26 January 2010

Divided we stand

The subject of prostitution and human trafficking divides the Copenhageners. In Denmark prostitution is legal. A woman may sell her body (and pay tax), but officially it is not a recognised occupation, and as such comes with no rights. The last couple of years the trafficking in women has exploded. Women are smuggled in by organised criminals, and forced to work as sex slaves. The atmosphere in the designated streets is more aggressive than ever, prices are dumped, and men are chased down the block, even if they are not there for that purpose. It is so in the open, that the epicentre of all this is located right in front of the Copenhagen Police Headquarters.

The pro-pro's say a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body, and that interfering with this is no more than moral policing. The native prostitutes have a union, and many of them speak up and say we should mind our own business. The counter-pro's say that it is unacceptable in a modern society to look the other way, with such abuse going on. It is not so much the rights of the independent pro, but those of the smuggled women, that heats the debate.

The politicians are equally torn about how to legislate on this. But like any festering boil, it is not going to go away simply by being ignored, so here is another poke.

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