Peter de Marneffe

in Liberalism and Prostitution

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780195383249
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199870554 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Political Philosophy


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Although prostitution is commonly characterized as a “victimless crime,” prostitution laws in some form can be justified as reducing the harm caused by prostitution. They can be justified this way even though most prostitution is voluntary or by choice and not all those who do it are harmed by it. Harm‐reduction is not the only argument for prostitution laws, but it is an important one, one that is worthy of careful theoretical consideration. Although this is a paternalistic argument, it can nonetheless justify prostitution laws in some form consistent with the fundamental principles of liberalism.

Keywords: prostitution; victimless crime; prostitution as a choice; paternalism; liberalism

Chapter.  4101 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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