I posted on legalizing prostitution last week, but in a different context of the possibility of decreasing human trafficking. Based on the data in that post, legalizing prostitution will not decrease human trafficking, but will it decrease the transmission of HIV? HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and is transmitted through body fluids such as semen, blood, vaginal and anal fluids, and breast milk. Although HIV cannot 100% be cured, if diagnosed early an antiretroviral treatment can be used to give an individual a fairly normal and healthy life. So how is HIV connected to prostitution?
HIV is commonly spread through sex without a condom, a common practice within the world of prostitution. According to the Huffington Post, only about 55 % of sex workers use condoms on all of their clients. Many of the sex workers interviewed also stated that their clients may become violent or bribe them with a higher price if the use of a condom is suggested. In a study done in Canada, India, and Kenya, they found that HIV infections decreased between 33 and 46 % in countries where prostitution was legal.
When this study was done in 2014, India was the only country of the three to have legal prostitution. Although prostitution in India is legal, the law does not criminalize prostitutes, but does punish third parties that facilitate prostitution. Assuming that the data provided by the study is accurate, that would mean that the rates of HIV infection within prostitutes in India were 33 to 46 % less than that of prostitutes in Canada and Kenya. Although it seems logical that prostitutes in countries where prostitution is legal tend to use protection because they do not have to rush in order to dodge law enforcement, the Huffington Post article does not have a direct link to where they obtained the data. I wanted to look at the data to try understand how they obtained their data, but I could not find it. This lack of background information on the data makes me hesitant to believe the data or strongly agree that legalizing prostitution will decrease HIV. Like in many studies surrounding prostitution and illegal sex work, more information is needed.
I wanted to do this post on human trafficking and the rates of STIs and pregnancies within the illegal trade. As I tried to find data on the topic, there were very few studies or numbers on the topic. Like many of the articles I found, I was assuming the rates of STIs were very high within the industry, but I wanted to see specific numbers. There weren’t many. The lack of number emphasizes the difficulty in obtaining accurate data surrounding human trafficking. After searching for almost an hour, I decided to look into STIs surrounding prostitution which has many links to human trafficking. There was not much data on prostitution either, but there was enough to look at articles and see the data surrounding the topic. Ultimately, more research needs to be done in regards to the sex work industry, legal and illegal. I still don’t believe prostitution should be legal, but I hope that the more data available, the more people will know about prostitution. The more people know, the closer we can come to eliminating sex work.