When people think of Peru, they imagine archeological sites like Machu Picchu and delicious food, but few outsiders know that in Lima, the nation’s capital, is the largest film library in Latin America. The collection is housed inside a truly unlikely place: a shopping center. But not just any shopping center. Polvos Azules, a 30-year-old market, started when immigrants from rural regions of the country came to Lima and became street sellers in order to survive.
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Although prostitution has been taboo for centuries, the current sex trafficking paranoia complicates the situation—both authorities and the public believe sex trafficking is far more common than it is.
To inflate the numbers, the American government includes people that know the sex workers personally, or who are just buyers as “pimps,” in the list. That being said, sex trafficking and human trafficking exists, butdecriminalization—that is, to stop regulating sex work among willing adults—is the only tool to fight back.
Prohibition Doesn’t Work
Prohibition in one form or another has been used for a long time without good results. Even Amnesty International now concedes that by decriminalizing sex work, resources can be devoted to preventing and resolving actual cases of trafficking, not paranoia supported by people with a narrow political agenda.
The only people who have always stood for sex worker rights are libertarians.
The sex trafficking paranoia is like the new War on Drugs and there is even a bipartisan consensus in opposing sex work. Conservatives usually oppose legalized sex work on religious, moral, or societal grounds. Even liberals often oppose it by saying that sex work oppresses women, or assume that all prostitutes are really victims of sex trafficking—or worse, are somehow culpable criminals.
Thanks to this paranoia, a teenage sex worker who was the victim of trafficking herself, was recently accused of human trafficking for getting in contact with another teenage girl while she was under influence of a violent pimp. This is a perfect example of victimizing the victims—exactly the opposite of what proponents of prohibition said would happen if their favored laws are enacted.
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Advocate Manuel Ferreyros was published in Enfoque Derecho on the advantages of witness testimony in arbitration.
You can read the full piece in Spanish here.