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Other schools of thought argue that sex work is a legitimate occupation, whereby a person trades or exchanges sexual acts for money and/or goods.
Some believe that women in developing countries are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation and human trafficking, while others distinguish this practice from the global sex industry, in which "sex work is done by consenting adults, where the act of selling or buying sexual services is not a violation of human rights." In most countries, sex work is controversial.
[the function of the criminal law is] to preserve public order and decency, to protect the citizen from what is injurious or offensive and to provide safeguards against the exploitation and corruption of others, ...
It is not, in our view, the function of the law to intervene in the private lives of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular code of behaviour, further than is necessary to carry out the purposes of what we have outlined.
The Sex Workers Alliance Ireland organization explains: "victims of human trafficking may be forced to work in industries such as agriculture, domestic service as well as the sex industry.
It is critical to distinguish human trafficking, which is a violation of human rights, from voluntary migration." The Open Society Foundations organization states: "sex work is done by consenting adults, where the act of selling or buying sexual services is not a violation of human rights.
Many anti-prostitution advocates hold that prostitutes themselves are often victims, arguing that prostitution is a practice which can lead to serious psychological and often physical long-term effects for the prostitutes.
Where the exchange of sex for money is criminalized, it may be the sex worker (most commonly), the client, or both, who are subject to prosecution.
Prostitution has been condemned as a single form of human rights abuse, and an attack on the dignity and worth of human beings.
In fact, sex workers are natural allies in the fight against trafficking.
The UNAIDS Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work recognizes that sex worker organizations are best positioned to refer people who are victims of trafficking to appropriate services." According to a 2007 report by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), the most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and the US.
De Marneffe further argues that this may affect the prostitute's ability to perform sexual acts for the purpose of building a trusting intimate relationship, which may be important for their partner.