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It seems like a rule that whenever government declares war on something, the problem gets worse. Elizabeth Nolan Brown is an award-winning journalist and Reason editor who writes about how hysteria around human trafficking has created a "War on Sex Workers" to complement the failed Wars on Drugs, Poverty, and Terror. The co-founder of Feminists for Liberty, she belongs to the wave of feminism that believes women are capable of making their own choices, freely, without harassment. Consider the unseen effects of criminalizing prostitution. Where it's illegal, women who would otherwise voluntarily become sex workers face the possibility of being abused by their clients with no recourse to law enforcement. Meanwhile, those who are being trafficked are forced to continue to meet inevitable black market demand. Also consider that moral theologians from Augustine to Aquinas have supported legalized prostitution. Many countries operate regulated brothels to protect sex workers, but in our Puritan-founded country, we often fail to distinguish between the clear crime of sex trafficking and the victimless crime of voluntary prostitution. Historically, U.S. law enforcement has conflated the two in order to scare the public into supporting a ban on prostitution.


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