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Would legalizing prostitution increase security for PNG women because it is better regulated?

Front page, The National Newspaper, 9 September 2020

“If we all become atheists tomorrow, you will still have kanderes [relatives] raping their nieces, ol man kukim meri lo name blo sanguma [women will be burnt alive in the name of sorcery]. Christian-nation/non-Christain-nation argument is nonsense. Our problem is twofold: break down in law and order, and kids raised with total disregard for women. And that’s a problem that will not be solved by making porstitution legal. Fix the law and order, and teach your kids right. You also have to ask: if these women were educated, would they prefer another profession? If they had other employment opportunities that paid for their living, would they pursue porstitution? If the answers are yes, then what you need is provide better training/education for the womenfolk, and job opportunities. There’s nothing noble about prostitution. It takes away their human dignity, and reduces women to mere sex objects…” Facebook comment.

Would legalizing prostitution increase security for PNG women because it is better regulated?

Eight men raped a woman in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, and left her on the street. This follows recent proposals to amend the constitution of PNG and make it a Christian country. Opinions are divided on whether prostitution should be legalized, with some sectors of the society arguing that PNG constitution should not be amended to make PNG a Christian country because it would make decriminalization of prostitution difficult. The other side thinks prostitution should remain illegal, and PNG constitution be amended to make it a Christian country. Though predominantly Christian, the constitution does not make explicit reference to PNG being a Christian country.

Here I argue that both groups are missing the point. 

1. Legalizing prostitution increases security of women as it’s better regulated. 

Would this argument work for PNG? The answer is a resounding NO. Burning women accused of sorcery is illegal in PNG. So is rape, especially by close relatives. But you read about it every month in newspapers and perhaps weekly on social media. It’s the most disgusting form of torment and murder when objects are inserted in their private parts and burnt to death. According to the police, most of these rapes are underaged aged girls, and they are raped by their own relatives: uncles, cousins, grandpas, and this week a young girl was raped by her step-dad. They are being raped at the safest place possible: their homes. 

Safety for womenfolk is a real problem for PNG. And legalizing prostitution will not solve this problem.
Not when women are being raped at their homes.

What then is our problem: Our problems are two fold:

A. A break down in law and order. Our police-to-citizen ratio is 1 : 1, 121. That is, one policeman/policeman responsible for 1, 121 citizens in PNG. This is about three times worse than what the UN recommends 1:450. Files of rape cases pile up at the police stations as officers respond to “more” serious cases of robbery, tribal fights etc. Furthermore our police are under-resourced and poorly equipped.

Shouldn’t the real debate be about increasing police personnel, equipping the police, increasing their budgets and giving professional trainings?

B. Kids raised with total disregard for the lives of womenfolk

We have to admit that some of our cultures (not all) and some households do not regard women with the same respect as their male counterparts. I’ve seen it in my own. When the husband commits adulatory, especially with a young women, it’s the young women’s fault. If the wife commits adulatory with a young men or a married men, she should be automatically divorced. This double standard sucks at all levels. Kids watch this as they grow. You have your own cultures, and experiences may vary, but you get the idea.

Teach your kid to respect everyone. Treat your wife with respect, so your kid can know first hand how to treat a woman. 

2. Prostitution pays for the bills

There are those who argue that prostitution should be legalized because that is how women who practice it make their living. 

Well ask yourself these questions;

A. If the women were better educated, would they prefer another profession? Is the problem because of a lack of education that limit women from job opportunities? If the answer is yes, then the debate should move towards improving access and quality of education for the womenfolk. 

B. If the women engaged in prostitution had employment opportunity that paid the bills, would they pursue prostitution? If the answer is no, then the debate should move into improving trainings/education and providing employment opportunities.

Alternatively, ask a well educated women, employed in a job that pays for her bills, whether she thinks prostitution is an option for her. Sorry about that. Don’t dare ask her. If she doesn’t punch you in the face, you’ll be know as the most stupidest person in the community for even thinking about it.

Security: Everyone need protection. Pastors and Prostitutes. What they do for a living is a debate for another day. But as far as humanity goes, both need protection. Improve law and order for Papua New Guineans. All Papua New Guineans.

Prostitution debate: Raise your kids right. Give our womenfolk the best education we possibly can. Give them employment opportunities. If, after we’ve strived for these, and young girls still go into prostitution then start your debates on decriminalizing prostitution.

Christianity debate: We can all become atheists tomorrow, and you will still have relatives burning their wives, sisters, grandmas in the highlands down to city suburbs. This Christian-nation/non-Christian-nation diverts attention from the real issue.

The problem with trying to addressing symptoms rather than the cause of the problems, is that you spend so much, and end up with the same problem.

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Published by Academia Nomad

Blogs on politics, economics and social issues in simple language.

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