I don’t think I have ever told you about the time that a man I was seeing felt the need to confess to me about many years of regular prostitute use. He called me, in the middle of the day, and admitted to having had visited with sex workers several times a month for nearly a decade. My advice to him at the time was this: If we ever break up, never, ever, give this information to a future girlfriend. I said “if” because it took me a while longer to realize that this was part of his history that I just couldn’t live with.
Tag: prostitution (Page 2 of 2)
Apparently, I am the only person not surprised by the alleged events that took place in Sofitel Hotel in New York City that lead to Dominique Strauss Kahn’s arrest. My lack of surprise has nothing to do with the man in question, but rather stems from my time, as a teenager, working as a chamber maid in a major Toronto hotel. During this period I gained intimate knowledge of the behavior of international travellers in hotels; especially that of powerful, and somewhat entitled, men toward the often vulnerable women working the hotel floors.
Sweden’s anti-prostitution policies are again a topic of discussion, but now the attention has turned to human trafficking. While the number of street prostitutes has fallen in that country since the government made the purchasing of sex services illegal in 1999, the number of trafficked sex workers appears to have increased. Sweden defends the effectiveness of its policies arguing that the increase observed in trafficked sex workers is small relative to their neighbors Norway and Denmark. I suggested a few weeks ago that Swedish law has to take some responsibility for the increase in sex work beyond its borders. If that is true, and the sex trade has simply relocated, then there is an incentive for neighboring countries to get on the prostitution abolition band-wagon, if for no other reason but to minimize negative externality created by the Swedish laws.
When I was much younger, and sufficiently ill-informed that I didn’t have to think about the harsh realities of life, I was very much in favour of the legalization of prostitution. It wasn’t because I believed that a woman has a right to sell her body, in fact I saw little difference between protecting a woman’s right to sell it and man’s right to buy it, it was because I didn’t think it was fair to punish some women for doing explicitly what so many other women were doing implicitly.
Looks like Canada could become the Nevada of the north after a court ruled yesterday that the laws that make running a brothel and living off proceeds of prostitution are unconstitutional. The deciding factor in the court’s decision was that the current laws force women onto the streets, putting them at greater risk of violence.
Asymmetric information, where one party in a transaction has more accurate information than the other, generally leads to inefficient markets. Formal legal institutions, such as those that make contracts enforceable, reduce the two problems created by asymmetric information: adverse selection and moral hazard. Adverse selection is asymmetric information before a transaction occurs and is a problem when the market attracts more buyers/sellers that we would rather avoid than those we want to do business with. Moral hazard is asymmetric information after the transaction has taken place and happens when the absence of formal commitment causes one party to behave in a way that disadvantages the other. Both of these problems can result in market failure when an otherwise willing participant in a market decides not to partake for fear of negative repercussions.
Craigslist Canada is under pressure from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to take down the erotic section of their Web site following a decision by the U.S. site to remove that section earlier this month. So far they have resisted and it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
University classes are starting so I thought I would write a blog post that would encourage students to think about the world. This idea came from a project that was done a few years ago by a group of my students in my Economics of Sex and Love class, so I thought it would be perfect.
An advocate for sex-trade workers in Halifax, where I live, tells me that there is no market at all for unprotected sex in the city: one hundred percent of transactions in the sex trade here is sex with a condom. As any good economics student will tell you, a market clears at the point at which supply is equal to demand. If there are no transactions, it must be true that there is no price a potential buyer of condom-less sex is willing to pay that a seller is willing accept. Of course, it could also be the case that there is just no demand for that particular product, but I think we all know that isn’t the case.
Prostitution, very narrowly defined, is not a criminal act in my country, Canada. If we are in a private home and I want to charge you for sex and no one is else is profiting, the state has nothing to say on that.