It’s about time

The National Post editorial board is hailing the decision as “some sanity in our prostitution laws”:

The Ontario Superior Court struck a blow for sane legislation on Tuesday when it struck down laws against communicating for the purposes of prostitution, living off its avails and running a “common bawdy house” — i.e., a brothel. Like it or not, the exchange of money for sexual services between consenting adults is legal in Canada.

… but dig a little deeper at the same site and you’ll see that, as predictably as darkness falls each evening, the Punishment Freaks have come out to play:

Many libertarians will applaud the legalization of prostitution, which is in theory a victimless crime. The reality is that high-end prostitutes already know how to look after themselves, while low-end prostitutes are usually just trying to get from one drug fix to another. They will have little interest in pre-screening their johns, because they are desperate women. Does anyone really believe that they are going to spend money on an “office,” advertise their services, keep accounts, submit to regular health testing and pay taxes on their income? Dream on. Does anyone really believe that pimps will then become vacuum-cleaner salesmen?

Eww, there’s that insidious word again: “believe”.   That word has facilitated the spread of more misinformation and fly-specked bullshit than any other.  “I believe (that up is down, black is white, Barbara Kay has anything intelligent to say about the sex trade…etc.)”

It doesn’t matter what anyone “believes” — only the facts matter, and the fact is, if you support the ongoing criminalization of the sex trade, you are supporting organized crime.   If you force women out to the fringes of society where they can fade into the shadows without anyone even noticing they’re gone, you are enabling the Robert Picktons of the world.  If you can live with organized crime and serial killers in the name of expressing your purse-lipped, lemon-sucking disapproval of certain business transactions between consenting adults, then knock yourself out.  But spare us the sanctimonious scolding, as if there’s something respectable about your point of view.

Then consider how many “respectable” married women routinely “cut off” and otherwise ration sex in the process of negotiating for new Maytags or eternity rings, or just as punishment for husbandly transgressions.

The sex trade isn’t restricted to sleazy street corners on the seedy side of town, it’s alive and thriving in just about every sunlit suburban matrimonial bed on the planet.  Those who sell their commodities on the open market are just more upfront about it.

15 Responses to “It’s about time”


  1. 1 Cornelius T. Zen Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Prostitution is not a “victimless” crime. It is a consensual crime, like gambling and drugs. It operates on many levels, from the street corner hooker to Grace Kelly, whom I’m sure was absolutely oblivious to Rainier’s money, right?
    Who was it that said, “Women can fake orgasms, but men can fake whole relationships”? I know that George Carlin understood that “there are worse things you can give somebody than an orgasm.”
    Let’s all face it, people – men are dogs. They don’t really care whom they hump, or how, just as long as somebody stands still long enough, and doesn’t expect anything more of them.
    New Rule: If your woman drags you to see “Eat, Pray, Love,” then you get to make her watch “Football, Jerk Off, Nap.” – Bill Maher
    You’ll note, of course, that many of the prominent social leaders who rail against prostitution and homosexuality get caught with rentboys. Connection? Maybe…
    The people of Europe are probably laughing into their espressos and croissants at the juvenile sexual mores of the so-called New World. Why do you suppose the otherwise passive English kicked the Puritans to the curb?
    The underground economy in gambling, drugs and prostitution probably represents a substantial proportion of the total real economy of North America. A grown-up government would understand this, and set out to reap this economic windfall, and maybe unleash a great deal of economic energy now spent on pretending that “good girls don’t do that.”
    We should all live so long – CTZen

  2. 2 fhg1893 Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 7:55 am

    That’s quite the indictment of married life, but I suppose, there is a good amount that rings true. Sure as hell makes the sex-trade sound “honest” doesn’t it? Perhaps it is more honest than married life. Perhaps it’s worth discussing who exploits who in a married relationship where one partner rations sex. Makes me wonder why men and women can’t just get along and fuck because we like each other, and likewise, like to fuck…

    But onto the topic, for starters with a disclaimer. I don’t have any problems with prostitutes. Not a one. I’m inclined to see this decision as a good thing, in so far as “honest” customers should no longer need to fear criminal penalties, and “honest” prostitutes can ply their trade without facing similar criminal stigmas.

    But… (Knew this was coming didn’t ya?)

    Do we really expect pimps and other organized criminals to go gently into that dark night? Where prostitution is a good source of income for them, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that their exploitation will be interrupted in any way. It seems to me that this doesn’t benefit women trapped in those situations; only those who are independent operators, so to speak.

    Again, nothing wrong with that, but please forgive me if I don’t see this decision as significantly impacting the exploitation of women by organized crime. Naturally, I’m open to suggestions or alternate interpretations, but it doesn’t seem to me to be the mighty blow for liberation that some feminists will undoubtedly be trumpeting.

    As for the punishment fetishists, it seems to me that they could use the services of a good dominatrix no? And hey! That’s legal now… 🙂

  3. 3 Bleatmop Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 8:57 am

    FHG – “Again, nothing wrong with that, but please forgive me if I don’t see this decision as significantly impacting the exploitation of women by organized crime”

    Are you suggesting that this already isn’t the case? Organized crime has already filled the void of what should be organized labour, imo.

    As far as I’m concerned, at least prostitutes can now go to the police to seek help when a pimp is involved without fear of also being prosecuted.

    Also, if I could, I would make a picture montage of all the way in which prohibition has worked. It would include everything from Al Capone, Colombian drug lords, and some picture representing the sex slaves we currently have in our country right now (yes, actual slaves). I would caption it: Prohibition: (at the top) and It Works (at the bottom).

  4. 4 fhg1893 Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Bleatmop – Well, to some degree, you’ve got me there. However, this is the case of the educated girls that most of us are used to in polite developed Canadian society.

    Organized crime however doesn’t like to use these sorts of women, precisely because if they come from happy well-adjusted homes, or even modestly happy homes, they’re not very likely to want to stick around, and that endangers the whole criminal operation. The overseers therefore would rather traffic girls and women into Canada from other countries that haven’t enjoyed our level of development. Furthermore, the typical strategy isn’t just to collect a cut once a week, but to first get their slaves hooked on something like heroin or crack, which in the case of the former, is an addiction that is almost impossible to break. Combine this with a poisonous psychology where a slave is taught to fear and mistrust authority figures – indeed in most cases the local criminals probably don’t even have to bother implanting this idea; it’s already present based only on the ethnic origin of the slave in question. Thus, a slave becomes entirely dependent on her owner(s) and is made to believe that there is no possible escape. This is all deliberate so as to minimize the risk of exposure to the wider operation – a complacent, drug addicted, uneducated woman is of little risk. A woman who’s past is relatively free of trouble and abuse represents a huge and in almost all cases, unacceptable risk. The latter is almost completely unsuitable for the purposes of sexual slavery without subjecting her considerable psychological abuse, which takes time. Time which, she cannot be earning any money for her owners. Therefore, it’s cheaper to import them; that way they can start “working” almost immediately since many will be already pre-conditioned.

    So… yeesss, it can help where the woman realizes the reality of her situation, but where she is constructed to believe something rather different about the police, some will certainly come to realize what is actually happening to them. Sadly, this will not be the case for the vast majority.

  5. 5 Brian Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Let’s all face it, people – men are dogs. They don’t really care whom they hump, or how, just as long as somebody stands still long enough, and doesn’t expect anything more of them.

    Does this argue that men are dogs, or rather that dogs act in some ways like men sometimes?

  6. 6 Brian Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 10:03 am

    JJ,

          Many years ago mom told me that I should not state what I thought to be true as if it were indeed true.   I asked her what I should do instead?

          She said I should wrap my statements in “Well, I believe …” and “It seems to me that …” and “In my opinion …”   She believed that that would be helpful in avoiding raising reflexive opposition from others.

          I didn’t like this idea very much, though.   My inclination is to state flatly things that I am certain are true, and to couch things in terms of opinion and “I think” when I am not as certain, or when I realize the possibility exists that I am mistaken.   That seems more conducive to accurate communication to me, though I recognize the distinction is lost on many — ya can’t make people understand.   It took a few years for my wife, who grew up in a family where communication took place almost exclusively through nuance & hint, to get the hang of hearing objective statements, but she’s pretty good at it now, and says that she significantly prefers it, and that her family drives her nuts.   When we first got married, she would seek to convey to me that she was mad through the silent treatment.   I never even noticed, and followed here around the house talking to her as if everything were copacetic.   ’S kinda funny, looking back.

          Perhaps those you are quoting, who preface what they are saying with “I believe …” got a similar piece of advice from their mom, but unlike me, took it to heart?   Who knows?

    Brian

  7. 7 fhg1893 Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Brian – I’m afraid it’s yet another symptom of the misandrist cultural zeitgeist taking hold throughout the western world. Being 28 though, I probably don’t have enough a-sexual behavior in me to be good dis-qualifier for the accusation…

  8. 8 Janus Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

    “Do we really expect pimps and other organized criminals to go gently into that dark night? Where prostitution is a good source of income for them, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that their exploitation will be interrupted in any way.”

    When Prohibition ended, “organized crime” went legit in a lot of ways. So pimps can become booking agents. Same job, different title. But they don’t get to beat up and drug their clients any more than former gangsters were allowed to water their whiskey and taint it with adulterants anymore, either. Women can actually live much safer lives under legitimate business licenses. And if their agents give them any grief, they can fire them, sue them, whatever, and have the added benefit of not being held liable for criminal activities themselves.

  9. 9 jkg Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    The moment this was announced, I began to see how Conservative feminists would frame this as being a net detriment to women’s safety and extrapolate that to society in general. The common pattern I am seeing is to postulate a parade of horrors in which we become sex tourist destinations like Thailand or something.

    The problem with outlining these type of causal chains of potential events is that one event does not necessarily lead to another, and also, taken together, the probability that would become anything resembling Thailand is quite low.

  10. 10 Cornelius T. Zen Friday, October 1, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Good morrow, all!
    Oh, no! A Canada where buying sex is perfectly legal! Legal drugs! Legal gambling! Legal prostitution! Drug tourism! Gambling junkets! Sex prowls! All those seriously repressed Tea Party types coming in droves across the border, looking for illicit thrills!
    See what happens when you allow socialized medicine! And lotteries! And gay marriage!
    Canada is becoming The Netherlands of North America! Or maybe, Thailand! Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket…Thailand, where you can buy anything! anything! you can afford!
    One Night In Bangkok – er, I mean, Windsor – CTZen

  11. 11 Paen Friday, October 1, 2010 at 9:57 am

    All that the old law achieved was to make things easier for serial killers and rapists.Yes thing in society need to change so that there is no prostitution but we need to protect peole in the meen time.

  12. 12 The Arbourist Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 10:13 am


    JJ:Those who sell their commodities on the open market are just more upfront about it.

    Being upfront about the commodification of women does not make it any more right. Having ones sex class status approved by market forces is no badge of honour.

    An alternate point of view, from Joy Smith conservative MP interviewed on The Current. Amazingly enough, she is not addled, as most of the Conservatives that make their way into the media spotlight.

    Essentially, the act of buying sex needs to be criminalized, the focus being on the Johns in question.

    The whole segment is available for listening here.

  13. 13 JJ Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Arbourist – That was said a little tongue-in-cheek: I’m aware there are a lot of great marriages out there where that kind of game-playing doesnt go on, so take my remarks with a hefty grain of salt 😉

    But to your point about criminalizing the act of buying sex: people have been buying and selling sex for thousands of years, and other people have been trying to stop them from doing it for just as long. I find it hard to believe that some little law to punish johns would succeed where millennia of attempts by state and church and various societies have not.

    The sex trade will go where the customers are, and if customers are worried about getting busted, the whole thing will go further underground. I think we can both agree that this is a bad thing for sex trade workers.

    I found Joy Smith a little intellectually dishonest in the way she tries to connect human trafficking and child prostitution with this issue, which is about consenting adults agreeing on a business contract. Whether she approves of the business or not is irrelevant. One may argue that people rarely “choose” this business, but are rather forced into it by economy, addiction and other circumstances, but once they have, for whatever reason, they deserve to be safe.

    Also, when Smith talks about removing the livelihood of sex trade workers, she doesn’t talk about where ST workers go from there once their livelihood is ended. Work in a donut shop for $8/hour? Welfare? Those are kind of the reasons we have a sex trade in the first place.

    I agree that commodification of anyone is not an especially good thing, since we’re humans not inanimate objects, but I tend to look at the sex trade from a more pragmatic POV. It exists. Do we want the workers to be safe or not? Ending commodification is a long-term proposal; meanwhile the girls on the corner still have the next Robert Pickton hovering over them.

  14. 14 The Arbourist Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

    @JJ

    I find it hard to believe that some little law to punish johns would succeed where millennia of attempts by state and church and various societies have not.

    It seems to be having a good effect in Sweden. I’m not willing to believe that there was a 50% drop as stated in the radio clip, but I do believe it is doing a fair amount of good; more to the point that it should be applied here in Canada as it was discussed in 2007.

    I would argue that reducing even a modest increase in the amount of legislative censure experienced by those in the human trafficking/sex trade would be a good thing.

    The sex trade will go where the customers are, and if customers are worried about getting busted, the whole thing will go further underground. I think we can both agree that this is a bad thing for sex trade workers.

    I think we can agree that the sex trade is bad for sex workers. Pushing it further underground will not make it more or less dangerous that it already is where it is occurring “above ground”.

    found Joy Smith a little intellectually dishonest in the way she tries to connect human trafficking and child prostitution with this issue, which is about consenting adults agreeing on a business contract.

    Would it be more honest to look at human trafficking and prostitution separately? Narrowly defining them obscures their innate interrelatedness. The RCMP report on Trafficking Human Beings and Organized Crime (roughly page 4ish) recommends against this view.

    Furthermore, anytime the phrase ‘consenting adults’ is used it comes with the assumption that the parties involved are on equal footing and have equal stake in the matter. I would argue that for a majority of sex trade workers this is most definitely not the case, for the reasons you mentioned as well as the coercive criminal element that exploits sex trade workers.

    Also, when Smith talks about removing the livelihood of sex trade workers, she doesn’t talk about where ST workers go from there once their livelihood is ended.

    The next guest on the program does though. The Swedish program is two sided as makes the purchase of any sexual act illegal, but not the sale of it. Concomitantly, programs for rehabilitation,education, addiction, emotional/psychological trauma are in place to help women integrate back into society.

    Work in a donut shop for $8/hour? Welfare? Those are kind of the reasons we have a sex trade in the first place.

    I’m thinking that the likelihood of being repeatedly beaten and raped is significantly less in a donut shop than working in the sex trade. I would also consider working in a donut shop a much more societally acceptable profession considering status we give to sex trade workers. There is a valid economic argument to be made and you have touched on it, however is the ST the best as a society we can offer the marginalized? I would reiterate here that the Swedish model spends a good deal of the resources on integrating the sex trade workers back into mainstream society.

    It exists. Do we want the workers to be safe or not?

    We most certainly want them to be safe, and inhibiting the demand while shrinking the supply seems to be a fairly sound harm reduction strategy to me.

    Ending commodification is a long-term proposal; meanwhile the girls on the corner still have the next Robert Pickton hovering over them.

    I would put forward that the Robert Pictons of the world would find victims in any circumstance, predators will prey on the marginalized where ever they are. Whether it be ‘on the corner’ or in a legalized brothel or in the ‘underground’ scene. The argument that somehow legalized prostitution will make sex workers safer is a weak one at best.

    The story from the CBC

    Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford, Valerie Scott and Amy Lebovitch had argued that prohibitions on keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade force them from the safety of their homes to face violence on the streets.

    The people who brought this challenge to court most likely do not represent the majority of people in the sex trade. I would posit they most likely represent a very small fraction of the industry in which the argument about a consenting transaction between to parties would actually apply. Living of the avails of prostitution does not require the victim to testify, it is a charge placed by the crown. Repealing this aspect of the law will allow those who already exploit people greater latitude in coercing their victims.

    Can we ever stamp out the sex trade, probably not. Can we move the view of the sex trade and human trafficking toward the way we look upon slavery? I think it is a possibility worth looking into.

  15. 15 JJ Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Arbourist – I see what you’re getting at, and there may be some merit to the idea that the ST workers who launched this court challenge may not be representative of the majority of the trade.

    (OTOH, who knows how many are working out of their homes, with the tacit approval and protection of their neighbours? Probably a lot more than we think.)

    But, for the sake of this particular debate, that is who we’re talking about — sex trade workers for whom it’s a career, not something they’re forced into by an abuser. (My hope would be that street workers would experience some ancillary benefit from this court decision, though, especially as laws relax and move more towards legal red light districts and so on.)

    It’s interesting that this is an issue where left-wing paternalism meets right-wing ideology, and the arguments are almost identical. But I don’t buy the idea that if we can’t make life easier for all sex trade workers, we shouldn’t at least try to make it easier for some of them.

    Bringing the sex trade out of the shadows, away from organized crime, even if it’s only for a minority of sex trade workers at first, just seems like a win-win to me. Whether it’s a valid career choice that should be encouraged is another argument altogether.


Wait. What?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Mac Security Portal
Rose's Place
Blogging Change

Incoming!

  • 630,749
[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

Archives


%d bloggers like this: