Indian Libertarians

Prostitution: The oldest discriminated profession

smehra Tuesday September 9, 2014

If labor and persons in general are to be free, then so should there be freedom for prostitution. Prostitution is a voluntary sale of a labor service, and the government has no right to prohibit or restrict such sales. - Murray Rothbard

The remnants of conservativism shines brightly even among the most liberal population in India. Take for instance the sad conservative commentary that is developing around the recent case of prostitution ‘crackdown’ which has roped in the ‘Makdee’ actress Shweta Basu.


Keep your Morality to your Property

Regardless of whether one considers prostitution as moral, the consent of those involved is not violated. Political forces in society, namely the state, can only ‘crackdown’ on prostitution by surveillance and invasion of privacy, ie by violating property rights. State, as in almost every other aspect of society, becomes the aggressor in this case.


My body My right

Those who gather under this slogan should not remain silent about this violation of self-ownership. If a person owns his or her own body, then a person has the right to provide what ever labour services using their body. The state does not have a “joint custody” of your body.

Prostitutes do not sell their body (or body parts, it is organ selling you are thinking about - which is also perfectly voluntary otherwise organ donation would be banned too). Prostitutes provide labour service in exchange for money - much like almost every other labour activity in the economy. Flesh trade is a misnomer, as flesh is not actually traded for money. But even if it were - my body my right.


Those “Rich” clients don’t “deserve” their names exposed

Another conservative commentary that is coming, from supposedly liberal sources, is the demand for exposing the names of the clients. The liberal propaganda seems so strong, that the adjective “Rich” has been attached to the clients without even knowing who they are (that was the complaint remember), to garner liberal support for this demand.

Private exchanges are exactly that - private. It is bad enough that the media is cheering the act of violation of privacy regarding the actress, it also now demands that the names of others involved be made public too in an act of retribution. Where are the names of the intruders who committed aggression on peaceful individuals involved in a voluntary trade? Sad part is releasing their names would mean nothing - they are heroes in the eyes of the moralists.


Release all those arrested

Why are the clients and pimps roaming free?” says one commentator, “They should be punished as well!

There is no denying the fact that those with connections are able to buy their way out of this, but the demand should be the opposite. Everyone arrested or remanded for this victimless “crime” must be released immediately. (Everyone who did not commit violence in this trade, that is). Arresting someone who has committed no violence is kidnapping. Equal oppression at the hands of the state is hardly the ideal version of equality. If someone’s wallet is stolen in a bus, it hardly justifies the theft of other passenger’s wallets as well:


“The justice of equality of treatment depends first of all on the justice of the treatment itself. Suppose, for example, that Jones, with his retinue, proposes to enslave a group of people. Are we to maintain that "justice" requires that each be enslaved equally? And suppose that someone has the good fortune to escape. Are we to condemn him for evading the equality of justice meted out to his fellows?” - Murray Rothbard

Lack of money and ease of labour is irrelevant

Lack of money is no justification for any action - violent or nonviolent. Non-violent acts need no justification anyway. After all, isn’t money the end of almost all wage labour? The use of term “lack of money” seems to be aimed at putting prostitution in a “special category”. While it is true that prostitution is not very high in most people’s job preferences, but so are a lot of other jobs - and an individual’s job preference is of no concern to anyone. No one has a right to a particular service nor does he have the right to deny certain kinds of labour their incentive. For such a right would mean initiation of force against peaceful individuals.

Also when statists deny prostitutes their incentive using force, they automatically force the prospective prostitutes to take up a lesser preferable job; as the “lack of money” issue is not resolved by this ban which can only be resolved through economic exchange.

“She took the easy way out” seems to be another conservative comment, which not only underestimates the difficulty of a prostitute’s job but also seems to think that wage must be related to ease of labour somehow - which is an economic fallacy (Read more on Labour Theory of Value fallacies)


Prostitution is illegal in India

A misnomer is being spread around that prostitution is legal in India. It must be emphasised that prostitution is illegal in India for all practical purposes. It would be like legalizing Trains but banning laying of tracks. Any form of organized prostitution is still illegal - which makes no sense. If a certain act performed individually is legal, what justification is there to make that act illegal when done collectively? This not only outlaws the Brothels but it effectively outlaws labour unions as well. To a layman it may appear that outlawing Brothels is a good thing, but think of the benefits freedom of organization does to other sectors of the economy. Calcutta sex workers have reportedly been able to fight for their rights and provide structure to their operation by forming a union.


It should be noted that many of the grimmer aspects of the street-walking trade have been brought about by the outlawing of brothels. As long-lasting houses of prostitution operated by madams anxious to cultivate goodwill among customers over a long time span, brothels used to compete to provide high-quality service and build up their "brand name." The outlawing of brothels has forced prostitution into a "black-market," fly-by-night existence, with all the dangers and general decline in quality this always entails. - Murray Rothbard