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While there is both a demand for prostitution globally on the one hand, and extreme poverty and hardship on the other, the profit-motive will ensure that the two coalesce creating a thriving sex industry globally.
It would be reductive to suggest that it’s merely poverty that results in women and men entering prostitution. Many studies have suggested, for example, that those in prostitution are more likely than the general population to have experienced abuse and sexual abuse in childhood.
As noted, the majority of on-street prostitutes in Ireland have encountered the care system at some point, and most are suffering with addiction.
Notwithstanding these points, we also cannot fail to mention the fact that the Lancet Medical Journal has noted with concern, the huge rise in prostitution in Greece as a direct outgrowth that the brutal impoverishment and immiseration of the people of Greece at the hands of government and Troika, capitalist austerity.
Much of the lexicon around the debate in society regarding prostitution centres around ‘choice’. First, there are those who have no choice at all, victims of sex trafficking make up only a very small minority of those engaged in prostitution.
Nonetheless, this happens and is part and parcel of the sex industry. Sex trafficking has been described as modern day slavery and it’s a growing industry – giving a real insight into the reactionary nature of capitalism in the 21st century.
With governments North and South considering changing the laws relating to prostitution, Laura Fitzgerald makes a contribution to the debate surrounding the sex industry and gives her views on what approach socialists should take to it The sex industry represents one of the biggest growing legal and illegal industries in the world.
Prostitution, as well as the sex industry as a whole, must be considered in the light of the reality of gender and class oppression and inequality under capitalism as it exists.
This is in the context of a global capitalist crisis in which class inequality and poverty is growing, as well as gender inequality.Struggles of women, struggles of the labour movement – as well as the progressive impact of the en masse entering of women into the workforce in recent decades – means that such overt backward ideas about women and men are socially unacceptable, at least in general in the advanced capitalist world.Inequality remains however, and in fact is being perpetuated by the economic crisis.A survey in Camden, London showed a 40 per cent increase in sexual assaults in the area after a rapid expansion of lap-dancing clubs.That is absolutely not tantamount to opposition to any of the women and men who work in the sex industry.