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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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A Paternalistic Case for Prostitution Laws

A Paternalistic Case for Prostitution Laws

(p.12) 1 A Paternalistic Case for Prostitution Laws
Liberalism and Prostitution

Peter de Marneffe

Oxford University Press

Prostitution is commonly harmful in causing lasting feelings of self‐hatred; undermining a person's capacity for healthy, supportive, mutually respectful intimate relationships; harming important relationships; and reducing a person's social and economic opportunities. Prostitution laws in some form can be justified as reducing these harms. The claim that prostitution is harmful only because it is stigmatized and the claim that it is stigmatized only because it is illegal are considered and rejected. Four kinds of policy are distinguished: prohibition, abolition, regulation, and full decriminalization. Although prohibition probably cannot be justified by the paternalistic argument, abolition or regulation in some form probably can be.

Keywords:   harms, stigma, policy, prohibition, abolition, regulation

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