Susana Duarte

Susana Duarte was born in the town of Oeiras in 1989. She has a Bachelor in History and a post-graduate education in Documentation and Information Sciences in the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon.

Since 2016, she is the administrative and financial director of the Social Democrat Youth. She is the president of the political commission of the Social Democrat Youth of Oeiras and a member of the Municipal Assembly of Oeiras.

“Young people driving social equality” session

The Social-Democrat Youth (JSD) does not have an official position on the topic of prostitution, however we defend it is fundamental to have more information and debates on the issue.

We cannot assume that young people have a mistaken view of prostitution. This view is based on what media presents, having a crucial role in the making of public opinion particularly for young people in Portugal. Even though it is not a crime [prostitution], when we read a newspaper we mostly see it association with criminality, the most common crimes connected to prostitution being homicide, theft and pimping; most news reports also show migrant women without any capacity to act on their own behalf, victimizing them, while Portuguese women usually show up connected to the crime of pimping.

In this news, we can see that 61,7% of direct speech comes from police, courts and the government and only 7,5% comes from actual sex professionals. This way, they present a partial view of the problem and its consequences. However, we should not that it is common knowledge that in the current Portuguese legislation, the law punishes pimping but does not consider prostitution in itself to be illegal. Therefore, if prostitution in Portugal is not legal, it is also not a regulated activity.

Most young people favor legalization of prostitution for many reasons, like increased social protection of people in prostitution, believing that legalization would facilitate access to specialized health care, that beyond health check-ups there would also be health education (hygiene, prevention of STDs and clarification of doubts); while many international associations and foundations defend the regulated model of prostitution and individual freedom, because for most young people the freedom of the individual to do what s/he wants with her/his own life should be above moral or social judgements. This analysis does not allow me to think young people have a mistaken view of prostitution, just that we need more debate on the issue.

What I defend in regard to prostitution is a profound and realistic analysis and evaluation of the current legislation, for it does not protect the individual nor society. Legalization of prostitution does not protect the individual from the increase of trafficking, because, according to recent reports in Germany, with regulation human trafficking increased. We should also note that, in Portugal, prostitution by males is very ignored. There is a stereotype of prostitution, which we usually connect to the woman, which are the object of most studies from which we can derive data such as: 60% of women who prostitute themselves suffer from PTSD and have a mortality rate of 40 times above average. Besides, due to the stigma of prostitution, we learn when we are very young to assume feminine prostitution as something that is “normal” in comparison to male prostitution, about which we know almost nothing about. We observe, therefore, a real subjugation of the role of women in society in comparison to the role of men. This is also a problem we must pay attention to when we debate the issue.

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