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Sex For SaleToday we are going to continue exploring the unusual thinking (to say the least) typically portrayed by so-called "documentaries" and "educational" TV shows and videos. The thinking portrayed by these documentaries is clearly based on arbitrary definitions of "good" and "evil" according to existing laws and socialist principles. The solutions they imply (but do not explicitly recommend nor suggest) are the old tried-and-true failures: more law and order.

Our series of articles was prompted by a neat (and short) series of videos we came across. The series is called Underworld Inc and was produced by or for the US "National Geographic Channel". This series typifies all that is wrong in current popular thinking, conveniently packaged in six instalments. If you have access to them, we encourage to view the series in order to fully understand the depth of the erroneous views they portrait. The second episode is called:

SEX FOR SALE

As you can imagine, this episode deals with prostitution and its effects.

Summary

This episode begins in Fresno where we are let know that about 80% of "working girls" experience violence. This is supposed to set the tone for this instalment. The first shot is an undercover police operation complete with police "baits" where would-be clients are arrested by what can only be described as "police shock troops" for the crime of negotiate to purchase a service. The arrested people are handcuffed, photographed and these pictures and their names are portraited prominently in the city's website. The episode continues highlighting the multi-billion dollar world-wide sex trade where women are "bought and sold like commodity, used and abused" by "gangs". The next shot moves to Oakland where a "pimp" is seen patrolling the streets controlling his "assets" and always on the hunt for new "merchandise". Due to the high levels of violence, the police cannot control prostitution. Many pimps use violence to control prostitutes and one former prostitute testifies to this fact. However, a second pimp expresses that prostitution is voluntary and that he considers his prostitutes as family. Also, a second prostitute testifies as to the threats to herself and her family that kept her in prostitution. The episode then moves to a second police sting operation where it is casually mentioned that pimping can be punished with up to life in prison. In the next cut we observe how a "madam" provides "work" for one her "assets" and how this "asset" is quite happy with the work. Continuing with this cut we see the "security" system mounted to protect "assets" against violence considering that homicide is a "leading cause of death" among prostitutes because most encounters are with unknown people.

We now move to the Asian sex "industry". Korea is portraited as a "heaven" for prostitution with over 140000 sex workers, an estimated 6 billion dollar industry. A "president" of a safety organization demonstrates his infrastructure designed to ensure that the sex trade proceeds safely for all parties. This includes violent behaviour but also natural causes such as fires and floods. Their units operate Control Centres and can respond immediately to any issue. Asian sex trade is so profitable that willing Korean amateur prostitutes "visit" the US for 90 days in order to make a small fortune which allows them to get out of debt. US operators take advantage of said "girls" since they don't know the land, don't speak the language and are therefore less likely to become independent. We now move on to a third "sting" operation against "Massage Parlours". The cause of the "explosion" of said parlours was clearly identified as the "economic downturn". Upon the inspection of one such establishment a police representative complains that it is "a cash business" with "money everywhere" whereby they don't "pay taxes". We return to the story of one of the previous prostitutes where she freely acknowledges that she is voluntarily into the "trade" because of the high level of profits she makes but this is risky because she has no backup as she is "independent". She expresses that "if somebody rapes me or robs me, I can't go to the police; that's what bothers me"… "it has to do with the lack of protection that we have in this black market industry".

The "classic" solution

Throughout the documentary there are several shots of "law and order" officials providing statistics and legal concepts against the "sex trade". The implied message is always the same: sex trade is bad, exploitative and abusive (with a heavy implication of immorality) and those who trade in them are even worse. Law and order must prevail.

THE LIBERTARIAN POINT OF VIEW

Go ahead, contract a service!

Let's begin with the most basic of concepts. Our body is our property and as such we are entitled to do with it as we see fit. If we choose to provide a service through a voluntary contract or if we choose to pay for such service it is nobody's affair but ours, particularly not government's. This is so because governments have no rights but only privileges which we provide them with and can take them back at our entire discretion (see Social Contracts Are A Scam). The idea that a foreign entity such as a government would interfere in a valid and voluntary contract between parties is repugnant to us because Contracts Are The Key To Coexistence.

As such the very idea that customers be persecuted and prosecuted as some sort of genocide maniac war criminals is patently ridiculous. Even more ridiculous are the "shaming" tactics of the Gestapo police which are nothing but a blatant intrusion in other people's business. In a Libertarian system one thing is the absolutely free expression of ideas and a completely different one is the purposely devised "traps" based on fictitious governments laws to change people's behaviours (i.e. voluntary contractual conditions) to suit a pathetic sense of morality, religion or ethics.

Go ahead, work safely!

The second issue we want to address is the pervasive message throughout the entire episode that prostitutes are constantly subjected to violence (from clients and pimps) as well as to threats of violence. This is provided as an implied excuse to justify more of the same: the failed so-called "solution" offered by law and order. Yet, this very same argument is totally debunked when the documentary presents us with the private and orderly provision of safety for prostitutes in Korea. This is possible because as all prostitution in Korea is technically illegal, owners and operators of such services are entirely free to organize themselves effectively and efficiently. They do so because they fully realize that violence is very bad for business. They do so for entirely selfish reasons in a free market but the side effect is enhanced safety for prostitutes and clients! This is a typical side-effect of free markets.

Furthermore, should governments would not exist, organizations of prostitutes and establishment owners would organize themselves to provide very high level of security because it is a very lucrative business. Think Las Vegas or Macao for example. Do you believe that casino security is handled by local police? Not a chance. No respectable casino owner would ever depend on police to make sure they are not being cheated. What? Las Vegas an outlier? Need a more down-to-earth example? Sure. We give you Somalia - The Great Austro-Libertarian Failure where business themselves organized safety in the middle of a civil war! This is as difficult a situation as you can possibly get.

Go ahead, get a pimp!

The next issue we need to address is the extensive bad propaganda that pimps get They are portrayed as violent operators at worse and keen manipulators at best. It is most certainly undeniable that many pimps use both techniques to maintain their "assets" under control. Yet, as the documentary also shows, many prostitutes are in this business voluntarily precisely because it is a business, and a very profitable one at that. In a Libertarian system and under a totally free market, your body is your property. Any non-voluntary violence or threat to you is indeed damage to your property. As such, this kind of damage is very valuable and worthy of a business. In the same manner as we today have "ambulance-chaser" lawyers who profit from other people's tragedies, in a free market there will be organizations who will profit from the violence and the threat of violence against prostitutes. Any in-voluntary damage to your property must be compensated and this can get very expensive very rapidly precisely because prostitution is so profitable.

This mechanism is a self-balancing mechanism. The more violence, the more pimps will have to pay in reparations. Eventually most pimps will realize that violence is bad business, and that voluntary contracts with prostitutes is the way to go in order to maximize profits. Right now pimps have no drawbacks enslaving prostitutes, but if each enslavement can cost a life of servitude repaying a debt, it becomes very clear very rapidly that such attitudes are simply counterproductive. They become profit-free very risky investments. And remember that the enforcers of such repayments are not bureaucratic police organizations but private for-profit organizations who have the highest of incentives to catch you and make you pay! Literally.

As the very last prostitute in the video expresses, she is not afraid of the "job" but she is afraid of the potential for violence. What is keeping her from being safe is… you guessed it: law and order!

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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