Prostitution

In Larry Alexander & Kimberly Kessler Ferzan (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Applied Ethics and the Criminal Law. Springer Verlag. pp. 599-622 (2019)
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Abstract

This chapter examines applied ethics regarding prostitution and criminalization. It proceeds in three parts. Part one examines different ways of defining prostitution, part two reviews five objections to prostitution that have framed standard debates regarding criminalization, and part three examines issues that have arisen in ethical debates regarding prostitution and criminalization in recent decades. Along the way, the chapter illustrates the extent to which debates in applied ethics regarding the criminalization of prostitution depend in large part on what prostitution is like in a given social context. Further, the chapter emphasizes that satisfactory answers to this question depend not only on empirical evidence but on ethical disagreements regarding underlying concepts such as choice, freedom, and consent.

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