take care of them, since the wife is depressed and refuse to eat.

    In Sweden we are against arranged marriage but we do allow people to import women or men if they come from a culture where you have that tradition of arranged marriage. So if I want a man from Russia I have to know him very well, have lived with him for years and go through lots of interviews in order to prove that our relationship is serious. But my ex. colleague can just bring a girl from Turkey he doesn’t know just because his parents are from there. That is both discrimination and causes further segregation.

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