Why not ban Sugar Book?

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The oldest profession in the world. Ready buyer, ready seller, and let’s assume two consensual adults. Seems straightforward enough when it comes to the flesh trade right? Why then does it remain through the ages, one of the most controversial and debated aspects of society?

Quite simply, it goes beyond consensual trade between these two people. Their actions have an impact on the community at large. It speaks of the values of society. It goes into whether laws and regulation are necessary to incentivize/disincentivize behaviour, or if people can in Abraham Lincoln’s words, count on “the better angels of our nature”.

When Ashley Madison, the site that promoted extra-marital relations  was banned, with the authorities citing the importance that we placed on moral values, the institution of marriage and the family unit, there was general consensus that the authorities did right. And yet, the very same authorities have now decided that The Sugar Book should be permitted, and just “closely watched”.

Because apparently Ashley Madison and Sugar Book are same same but different.

Hmmmm. Really?

This is a site that overtly supports and facilitates transactional relationships between older well-to-do men/women and younger women/men. Even if we don’t go into the judgy aspect of how it commodifies relationship between a man and a woman……….but well, a sugar daddy who is financially successfully, older and seeks a “discreet” relationship, is more likely than not to be married isn’t he? And when he strikes up a relationship with a sugar baby, he is essentially having extra-marital relations, even if that is not what the platform directly promotes. So why is this being condoned when Ashley Madison is not?

Here’s a quick look at the profiles of the Sugar Book users in Singapore:

  • There are more female sugar babies in Singapore than sugar daddies here at this point.
  • The majority of its users in Singapore are young women aged between 19 and 33, including university students.
  • Sugar daddies here are C-suite executives or professionals, aged 30 to 45, such as lawyers, bankers and entrepreneurs, drawing US$360,000 annually.

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The Government’s solution to the Sugar Book is to say that it will watch it closely.

So wah, the Government really very powderful ah. The fundamental design of the platform revolves around discretion, such that sugar daddies/mummies can interact privately one-on-one with their sugar babies. So how on earth is the Government going to live up to its promise of “closely watching” the site? Are we going to wait until a young man/woman gets exploited or physically abused to an extent where they find sufficient cause to go to the police, that we deem such platforms dangerous for the young?
If we wait until then, would we be able to forgive ourselves or wipe the stain off our conscience?