Is sex work inherently and irredeemably wicked, as the abolitionsts would have us conclude? Or is it in fact possible to have a morally defensible prostitution? A testing of public values alone will not answer these questions, assuming they are even answerable. Values are an important and necessary starting point for a discussion of public policy, to be sure, but they are only one element of policy. Given that vulnerable lives are going to be affected, the feds are going to need to come up with a solid policy that has something more beneath it than our deeply-held touchy feelies.
For far too long, Canada's approach to prostitution has been to treat prostitution, and specifically the women involved in it, as a nuisance and not as a form of violence against women. This approach must change. We must shift our approach to recognize that women in prostitution have the right to dignity, equality and most of all, to be free from exploitation and violence.
HALIFAX - Justice Minister Peter MacKay says the government will introduce its new prostitution legislation well ahead of a December deadline.Speaking...
I am writing to urge Amnesty International to reconsider its policy position, leaked to the public, which promotes the legalization of prostitution and the rights of pimps over the rights of victims of sexual exploitation. AI has built its reputation on advocating for victims around the world. Why is AI abandoning victims now? We need to recognize prostitution for what it is. It is inherently harmful to women and girls and therefore must be eliminated. Legalization is the wrong approach.
For vulnerable Canadian young people ensnared in the sex trade, this morning's Supreme Court decision to allow legal prostitution is distressing. We at Covenant House, the largest agency serving homeless, runaway and trafficked youth in the Americas, believe it could result in an escalation of child prostitution and human trafficking, as it has in other countries where the sex trade is legal. Those of us whose primary concern is the protection of the young will be closely monitoring how the government proposes to implement and regulate prostitution.
Despite this new ruling, the debate around prostitution is hardly settled. There are those who wish to legalize and normalize the industry, those who wish to criminalize all aspects of the industry, and finally those, like myself, who recognize prostitution as an industry that is inherently harmful to women and girls and therefore must be eliminated.
It's very simple, really. Legalizing prostitution does not mean we're normalizing it or even necessarily condoning it (for those "what has the world come to?" folks), but simply regulating it. Criminalizing sex work (and the related actions required to engage in it) has never eradicated prostitution and it never will. That's just wishful thinking. But better regulation ultimately establishes the conditions for increased protection of sex workers, and isn't that what it's all about? If legislation has the power to prevent or even simply decrease the odds of one less sex worker from being abused or killed, then what are we sitting around discussing?
Cutting through northern British Columbia is a notorious stretch of highway. Along what is now widely known as the Highway of Tears, a staggering number of First Nation women have been murdered or gone missing. For many First Nations women, however, the Highway of Tears just keeps going, shearing its way across the country through our small towns and inner cities, bringing with it sexual exploitation and violence. Some 130 years later, the Highway still pushes itself mercilessly from the west coast, then across the Prairies, to run the length of this country. The problem cuts to the very core of Canada's long standing, abusive relationship with First Nation people.
Teenage sex trafficking is a worldwide problem and therefore all governments need to be involved. That is why I believe I need to be involved as a law maker from Canada. I need to do my share in raising awareness of trafficking of children and being a force in changing Canadian laws so that we can help those abroad.
Right now the Supreme Court of Canada is tackling the obvious contradictions implicit in it being against the law to "communicate for the purposes of prostitution," "operate a bawdy house," or "live off the avails of prostitution." In effect, the court is trying to decide whether brothels and their pimps/managers/bookkeepers/cleaning staff/bodyguards/chauffeurs etc. should be legalized.
A few years back I had an affair with a friend who'd been one of Toronto's most exclusive and expensive whores. To her, prostitution was a job pretty much like any other. She wrote: "Like any other whore I've ever known, I have two lives. One life earns all this money for being available for men and women who want -- and can afford to pay -- for the pleasure of my company. It's the other life, my personal life, that's my real life. The life where I win and lose, behave well or badly, am happy or sad. The part of my life where there's real meaning. ... When I'm working there's nothing womanly involved. Just business. "
The volume of sex tourism in Thailand is suggestive of an epidemic. Perhaps the men who participate in it are unlucky in love. Perhaps they're just misunderstood. Or, perhaps they just fetishize the exotic "other." Sex tourism would not exist -- nay, thrive -- without the demand-pull provided by men unable to check at the airport, or to fulfill elsewhere, their hormonal desires. So, fellow travellers, young and old, fat and thin, Caucasian and Asian (because lewdness is colourblind), please, I implore you: Stop bringing your unrequited sexual fantasies to Thailand (and to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar). It's demeaning. It's perpetuating. And it's embarrassing.