Politics & Policy

Reject Legalization

A letter in opposition to legalized prostitution.

The following is a letter to President Vaclav Klaus and members of the Czech government opposing the legalization of prostitution in the Czech Republic. (See Donna M. Hughes’s “Don’t Legalize,” NRO, May 11, 2004.)

For more information, contact Donna Hughes (University of Rhode Island), Lisa Thompson (Salvation Army, USA), or Barrett Duke (Southern Baptist Convention, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission).

May 5, 2004

Vaclav Klaus, President, Czech Republic

Petr Pithart, President, Senate, Czech Republic

Senator–MUDr. Premysl Sobotka, 1st Vice President, Senate, Czech Republic

PhDr. Lubomir Zaoralek, Chairperson, Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic

JUDr. Vojtech Filip, Vice Chairperson, Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic

Ing. Jan Kasal, Vice Chairperson, Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic

JUDr. Jitka Kupcova, Vice Chairperson, Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic

MUDr. Mgr. Ivan Langer, Vice Chairman, Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic Miroslava Nemcova, Vice Chairperson, Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic

Honorable Leaders of the Czech Republic:

We are writing to express our profound concern over the prospect that the Czech Republic may be planning to legalize prostitution. We believe that such action would be a terrible mistake for the country as a whole and, in particular, for the women and children of the Eastern Europe region who will be victims of the Czech sex trade.

We write because we also believe that such a step will irreparably harm relations between the Czech Republic and the United States and other countries, including Russia, from which the trafficked women will come.

Particularly in Prague and in the area along the German border, the Czech Republic is fast gaining an international reputation as a prime destination for European and other “sex tourists” and pedophiles. The Czech Republic has also become a transit country for human trafficking and smuggling. According to Prague’s deputy mayor Rudolf Blazek, “The spread of brothels, peep shows and prostitution in the city is becoming unbearable. Prague is starting to resemble Amsterdam.” To us, it is as stunning as it is dreadful that Prague and the Republic are considering copying the practices of Amsterdam in an effort not to become like it.

As is true in the Netherlands, we are certain that legalizing prostitution within the Czech Republic will not curb abuses such as child prostitution and enslaving sex trafficking. Organized crime controls the “industry” and, in a legalized regime, it will have an enhanced capacity to do so. As the experiences of such countries as the Netherlands, Australia and Germany have clearly demonstrated, the expected benefits of legalization never materialize even as its prior abuses literally metastasize. With legalization:

‐ Organized crime and criminal prostitution is not reduced. The criminal enterprises adjust their operations and continue to run illegal operations alongside the legal businesses they will also and inevitably control.

‐ Street prostitution is not reduced. In Australia, prostitution and brothels were legalized to do away with street prostitution. A decade later, street prostitution has dramatically increased. The Netherlands legalized prostitution and brothels, and there are growing area of its cities where trafficked and drug addicted women and girls are visibly bought and sold every night.

‐ Prostitution and trafficking are not reduced. The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Interior has said that legalization of prostitution will reduce the trade. This has not been the case in any city or country that has legalized prostitution or set up lawful “tolerance zones.” In fact, such cities and zones have in all known cases become destination sites for sex tourists and market places for sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases, and HIV/AIDS.

‐ There will be no tax benefit to cities or the state. Germany has found that neither the women nor the brothel owners pay the fees required by the new law.

Brothels are sexual gulags for women and girls. While a few “show brothels” may be set up as facades, the reality is that most brothels are and will forever be places of sexual slavery where women and girls are reduced to chattel at the hands of traffickers, pimps, and brothel owners, with organized crime effectively controlling all. Legalization has proven a powerful tool for organized crime to gain revenue and legitimacy and a greatly enhanced capacity to insinuate itself into, and significantly corrupt, the political mechanisms of democratic countries.

Further: The notion that “sex work” is a potentially empowering career option for women is a big lie with which the trafficking of millions of girls and women has been rationalized. Thus, the recently enacted United States Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003, requires the State Department to view the policies of legalizing countries in terms of whether its own citizens–here the sisters and daughters of Czechs–enter into the trade.

We of course recognize the sovereignty of the Czech Republic to ultimately do as its political mechanisms determine, and rejoice in your democratic freedoms. But we are free as well–free to advise Czech officials not to be taken in by the siren song of legalization, free to hope that Czech’s reputation and appeal will not be traduced, free to urge political responses by the United States, and free to urge similar responses by other countries whose women will be massively trafficked into the Czech Republic, free to resist Czech legalization actions that in our view will inevitably have major, adverse effects throughout the world.

The latter point is of particular consequence because the Czech Republic has become the world’s prime battleground for the legalization and normalization of the sex trade. This is so because trafficking mafias have frantically sought to use the Republic to thwart and arrest the momentum created by United States efforts and commitments of the United States and other countries. In the case of the United States, its determination to eliminate worldwide sex trafficking is set forth in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and President Bush’s September 23, 2003 speech to the United Nations. Thus, no less than such 19th century models such as the English parliamentarian William Wilberforce and his American abolitionist counterparts brooked no compromise with slave traders and slave trading countries, we pledge similar action towards countries that facilitate the mass enslavement of girls and women.

A decision to accommodate traffickers, pimps and organized crime’s slave trade in girls and women will make the Czech Republic the gateway for the flow of women and children from poorer Eastern and Central European countries to sex industries throughout Western Europe and the world – an act unworthy of Czechs’ traditions of fighting for their own freedom. It is an act we will resist with every democratic means available to us, and will fight in Congress and our legislatures, through our organized women’s movements and from tens of thousands of church and synagogue pulpits. At a minimum, we are determined that our efforts will, in financial terms alone, be more costly to the Republic–and not in terms of tourism only–than any hypothetical financial gains claimed, with no supporting evidence, by Czech legalizers.

We close by urging you to reject the calls for legalization that sully the reputation of the Czech Republic and dishonor its history. Please take a leadership role in resisting the trade in women and children and please, in a manner consistent with your traditions, maintain the Republic as a model for human rights and democracy.

At your convenience, we stand ready to meet and speak with you and other Republic leaders.

Very truly yours,

Richard D. Land, D.Phil., President

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Southern Baptist Convention

Nissan Ben Ami, Machon Todaa Awareness Center, Israel

One Tsungba Aonok, Educator, King’s Kids International, Nagaland, North East India

Robert Aronson, MiraMed Institute, Moscow, Russia/Seattle, WA, USA

Claudia Barlow, Shelter for Life, Oshkosh, WI, USA

Winnie Bartel, International Director, Women’s Commission, World Evangelical Alliance

Commissioner W. Todd Bassett, National Commander, The Salvation Army USA

N. Belik, House of Culture, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

L. Boichenko, Ph.D., Karelian Center for Gender Studies, Petrozavodsk, Russia

Twiss Butler, Alexandria, VA, USA

N. Bychkova, Women’s Unity NGO, Moscow, Russia

Dr. Clive Calver, President, World Relief

Rita Chaikin, Coordinator, Anti-Trafficking Project Women to Women-Haifa Feminist Center, Israel

J. Chambers, Women and Children First, Moscow, Russia

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., New York City, NY, USA

Katherine Y. Chon, Co-Executive Director, Polaris Project, Washington, D.C., USA

Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs, National Association for Evangelicals, USA

Stephanie Cordellier, Collectif pour l’bolition de la prostitution et pour la penalisation des clients, Cilleneuve d’Ascq, France

Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, The Beverly LaHaye Institute, Concerned Women for America, USA

N. Dernova, Russia Children’s Fund, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Catherine J. Douglass, Executive Director, inMotion, Inc., USA

Michele Dayras, Presidente de SOS Sexisme, France

Bernice Dubois, European Council of Women, International Zioniste Organisation Federation, France

Gary Edmonds, General Secretary, World Evangelical Alliance

Derek Ellerman, Co-Executive Director, Polaris Project, Washington, D.C., USA

Juliette Engel, MiraMed Institute, Moscow, Russia/Seattle, WA, USA

Rev. Alvin Erickson, Executive Director, Adults Saving Kids, USA

Bernard J. Evans, President, Elim Fellowship, USA

Deborah Fikes, Public Relations/Midland Alliance; Director, Basic Ministries, Inc., Midland, TX, USA

M. Galitskaya, Public Innovation Fund of Tatarstan, Kazan, Russia

Martha Gallahue, The National Service Conference of the American Ethical Union, USA

A. Garmonova, Human Rights Organization “Demos”, Voronezh, Russia

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence; Director, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University, USA

G. Gnezdilova, Women’s Crisis Center–”Gelena”, Belgorod, Russia

Leah Gruenpeter Gold, Machon Todaa Awareness Center, Israel

Reggie Gomes, Convenor, Forum for Child Rights, Santa Cruz, India

N. Grebenshchikova, Women Voters League, Novosibirsk, Russia

Patricia Green, Rahab Ministries, Bangkok, Thailand

Joseph K. Grieboski, President, Institute on Religion and Public Policy, Washington, DC

Stephen D. Grubman-Black, Ph.D., Professor, Women’s Studies and Communication Studies, University of Rhode Island, USA

Colleen Harbison, Asia Area Manager, World Concern Asia

Harmonious Development Society, Tblisi, Georgia

Lois A. Herman, International Women’s Program Chair, SVU-Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Dr. Jerry Hilton, President, Midland Ministerial Alliance, Midland, TX, USA

Rosalie Hornblower and Willits Sawyer, CFRE, Producers, Bucharest Express, Cambridge, MA, USA

Michael Horowitz, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, USA

Kristen Houser, MOXIE Resources, LLC, Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Bishop Clyde M. Hughes, International Pentecostal Church of Christ, London, OH, USA

Donna Hughes, Professor & Carlson Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies, U of RI, USA

Donna Rice Hughes, Chairman and President, Enough is Enough

Lina Izotovz, Social Partnership–”Women’s Interest”, Omsk, Russia

Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, President, Church of Scientology International

N. Khodyreva, President, Angel Coalition; Director, Center for Women, St. Petersburg, Russia

Phyllis Kilbourne, International Director, Rainbows of Hope, USA

Diane Knippers, President, Institute on Religion and Democracy, USA

Rev. Mark Kohl, Midland Ministerial Alliance, Midland, TX, USA

Andrea Lafferty, Executive Director for Government Relations, Traditional Values Coalition, USA

Mary Anne Layden, Co-Director, Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program, Center for Cognity Therapy, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Laura J. Lederer, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Dorchen A. Leidholdt, Esq., Director, Sanctuary for Families Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services; Co-Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, New York City, USA

Donna Robin Lippman, Incest and Rape Recovery Center, New York, NY, USA

Emily Llanza

Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, Executive Director, World Hope International

Connie Mackey, Vice President for Government Affairs, Family Research Council, USA

Malka Marcovich President of MAPP (Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution and Pornography and All Forms of Sexual Violence and Sexist Discrimination), France

I. Martyniuk, Moldovan Women’s Organization–Civil Initiative, Kishinev, Moldova

Faith J.H. McDonnell, Director, Church Alliance for a New Sudan; Director, Religious Liberty Programs, Institute on Religion and Democracy, USA

Sr. Ethna McDermott, Good Shepherd Sisters, Dublin, Ireland

Michael McGill, The Asha Forum Facilitator, for Viva Network

Together, fighting child sexual abuse

Patrick McGrath, Stony Point, NY, USA

Scott McMurray, Communications Director, Maxim Institute, New Zealand

Sandra McNeill, Campaign to End Rape, England

Elizabeth Meyer, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, USA

Mary Meyer, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA

Vicki Meyer, University of South Florida, Sarasota, FL, USA

G. Mirzoeva, NGO “Mother”, Dushanbe, Tjikistan

Dr. Jae Joong Nam, President, Aegis Foundation

David Neff, Editor and Vice-President, Christianity Today, USA

Network Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking, Mumbai, India

NISHANT Women’s Collective, Mumbai, India

Clare Nolan, NGO Representative, Congregation of Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Dr. Marvin Olasky, Editor-In-Chief, WORLD, USA

N.A. Panina, Women’s Initiative, Tula, Russia

Robert Peters, President, Morality in Media, USA

G. Pirogova, Mstinka Women’s Movement, Borovichy, Novgorod, Russia

Sr. Prisca, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Ostrava, Czech Republic

Denise Ritchie, Stop Demand Foundation, Auckland, New Zealand

Lisa Romero, CIRA, Milano, Italy

Diana E.H. Russell, Emerita Professor of Sociology, Mills College, USA

Scottish Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation, Rape Crisis Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland

Ramesh Sepehrrad, National Committee of Women for a Democratic Iran, USA

Sereda Women’s Alliance, Barnaul, Russia

V. Shakina, Baikal Center of Legal Reforms, Irkutsk, Russia

V. Shelkova, Center of Help to Family and Children–”Trust”, Yaroslavl, Russia

Raisa Shorova, Union of Women of Kabardino, Balkaria, Nalchik, Russia

L. Faye Short, President, RENEW Network, Cornelia, GA, USA

L. Shtyleva, Gender Education Lab, Congress of Women of Kola Peninsula, Murmansk, Russia

Maria Shtyleva, Crisis Center Priyut, Murmansk, Russia

Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action

Indrani Sinha, SANLAAP, Calcutta, India

Linnea W. Smith, MD, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

N. Solntceva, Women’s NGO “Dignity” Dubna, Moscow Oblast, Russia

Marianna Solomatova, Angel Coalition, Moscow, Russia

SOS Violences Sexuelles, Montreal, Canada

Eva Siprova, Friend of Obscansky Institut, Prague, Czech Republic

Father Jon Stasney, President, Midland Association of Churches, Midland, TX, USA

David Stevens, M.D., Executive Director, Christian Medical Association

S. Sysoyeva, Women’s Association–”Hope”, Kamensk, Rostov Oblast, Russia

Susan Talbott, Redmond, WA, USA

Thomas E. Trask, General Superintendent, Assemblies of God

T. Troinova, Information Women’s Network, Moscow, Russia

Saratov I. Tsareva, Business Women’s Club, Saratov, Russia

M. Tyasto, Siberia Consultancy Center–”Connect”, Novosibirsk, Russia

S. Uralova, Women’s Union Angara, Irkutsk, Russia

I. Urtayeva, Novgorod Women’s Parliament, Veliky Novgorod, Russia

L. Vasilieva, Women’s Commonwealth NGO, Chelyabinsk, Russia

G. Volkova, Malookhitnsky House of Diligence, St. Petersburg, Russia

Paul M. Weyrich, National Chairman, Coalitions for America, USA

S. Yakimenko, Project Kesher, Moscow, Russia

L. Yerokhina, Ph.D., Gender Center, Vladivostok, Russia

Tatiana Zabelina, Women and Family Center, Moscow, Russia

L. Zalesskaya, Social Service Center–”Family”, Tver, Russia

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Kavanaugh Court

If Justice Barrett votes as her mentor Justice Scalia did, she will be part of an ascendant conservative majority on the Supreme Court. What kinds of decisions can we expect from this majority? Short answer: Ask Brett Kavanaugh. Contrary to how journalists frame each seat change on the Court, comparing the new ... Read More

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More

Trump vs. Biden: A Rundown

One week out, the contrasts are worth assessing. Foreign policy Biden so far has issued no substantive critique of Trump’s foreign policy other than banalities that Trump’s comportment and unpredictability have offended allies and tarnished America’s reputation. But who exactly, according to Biden, is ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Some Counterfactual Thinking

Election Day is one week away. Can you believe it? On the menu today: contemplating what would be different, and what would be the same, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had retired in 2013 instead of staying on the Court until her death earlier this year; a couple of flubbed words on the campaign trail; yes, people really ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Some Counterfactual Thinking

Election Day is one week away. Can you believe it? On the menu today: contemplating what would be different, and what would be the same, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had retired in 2013 instead of staying on the Court until her death earlier this year; a couple of flubbed words on the campaign trail; yes, people really ... Read More