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New Social Compact

Teleworking during COVID: Risks, benefits and steps to a ‘new normal’

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Anne-Lise, a journalist teleworking for TV channel Euronews in Lyon, France, with 3-year-old daughter Violette keeping close. © UNICEF/Bruno Amsellem/Divergence

More than two years since COVID-19 began disrupting office life around the world, crucial changes are needed to safeguard health while teleworking, two UN agencies said on Wednesday.

In a new technical brief on healthy and safe teleworking launched on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) outline the health benefits and risks of remote work arrangements along with the measures needed to accommodate both the shift, and the ongoing digital transformation.

The pandemic has led to a surge of teleworking, effectively changing the nature of work practically overnight for many workers”, said Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health.  

Upside

Among the benefits, the report says, are an improved work–life balance; opportunities for flexible working hours and more physical activity; reduced traffic and commuting time; and a decrease in air pollution across urban areas.

These can all improve physical and mental health, and social wellbeing.

Moreover, teleworking can also lead to higher productivity and lower operating costs for many companies.

Downside

However, the report warns that without proper planning, organization and health and safety support, teleworking can lead to feelings of isolation, burnout, depression, eye strain, increased alcohol consumption and unhealthy weight gain.

“Which way the pendulum swings, depends entirely on whether governments, employers and workers, work together, and whether there are agile and inventive occupational health services to put in place policies and practices that benefit both workers and the work”, said Dr. Neira.

Settling into a ‘new normal’

As both companies and employees alike have experienced the benefits of home and hybrid work, the Director of ILO’s Governance and Tripartism Department, Vera Paquete-Perdigão, said that they are “here to stay and will likely increase after the pandemic”.

“As we move away from this ‘holding pattern’ to settle into a new normal, we have the opportunity to embed new supportive policies, practices and norms to ensure millions of teleworkers have healthy, happy, productive and decent work”, she said.

Occupational health services should be providing provide ergonomic, mental health and psychosocial support to teleworkers using digital telehealth technologies, the report says.

For example, employers should put measures in place to ensure that personnel receive adequate work-related equipment; relevant information and training to reduce the psychosocial impact of teleworking; and establish the “right to disconnect”.

Meeting needs

The report outlines the roles of governments, employers, workers and health services at workplaces to promote and protect health and safety while teleworking.

It also offers practical recommendations for the organization of telework that meet the needs of both workers and businesses, such as developing individual work plans with clear priorities, timelines and expected results.

The agency advice calls on businesses to develop special programmes for teleworking that combine measures for managing work and performance, using effective digital platforms.

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New Social Compact

Open and Closed: From Russia to China to America, the Largest Societies Are Pushing Their Limits

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Today we are seeing the largest nations in the world pushing their limits. Open societies are pushing the limits of openness. Closed societies are pushing the limits of closure. And we are seeing the consequences when both open and closed societies go too far.

Russia’s wealth has long been concentrated within a closed circle of oligarchs and government officials. But today, Russia is closing even further. It is going to new extremes of censorship to hide its failures and atrocities in the Ukraine war from its citizens. It has embarked on a massive misinformation campaign to spread fictions about Neo-Nazis in Ukraine and aggressions by the Ukrainian government (and China is lending a hand by repeating Russian propaganda through its state media and Foreign Ministry). Russia has now also become closed off from Western banks, businesses, and flights.

But Vladimir Putin’s push for closure is, ironically, leading to a new openness. As the Russian economy crumbles, a flood of over 300,000 emigrants and counting has made a hasty exit from Russia, including many fearing arrest under Russia’s new “fake news law,” which penalizes criticism of the government with up to 15 years in jail. Russia’s emigrants are heading to dozens of destinations around the globe, from neighboring Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey, Dubai, Greece, Latin America, and the US. An estimated 100,000 of Russia’s emigrants have been IT workers, and many others have been creative professionals like journalists and entrepreneurs, leaving Russia with severe brain drain. As Russia deteriorates further, these educated emigrants will continue to send real news from the uncensored world abroad back to Russia, combatting propaganda and helping to open Russians minds to reality. And perhaps when the news that Russia has lost over a third of its soldiers and killed thousands of its Ukrainian brothers for no legitimate reason, this will even spark enough dissent, even among Russia’s military and oligarchs, that Russia will finally unite against Putin, change regimes, and move toward making a long-closed society more open.

The United States is the world’s leading open society. Openness leads America to take in more immigrants by far than any other country in the world, over three times the total of Germany, the next highest immigrant destination. But even the most open society must recognize limits. Only when borders are established does openness become possible, because otherwise citizens are forever engaged in a struggle for security in a “war of all against all,” as Hobbes put it, battling over what is “mine and thine.”

A war of all against all describes some parts of Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle in recent decades, as rival drug cartels have staked out territory. The only thing protecting Americans from that violence is the US-Mexico border, which at 1,954 miles is the longest border in the world between a developed and developing country.

Until a few decades ago, border enforcement was relatively neglected, as America took openness for granted. Almost anyone could hop a fence into California or swim across the Rio Grande into Texas. But in 2001, 9/11 gave America a wakeup call, and in 2003, the Department of Homeland Security was formed. Yet today, American deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl coming across the border have skyrocketed. A staggering quarter million guns purchased in the US each year flow across the border into Mexico. And Texas congressman Chip Roy reported in April that 42 people on the FBI’s terror watchlist had been apprehended along the border since President Biden took office in January 2021, which suggests many others have crossed into the US among the 300,000 “gotaways” reported by the Texas Department of Public Safety in the last fiscal year. America’s natural openness is conflicting with the real need to secure its border.

China is forever struggling to close its virtual border, the Great Firewall. Open communication across the internet represents one of the greatest threats to the Chinese Communist Party’s mission to stamp out dissent. But over 78% of Chinese people aged 16-64 have an account on the messaging service Wechat, and over 60% of Chinese internet users have a microblogging account on Weibo. The CCP shuts down thousands of WeChat and Weibo and other accounts on a regular basis.

It was China’s squelching of open communication which stifled the early reports of COVID when it was first discovered in December 2020. And two and a half years later, China is again closing its citizens inside the walls of their homes in Shanghai’s “Zero COVID” lockdowns. Draconian lockdown restrictions and major food shortages in Shanghai have provoked outrage and strong protests, with residents smashing vegetables and banging pots and pans out their windows at night in protest and launching massive criticism at the government online using code words to refer to government officials. The 2 million employed by the CCP to censor the internet have been scrambling to squash the protests, but the censors have not been able to keep up with the dissent. And similar to the effect of the Ukraine war in Russia, the years of strict lockdowns in China are prompting a surge in the number of middle- and upper-class Chinese citizens seeking to emigrate. Extreme closures are exposing the limits of China’s closed society.

To be sure, China’s censorship has its advantages. It makes it harder for kids to access pornography and harder for radical fringe groups to spread destructive ideas—like the Great Replacement theory which motivated the May 14 Buffalo supermarket shooter. The shooter became radicalized online, similar to Islamic terrorists in the suburbs of Paris and the East End of London. Ironically, social media are meant to create a more open, interconnected society, yet they often close minds when reinforcement algorithms send users down rabbit holes, as The Social Dilemma vividly illustrates. Even as school shooters and other terrorists take advantage of the freedoms of the world’s most open societies, they somehow become convinced that the walls are closing in on them, such that they have to lash out.

I taught in China several years ago. When I first arrived, I stayed in another teacher’s apartment for a few weeks while I was looking for a place. After three days of watching me swipe in the gate, the security guard knocked on the apartment door and said he needed to take my passport for a day and get a full description of my personal details. During a class later that year, I mentioned that Taiwan’s official status is controversial. The next day, the school’s two CCP inspectors were snooping around my classroom. Very little goes unnoticed in a closed society.

By contrast, nobody stopped the Buffalo shooter even though he published his plans online and, at age 17, said he wanted to commit a murder suicide at his high school, which led to him spending a day and a half in a hospital for a mental health evaluation. He wore a HAZMAT suit to class. But nobody connected the dots. He was still able to buy a Bushmaster XM-15 assault rifle.

The Bill of Rights is America’s great protector of freedoms, the guardian of its open society. But America’s founders understood something that is often lost today: that freedoms are not an end in themselves, and that an open society invites dangers. John Adams pointed out that, as a guarantor of freedoms, the Constitution is not designed to make good people, it requires good people. If people are not good, freedoms facilitate immorality. As Adams put it in his 1798 letter to the Massachusetts militia:

“But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

John Adams saw the harsh reality that the freedoms in the Constitution protect people like school shooters just as much as anyone else. As Adams might put it, school shooters often slip through the system “as a whale goes through a net.”

Openness and closure have never been harder to enforce, as the world has never seen such large, complex societies as we have today. China is having as much difficulty securing its virtual border as America is having securing its geographic border. Emigration is fraying a closing Russia as illegal immigration through a porous border is fraying the US. Putin’s challenge of censoring truth online is as great as America’s challenge of stopping radicalization online. Despite Americans’ instinctive openness, decades of deadly overdoses and mass shooting victims remind them that there have to be boundaries, while unruly protests and emigrations remind Russia and China that closing down too hard can destabilize the government’s hold on society. The question that remains to be answered is whether these vast societies will push their limits to the extreme such that they lose the things that closure was meant to secure and that openness was meant to allow.

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New Social Compact

Return of Honesty for our Global Social Compact

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From what point of view are you looking to understand your surroundings?

To study the whole universe from the beginning until the current date is a time-consuming process. Not even a historian can explore all the information and right education about the existence of the things in the whole world including the creatures and species, the materials, and the living and non-living things alike. There are hundreds of subjects that we can tap on to curb history. There are plenty of different fields of study that we can explore to fully understand everything. From the point that we study all the branches of Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Architecture, Liberal Arts, Commerce, and History from the Universe to the planets- this will widen our perception of all the abstract and concrete involvement of matter to which we depend on for our needs as humans.

In the current state- the earth is in severe pain and humans are struggling to survive against the global problems including pandemics, endemics, famine, health problems, etc. to which species could hardly find ways to survive.

In this writing, thoughts on global problems are stated about what’s happening on this planet and why we should be prepared and change how we deal with the earth; by protecting it, preserving it, and using what we only need and not what we want to have.

These are the main focus of this writing:

1.       Dreams

2.       Inventions (ideas)

3.       Actions

4.       Cults (Secret Societies; cults, freemason, Illuminati)

5.       Education

6.       Time

It’s hard to accept the fact thinking and looking at how the Earth consistently suffers.

So, this time, find out the truth.

Based on the Statistical data from a website; There are 7.9 bn people on the earth now. And there are 7.9 bn voices to consider believing and not believing about how the planet shall be used or abused.

There are hundreds of millions of individuals who are condemned to share the truth on how to preserve what God has given to us for free.

Who are these individuals?

These are the kids, teens, youths, young adults, adults, and seniors in different careers and professions who have worked hard and done their best to speak their voice to the public providing solutions, ideas, thoughts, programs, lessons, agendas, inventions, and new technologies for the sake of the welfare of the citizens of each nation.

Humans are prone to negative thinking. In Psychology, the human brain is so powerful as it is also regarded as a supercomputer that could produce billions of currents per second – that’s thoughts afterthoughts.

Why Education is necessary for the 21st century for each person to realize the actions that we take and how we should be accountable for them?

Who is to blame?

All of us are to blame. All of us are the fruits of our labors.

BUT there’s something that we all shall understand. This is the lesson of telling ourselves that we are also the ones who could save the whole world.

We must put into our hearts and our minds- that we are learners and educators. That we could easily create and build an idea based on its purpose regardless of its efficacy in its form.

We also needed to fix our mistakes and conform to righteousness. Since the beginning of civilization, globalization, industrialization, commercialization, and the revolution and evolution of ideas– humans used to take advantage of the natural resources and natural reserves of the earth from land surfaces, ocean surfaces, and sky surfaces for the unconditional reasons which seemed to be unacceptable to my point of view.

People do it because of their DREAMS.

People have forgotten to conceptualize whether their plans are destructors or contributors to the wholesomeness of the living things and non-living things. 

The kids in this era will have to accept the consequences of what the people in past and world history from the 7 continents and 204 nations have completely- brought into the earth as an implementation of ideas for survival.

Ideas are in the form of abstracts. We could hardly change our habits of not understanding what we want. We must try to understand our obsession and – that’s in the form of dreams.

Have you tried asking yourself about your dreams?

Let me tell you this.

There are different types of dreams. A dream is the foundation of an invention. And let’s dig deeper about building an invention for your dreams.

It is truly easy to build an invention by harnessing the extreme gifts of Nature. But have you ever thought about what you envision? Go and try to ask yourself whether you would be one of them. Don’t fit yourself into those people who only care for their dreams. These types of people are selfish.

If you know what your dreams are for and who will benefit from them- you may show consideration not only for your advantage but also to give relief to the ones who might be using your ideas.

Inventors on the planet earth have brought massive changes to the outlook of the future. Science is everywhere. Mathematics is everywhere. Engineering is everywhere. Graphics are everywhere. Architecture is everywhere. Everything is structured into systems just like music.

Now imagine this…. If everything is music from the solar system to the planets- when you strum the strings it creates vibrations. Vibrations are everywhere. Listen to the soundwaves that your ears create. These are vibrations. Everything on the earth through abstract and concrete forms is made of music. Music is everywhere. In Electrical engineering, music plays a huge role in how understanding the existence of an infinite source of vibrative power through the land (magnetic power), ocean (hydropower), and sky (geothermal power). Therefore, if you do something no matter how small it is- it would certainly build an impact whether it’s negative or positive- it would not appear naturally. Our emotions and feelings are vibrative currents coming from our brain cells. We create our vibrations and we build a structure with them. Normally, we attract others to join us in anything that makes us happy. This type of action was built-in vibrations. You attracted someone and it’s like you used magnetism to attract another person to feel your vibrations.

It is just a matter of learning what to think and not how to think. Because thoughts affect events.

So, are the inventive ideas that we create for us to relieve ourselves with our possessions to succeed–fully enough to not worry about?

Having a passion and dream to become a scientist, inventor, engineer, architect, mathematician, researcher, entrepreneur, banker, educator, academic, or doctor– is a long journey. The people involved in building ideas either for their benefit or for the sake of others- are spending much time making their concepts work. And they would thrive hard just to make it happen. That’s the human spirit.

In Psychology, ideas are powerful. It is like a magnet. It attracts positive and negative events.

Mostly, dreamers in the 21st century are not using wisdom.

Now, imagine this…

You have to think about the current status of the world.

There are thousands of global problems. All of these problems create effects. There’s no such term as one problem; or one solution because things create positive effects and negative effects. Everything is connected like a circuit. Everything is in the form of a system. And one of the biggest systems is the system of greedy and corrupt people. Global issues are all systematically linked and caused by similar attributes.

One of the biggest issues is getting the people to take action and eliminating the greed the people of wealth have. We also need to enlighten ourselves on how we can remove the crazy leaders of the world, and motivate people to participate in solving global issues, not for profit but for the safety of everyone against the effects of each one’s daily activities globally. And everyone can start by doing something small, and building upon it. We are accountable for our actions and aside from not buying things that we don’t need- we must allow wisdom to cleanse our mind, heart, soul, and attitude toward the planet and every being. It is said that though the human race has made tremendous progress in science and technology, we still have war, poverty, greed, and exploitation. Those are some of the same problems that have existed since ancient times. Things are important to hold onto including dreams and goals and visions for the future. It is not all about what you want to achieve, but it is all about what you are required to accomplish; for getting rid of the existing global issues and not consume the time every day for adding more problems. That’s what is happening now. Instead of fixing the existing issues, billions of people and leaders are creating new issues. Everyone’s mind is lost from the realistic way of living. We have survival needs as humans and we only need to focus on those and not on external possessions.

Never forget to apply wisdom because an idea is useless if it would only destruct the world. If this idea is just a want and not a need for a living and survival, it would push the earth into a pressured situation. It will destruct the natural resources and natural reserves and all humans will die, not because of money and killing but because of lack of oxygen and lack of landmass as our foundation for survival. We need to practice using analysis to understand our current situation. We must acquire the right knowledge about the consensus of each country by determining the events and the increase of population per day and the usage of different services and products domestically and through international trading.

Now, imagine yourself as a genius who thinks about everything and who studies everything. Someone who can make a change.

How long are we going to do this to the humans, earth, creatures, species, and everything on the earth?

There are hundreds of millions of websites that talk about the global problems and these are handled by entrepreneurs, advocates, inventors, activists, journalists, writers, and scientists– and some of them are dealing with some projects that they’d like to implement, to solve global problems in politics, economics, society, government, and environment.

How should we take action?

The ecosystems are now totally broken and we must fix it.

If you take a look at how the Earth looks now, you may be surprised about its changes.

Almost everyone is not fully aware that the world is controlled by cults. Secret Societies are the ones that create global activities. They are everywhere and they don’t use wisdom for doing things as they know that the evil will take care of everything that they ask. If you make your analysis about how these multinational companies have succeeded – they sacrifice everything that they could get; humans, plants, animals, and invasion of things. These corporations, agencies, and organizations are part of the cults. They believed that money can buy everything that they possessed.

The secret societies are scattered in all the nations recruiting people to do evil things. If you are familiar with the Law of Attraction, you would understand how these evil people attract others using giving them fame, power, and money. Take a look at what these world-known businesses, companies, industries, leaders, entrepreneurs, and celebrities have in common; they all have a massive amount of wealth and unending fame, and controlled power. They all work together. Don’t live with what your eyes see. Search for the truth and awaken yourself to understand that the world that you are living in is completely broken. The earth’s natural resources and natural reserves are controlled and owned by governments and wealthy families.

Money is powerful for everyone. You can buy everything that you want. It is the medium of exchange for services and products in any marketplace. But these days, money is hard to earn. You have to learn how to earn a skill and a knowledge because things become so competitive that we could hardly fit ourselves into the markets as the human population increases every single day. But make sure that you understand how to balance yourself with money. Don’t let it control you. Make yourself balanced through thoughts, emotions, feelings, and actions. Never allow yourself to be greedy and corrupt. Become someone who could lead others by being realistic and living with the truth.

Money has been the root of disastrous events. I am saying this because people don’t have contentment and they ask for more. They need more. That’s how greed and corruption start. Since the beginning of industrialization, individuals in the past started trading commodities in exchange for their needs and wants. The old way of trading products and services was the Barter Economy. Until then, organizations, agencies, and governments have started printing paper money to circulate in the economy and for building different infrastructures to keep the global economy systematically connected.

How are we going to recover from this disastrous situation in the world now?

In its simplest form, we need the right Education. We must educate ourselves on things that matter. Education comes from different learning areas. We can learn from books and life experiences. It truly depends on us what learnings we put into our lives and how we apply them. But we must educate ourselves about global problems and use our abilities, skills, talents, capacity, interests, and knowledge to make a change for each one’s benefit. We need to apply wisdom in each action that we tap on. Wisdom will give us light about things that make our dreams dimmed and locked into our desirability.

Hence, aside from having the education to help the world become better- we need to buy more time. Time creates an illusionary movement and it drives us to the conclusion that it is now too late for us to save the earth. Seeing all of these disastrous events worldwide would make our minds complacent about where we shall start doing good. Well, it isn’t too late yet. All of us need to cooperate and do our actions regardless of where we are located and how much money we have in our wallets. These factors don’t matter. All of us can help—and we surely needed to help.

Therefore, the fate of the earth relies on the hands of humanity. If we humans know how to solve global problems and we strive hard to make our mission work, no one can stop us. Others might help or not help. But we need dedication and passion to make a change and build a foundation for people to follow so all of us- can solve problems on our planet.

We can do it. Hold your idea and build it whether that’s scientific or non-scientific, abstract or concrete—its form would not matter because the most important concept is the concept of self-reflection. Act on your thoughts and ideas and reflect on them but never forget to use wisdom. Wisdom is important and it will tell you what to do righteously.

Stop living in the metaverse or digital world. There are millions of things that we need to study about the outside world and not the inside world of digital activities or the internet itself.

We need enlightenment to make ourselves ready against the pointless ideas of other dreamers.

Having less knowledge of the real essence and benefits of science and technology is going to put our lives at risk.

Show love, care, and compassion, and allow God to be the light and give you guidance on your direction.

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New Social Compact

To legalize or not to legalize?

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Prostitution is considered as one of the oldest professions, which always causes conflicting points of view. The sex industry tied to human trafficking, is a billion-dollar industry, second only to the illegal drugs empire. The European Union (EU), as well as many other international organizations, has had trouble in deciding collectively whether to legalize it or abolish it. The controversy behind legalizing prostitution relies mainly in its close link to human trafficking. The most common form of human trafficking within the European Union is for the purpose of sexual exploitation. In 2019, 60% of victims of human trafficking in the EU were trafficked for sexual exploitation. The number of prostitutes across the region ranges between 700,000 and 1.2 million. Thus, human trafficking for sexual exploitation, being one of the most serious security problems of the EU, is linked directly with the legalization of prostitution and the sex market, as a whole.

Prostitution is legal and regulated in Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Austria and many other countries of the European Union. In Germany alone, the industry is estimated to be worth $16.3 billion. However, it is naive to believe that the legalization of prostitution will automatically translate in bettering the economic, social, work and health conditions of those in the field. Nevertheless, this just creates a vicious cycle because the money they earn ends up in the hands of the brothel owners and procurers. In this type of business, no matter the conditions women are always seen as disposable products who are used and discarded, that is why it is inherently linked to male power and control. Under these circumstances, woman working in such atmosphere will always be in a much more vulnerable position. 

Furthermore, it is important to take into consideration that trafficking humans for sexual exploitation is clearly a gender-specific phenomenon that happens at the expenses of girls and women. Women are mainly the prostitutes and trafficking victims, while men tend to be the clients or procurers. Over the period 2017-2018, the percentage of women among the victims of trafficking was 92%. For that reason, prostitution cannot be untied from the jaws of human trafficking. Both consist in supplying and delegating women for the objective of male sexual pleasure through exploitation.

Since 2014, Article 2 and 3 of the European Union now mention gender equality and the respect for human dignity as some of their main values. Notwithstanding, having countries that benefit the most out of prostitution is a juxtaposition that still needs to be analyzed. The reality is that every woman faces systematic oppression and most do not enter prostitution because they want to but due to poverty and limited opportunities. The true question remains how much of an act of free will can prostitution be when you live within a system that sees your body as an object for sexual pleasure; this being more important than your human quality.

In legalizing prostitution, the security of sex workers has never been part of the debate, neither has their integral health. Likewise, looking out for prostitutes or fighting the system that perpetually offers the consumption of bodies has never been part of the agenda. The factors that influence the decision of politicians exhibits a strong male gaze of the issue. All politicians care about is the economic benefit and taking prostitution from the streets and into enclosed spaces so everything looks “cleaner”. Furthermore, when prostitution is legalized sex tourism increases and red light districts are institutionalized, which makes the situation altogether worse.  Pimps and traffickers are given a free pass to operate and even can hide their victims in plain sight.

In Europe, most sex workers come from other countries and do not have a legal immigration status, hence, if prostitution is legal or not, does not help at all. Another issue is that being a sex worker holds a lot of stigma within society. Illegality frames everything they do, leaving a space wide open for anything to happen to these women. Therefore, multiplying even more the level of vulnerability and causing for women prefer not being branded as sex workers or have it in official record. Thus, if prostitution is as innocent as any other business, as some politicians have declared, why is it so dangerous or why having it in your official record represents such a repercussion.

Overall, in the European Union, member states have a very lenient approach towards prostitution. Only three countries have a strict ban on sex work which criminalizes both buyers and sellers. The countries that possess such a neo-abolitionist approach are France, Sweden and Ireland. Prostitution can be a euphemism for human trafficking and with its legalization it tries to restrict it in accordance with rules imposed by the state, regardless, there is no way of guaranteeing it.  Thus, legalizing prostitution is not the right decision done by the governments, neither a way of taking care of prostitutes, rather is just a way of patching up the issue without going to the core.

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