Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition
Your Tax Dollars Are Being Wasted Ruining Citizens Lives
Instead of fighting real crime

Frequently I am asked, "What countries have legal prostitution?"

It would be easier to ask which countries is it illegal in, that would be a very short list, with mainly the U.S. were consenting adult sexual rights are denied.

Prostitution is LEGAL (with some restrictions that aren't that bad) in Canada, most all of Europe including England, France, Wales, Denmark, etc., most of South America including most of Mexico (often in special zones), Brazil, Israel (Tel Aviv known as the brothel capital of the world), Australia, and many other countries. It is either legal or very tolerated in most all of Asia and even Iran has "temporary wives" which can be for only a few hours! New Zealand passed in 2003 one of the most comprehensive decriminalization acts which even made street hookers legal which is causing many concerns.  I do NOT support public nuisance street hookers being legal unless in special zones.   But PRIVATE consenting adult sexwork should be legal as it is in most of the world except the U.S.

As long as prostitution is kept illegal, and women are persecuted for acts which harm no one, prostitute women will be subject to brutality at the hands of misogynists and moralists -- they are, arguably, the same group. And when prostitutes are treated as second class citizens, and in extreme cases, as less than human, then all women who dare to step out of their social constructs will be labeled as whores and treated accordingly. For these reasons, the rights of all women are contingent upon the rights accorded to the most vulnerable women. - From Dr. Jocelyn Elders: March 1997 International Prostitution Conference highlights: Keynote speaker was Dr. Jocelyn Elders. Elders was surgeon general until President. Clinton fired her for supporting masturbation. Elders called for prostitution to be decriminalized. Dr. Elders has also said: "We say that [hookers] are selling their bodies, but how is that different from athletes? They're selling their bodies. Models? They're selling their bodies. Actors? They're selling their bodies." See

Australia - Prostitution itself is legal but laws very in different states regarding street soliciting and brothels.  See Australian Prostitution Legal With Mostly Reasonable Restrictions

Brazil - Legal except brothels and pimping. In 2002 the Ministry of Labor added "sex worker" to an official list of occupations. Prostitution is not regulated in any way  (no licensing) but prostitutes can contribute can contribute to the official government pension fund and receive benefits when they retire. (Source Wikipedeia)

New Zealand

The Prostitution Reform Act 2003  made ALL adult prostitution and brothels a legal occupation in New Zealand but may have too many restrictions on brothels. In fact the government has online their "Brothel Operator Certificates." There are reasonable health and safety requirements such as using condoms, local bylaws can restrict signage and brothel locations, and a provision to outlaw pimping. The entire Act is at

The Accident Compensation Corporation (like our Workers Compensation) says," Both prostitutes and brothels will come under the ACC classification for "personal services not elsewhere classified" which is the category that also covers massage parlours. This classification falls within the broader Levy Risk Group 690, Personal and Other Services – Medium Risk Group.

ACC will cover the normal range of injuries, as it does already. Cover is unlikely to be available for sex workers who become pregnant in the course of their employment as this would not be considered a personal injury under the Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001. But it may be available for a sexually transmitted infection if the tests are met that are set out in Section 30 IPRC Act 2001 for work-related gradual process, disease or infection."

However there is great concern that it also decriminalized street hookers and the legal situation is unclear. Section 14 of the Act allows local governments to make bylaws "regulating the location of brothels of any scale, but not extending to other businesses of prostitution." It was hoped that by making brothels legal women would choose to work from their own homes (as allowed as home business in zoning rules) and get off the streets. But  after the Reform Act there are still many street hookers which it seems can't be restricted under the Act.

The Philippines

The Philippines is a good Asian example, Technically prostitution is illegal but when it had U.S. military bases there was such a huge demand by U.S. military men for sex, it flourished. But to be politically correct, bargirls are "Customer Relations officers". They are required to have weekly STD checkups and quarterly HIV tests! But officially there are no barfines or sexworkers, just Guest Relationship Officers who are bargirls that have to carry government issued ID badges. Sexwork is an very big industry and supports many people especially in smaller cities like Angeles. Unless it involves children there is no enforcement and no legal risk for the bargirls or their customers. It's just like secondary wives in much of Asia. It is simply accepted but often not publicly acknowledged.

And for $20-$30 barfine and maybe a $10 tip you have a very attractive happy bargirl who enthusiastically goes to your hotel for the night and is very happy with the arrangement. But that $40 cost in PI is equivalent to perhaps $400 in purchasing value in the U.S. since food, housing and all living costs are so much higher. So it is unfair to compare rates of American providers, living here with Asian providers. On the other hand it makes the travel costs very worthwhile, not only in cost but in attitudes of Asian vs. U.S. providers without worry about legal problems.


 Thailand has a very similar situation and has been known since the Vietnam war days as one of the best places in the world to go for great sexuality. For centuries brothels have just been an accepted part of the culture. Most Thai men got their first sexual education and experience in the local brothel. When sexwork became so popular when the U.S. military enjoyed their rest and relaxation stops in ports, for public relations purposes, Thailand made it officially illegal due to Western pressure, but the Entertainment Places Act and "special services" exempted most all of the sexwork for the military or tourists since it brings in so much cash. Consenting adult prostitution is illegal only officially in Thailand, not in practice.


Canada is a closer example of few legal problems and more equal purchasing power. The typical $CAN200/hr cost for 1 hour of full service with no silly tips expected is a bargain for U.S. customers since this is about $US170. One reason prices are so reasonable compared to the U.S. is there is no legal risk and many more women choose sexwork as a profession for the right reasons and enjoy it. Canada (as in most of the world) has mostly honest sexworkers vs mostly scams, rip offs or much higher priced providers in the U.S. with the huge unmet demand for natural sexuality but fewer women willing to take the legal risks. More women get into sex work for the right reasons as a legitimate choice, when you don't have the legal risks of the U.S.   Prostitution has always been legal in Canada, but its limited by the 1850 bawdy house restriction and you can't publicly solicit on a busy street or public area.

England and Scotland

England and Scotland has gone further than Canada since "incalls" or brothels are allowed but with only one girl per flat.  There are many trying to increase this limit so providers can work more safely.  Of course outcall adult sexwork has always been legal but not street hookers.


Even in IRAN
The 1925 Penal Code stated that prostitution was not a crime in itself, but that it was a crime to advocate it, to aid or abet a woman to enter prostitution or to operate a brothel. The current regime believes that execution - by firing squad or stoning - is a more fitting penalty. Execution is common. Some Iranian feminists regard mutďa, a form of temporary marriage where the woman has few rights, as akin to prostitution . Under mutďa, it is possible to be `married for as little as half an hour. Men who visit prostitutes simply marry them for a few hours and its totally legal in Iran.

In the U.S., based our puritanical forcing a certain religious view is out of step with the rest of the world and our culture sufferers because of it.

U.S. may have to decriminalize prostitution per U.N. Treaty which is why it is unlikely to be signed.

If the U.S. Senate passes the UN Convention the was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly and has been signed by 165 countries this could force the U.S. to acknowledge voluntary prostitution is a legal women’s choice as well as a women’s right to choose of abortion. If passed the U.S. would have to accept these human rights as the treaty provides.

The following summary is from a religious right group, Concerned Women of America (CWA) who of course oppose any such rights of women and want to keep them from having control over their own bodies:

The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
Revised: September 5, 2000
The U.N. General Assembly adopted CEDAW on December 18, 1979. President Jimmy Carter signed it in 1980. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed it on September 29, 1994, but the full Senate has not ratified it. So far, 165 countries have signed the treaty, legally binding them to implement its provisions.

CWA (Strong opponents “Concerned Women of America") is convinced that, if the Senate ever ratifies CEDAW, the federal government would allow it to supersede all federal and state laws, as evidenced by past federal court rulings.4

Part V (Articles 17-22) of CEDAW outlines the creation of a Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women to oversee the implementation of CEDAW in every signatory nation. CEDAW legally binds every signatory country to implement its provisions. After signing, each country must submit an initial report with a detailed and comprehensive description of the state of its women, "a benchmark against which subsequent progress can be measured." This initial report should include legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures the signatory nation has adopted to comply with CEDAW. The country must submit follow-up reports at least every four years.

Treaty Provisions Includes
Legalized Prostitution
Article 11, section 1(c) of the treaty upholds "the right to free choice of profession and employment." The Committee has included "voluntary" prostitution in that "free choice"


Articles 12 and 14 (section 2b) seek "to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning." This document was written in the late 1970s, and time has shown that "family planning" rhetoric means access to abortion services.

The Religious Rights Fight Against CEDAW

Although President Carter signed CEDAW in 1980, and it passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1994, the Senate has not yet ratified this treaty. Much thanks is due to Sen. Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), chairman of the foreign relations committee. On May 11, 2000, just before Mothers Day, Sen. Helms introduced a "sense of the Senate" to reject CEDAW because it "demeans motherhood and undermines the traditional family."

Advocates have not ceased in their quest to ratify the treaty, however. On April 12, 2000, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) introduced a "sense of the Senate" to hold hearings and act on CEDAW. S.Res.286 had 34 cosponsors.

The U.S. Constitution allows the president to enter into treaties with two-thirds Senate approval. It also requires the Senate to have a quorum, a majority (51), present to conduct business. Thus, with 51 senators present, CEDAW would need a minimum of 34 approving senators to ratify it.

President Clinton issued Executive Order 13107, "Implementation of Human Rights Treaties," on December 10, 1998. He then established an Interagency Working Group, with representatives from major federal departments, to implement Americas alleged "obligations" under U.N. treaties on human rights "to which the United States is now or may become a party in the future."

Footnotes deleted but see link for the more detailed report and footnotes.
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