Why is prostitution criminalized? an alternative viewpoint on the construction of sex work

Rebecca Hayes-Smith, Zahra Shekarkhar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prostitution/sex work remains criminalized in most areas of the United States. While it can be sufficiently argued that prostitution is a dangerous occupation, the assumptions that the criminal law are prefaced on are not necessarily substantiated with sufficient evidence. Alternative constructions of prostitution such as decriminalization or legalization are backed by more support and can be asserted to be more just or fair from a legal standpoint and a public health perspective. Throughout the course of this critical review the assumptions on which prostitution rests are examined, along with who is potentially advantaged by the current construction and the legal fictions of the current law. Finally, alternative constructions are addressed that could be advanced and argue for prostitution to no longer be criminalized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Keywords

  • Decriminalization
  • Law
  • Legal fiction
  • Legalization
  • Prostitution
  • Sex work

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