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Prostitution policy, morality and the precautionary principle

Sanders, Teela, Hubbard, Philip, Scoular, Jane (2016) Prostitution policy, morality and the precautionary principle. Drugs and Alcohol Today, 16 (3). pp. 194-202. ISSN 1745-9265. (doi:10.1108/DAT-03-2016-0009)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/DAT-03-2016-0009

Abstract

Purpose: This paper explores the contemporary regulation of sex work in England and Wales, placing this in the context of debates concerning morality, evidence and the efficacy of policy.

Design/methodology/approach: This brief paper is based on reflections on the authors’ research and contribution to policy debates over the last two decades.

Findings: This paper presents prostitution policy as morality policy and suggests that this discounts evidence in favour of a precautionary approach based on the idea that prostitution is sinful and hence must be inherently harmful.

Practical implications: The paper makes a strong case for evidence-based policy in an area where morality tends to promote a more partial and selective reading of evidence.

Social implications: It is argued that the dominance of a particular policy approach to sex work perpetuates stigma for those in the sex industries and exacerbates risks of harm.

Originality/value: The drift towards the criminalization of sex work in England and Wales mirrors that in many other nations, but this is not informed by academic evidence. This paper argues for a more balanced assessment of evidence and the consideration of data rather than a privileging of particular moral standpoints.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/DAT-03-2016-0009
Uncontrolled keywords: prostitution, morality, sex work, regulation, harm-reduction
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Phil Hubbard
Date Deposited: 20 May 2016 10:14 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 15:10 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55630 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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