# Owning a person

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by S.A.M., Dec 13, 2009.

1. ### madanthonywayneMorning in AmericaRegistered Senior Member

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From my vast knowledge of prostitution from both TV and movies, don't they generally have a menu of services? So much for oral, so much for "straight sex", so much for "half and half", and always extra for anal? Furthermore, I've heard that most prostitutes refuse to kiss their clients, reserving that particular act for their nonpaying partners.

So clearly you don't own their bodies, you are merely paying for services rendered.

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3. ### AsguardKiss my dark sideValued Senior Member

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sex isnt rape and nither is taking money for sex. The fact that if the courts ruled that imposing a ... (damit whats that word? bells would know what it was) judgment to force the person to forfill the contract would mean that the COURTS imposed a penelty of rape is why the penelty would be in the form of compensation rather than forcing them to do what they were paid to do

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5. ### fellowtravelerBannedBanned

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REPLY: Tell it like it is and never stop. And what of all the soldiers and marines. Do they not deserve some sex in their miserable lives. I don`t know what it is like now, I served during the VIET NAM WAR. But did we not deserve some real fun if the women were willing and we paid them the agreed on rate. What other women are available after all. We all had a pretty good time as I recall it, the women included. It was no different in France and Italy during WWII. Evidently men such as SAM think not. You can easily imagine what what might be done with such a prissy twerp should he start lecturing combat troops on prostitution. The prostitutes themselves would shut him up soon enough in these situations. I have had many very pleasurable experiences with prostitutes and feel no shame about it. ...fellow traveler

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7. ### Michael歌舞伎Valued Senior Member

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As long as the prostitute can say no and go get a different line of employment - then I'd say no. If not, then yes.

I knew one person who though ALL forms of work was "Prostitution". You know, the whole "Working for the Man" sort of stuff

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8. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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I don't see anything compassionate about subjecting your child to a line of joes or janes trailing through your bed. Sorry. In fact I am pretty certain that prostitution as a lifestyle can be considered as unfit for parenting.

Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
9. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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SAM:

It's more like a rental agreement, but still not very like that. It's really a contract for services, as others have said.

It depends where you are. In some places, all forms of prostitution are illegal.

Where prostitution is legal, since prostitution is a contractual agreement it really depends on the terms of the contract. There may still be overriding regulatory laws and criminal laws, though.

No. They are providing you with an agreed service for a temporary period of time. You're not sending them off overseas.

Paid for what? No prostitute is paid for being raped. So of course she (it is usually "she") can complain if she is raped. Rape is a crime.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. All prostitutes, unless under coercion, have the right to refuse a client, or refuse certain services. It's a contractual arrangement.

No. She has contracted to provide specific services, agreed in advance. She can refuse anything not included in the bounds of the contract.

"Granted it"? What do you mean? Are you asking whether anybody has ever been convicted of raping a prostitute? The answer to that is: yes.

The same way that any rape allegation is proved beyond reasonable doubt in court.

You'd have to ask them. I imagine most would not. Others would have no problem with it. Perhaps a few would recommend it.

This is a strange question. Most people have an intrinsic revulsion when it comes to incest. Whether they regularly pay for sex or not is largely irrelevant to that.

Whether a father would approve of his daughter engaging in this type of prostitution in general is a question for the individual, and I've already discussed possible answers above.

Lots of people would agree with your stance.

10. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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Interesting points James, one of the problems I have with "consent" as a criteria for what regulates prostitution is that it ignores the intrinsic ethics of such decisions. Just because someone is alright with being exploited as a sex object and the "service" is regulated for their health and protection [and to reduce overt exploitation] does not change the fact that in essence they are bartering their body.

Its the same issue that I have with contracted surrogacy. Just because a woman can be convinced to loan her womb for reproduction if the financial incentive is good enough and even if it could be legalised so as to preclude exploitation, ethically, its still unsound practice.

I guess the issue is when is it ethical to treat a human being as a commodity?

11. ### TrippyALEA IACTA ESTStaff Member

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That, depends entirely on your cultural background.

12. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Hmmm.... "intrinsic ethics" eh? Which aspects of ethics are intrinsically relevant here, do you think?

I'd like to point out that your use of language is loaded. Prostitutes are not "alright with being exploited". (I assume we are not talking here about instances where the prostitute is coerced into the profession against her will. That is a different matter that we would need to discuss separately.) A prostitute does not view her job as agreeing to be exploited. She freely enters into a contract for reasonable remuneration for services rendered. If she felt exploited, she would raise the price until she felt the transaction was fair, or would not participate. (Again, there's a caveat: we're not talking about people who turn to prostitution as a last resort for earning money, such as to support a drug habit. That again is a separate discussion.)

Your problem with prostitution, as far as I can tell, is with the whole concept of "bartering your body". What is intrinsically wrong with that, if you make the decision freely? It's your body. Why shouldn't you be allowed to barter it if you wish?

Why?

13. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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Why does the fact that its your own body you are bartering make it more ethical than if it were someone elses? Isn't the fact that a person thinks so little of themselves as to barter their body for services a sign that they are not competent to make that decision?

If we were to take an extreme case:

Is this ethically acceptable because they are all consenting adults?

14. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Are you serious?

Somebody else's body is not yours to barter. It's theirs.

Now you could enter into an arrangement whereby somebody contracts on your behalf, with your consent that they act as your agent. And that happens, of course.

Why do you assume that a prostitute must think "little of themselves"? You're projecting your own values onto other people who may not share them.

With respect, that is just that: an extreme case. So extreme that it made headlines around the world. This is not a typical example of prostitution. The
"victim" in that case clearly had psychological issues, whereas most prostitutes do not.

15. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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True, but if it was a pimp who worked graduate students on behalf of professors what would you call it?

Thats my definition of morality, whats yours?

Evidence? Isn't financial consideration a form of coercion? To take a less extreme example, about 200 women in India give birth to surrogate babies every year [this is only counting the successes, there are probably far more failures] because the $3,000 -$6,000 they are paid for it far exceeds the <\$500 they make in a year.

Isn't this coercive? If someone in power uses that power to obtain gratification from you for services rendered by using your body, aren't both the user and the usee placing a value on something that should not be on the market?

16. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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SAM:

Exploitation, if the grad students were not appropriately paid or did not consent.

Let's try it a different way. What if I tell you that most prostitutes-by-choice do not, as a matter of fact, think little of themselves?

I clearly said above that I was talking about prostitutes who were in the profession by choice, not those in it due to financial need.

Your use of the word "power" here is non-specific. It seem to imply coercion to me.

17. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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Are there prostitutes "by choice" who do not do it for money? If a graduate student is paid for sex by her professor and consents to this transaction, is it considered ethical behaviour if brought to the institutions notice? Maybe its different in Australia, but locally its still considered unethical and coercive.

What is the degree of financial inducement that defines as power?

18. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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37,189
Somebody who does not require money (or other property) for sex is not usually called a prostitute. So I guess the answer is "no", by definition.

No. That's unethical. But not because it is a sexual transaction for money, but because the assumption is that the professor is in a position of power and influence over the student, both in terms of awarding grades and/or also in terms of psychological undue influence. The presumption, which would be hard to rebut, would be that the student would not have agreed to the transaction but for the professor's position.

You tell me.

19. ### S.A.M.uniquely dreadfulValued Senior Member

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You said:

What would be a noncoercive use of power?

20. ### AsguardKiss my dark sideValued Senior Member

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ANY employer can coerce an employee, hell why do you think the last election was fought AGAINST indervidual employment contracts?

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22. ### Mrs.LucysnowValued Senior Member

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You say you are looking at these questions from the 'demand' side. Well besides the fact that there has always been a 'demand' for such services a lot of men who live in south east asia where the line between a girlfriend and paying for sex often becomes blurred you would get a few responses. Some men obviously abhor the idea and would never do it. Then there are those who, because the 'transaction' isn't as cut and dry as it is in the West would say they are helping the women and indeed many of them do. Sometimes they pay for land which greatly improves the life of the woman and her family, sometimes they help her start her own business, sometimes they marry them or sometimes they simply just pay them well. If it were simply a matter of 'owning a body' they wouldn't do any of these things. In any case many of these women would remain in poverty if it wasn't for these transactions. There are also mother's who encourage their pretty daughters to enter such transactions. Reasoning being, much like the courtesan of yore, they can find a 'catch' a man with money who they can get to marry them. Of course its all about money and has little to do with love, these women are simply being practical. I personally know one of these young women. She's vietnamese, she's beautiful, 23 years old and she's with a French restauranter who is divorced with two small children, the children are living in France with their mother. This young woman has met the children and this couple soon intends to marry. He knows very well what the transaction is about, he knows her history, he also knows that the man she DOES love (a kiwi) isn't in a position to marry her or keep her in the lifestyle she expects from such a transaction. He knows very well that this is a marriage of convenience. Neither of them are bad people, they have come to what many would call a happy medium and compared a lot of 'love' relationships they get along quite well. Does her mother appreciate that her daughter, through many a male avenue, will soon marry well? Of course. I don't think you can really do a poll on male intentions. Some of these men are actually lonely and treat the woman 'like girlfriends' and are even hurt when they hear that while they were away she continued to ply her trade though he was sending her money from abroad so she wouldn't have to do so. Sometimes there are more than one man sending them money from the West. There is a book by journalists Richard Ehrlich and Dave Walker called "Hello My Big Big Honey". Its a compilation of all the letters sent to the prostitutes from abroad along with how much he is sending her and how much he misses her etc. Its pretty pathetic at times when you realize that its not the woman who is being used but the man. Its probably one of the reasons why when they tried to shut down all the brothels here in Phnom Penh it was the prostitutes who went out on the streets to complain.

Another book you can read is Book of the Courtesans by Susan Griffin who takes a historical look at the role of the courtesan in European society. She notes that it was generally the mother who prepared their daughters for such a role.

Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
23. ### CowboyMy Aim Is TrueValued Senior Member

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Unless they've been forced into prostitution by another person or entity, it's consensual. Really, how many people go to work every day because they want to?