Residents favour legalized prostitution: survey

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susan davis
Residents favour legalized prostitution: survey

http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/news/story_07090911.shtml

 

By Marianne Meadahl

An online survey of residents and business owners in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and Strathcona shows that the majority of respondents-three-quarters of residents and 67 per cent of business owners-favour the decriminalization of adult prostitution in Canada.

The survey, conducted by Christine Louie, a Simon Fraser University honors criminology student, also found 77 per cent of residents support brothels in non-residential areas. Seventy-six per cent of respondents say the sale of sex should be legal and 72 per cent felt buying a sexual service from an adult should be legal.

The findings offer a rare glimpse of public opinion from neighborhoods most affected by street prostitution in the debate over Canada's prostitution laws, which were deemed unacceptable by a House of Commons subcommittee in 2006 but remain unchanged

martin dufresne

Given the ambit of this survey, shouldn't that title read "Business owners and residents favour legalized prostitution"?

I notice the focus is now on legalization rather than decriminalization. Different strokes for different folks?

Also: ...77 per cent of residents support brothels in non-residential areas.

A significant distinction. Yet we know women are being prostituted in appartments all over, and there would be much more of that if any dwelling could become a brothel in the full decriminalization free-for-all being demanded in Ontario Superior Court.

Finally, it is clear that respondents self-selected themselves in the on-line response to a flyer, hardly a representative sample (for instance, I doubt that 2% of Vancouver's population identifies as transgendered), contrary to the impression given by the thread title. One has to wonder exactly which 27 businesses thus endorsed prostitution.  

Sorry but I am of the kind that tends to read the fine print.

HeywoodFloyd

martin dufresne wrote:

Given the ambit of this survey, shouldn't that title read "Business owners and residents favour legalized prostitution"?

.... Sorry, but I am of the kind that tends to read the fine print.

For someone who claims to notice the fine print, did you notice the TITLE of the article that Susan quoted?

If you have a problem with the title, take it up with the author of the article.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Yet we know women are being prostituted in appartments all over, and there would be much more of that if any dwelling could become a brothel in the full decriminalization free-for-all being demanded in Ontario Superior Court.

 

There would be? Because restaurants have been legal for decades, yet zoning laws prevent me from opening one in my apartment. Sorry if I disrupted some otherwise good scaremongering, though.

martin dufresne

You disrupted nothing, only reminded us how clueless people still are about the difference between full decriminalization and legalization, e.g. the attempt to create and enforce zoning laws on an activity quite different from restauration - a comparison that says much about their opinion of women.

 

Snert Snert's picture

By no means would legalizing prostitution mean that a bordello is suddenly exempt from zoning laws.

And sorry, but pointing this out says nothing of my opinion of women.  Nice try though.

skdadl

martin dufresne wrote:

a comparison that says much about their opinion of women.

 

Sorry, but that went 'way over my head -- whoosh. Meaning, please? I'd hate to think you meant that women can't run businesses, martin.

Snert Snert's picture

No, he means that I compared a brothel and a restaurant.  Nevermind that it was simply an example of businesses that are subject to zoning laws.  Martin wants to make it look like I regard women as no better than food, or just a commodity, or maybe like meat.

Stargazer

He may mean that. Martin has single handedly taken on the task of telling women what they should do with their bodies, and seems convinced that anyone at all in prostitution or sex work is being exploited, even if they don't think so. Assumption sumption what's that function? Yep, I'm assuming...

Brothels will be open on all streets - gosh damn, women who chose to work may even do it out of their own apartments! Won't someone think of the children? I think we need to just stick with prohibition, because if you can't control your own body then by god they will.

susan davis

sweet!!!assumption sumption!!Laughing

Stargazer

Good ol Electric Circus!! Cool

martin dufresne

Martin has single handedly taken on the task of telling women what they should do with their bodies

No, I never did such a thing - or please provide a quote to show I did. However, I could tell you what you can do with your straw men...Wink

Stargazer

Oh martin, not much else I can say except that I find your foray into the control of women's bodies a little odd. I mean, don't you?

I can provide you with at least 100 quotes wherein you infer (oh so passively) that we can't be trusted to take care of ourselves when we act like, you know, women you wish we wouldn't be.

I mean, honestly, I cannot even think of an occassion where someone else's body and what they chose to do with it would be so fascinating to me. Unless it had to do with completely insane body modification. And even then it would hardly be enough for me to post thread after thread on it, let alone try to outlaw it. 

 

But I am partially only poking fun at you.

 

martin dufresne

Thank the Goddess for small favours!Wink

In fact, if you bothered dealing with what I am arguing - and not trying to imagine what could be inferred to be some passive ploy of mine -, it should be clear that the target of the Nordic model is what other people (mostly men) are allowed to do with women's bodies. It is johns', pimps' and procurers' privileges that are the issue, not the choices of prostituted women. Indeed, this model has been the only one to consistently decriminalize their agency.

skdadl

Um, I think we need a moderator to explain the ground rules of this forum again.

Michelle

1. The thread topic is specifically about legalization, and there's nothing wrong with discussing it here.

2. Can we not characterize each other's posts as "scaremongering"?  Can we not call each other "clueless" - even indirectly?

3. Implying that another babbler has a poor opinion of women is against the rules.  If you can't post without making those sorts of smears, stay out of the thread.

The bickering between the men at the beginning of the thread has created the tone that continues in the rest of the thread, and the frustration on the part of others who wish to discuss this issue without the endless sniping and backhanded insults. 

Let's try and continue this civilly.  Thanks!

Ghislaine

martin dufresne wrote:

 it should be clear that the target of the Nordic model is what other people (mostly men) are allowed to do with women's bodies. It is johns', pimps' and procurers' privileges that are the issue, not the choices of prostituted women. 

You still just do not get it. There are women who want to CHOOSE to do some of the things that men are willing to pay them for with THEIR bodies. The point is it is their body and who are you to tell them they cannot make that choice? Just because the client wants it too? Just because of the glaringly obvious fact that men desire sex without consequence or commitment? Yes that is a huge problem in our society. But, denying women agency to make their own decisions is not going to stop it. Women consent to doing what other people mostly men want to and are allowed to do to THEIR bodies. Why can't they consent to doing it in exchange for money? Why can't they do it in a regulated environment, rather than the current state of affairs?

martin dufresne

Respectfully, I think I do get it. The Nordic model means decriminalization of prostituted women, public education about the documented harm of prostitution, a law constraining pimps and johns' choices in that regard, and a series of alternatives offered to women in prostitution, based on their demands, but which they remain free to ignore if they will. Unless I am mistaken, your charge seems irrelevant to any of these features, all of which would be a great step forward for women, men and social justice in Canada.

 

Ghislaine

martin dufresne wrote:

Respectfully, I think I do get it. The Nordic model means decriminalization of prostituted women, public education about the documented harm of prostitution, a law constraining pimps and johns' choices in that regard

Yes - and what about women who WANT CLIENTS? What about women who want their actions and their clients actions to be legal because they want to CHOOSE that lifestyle. How are they supposed to choose that life if all of their clients can be charged?

I can agree with you that I think that lifestyle is gross and that I would hope any public education would convince women to choose something different. But why in the hell should that give me any right to constrain them? 

You keep denying women the agency and right to choose this. Patting them on the head and saying "don't worry dear, I wouldn't charge YOU, just your clients. I know what is best for you, though" is extremely condescending. 

martin dufresne

Which is why I am saying no such thing.

remind remind's picture

People who are talking decdiminalization as if it should happen right now at this moment, are talking about a NON-regulated industry, doesn't matter what they have planned to do in the future, the cold hard reality is:

 

If everything was decriminalized tomorrow, there would be NO regulations.

 

Why would there be no regualtions?

Because there isn't any already.  They  do not magically appear out of thin air.

 

They would have to be created, the infrastructure to create them would have to be created,  and the infrastructure to create the infrastucture to create them, would have to be created, that is just to start.  So we are already looking at years without any regulatons AT ALL.

 

And to try and say regulations are not needed, for any period of time, is nonsense, the  whole call for decriminalization is based upon the premise that regulations are needed, as people are dying.

 

Somehow, some  have been convinced to think, it would be a good thing, for all, to take away the only current regulations there are, so we can go years without regulations of any type, not even labour, 

 

....and somehow they also have come to believe that everything, will be all good, while everyone is waiting years, if not decades, until regulation protocols can be built, and then discussed by the legislaters,  and then legislated, and then implimented.

 

I, for one, cannot suspend my critical thinking skills enough to accept this "all good until" as being rational thinking.

 

The reality is not good now, with minimal, actually no regulations, what the would it be like with none, until some can be manufactured decades later?

 

Some argue that all regulations now would apply.

 

And  that is not so,

...there is no INDUSTRY CANADA number for such a business that sells sexual access to a muscous membrane for/by/to another a muscous membrane,

not by an individual, nor by a 3rd party facilitating service provision.

 

beyond that, if an industry number is ever achieved,

any business/person would have to register officially that they were exchanging body fluids, as an act of capitalism, with potential for body fluid leakage into the public system and neighbouring vicinity local, as those activities are of an industrial hazardous waste designation.

Garbage disposal needs are different, for example, than they are for other businesses.

Just as clinics, hospitals and labs, have hazardous waste containers, and special locations, so too would any brothel.

 

Every business applying for a license has to fill out environmental assessment forms, they would HAVE to comply, or they would not be legal.

 

Of note; To start an industry, to recieve a number to be legal, a full environmental, labour and health safety assessments and reports would have to be undertaken. Just to baseline protocol needs for Industry Canada's initial perusal.

 

And that can't be done without  huge capital investment

As such, they know no regulations can apply, but it is easy to say they can, and slap up a bunch of info that is hypotheticals, and poorly researched ones at that.

 

Have a look around the web at comparable business or organizational plans, and city/community/provincial plans, and you  can find all this out for yourself

 

I hate to throw reality, into this leisure time activity for some, but seriously the discussion requires it. 

 

Fully  50% of the people involved in this leisure activity undertaking, is not partaking in a leisure activity at all,  it is their work, and in this case their life literally, too.

And it is those people who are in the first order of social responsibility ranks, those who are wanting to purchase their leisure time activities come secondary in the equation.

 

 

 

fortunate

re: post #20

Are you sure there are no regulations specific to sexual activity?  Because in Ontario, I believe the massage parlours are zoned, licensed, and legal business entities with specific and unique licensing that do allow hand jobs.  In Vancouver, there is at least one legal massage parlour also licensed for sexual contact.   The city of Edmonton issues escort licenses which cost over $2000 a year to individual sex workers.  In Edmonton, it is only illegal to work as an escort without a license.   Keeping in mind, and why does this have to be repeated at all?  Prostitution, specifically the exchange of money for sexual services is LEGAL.   What the heck is so hard to understand about that?

Decriminalization is all about making it safer for people who currently work in this perfectly legal business to possibly work from home, or even rent a separate but permanent location to work out of.   The ladies who work on the streets are not going to leave the streets soon, so why can they be arrested for talking about offering or exchanging money for sex when the actual activity is LEGAL.  Talking about it outdoors is not.  That is just messed up. 

Clearly people want to voice their opinions on the topic, but maybe they can just make sure of their facts first.   It is fine to worry about street workers.  I worry about them too, but their problems have less to do with the actual sex work itself as they have to do with substance abuse and mental health issues. The people in the survey appear to simply want the street workers to be out of sight, and probably in a safer place.   And these street workers far from represent the majority of sex workers, who do and should include dancers, webcam or porn actors, and men. 

 

Hands up how many think that male sex workers are "exploited" and "prostituted"?.   That's what I thought.   But you prefer to believe that women are incapable of making that decision for themselves.  Why on earth would a grown woman want to have sex?   I think there is an assumption that this is only a young woman's trade, usually under age women.   Look around you in a cafe, a store, on the bus, while stuck in traffic.  Any woman you see might be working as an escort.  20, 30, 40, more?  Thin, perfect, not so perfect, overweight in your opinion?  Oh well, don't assume she isn't one.  Just one day take some time and google escorts vancouver, and see for yourself the face of prostitution.

 

 

martin dufresne

Hands up how many think that male sex workers are "exploited" and "prostituted"?. That's what I thought.

 

fortunate, you may not see my hand but it is up. And if you don't believe it, as you apparently don't, check out Rodrigue Jean's stunning NFB film Men for Sale, where Montreal hustlers say so in so many words. He had to fight the Board for two years for it to be released. Now guess why.

 

remind remind's picture

massage parlours do have rules, and muscous membrane to muscous membrane contact, is NOT allowed to be exhanged for money, goods etc, and if other body parts to muscous membrane contact is happening, it has to comply with regulations..if they are not they are  breking laws that there for a reason.

Not sure what people are not getting about that.

fortunate wrote:
Hands up how many think that male sex workers are "exploited" and "prostituted"?.   That's what I thought.   But you prefer to believe that women are incapable of making that decision for themselves.

In respect to this coment, I  have to inform you that it is taking my agency away, as I never answered you, and resent that you think you can answer for me, thereby putting words in mymouth, and that you do so, to further your agenda, compounds the error.

I am a woman, and I know I am quite capable of making a descisions, in fact I make'em all the time. Just as I know all other women are capable of making their own descisions, when free from oppressions.

 

But you see, I am fortunate, I am fairly free from oppression, in most instances in life.

My privilege allowed me to fully embrace equality, white equality, to its fullest degree, such as it may be.

 

However, I am not for one minute dumb enough to believe that most women and indeed just as many men, in Canada are so fortunate. I have met too many, way too many, who are not, that indicate otherwise.

 

Except for book learnin, I try to steer clear of the hallowed-halls, where everything is abstract, and wade directly into life experiences. That is why some feminists go to other countries, in part, I have heard,  they want to take those women's reality out of the abstract, so they can know herstories, and report the view from their world. *warning very surface descriptor but am not going to bother further as of yet.*

Me, I chose to focus, on oppressed women in Canada,  and getting to know their herstories, same thing, different focus.

 

So... no, I do not prefer to believe women are incapable of making their own decisions, only patriarchy paints things as such.

 

Women know other women can make their own decisions..

 

....and that could be what the problem is for some, if there is a choice presented, a decision is made.

 

Ghislaine

martin dufresne wrote:

Which is why I am saying no such thing.

So you agree that sex workers AND clients (or johns or whatever youw ant to call them) should not be charged for any consensual activity and should be legal?? That contradicts what you said just a few posts ago about wanting to charge clients and others "living off the avails".

martin dufresne

Non sequitur.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

The word "brothel" is being used here a lot lately. In general usage, everyone understands what is meant, brothel, bordello.... all the same in a general discussion. But (cue the fingernail on blackboards sound effects) when the discussion has to do with Canadian law, the term "brothel" is not appropriate -- the term that is employed (in the English text of the Criminal Code anyway*) is "bawdy house" - if you word search the Criminal Code of Canada, you will not find the word brothel. The statutes and regulations that employ the term "bawdy house" apply to a wide range of behaviour that cannot be classified as "prostitution" or "sex work" - as such, I think people who are making specific recommendations about how the law in Canada should (or shouldn't) apply to what we are generally refering to as "brothels" should make greater efforts to define exactly what they mean, demonstrate some understanding of what the status quo is, and addressing the consequences of changing statutes and regulations.

*[I do not have a french language version of the code available, and would appreciate it if someone who does have ready access and French language comprehension would identify what the term employed in Section 210 actually as, and if it differs from the colloquial French equivalent of "brothel"]

martin dufresne

It's "maison de débauche" and the law holds accountable the owner of such houses when he or she draws profits from the sexual acts performed there, most often by employees being prostituted to more affluent patrons. The industry has made a huge effort to present such acts as consensually entered to by equals, but most employees have told different stories (when they could), stories that show these places to be similar to traditional brothels under their liberal veneer.

susan davis

brothel  was the word chosen by the coop development team to reflect what they felt they needed. brothel is a term that reflects the old ways and a time when we were safer.

we choose to nt be defined by the system at large but rather to define ourselves.

i will continue to say brothel out of respect for the sex workers who direct all of my actions.

prostituted employees? isn't that a contradiction martin? you are really grasping at straws.

martin dufresne

prostituted employees? isn't that a contradiction martin?

How so? If I look at Quebec history - I don't know that of B.C. that well - the "old ways" usually involved impoverished women arriving from the country or from other countries and who had no other option than to sell access to their body, regardless of their own values. So they became the brothels' employees. It was understood that rich men had the privilege to have them at will - regardless of their alleged high-falutin' religious principles - and that no law could touch them, even when they assaulted women out of society's sight. Why should we go back to that unbalance of power just because an indusgtry sees a golden opportunity with the 2010 Olympics?

susan davis

i thought you didn't see sex work as work? that's the contradiction in my mind.....

susan davis

also, one more time.....sex workers in vancouver are experiencing an economic crash. the construction boom in the lead up to the games was the "olympic money" and is over. more and more workers are migrating here however as a result of anti trafficking campaigns promoting this idea of big money for the games. sex workers are relying on a mostly local clientel and every new worker who arrives, divides our income.

please stop perpetuating the myhts aboput olympic money. it is not going to happen and these ideas are harming us.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Martin... thank you for providing the French terminology from the criminal code. Is the colloquial usage the same?

Susan, thank you for the clarification as to what the coop development team intended by their use of the word.

The concern I was attempting to address (and there is an element of drift to it) was with the use of Section 210 of the Criminal Code (the "bawdy house" law) as it currently exists. Under the Criminal Code, bawdy house is defined as follows:

Quote:

"common bawdy-house"
« maison de débauche »

"common bawdy-house" means a place that is
(a) kept or occupied, or
(b) resorted to by one or more persons

for the purpose of prostitution or the practice of acts of indecency;

[emphasis added]

There is an interesting piece in the archives at Xtra on how the Canadian legal system actually uses the provisions of the relevant section(s) of the Criminal Code -- and I believe that anyone who argues that "regulation" of "brothels" should take place under the Criminal Code should be taking the time to address the ways the exact same provisions of the Code they are used to prosecute behaviour that has absolutely nothing to do with "prostitution".

The Criminal Code is, at best, a very blunt instrument and, in the hands of enforcement officials, has a distressing and clearly observable tendency to be employed to regulate and discipline the marginalized. I think it is telling that sections of the code that this and related threads are addressing fall under the heading of "Offences Against Public Morals" -- and the emphasis thereunder is to protect the sensibilities of the comfortable rather than protecting the persons they are regulating. I would hope that even those who are opposing "decriminalization" on the model Susan is arguing for would come to terms that the status quo is totally unacceptable and would take the time to talk about alternative models -- models that respect the autonomy of sex workers that Susan is arguing for, and models that will stop giving enforcement officials a hammer to pound on marginalized communities.

susan davis

interesting stuff!!

Stargazer

Yes, thank for for the excellent analysis bagkitty.

martin dufresne

bagkitty asked: Martin... thank you for providing the French terminology from the criminal code. Is the colloquial usage the same?

No. No one uses "maison de débauche" colloquially. In Montreal, places where people pay to go watch gonzo porn, shoot up and f*ck are called private clubs or mixed baths (het) or saunas (gay). The cops don't bother intervening unless they have a lot of complaints, which - according to them - doesn't happen much. I have a friend who goes in regularly with clean gear and support. He is not abolitionist but is appalled at the levels human of suffering and emotional/sexual violence that goes on there. Because once owners know the police won't bother them, anything goes, including prostitution.

His experience demonstrates that it is possible to be concerned and to intervene against such harm - to the poit of shutting down such places - without being homophobic or puritanical, just as one can protest Polanski's behaviour and unaccountability without being racist or anti-gay - contrary to what some of his defenders claim.  

Stargazer

No one defended what Polanski did.

fortunate

Yes, a while back a Quebec judge determined that prostitution in a public place such as martin describes or even a strip club would not be illegal as they would not be considered an act of indecency due to the nature of the location.   So, I think you would be hard-pressed to have any law enforcement activity in these cases, since there is already a prior ruling on this.  Similar to phone calls were legally ruled to not be public solicitation, therefore not in violation of one of the big three laws. 

I am a bit puzzled as to why your "friend" goes into such places, what is meant by clean gear and support?  Is it necessarily a shooting gallery, in which a byproduct of any substance addiction for men and women would be sex for $.  This is quite a different thing than people who do sex work for a living, hopefully you can see and understand the difference??

But as you can see from the quote from the law, bawdy houses are violating the law and a bawdy house can be considered a place where a single sex worker works out of.   Bawdy houses can be brothels, but are not necessarily brothels, since the implication of "brothel" is that there are "employees" or multiple workers there. 

I wish that remind could actually clarify what the heck is meant by mucous membrane, because such obscure descriptions make it impossible to address or comment on it lol.

 

skdadl

bagkitty wrote:

The Criminal Code is, at best, a very blunt instrument and, in the hands of enforcement officials, has a distressing and clearly observable tendency to be employed to regulate and discipline the marginalized. I think it is telling that sections of the code that this and related threads are addressing fall under the heading of "Offences Against Public Morals" -- and the emphasis thereunder is to protect the sensibilities of the comfortable rather than protecting the persons they are regulating. I would hope that even those who are opposing "decriminalization" on the model Susan is arguing for would come to terms that the status quo is totally unacceptable and would take the time to talk about alternative models -- models that respect the autonomy of sex workers that Susan is arguing for, and models that will stop giving enforcement officials a hammer to pound on marginalized communities.

 

bagkitty, thanks very much for the research and for that excellent analysis.

 

I'm no expert on anything here, but the Charter has my loyalty (as do the traditions back to the C17 that it springs from), and the language you've just quoted from the Criminal Code obviously has to go. References to "Offences against Public Morals" or "acts of indecency" are just the old-fashioned ways of putting current slimy appeals to "our shared Canadian values," and every citizen should recognize the threat posed by state-enforced "values" in that sense. Let that stuff go far enough and you've got full-blown McCarthyism, and there are signs of such in Canada, on other turfs than the present topic.

 

Someone somewhere questioned whether Alan Young was working pro bono. Is there Google where you are? Try "Alan Young court challenge pro bono."

susan davis

http://www.thestar.com/article/220838

 

According to Babcock, the group expects to raise $10,000 overall, although she expects the legal challenge to eventually cost at least $50,000.

Tonight's event is a punk rock bill - $10 at the door - featuring the group F---ed Up, starting at 7 p.m. at the Tranzac Club on Brunswick Ave.

Funds raised will go toward covering travel and accommodation costs for about 10 witnesses.

Babcock said if the legal team, led by Osgoode Hall professor and civil libertarian Alan Young, weren't taking on the case on a pro bono basis, the organization's legal bills would likely reach $800,000.

martin dufresne

I am a bit puzzled as to why your "friend" goes into such places, what is meant by clean gear and support? Is it necessarily a shooting gallery, in which a byproduct of any substance addiction for men and women would be sex for $. This is quite a different thing than people who do sex work for a living, hopefully you can see and understand the difference??

No need for puzzlement: my friend is a front-line activist doing support work for marginalized people. No, places where people occasionally shoot up are not "necessarily shooting galleries". And if you really think substance addiction and sex work for a living are mutually exclusive, well, there is nothing more I can tell you... Surprised

fortunate

martin dufresne wrote:


No need for puzzlement: my friend is a front-line activist doing support work for marginalized people. No, places where people occasionally shoot up are not "necessarily shooting galleries". And if you really think substance addiction and sex work for a living are mutually exclusive, well, there is nothing more I can tell you... Surprised

But there is an assumption that a sex club means both prostitution and substance abuse are taking place, whereas it may be coincidental, if you know what I mean.  Similar to how some people assume that sex is going on in strip clubs, making the more of a stigma of being a legitimate dance entertainer who does not escort "on the side".   Not all of them do, but it is assumed that not only do they, they are doing it where they dance.  This is patently untrue, and unnecessarily distresses those accused of it.  Same as the assumption that sex workers are necessarily and by definition substance abusers.  It is an erroneous charge based on the fact that a small percentage of sex workers, predominantly those that we can see in public, are.  It would be like saying all doctors are drug addicts because some doctors become dependent on drugs to get them through the first years of residency.  Or all entertainers are alcoholics because some entertainers go to rehab time after time.

martin dufresne

Assumptions are not charges. And some assumptions are evidence-based. Sound bytes will not do if we want to solve the very real problems and systems killing folks.

susan davis

martin, lawyers use drugs, judges us drugs,doctors use durgs.....fortunates point is that conflating drug use/addiction and sex work is mis representative. many people battle addiction and they are not all sex workers.