Are bars and brothels the same?

Sure both pretty much accomplish the same thing. Both indulge urges. Give the good-feelin’ dopamine. Can get a little messy. More importantly they give folks jobs. And like it or not there are some areas of the world where people have to make it working in these two establishments as oppose to the alternative. Read an interesting take on prostitution over at the anit-socialist’s blog.

I happen to believe that legalizing prostitution here in more places than Nevada may be controversial, but it happens anyway. People crave “the bad things” so why not just tax it or something and we all benefit because it isn’t going away. But, I’m not going to write about morality here because in the end that isn’t why I’ve written this post. I just want to get people’s opinion on the recent situation in a little place called El Alto, Bolivia. Did anyone read about the extreme protesting by prostitutes trying to get bars and brothels reopened by sewing their lips together? Read up, but here is a snippet.

“We are fighting for the right to work and for our families’ survival,” Lily Cortez, leader of the El Alto Association of Nighttime Workers, told local television. “Tomorrow we will bury ourselves alive if we are not immediately heard. The mayor will have his conscience to answer to if there are any grave consequences, such as the death of my comrades.”

People affected by the closing of bars are also protesting, but not to that extent. More like the traditional fasting and shouting. Prositiution is legal in Bolivia, but not pimping. I know that the brothels must offer a “safer” location for a hooker’s occupation, so is that the reason why they can’t just technically just stand on a street corner to get a john? Please someone educate me if that’s not possible in Bolivia. Same can’t be said about a bar. And bars affect so many other jobs. Gee, with hooking the only other jobs affects are — wait, that was too easy.

Anyway, I just want some of you passionate bloggers to give your comment on this. Is life without bars the same as life without hooker havens?

14 responses to this post.

  1. “Life without bars,” as you say, is in many ways akin to a life behind bars, only worse.

    Can you imagine, then, a life without “hooker havens”? (It goes without saying, of course, that in terms of euphoria and agony combined, neither compare to life without a hyphen — and that’s just one of the many reasons the antisocialist doesn’t take one.)

    As with drugs or alcohol, cigarettes or anything else, when you illegalize the thing, you instantly create a massive plexus of crime. In fact, you instantly create an entire underworld. Why? Because of the inescapable law of supply and demand: if there is a demand for something, supply will meet it, regardless of whether or not it’s illegal. Thus, when you criminalize something for which there is a demand, you create crime.

    As counterintuitive as it may at first sound, this is the very reason that legalizing prostitution — or, for that matter, anything else — is, in the long run, a far more effective method at combatting crime: in making it legal, you take the criminals out of it. You also demystify, which is no small thing.

    If you doubt this, please observe that, as with drugs, the prostitution industry is absolutely thriving, as it always has and as it always will. We’re talking about a trillion-dollar world-wide industry. If illegalization works, how is it thriving so?

    But of course, the real reason behind the criminalization of this type of activity is that so many people, politicians perhaps most particularly, equate a middleclass morality with justice and the proper functionings of government. Vices, however, are not crimes. “Crimes,” as the great legal scholar Lysander Spooner said, “are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another. Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness.”

    Legalizing largely gets rid of pimps, which is one of the things prostitutes complain about most: corrupt and violent pimps. Illegalizing is what breeds these monsters. And that is not conjecture. The Nevada brothels, for example, don’t have pimps.

    Nor in legalized places of prostitution are drugs anywhere near the problem that they are in the places where protitution is illegalized.

    HIV and other STD’s skyrocket when prostitution is illegal. Not so in the case of legalized prostitution.

    But this is academic.

    The main thing is, as usual, the principle: illegalizing something — anything — instantaneously makes an unstoppable network of criminality, which in a matter of weeks becomes so huge that it is impossible to police, as the present-day world of drugs and sex slavery is a testament to.

    Illegalizing has not worked for anything, and it never will. Because it can’t. Because the law of supply and demand is ineluctable. You must first curb the demand, not the supply; and you curb the demand not by criminalizing, as is commonly supposed, but by educating, explaining, teaching, and always allowing people to choose. People must be allowed to choose no matter what. If you breach that principle, all is lost.

    Don’t take the antisocialist’s word for it, however. Listen to what the sex workers themselves, many of them, have to say:

    Finally, we should point out that of the several true things you say in your article above, Arm Jerker J, the truest is this: “More importantly they give folks jobs.”

    I, for one, don’t find that difficult to swallow.

    In fact, it sums everything up in a nice tight package.


  2. Well… A couple of points of interest here.

    First off, as far as legalizing prostitution, I’m all for it. I don’t believe that the government should ever be in the business of illegalizing what should be nothing more than a matter of morals and values. If a woman wants to sell herself and a man wants to pay for an hour of carnal pleasure, then so be it. I never did understand the whole idea of making it illegal. It’s just the government saying something is wrong for the sake of saying it is wrong and catering to the weenies out there who can’t handle the thought of legalizing something that they themselves are morally opposed to. Now if they want to make it a legal matter because it is an illegitimate business that is operating above normal regulatory restraint and doesn’t pay any taxes, then so be it – but the caveat there is that they would then have to legalize it and then go after the people who don’t do it legally.

    As far as bars and brothels… I have a unique perspective here because I have been in many places that mix the two into a neat little operation. In some countries that I have visited, the “hookers” operate out of bars because it allows them to operate in certain loopholes in the law. For instance, in France the ladies would come up and sit on your lap and ask if you wanted to buy them a bottle of champagne. Of course, this is lingo for paying a few hundred dollars for a cheap bottle of champagne and in return the girl would take you upstairs and service you. Technically, you didn’t pay her for sex. You paid the bar owner for the champagne and in return the bar owner pays his “employee” at the end of the night. So in some areas it can be said that the places the hookers operate out of are very important to the business. I don’t know if it is that way in Bolivia, but it is possible.

    As for the loss of bars? I haven’t been to a bar for a very long time. In my younger years it would have been a devastating blow to my drinking life, but these days I enjoy drinking at home more so than drinking out (namely because I don’t like risking drinking and driving or even drinking and walking like I used to). I can see how people would be upset over the loss of bars – especially considering it affects people’s livelihood, but it’s something that people can get over. I mean, buy up some booze and beer and invite your buddies over after work or something. I understand the bars are a social experience as much as they are a drinking establishment, but I don’t think it would be the end of the world.


  3. Posted by MisstressM on Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 10:58 am

    You know I completely agree with you. At least this prostitution can be controlled mandated, and if I may be bold and say these people would get tested like and have a clean bill of health. My main thing is the spread of STD’s. A cheater is always going to cheat, but its never fair to their loyal partner who ends up getting what crap he/she has brought home from the prostitute they met up with few hours ago.


  4. As expected–all wonderful points although I think I would really miss bars, Arc! I do like a good drink at home but sometimes, right after work, the bonding moment with others who are also stumbling through their week and can just vent/laugh/share at happy hour is a highlight. I also like your first hand examples because we can call come to our own opinions without actually seeing or experiencing things, but when you see them first hand it can put things in even more perspective.

    Anti: Your first sentence — yup. Not only would it put you out of a job but it would make my weeks a little less interesting. Raise you glasses everyone and say “thank the good green fairy that we don’t live in Bolivia!”

    Your point about illegalizing things is something I wish more people would realized. If people could understand that when you restrict you in turn give the green light to seedy underbellies, we could well be on our way to an interesting, if not better way of life. And geez, why can’t we just tax all of the sin. Though I’m not sure if you all necessarily agree with that. But wouldn’t it be ironic if brothels helped paid for improving inner-city schools?


  5. crap I forget to get my drink before reading this post. WAAAAYYYY too sober.


  6. Wait. No one alerted me on my affect/effect flub. Anti, I’m surprised. (alot…)


  7. Arm Jerker J, you over-estimate the antisocialist’s pilpulism. And that’s not necessarily and easy thing to do.

    Thank you very, very kindly for the link love, by the way. That was good of you.


  8. ah shit. i had to look up that word.

    you are so very welcome on the link. only fair…you sparked the convo.


  9. hey arm jerker j,

    i served as an outreach volunteer among el alto’s women and transgendered people in prostitution, and what i saw and experienced deeply challenged ideas about the efficacy of legalization. if you’re interested, please take a look at my recent post about el alto, prostitution, and the riots/protests.

    also, i can’t remember the nuances of the bolivian prostitution laws, but women *can* solicit men on the street corners of el alto. the johns and the women prostituting on the street generally proceed to alojamientos (short-term motels in the brothel district). el alto women also prostitute as bar girls in whiskerias.

    as for el alto brothels being a “safer” location than the streets: the brothels can become places of incarceration. sometimes women are not allowed to leave, except as the owner/madam deems appropriate. the brothels also make for perfect places to hide/sequester trafficked minors.




  10. Thought provoking, Arm Jerker. It’s too early in the morning so don’t get me started but this issue pisses me off to no end. When will society stop telling us what we can or can not do with our bodies? Especially women – these laws are simply designed to enslave us and put us in our place..And if these so called religious nuts believe in a higher being, why won’t they allow us to answer to him solely? I mean, isn’t what we do between you, your conscience, and God?

    Anyway, maybe not legalize but at least decriminalize. Also, I’ll later post an article that should cause much outrage!

    Good morning, Anti-socialist.

    I’ll talk to ya’ll later, got to run!


  11. Any type of prohibition has not and will not work in America. As a soceity, we do not want anyone, particularly government, telling us what the fuck to do. From pot to poon, no one can stop it, so tax it and share the wealth.


  12. A cold hard fact of life is – most if not all men pay for sex – one way or another. Simply put, a wife or girlfriend is not above being a prostitute because both often negotiates one favor for another to get her way. Society should keep that in mind before casting judgment on a woman who is really no different from them except she lists her price up front and without all the drama and head games of a normal relationship.

    In other words, there’s no pussyfootin’. Not ouside of the sack.

    Why do Americans seems to have sucn a problem with sex? We seem to be all about sex yet we know absolutely nothing about sex. We like to think we are progressive but in reality we are closed minded in comparison to other countries.

    If people want to use the “disease” argument then they are simply speaking out of ignorance. Knowing a few women in the industry, I think I’m better qualified to say that one has a greater chance of picking up a disease from some random drunken barfly than he would a professional whose number one priority is protecting herself from as that does not bode well for business or, naturally, her health.


  13. Here’s something I found online this morning –

    The site is a bit hardcore and no, the lady in the videos/photos is not me!


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