I spent my first two terms at university up to my naked wrists in a woman’s corpse. This was A Good Thing For Humankind. This week, one of the top BBC News stories has been the outrage at a woman demonstrating a sex toy in front of a university psychology class. This was An Act Of Depravity. Is the World ever going to grow the fuck up about sex?

Natasha Burge writes about doomed efforts to outlaw sex work:

Trafficking is a very real problem that we should clearly be working to stop, but it does not only or even predominantly pertain to sexual slavery. Unfortunately, the plight of trafficking victims is largely ignored if the story is deemed insufficiently ‘sexy’. Recently, 500 Indian workers brought to the U.S. to work in shipyards after Hurricane Katrina are suing Signal International and other entities on charges of human trafficking. The workers have alleged that they were brought to the country under a false premise, subject to deplorable living conditions and threats of violence. All these allegations add up to human trafficking, and yet no one is suggesting that shipyard work be abolished.

I’ve never been to a prostitute and don’t intend to; but, as with dissecting dead people, it’s important not to let personal aesthetic discomfort trump basic humanity. Criminalizing sex work kills women (and men) as surely as criminalizing abortion. And arguments about a woman’s ownership of her own body are even more relevant to sex work.

Right- and Left-wingers who campaign to ban sex work are reduced to making up statistics and ignoring the epidemiology because their crusading isn’t about soberly weighing the aggregate wellbeing of humankind; it’s about squeamishness and striking ideological poses.

[Thanks to Gaby C for the link.]