Regulating Prostitution in Post-colonial Hong Kong: Human Rights and Therapeutic Jurisprudence

By Ming-chun Sinn and Cheuk-lun Yuen.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

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In Hong Kong, albeit prostitution per se is legal, it is unlikely that prostitutes will not break the law owing to criminal sanctions of public solicitation and third party involvement. This paper is divided into three parts. A trajectory of the sex trade history in Hong Kong will first be reviewed. We then situate prostitution into the human rights regime to examine whether prostitution as an occupation in Hong Kong is subject to de jure discrimination pursuant to the Hong Kong Bill of Rights. This paper proposes to remove impugned criminal sanctions pertaining to prostitution to comply with human rights. Finally, we move from statutes to the courtroom. By employing a socio-legal tool known as therapeutic jurisprudence, we argue that the legal policies and trials pertaining to prostitution are anti-therapeutic which inflicts a wound on prostitutes who are struggling to maneuver sexual justice in post-colonial Hong Kong.

Keywords: Prostitution, Sex Laws, Human Rights, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Hong Kong

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 457.190KB).

Ming-chun Sinn

Graduate Entry Student, Laws Consortium, University of London, UK

Ming-chun Sinn is currently studying the Bachelor of Laws (Graduate Entry) of the University of London International Programme. He received his co-terminal double degrees in Bachelor of Arts (English Studies) and Bachelor of Education (English Language Education) (First Class Honours) from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2010 as well as Postgraduate Certificate in Public Order Studies from the School of Professional and Continuing Education, The University of Hong Kong in 2014. He has published a number of papers and sits on the editorial boards of leading international research journals including The International Journal of the Book, The International Journal of Learning, The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations and The International Journal of the Humanities. His current research focuses on jurisprudence beyond Northo-centric epistemologies as well as human rights law regime pertaining to public order and prostitution in postcolonial Hong Kong.

Cheuk-lun Yuen

Postgraduate Student, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Cheuk-lun Yuen is currently studying Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (equivalent to the Legal Practice Course in England and Wales) at The University of Hong Kong. Keen on clinical legal education, he also provides pro bono legal service for the community at The University of Hong Kong. Graduated with Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) from The University of Hong Kong in 2014, he is interested in legal philosophy, public international law, property law and insolvency law. His current research focuses on private international law and human rights law regime pertaining to prostitution in postcolonial Hong Kong.