In Italy, disturbing trends regarding the commercial sex industry are in the news. The country’s laws that make it legal for men to purchase sex are fueling the demand for prostitution. Reports indicate that issues involving the sex trade are becoming increasingly out of control, and government representatives are scrambling for ways to contain the industry and its impact on surrounding areas. As a possible solution, officials in Rome have been mulling over the possibility of creating a red light district to mitigate concerns. But corralling prostituted women into an “out of sight, out of mind” back-alley destination will only sweep the exploitation of these women under the rug. A new red light district will not rid the nation of the stigma of state-sponsored violence against women, also known as legal prostitution.
Advocates for the progressive Nordic approach, a set of policies that aim to penalize the demand for commercial sex, now have an important opportunity to raise their voices and to take a stand for women’s rights, gender equality, and the need to eliminate sex trafficking and exploitation by reducing the demand for commercial sex in this country.
In order to effectively join the battle in Italy, it is critical that we understand and fight to overcome the myths that are often perpetuated by those who would seek to profit from the exploitation of prostituted and trafficked women. Don’t believe the myths.