Where a recent history of moral hygienic emphasis has dominated the discussion on prostitution and the law, evolving understanding of public health issues is today producing a more realistic approach to the sex profession. Accordingly, “supporters of Himels decision point to a wealth of data demonstrating that regulating the sex industry improves the health and well-being of its workers. Barbara Brents and Crystal Jackson, both sociologists from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and co-authors of The State of Sex: Tourism, Sex and Sin in the New American Heartland, have studied the legal prostitution trade in their city, and enumerated the ways in which it is safer for workers than in places where the industry remains illegal.” (p. 1)
The article denotes that the measure has naturally raised the fury of many conservative opponents in the Canadian government and society. Extensive debate is now underway, with studies citing the various dangers, vices and psychological realities of sex work as the cause for legal regulation.
Himel has incited a great degree of criticism, according to Melnick, with many arguing that the ruling will send the improper message that prostitution is a valid profession when in fact it should be depicted as the last resort of a desperate woman.
To an extent, the article suggests, this is a distortion of the real issue at hand, which is the provision to the government of the ability to protect its citizens, regardless of the personal consequences of such a profession. And in this regard, the article serves effectively to demonstrate that one element of prostitution which has not changed over the years is the degree to which it invokes philosophical disagreement, moral divide and legal debate.
Melnick, M. (2010). Legal Sex Work in Canada Just Became Easier, But Will It.