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  1. webc5
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    webc5 New Member

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    Prostitution in Canada

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by webc5, Dec 15, 2014.

    Canada released a controversial prostitution bill and this was the governments statement.


    "Prostitution is an inherently exploitative practice fuelled by the demand created by those who purchase sexual services. This new law aims to reduce the demand for prostitution, while the funding will assist those who sell their sexual services exit a destructive life. This law will contribute to safeguarding our communities from the harms associated with prostitution."
    Peter MacKay
    Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


    Is prostitution inherently exploitative? I'm confused what they mean by this.
     
  2. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    This thread will probably be moved to the Debate Room, but before that happens, let me offer:

    Never take seriously legal pontification from attorneys general, or any other politician.

    Laws prohibiting prostitution are inherently exploitative in the same way those demanding drug prohibition are. People engaged in either are exploited by the police and politicians to garner power, money and votes.

    It's unreasonable to insist that women generally are empowered and capable of determining the course of their own lives, then to treat them like stupid children when that choice includes sex work.
     
  3. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aren't there lots of cases in the sex trade where the workers are abused, or funding habits (or both?). I don't actually know for sure, but that is definitely the stereo-t' in my mind.

    I like that they're going to try and find outs for the workers, but I'm honestly more interested in how they're going to 'reduce the demand' for this exploitative prostitution. Gambling programs and liquor stores are already handled by the big guys, so are provincial brothels next?
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    On the one hand, I don't agree with prostitution. I don't believe people should buy sex, nor that they should sell their bodies for money.

    However, I'm aware that as long as there're laws prohibiting prostitution and/or the purchases of sexual services, sex workers continue to live with stigma and continue to be treated like ignorant children or outcasts, or perhaps just worthless sluts. All this prevents the sex workers who are abused, trafficked, or in general are seeking an "out" from ths industry from actually approaching the police, who are in the best position to actually help these ladies should anything go wrong.

    Laws hindering prostitution tend to drive it underground, preventing the sex workers from negotiating their terms with their clients before they're forced into a private space, therefore severely limiting what the women can demand before they are willing to sell. For example, any acts the woman is unwilling to do, or perhaps what extra charges there are for such things, as well as the condition of the client to wear a condom. Where sex workers and clients no longer feel freedom to negotiating these terms out in the open before they go behind closed doors, it puts the sex worker in danger of being exploited or pushed into something she had not agreed to or is not comfortable with. Basically it drastically lowers the sex workers' negotiating power and puts her at greater risk.

    Not to mention the limited availability of clients prohibitive laws would cause, meaning sex workers can't afford to be picky anymore with whom they sell to. The law-abiding good men who happen to buy sex will probably stop buying sex, which leaves the non-law-abiding ones. It's obvious to see how the situation has just become far worse for the sex workers, despite the laws apparently trying to 'protect' sex workers.

    It's been said before that the best way to actually protect sex workers is to legalise prostitution and even normalise it, so prostitutes are seen as women in just another line of work, like you might see a woman who work in an office or a restaurant or a school. Thus creating an atmosphere where sex workers are unafraid to go forward to police should any abuse actually occur (and knowledge of this should hopefully reduce chances of men actually thinking they can abuse such workers), and would be unafraid of whether they would be believed or not.

    The greater problem is the stigma that being a sex worker carries, I believe. Mere laws aren't going to fix that, and as long as we regard sex workers as somehow unworthy, stupid, unwise, dirty, any crimes associated with prostitution aren't going to get any better.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I think there ARE lots of abused, addicted, or otherwise damaged sex workers.

    But that doesn't mean sex work should be illegal.

    I've read commentary from women in the sex industry who seemed to be totally empowered, well-adjusted, and satisfied with their life choices. It's not a choice I would have been comfortable making, but maybe they wouldn't be comfortable in MY life!

    Instead of criminalizing these women (and a few men, I guess) I'd like to see us supporting them. If they want out of the trade, let's help them get out. If they're abused, let's prosecute their abusers. And if they want to go about their business without any interference, let's leave them the hell alone.
     
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  6. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    And any number of workers in other fields, especially tech manufacturing.

    Exactly, and if anyone here wants to try to defend the prosecution of prostitutes, please do so, with specific reasons.
     
  7. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wonder how a law can reduce the demand for prostitution. Conservatives they are, must think a mandatory cold shower for all Canadians should work. Maybe that's the idea. Mind you, the thought of another 4 years of Harper should make most everyone here go limp.
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I assume they mean by punishing johns? (Just guessing) - so people would still WANT to hire prostitutes, but they wouldn't dare.

    After all, why ruin one citizen's life with criminal charges when you could ruin two?
     
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  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    The cold showers of an English boarding school merely seem to have promoted a predilection for little boys.
     
  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I should do research on this to be able to make up my mind about the bill (seems a bit harsh) and whether prostitution is inherently exploitative (right now, I disagree), so at this point I only have a few probing thoughts on the matter.

    Me too. Although, if they are prostitutes with pimps or work in a brothel where they're practically prisoners, I have to wonder if they are speaking with somebody else's mouth.

    Now that'd be great.

    ... and this is where things get complicated. I bet you'll be hard-pressed to find a Russian, Thai, or Estonian prostitute around here who isn't saying this. If we investigate, do we interfere? Hinder their business? If we don't investigate, we leave these women to fend for themselves. So maybe this is why Canada has released the bill?

    What I've read about prostitution in the West, it's not pretty. It's very often exploitative, it's got its hand dirtied in human-trafficking (yes, "even" Canada), and it can be dangerous for women if you're freelancing and don't have a trustworthy guard with you. Afaik, as a call girl more on the haute side, you can lead a pretty comfy and safe life, but for the most part, prostitution is an ugly business. Perhaps not inherently exploitative, but in order to avoid this, it should be quite carefully regulated and supervised. Brothel audits and all that (strange thought). Don't know how feasible that'd be.

    ETA:
    @Mckk One big problem with legalized and regulated prostitution is that these countries are particularly attractive destinations for human traffickers. Perhaps if we managed to weed out human trafficking, we could have a utopia where it'd really work; women and men could safely work as prostitutes and there'd be no or very little exploitation or abuse present. At the very least prostitutes shouldn't be punished, like e.g. in Eastern European countries or Russia while johns get away scot-free.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
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  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Human trafficking could still be (SHOULD still be) illegal, and it'd be easier to investigate and prosecute it if everyone ELSE involved in the business wasn't criminalized and therefore unable to cooperate with police without incriminating themselves. And it just seems morally repugnant to criminalize the VICTIMS of human trafficking, doesn't it?

    I agree that legalized prostitution wouldn't mean just ignoring any abuses of the system. But if we put the energy we currently put into criminalizing it into regulating it and protecting those who might be victimized? How could that make the victimization WORSE?
     
  12. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Of course, I agree. But I don't know why e.g. the Netherlands and Germany are not as great at keeping prostitution "clean" as Switzerland, for example. I don't know much about the situation in Canada and the US. I read Natashas a long time ago, and if my memory serves, it also discussed Canada. The challenges are probably quite similar.

    I'm sorry if I sounded like I was saying it would make victimization worse. Not my intention. I'm not even sure if you responded to my post or if you're asking in general. I know more about the situation in Europe, and apart from the Eastern block, prostitutes aren't criminalized. Some countries where it's illegal punish only johns (Scandinavia), some the prostitutes (Russia), in some countries brothels are banned but private business is allowed (like in mine), and in some it's legal and regulated (the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, at least).

    If we focused on fighting against the shit that flocks around prostitution, that'd be great, but clearly the world (some people) refuses to work that way.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @KaTrian - legalising prostitution wouldn't make trafficking worse. For a start, any existing brothels or private hires would need to be regulated, health checks for sex workers put in place, visas for foreign sex workers given. But perhaps most importantly, and this point is probably the point that made me believe it is better to legalise prostitution than not - it's the fact that, where prostitution is legal and without stigma, the sex worker can freely go forward to police should they ever be abused. This would include any trafficked victims - they would be more empowered and feel more able to find a police officer and say they're trafficked.

    This is simplifying the issue a little, of course, because trafficked victims are often threatened, the lives of their children/family back home dangled before them, or otherwise the situation back in their home countries so dire that going back's simply not an option and going to the police means they face deportation, for the trafficking cycle to essentially happen again. However, speaking strictly of the possibility of actually getting help, where prostitution is legal, sex workers - whether trafficked or not - would be more likely to come forward.

    Because, think about it, if it's illegal, why would you ever go forward to the police to report abuse? You'd be charged as guilty - just as guilty as your abuser. If a sex worker who has freely chosen sex work wouldn't go to the police under these circumstances, how much more so the trafficked victim?

    Legalising prostituion would simply be the first step to helping abused sex workers and esp trafficked sex slaves to come forward - there probably needs to be a series of other things/laws put in place, too.

    Criminalising the johns, as Sweden has done, doesn't necessarily help. Because as the sex worker, you are the accomplice and taken as guilty in that sense. It also still encourages the idea that anyone who chooses sex work must be either 1. coerced into it or 2. desperate due to circumstances beyond her ability to control or 3. not of sound mind. This means the stigma on sex workers is still present, which leads to sex workers not being believed more often, and leads to mistreatments of sex workers in general, because the mindset is this: you're a sex worker, therefore you're either helpless, poor, or crazy/stupid. Either way, we end up adopting a sense of superiority over them, which doesn't help prosecuting anyone who might be abusing or trafficking sex workers, because we come in with the mindset of the sex worker somehow not being entirely "innocent".

    I also read a case where a Swedish woman's children were given over to her ex-husband, because she's a sex worker by choice, and people just couldn't understand it. The husband had a history of abuse and still the court gave the man full custody. The same man eventually murdered the woman one night. The court of law chose an abusive murderer over a sex worker as the "safer and better choice" for their children. Whichever way you look at this, that's pretty messed up.
     
  14. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree, and I didn't imply it directly makes it worse, but that some countries that have legalized it are also lucrative destinations for traffickers, so is there a connection, I wonder?

    Do you know where this system works? Switzerland? Hong Kong?

    Either way, if the victims could report the crimes and the criminals could be prosecuted and imprisoned, we'd have less criminal activity around prostitution, making it safer for those who want to do it. It's just that when the decision-makers, politicians. and the police are also involved as customers, or there's a fragile status quo they are hesitant to break, it's the women (and some men) who end up paying the steepest price.

    Not even a little, I think. If you are trafficked.... You are also very often a prisoner. You can't walk up to a police just like that and say I'm a victim of human trafficking, unless you manage to escape. And even then you have to fear retaliation... Hell, you might not even speak the language of that country. And where are you going to get your next fix? You are at the mercy of the criminals and johns. Sure, in the best case scenario you'll get a chance to meet cops -- as your johns.

    It's also different to be a prostitute in a private sector (no pimp) and a Ukrainian teenager promised nice office work and then forced to blow ten guys a day, I'd imagine. The former still has some rights, the latter is reduced to a thing, a commodity. Her legacy to this world will be the countless porn videos men jack off over from the safety of their home thousands of kilometers away. And I'm not even exaggerating.

    I agree. Banning it won't make it go away, but it will make the prostitutes' situation even worse.

    I don't know how the proceedings really go so can't comment on that.

    Also, you might start with good intentions and then get snagged into that world, and before you know it you're controlled by a pimp, you may have been lured into using drugs you used to get for free in fancy parties, and now you're hooked. I'm not saying this is always the case, but it's something to consider, especially if in the john's position.

    The Petite Jasmine case? Yeah, it sucks that when you are yourself an outstanding citizen, you have to suffer because other people out there abuse the system. Of course just because you're a prostitute doesn't make you ill-equipped to take care of a kid or several, but it's a tough, risky job nonetheless, so maybe instead of society shunning and condemning them, we should help make it a safer job? If you abuse the prostitute, you get prosecuted just like you'd get for attacking someone in a bar or on the street.

    By the way, e.g. my best friend in high school turned out ok in the end, although she was angry about her mother's part-time job, and told me how it disturbed her when her mother brought johns home 'cause you don't want to hear them do it even if behind closed doors and on the other side of the apartment when you're a kid, but basically she was a good mom, doing the best she can I guess.
     
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