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Coffee, beer and women - same same but different. A critical analysis of UN:s stance on prostitution

Göransson, Anna LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract
The sex industry is a lucrative, multi-billion dollar business around the world. Many women and girls are trapped in prostitution with the consequences it gives. Prostitution as such is not seen as a human rights violation today. Trafficking and so-called ‘enforced prostitution’ are on the other hand seen as serious abuses of fundamental rights.

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and analyse whether prostitution could or should fit into the existing United Nations (UN) human rights regime.

The root cause of prostitution is the gender inequality in the world. Men are seen as superior and women as inferior. This unequal distribution of power is being produced and reinforced in prostitution.

The UN stance on prostitution... (More)
The sex industry is a lucrative, multi-billion dollar business around the world. Many women and girls are trapped in prostitution with the consequences it gives. Prostitution as such is not seen as a human rights violation today. Trafficking and so-called ‘enforced prostitution’ are on the other hand seen as serious abuses of fundamental rights.

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and analyse whether prostitution could or should fit into the existing United Nations (UN) human rights regime.

The root cause of prostitution is the gender inequality in the world. Men are seen as superior and women as inferior. This unequal distribution of power is being produced and reinforced in prostitution.

The UN stance on prostitution is quite allowing. The UN institutes and agents refer to prostitution as sex work and distinguish between forced and voluntary prostitution/sex work. It is obvious that UN:s knowledge of prostitution is limited but also that factors such as power and money might be important elements regarding UN:s view on prostitution.

Some of the core values of the human rights are human dignity and bodily integrity. Two examples of violations of human rights in this regard are torture and organ trading. When comparing prostitution with these two practices, it is easy to see the similarities. One thing that differs prostitution from torture is that in torture, there is an explicit use of force whereas in prostitution the coercion is implicit. In organ trading, there is also an implicit form of coercion but it is still seen as a human rights violation. What separates prostitution from organ trading is the gender perspective.

Even though UN claims to work for gender equality and women’s rights, it does not want to acknowledge prostitution as a human rights violation, even though it could and should. Prostitution fits into the existing human rights regime since it violates many fundamental rights. But on the other hand, it does also create money and power – for men, at least. (Less)
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author
Göransson, Anna LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Prostitution, human rights, UN
language
English
id
2701586
date added to LUP
2012-07-13 15:44:04
date last changed
2012-07-13 15:44:04
@misc{2701586,
  abstract     = {The sex industry is a lucrative, multi-billion dollar business around the world. Many women and girls are trapped in prostitution with the consequences it gives. Prostitution as such is not seen as a human rights violation today. Trafficking and so-called ‘enforced prostitution’ are on the other hand seen as serious abuses of fundamental rights. 

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and analyse whether prostitution could or should fit into the existing United Nations (UN) human rights regime. 

The root cause of prostitution is the gender inequality in the world. Men are seen as superior and women as inferior. This unequal distribution of power is being produced and reinforced in prostitution. 

The UN stance on prostitution is quite allowing. The UN institutes and agents refer to prostitution as sex work and distinguish between forced and voluntary prostitution/sex work. It is obvious that UN:s knowledge of prostitution is limited but also that factors such as power and money might be important elements regarding UN:s view on prostitution. 

Some of the core values of the human rights are human dignity and bodily integrity. Two examples of violations of human rights in this regard are torture and organ trading. When comparing prostitution with these two practices, it is easy to see the similarities. One thing that differs prostitution from torture is that in torture, there is an explicit use of force whereas in prostitution the coercion is implicit. In organ trading, there is also an implicit form of coercion but it is still seen as a human rights violation. What separates prostitution from organ trading is the gender perspective. 

Even though UN claims to work for gender equality and women’s rights, it does not want to acknowledge prostitution as a human rights violation, even though it could and should. Prostitution fits into the existing human rights regime since it violates many fundamental rights. But on the other hand, it does also create money and power – for men, at least.},
  author       = {Göransson, Anna},
  keyword      = {Prostitution,human rights,UN},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Coffee, beer and women - same same but different. A critical analysis of UN:s stance on prostitution},
  year         = {2012},
}