Title: Prostitution: A societal or religious issue or simply meeting a demand? Credit: Diane Sparkes Comment Tuesday 7th May 2013 - 9:30am1367875800 Article: 13281 Rights
It seems prostitution has been around forever, far longer than pornography and for that matter longer than religion. And no solution has yet been found to control its existence! We must admit that no matter what we may like to achieve in our society, prostitution is never going to go away, the best we can do is accept it and consider what society is going to do to accommodate something, that is no more than meeting a demand for a service. Society has proved over the years that where a demand exists, the only means of controlling the outcome is by meeting the demand. This should be no more apparent to the religious sector than its answer to meeting the needs of its followers, as congregations increase more churches and often bigger churches become the solution. A cities population increases and more homes are needed to meet that demand. More cars demand more roads, sophisticated roads that take up more space, create more pollution; however society mostly accepts this philosophy as normal, even sees it as progress. The issue so often fails to meet the needs of all the people in society unfortunately! Some people object to having a new church or a mosque next to where they live, because of its perceived effect on their property. Giving up the home you have lived in for many years to make way for a motorway does not go well especially if it directly affect you. The view from your front room of green fields might seriously be an issue if more homes become you new view. Issues, Issues, issues, will it never end! And yet society has no option but to attempt to consider all aspects of the issues and provide for the whole as best it can. The result can never please everyone, someone somewhere will be affected, that’s just the way it works. For many negatively affected, the concept of NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) is very real. Society is made up of everyone in a democracy, ideally all with equality. Sadly because society is made up of people who have differing ideals, someone must expect to miss out somewhere sometime. On the subject of prostitution, and in particular the method to which the Government and Local Government are attempting to control the issue is not one of meeting demand, but one of giving power to those NIMBY people in our society who believe their views should take precedence over the rest of society. Naturally much of this anti prostitution issue is being fuelled by the religious sector, in their misguided attempt to have society conform to their ideals. Rather than be content with being part of society as a whole, they would be society!, thankfully as has recently been shown with the passing of the Marriage Equality Bill in New Zealand, our society knows its boundaries. It must be accepted that while the way the prostitution reforms were carried out by the Government in a commendable way, its implications were left wanting. It neglected to consider the means by which demand would be met, leaving it up to those involved in the industry to work it out for itself. This was never going to work out simply because we are dealing with people of differing sexual values. This could be likened to the need in restaurants for hygiene ratings, as everyone’s idea of hygiene is not the same. For some the act of having sex involves being intimate in nice surroundings with the prostitute, with the cost being of little importance. For others at the extreme, where the physical act becomes the only purpose; quick, emotionless and as cheaply as possible. The idea that one solution fits all becomes the failure of the system. It is an indictment on our society and of course many societies that we allow ourselves to hide the one thing without which any society could exist, that is a subject so sacrosanct that it should not be mentioned, as if it does not exist, that subject “SEX”. Fact: Sex keeps the species alive. Fact: Not everyone has a partner for sex. Fact: We are all sexual beings. Fact: Prostitutes meet a need and it is legal in New Zealand. Fact: For some prostitutes from the marginalised section of our society, this is their only method of survival. If Local Government were serious about this situation they would do something about the way Trans* people are forced on the streets to achieve the very basics of life. Many such people have no jobs, no home daily discriminated against and abused. Local Government must recognise that prostitution is a legally recognised profession and its response to the way the profession runs should be treated no differently than any other profession. Instead of trying to deny and control the existence of prostitution by creating laws that will most likely not work, at least in the long term, Local Government must adopt a more pragmatic view to achieve their objectives. If this issue were about any other industry, research and statistics would be collected, in an effort to find solutions to the problems perceived to exist, instead a war exists against those in the sex industry based on religious and bigoted ideals by those why would have power over the rest of us. Whether we like it or not Prostitution is here to stay, so get over it. This issue becomes very much one for Local Government to come to terms with, every day solutions are found for a myriad of issues, few of them come without a cost, and a solution to this issue will have a cost, but these are our citizens we are talking about as worthy as anyone else. Their right to work is important to those who use their services, and those who do use those services have a right to the freedom our democracy allows without penalty. But no service no matter what has the right to interfere with rights of others, create public nuisance or deposit waste material that might be deemed inappropriate. Local Government has a duty to fairly apply a solution to this issue in a manner that applies to the majority of its citizens, setting aside those with fundamentalist religious ideals and of those in the NIMBY category. They must; where a demand is seen to exist, meet that demand with practical solutions no matter if there will ultimately be a financial cost. Only then will Local Government be seen as applying its rules with equality and fairness to all as society demands. Summary: There are many factors involved in this situation, it involves all of us, and because uninformed knee jerk reactions are often made where “SEX” is involved, I believe it is imperative that some serious research be undertaken on the ways a satisfactory solution is found that meets as much as possible the needs of all. Above all it must be recognised that the act involved remains one of the most intimate of our human relationships and by itself requires careful consideration and understanding. With the negative reaction from so many groups that see the proposed Local Government Bill (Regulation of Prostitution in Specified Places) with so many flaws, surely the powers that be, must in fairness to all of this countries citizens, rethink this issue on a far greater level. At the very least a full independent investigation on the facts of the issue is called for and subsequently solutions made that are fully acceptable to the majority, before bringing about such an ill thought out discriminatory and Transphobic bylaw. Society demands this. Diane Sparkes - 7th May 2013    
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