An excellent article appeared into today’s Guardian by Rabbi Jonathan Romain, minister of Maidenhead Synagogue.

It was a short feature on the history of prostitution, particularly that occurring in biblical accounts throughout the Old Testament. Apparently, “…the government is trying to develop strategies to tackle…” prostitution. Romain’s point is made succinctly in his final paragraph: “With so little changing in human nature over the millennia, the government is probably right not to try to eradicate prostitution, but instead to try to ensure it is as safe and crime-free as possible. If that includes permitting mini-brothels, or even full-scale ones, then religious protests against ‘immorality’ should be put aside, recognising that condemnation has not made any difference and that regulation might achieve more good…” [emphasis mine].

It’s a rare gem of wisdom for the mainstream media, even if it is just an opinion column. But the point could be refined even further.

The concept of a woman trading time with her body for some form of currency has been with us since the beginning of humanity. Not only is it practically impossible to stop them from doing it, as our current prohibition laws have proven, but it happens to be the right of every individual prostitute and the right of all her customers.

Observe that people disagree about what is moral and what is immoral. The only valid response to such an observation is to grant that all peaceful actions be free from interference, from government and from anyone else, to permit citizens to live by their own moral code. It’s a concept called freedom.

Prostitution should be legal everywhere, as it is in some towns not far from here in rural Nevada, as it is in various European countries. Bear in mind that the article I’m citing above was written by a religious leader who believes that prostitution is immoral. Bear also in mind the Christian belief system of Yours Truly as I myself advocate the legalisation of prostitution. Such religious beliefs are irrelevant to this discussion. The law does not exist to enforce my moral persuasions, or anyone else’s. The law exists to protect freedoms and rights, and what a woman does with her body in peaceful sexual relations isn’t the government’s concern. Last time I checked, both your personal finances (how you spend your money) and human sexuality (how you use your body) were nobody’s else’s damned business but yours.

One more point. In this case, Romain sees that prohibition isn’t working. But what he appears to advocate instead isn’t particularly much better in principal: the regulation of prostitution. Having the government attempt to licence brothels, regulate what happens during sessions, perhaps licence the women individually to practice, outlaw certain activities, enforce specific parameters, etc. – all of this isn’t much less freedom-quenching than prohibition.

In a ‘free market’ prostitution model, there would be no government interference whatsoever. Brothels would compete for their business legally, and, therefore, more accountably. Prostitutes would be able to call for law enforcement in the event of any trouble. They would also be off the street corner, where, Romain observes, they’ve been for centuries. And industry standards would emerge for safety, quality, codes of ethics. Those brothels failing to subscribe would operate at a significant disadvantage, while those brothels who choose to subscribe would operate at the advantage of more, better business and higher prices.

I’m interested to hear that the UK government is keen to address this issue. Let’s hope that the reasonable morality of freedom prevails.

John Wright