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Designing Prostitution PolicyIntention and Reality in Regulating the Sex Trade$
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Hendrik Wagenaar, Helga Amesberger, and Sietske Altink

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447324249

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447324249.001.0001

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Summary and conclusion

Summary and conclusion

(p.257) Seven Summary and conclusion
Designing Prostitution Policy

Hendrik Wagenaar

Helga Amesberger

Sietske Altink

Policy Press

The final chapter of the book summarises its main results and conclusions. It formulates two insights. First, prostitution policy is fragile. Legalisation and decriminalisation are easily reversed, and revert back to criminalisation and heavy-handed regulation and control. This is a complex process that, triggered by the ever present sigma on prostitution and a dominant neo-abolitionist discourse, largely occurs at the local level, thereby deviating from, and even undoing, national policymaking. Second, without a detailed exposition and analysis of the design and implementation of prostitution policy at different scales of governance, statements about its nature or outcomes remain necessarily superficial and are at worst misleading. We conclude with the question: What can policy makers do to negotiate the complexity and unpredictability of the prostitution domain? Stimulating variation, facilitating new communication lines and selecting and promoting solutions that work are general strategies for effectively navigating such complexity. This requires the inclusion of stakeholders, particularly of more vulnerable groups such as sex workers, in policy formulation and implementation.

Keywords:   prostitution policy, stigma, complexity, governance, policy design, policy implementation

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