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Liberalism and Prostitution$
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Peter de Marneffe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383249

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383249.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
Liberalism and Prostitution

Peter de Marneffe

Oxford University Press

Although prostitution is commonly characterized as a “victimless crime,” prostitution laws in some form can be justified as reducing the harm caused by prostitution. They can be justified this way even though most prostitution is voluntary or by choice and not all those who do it are harmed by it. Harm‐reduction is not the only argument for prostitution laws, but it is an important one, one that is worthy of careful theoretical consideration. Although this is a paternalistic argument, it can nonetheless justify prostitution laws in some form consistent with the fundamental principles of liberalism.

Keywords:   prostitution, victimless crime, prostitution as a choice, paternalism, liberalism

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