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Legalise Prostitution? Lawyers Exercise Legal Debate On Topic

Legalise Prostitution? Lawyers Exercise Legal Debate On Topic
September 09
10:55 2018

Six lawyers battled it out at the Fiji Law Society Annual Convention yesterday in a debate on the topic “Legalise Them or Cuff Them – Sex Workers: Battle of the Professions.”

The Legalise It team consisted of Jotishna Nair, Madonna Fong, and Wati Seeto while the Cuff Them team comprised Shalend Krishna, Kunal Singh and Watisoni Nata.

The first point raised by Ms Nair was that if the sex trade was legalised then Government could charge taxes on the sex worker, which could have a spill-over effect on the local tourism industry, adding that it was a lucrative business.

Ms Nair quoted a research she looked up saying that in Germany after sex work was legalised in 2012, the revenue collected was about €16 billion (FJ$39.36bn), which would be good for the Fijian economy as a small nation.

She said if the trade is legalised, it could be properly regulated and could promote happier marriages with sex workers being viewed as therapists.

Mr Krishna from the Cuff Them team stated that most women are forced into prostitution for two reasons, either they were coerced into it or because of the economic crisis.

He said the job often amounted to rape and is degrading as it reduces the women to being likened to a merchandise as they can be bought, sold and abused.

Mr Krishna said legalising prostitution would reinforce the oppression of women in a male dominated society.

“It is not going to be pleasant, it is not going to be healthy and it is not going to be risk free,” he said.

“Legalising prostitution encourages men to solicit sex and have multiple partners increasing sexual transmitted diseases and protection policies are not enforceable.”

Ms Fong said many adults were engaging in prostitution with consent and were not coerced into it adding that it is a profession that does not need formal qualifications.

She stated that there would be a reduction in sex crimes if sex work was legalised and would lead to a healthier society.

Mr Singh from the Cuff Them team submitted that if it were legalised, it could increase the risk of sex trafficking.

Ms Seeto responded saying to be a sex worker was a choice.

“People do not become sex workers because it is a noble profession. People become sex workers because the system is broken,” Ms Seeto said.

“They do not have access to education. They do not have access to equal pay. They do not have qualifications to get jobs that you and I have the privilege of getting.”

She said if it were legalised, then regulations could be put in place to ensure that workers receive health insurance for monthly check-ups, and Police are trained so that when they are faced with sex workers who are abused, they would be able to deal with the issues in the proper legal procedures.

She said considering that the biggest income earner in Fiji was tourism and remittance, studies from other countries show that the sex industry is a growing industry.

Mr Nata responded to the submissions made by the Legalise Them team, saying it was immoral and should not be legalised.

The Legalise Them team came out victorious after a hearty debate by both teams, which ended the convention on a high note.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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