A Paternalistic Case for Prostitution Laws

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

A Paternalistic Case for Prostitution Laws

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Prostitution is commonly harmful in causing lasting feelings of self‐hatred; undermining a person's capacity for healthy, supportive, mutually respectful intimate relationships; harming important relationships; and reducing a person's social and economic opportunities. Prostitution laws in some form can be justified as reducing these harms. The claim that prostitution is harmful only because it is stigmatized and the claim that it is stigmatized only because it is illegal are considered and rejected. Four kinds of policy are distinguished: prohibition, abolition, regulation, and full decriminalization. Although prohibition probably cannot be justified by the paternalistic argument, abolition or regulation in some form probably can be.

Keywords: harms; stigma; policy; prohibition; abolition; regulation

Chapter.  16797 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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