Topic One: Legalization of Prostitution
Prostitution is a different concept than trafficking. Trafficking as defined by the UN is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons using threats or force such as coercion, abduction, an abuse of power, or giving or receiving payments or benefits in order to subject persons to exploitation, including but not limited to sexual exploitation, forced labour, or practices similar to slavery. Prostitution, as defined by a United Nations Development Programme report in 2012, is a 19th and 20th-century term for sex work. Sex work may also include sexual services other than prostitution.
Both societal attitudes, stigma, and legal jurisdiction on prostitution are incredibly diverse throughout the world. Some countries, such as Ecuador and Bolivia, have legalized, restricted prostitution, with regulations such as obtaining regular health checks or being registered in an official brothel. Other countries have made it illegal, such as Thailand and CHAD, with different countries having varying levels of prevalence and mixed public attitudes. A couple of regions such as Indonesia do not specifically or directly address prostitution. The harshness of enforcement and severity of punishment also differs by country.
As stated in the Secretary-General’s Bulletin for Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in 2003: “The exchange of money, employment, goods or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour, is prohibited.” While many agree with the bulletin, support for the legalization and regulation of prostitution is growing. The Erotic Service Provider Legal, Educational and Research Project, or ESPER Project, is one such proponent. They argue that current policies and “rescue” missions are ineffective. Another common argument is that the criminalization of prostitution prevents regulation, risking the safety of sex workers. A specific concern is the health of both sex workers and their clients, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS. The question of independence and liberty of workers is an essential factor to address.
Things to Consider:
- What ethical considerations must be accounted for in the legalization or prohibition of prostitution?
- What measures can be put in place to enforce any resulting policies or legislation?
- How can the UN not harm those involved in sex work while preventing the exploitation and mistreatment of sex workers?
United Nations. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational
Map of prostitution legality by country: http://chartsbin.com/view/snb
Topic Two: Private Information Collection, Use, and Access by 3rd Parties
According to the Collins Dictionary, a third party is “someone who is not one of the main people involved in a business agreement or legal case, but who is involved in it in a minor role.” For example, a 3rd party could be advertisement companies working with a social media platform, apps hosted on a website, or companies that seek user information for logistic and analytical purposes.
In 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced Congress to address the breach in privacy and information of millions of Facebook users. Various personal and identifying information was collected through an app on Facebook. The company Cambridge Analytica then used this information, and in some instances used to influence US elections. In related news, The Washington Post reported that in 2017 Congress voted to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark privacy protections enacted in 2016. The protections made it difficult for internet providers to collect and sell user data to be used for targeted advertising or other uses the user did not consent to. Situations like these have brought much public outcry for better online privacy.
If private information can be collected and used by third parties, especially without the knowledge of the user, this information may be misused or exploited. Popular public opinion is that users should have control over what information is collected and how it is used, especially when identifying and sensitive. While many companies have policies concerning what information they collect and how it is used, legislation regarding online privacy differs significantly worldwide with no overarching, concrete policies in place. Other concerns regarding private information use and access stem from security concerns, such as when a user’s online activity may affect the safety of others. The logistics of internet privacy and the extent to which third parties should be able to access user information are hotly debated, with multiple factors and nuances to consider from all sides.
Things to Consider:
- What are some benefits to international regulation on private information use and access by 3rd parties? What are some downfalls?
- In what circumstances may it be appropriate or necessary for online privacy to be sacrificed?
- How could transnational corporations respect legislations of various countries and possibly international policy in terms of private information use and access by 3rd parties?