Sex trade - Harm Reduction

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martin dufresne

CASAC's Lee Lakeman answered Zerbisias critique of Benedet's Op-Ed on the Broadsides blog with additional information about Nicole Parisien's murder in a B.C. brothel:

I sat in court to observe the murder trial to which Janine Benedet refers in her op ed piece. And yes as a feminist I also observed the Pickton case from the early years of police failure to the media circus. Interestingly those promoting the decriminalization and de facto legalization of prostitution ignored the details of both Pickton and the murder of Nicole Parisiene by Andrew Evans. If they both had been more featured you might have seen things differently. Both Pickton and Andrew "hired" women for indoor prostitution. The pig farm was a brothel and so was the apartment where Nicole was murdered. Both were used quite often by numbers of men. In Nicole's case there was a security surveillance system run by an owner and on which her killer was captured. That is how the jury could see that he was not rendered incapable by his consumption of alcohol. I heard the evidence in that trial that Nicole was strangled by hand. Like many men before him, when the fantasy they paid for disappoints, Evans exploded. According to the forensics, that explosion of projected anger took somewhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. He hit Nicole with a shoe so hard that the sole left an impression of treads on her face and could have cut off her oxygen. Andrew says he does not know whether he strangled her or hit her first. Contrary to your imagining, no "beefy security guard" could have saved her even if he was standing outside the apartment door. What I find so horrifying in the testimony of the case is what appears in so many cases of the beating and killing of women and in every case of prostitution: an unchallenged presumption that men have a right (paid for or not) to project onto women a responsibility to satisfy the sexual needs and wants of men. Benedet gets it: the answer to tell men to grow up and stop risking women's lives.

 

Infosaturated

skdadl wrote:
Gee, I arrive, and suddenly people decide that the thread has gone south, or west, or wherever threads go to die.  *wink*

We have police and legal and political means to address all those particular crimes, if we're serious about tackling them.

That doesn't change the fact that adult women are not only being infantilized by our current laws but put in danger by them, unnecessary danger. That's what the court challenge is about.

Your solution means more sex workers will be assaulted and that many of them will be minors.

Your claims of decreased violence are not true anywhere in the entire world. You cannot point to a single place where violence against women has decreased as a result of decriminalization or legalization of pimping.

I am not interested in bible thumpers, libertarian, liberal or feminist theory. (well I am but not in terms of practical decision making)

I have spend hours and days researching facts and I am not even close to wading through all the information. Prostitution is competely legal in all these countries (from Wiki):

Prostitution is legal [or fully decriminalized} and regulated in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Turkey, Senegal, Lebanon, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, some Australian states, New Zealand, some rural counties in the US state of Nevada, Mexico (only in some cities in "toleration zones").

These countries also have police and legal and political means to address trafficking, child prostitution, assault and murder so we can examine how that worked out for them.

Sweden revised their laws in 1999 to such success that Norway and Iceland changed their laws this year. Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, are not bastions of the Christian right.

So skdadl, Susan, anyone else pro or con or undecided I invite you to research for yourselves instead of swallowing mainstream press and sex industry propaganda without question.

Infosaturated

skdadl wrote:
What has happened to aboriginal peoples in this country and especially to aboriginal women is a history on its own that goes much deeper than this court case.

So that means we can ignore what aboriginal peoples think about the issue now, in 2009?

skdadl

Infosaturated wrote:

 

Your claims of decreased violence are not true anywhere in the entire world. You cannot point to a single place where violence against women has decreased as a result of decriminalization or legalization of pimping.

 

Infosaturated, I can't point to a single place in the entire world where violence against women has been eliminated. I know that in my own country, it has mostly gone indoors. Overwhelmingly, women in danger in Canada are in danger from intimate partners.

 

I did not think that this was a general discussion of violence against women.

martin dufresne

skdadl, I am fine with using the words "civil libertarianism". I realize that there is a bad reputation attached to mere "libertarianism", not all of it deserved.

At the same time, I feel that libertarianism - civil or uncivil - meets its limits in issues where oppression - a substantive relationship between empowered and disempowered individuals - can (finally) be acknowledged! Consider the aspects of our legislation that would suffer from a strict application of (civil) libertarian principles. Rand formula? Shutting down sweatshops? Can't have that as this could be said to "infantilize" workers. Surrogate birthing, gun ownership, motorcycle helmets and seat belts legislation and bylaws: they all can be said to run afoul of individual freedoms. And don't even think about controlling child pornography. So, IMV, we need both individual freedoms and State legislation, in balance.

As for protection, my viewpoint of the prostitution industry is that, in almost every case, it's woefully inaccurate to describe pimps as bodyguards hired by independent assertive women. It is a reversal of a reality many formerly prostituted women have testified to, i.e. that the pimp was in control, not them. He was the threat, a least as much as the johns. Also, no child or "disabled elder" has even been charged in Canada for "living off the avails" of a prostituted women's gains, so it's another travesty to denounce the law against pimping as creating that risk, an intellectual, moot court-type hypothesis that is supported by no jurisprudence whatsoever and should not be used to terminate one of the meagre protections afforded women and youths against a rapacious industry, as if it was that feeble protection against abusers and not abusers themselves that were killing women. 

skdadl

Infosaturated wrote:

skdadl wrote:
What has happened to aboriginal peoples in this country and especially to aboriginal women is a history on its own that goes much deeper than this court case.

So that means we can ignore what aboriginal peoples think about the issue now, in 2009?

 

Oh, yes. That must be what I meant when I suggested that using this court challenge as a way to do concern trolling for aboriginal women was perhaps less than logical or helpful.

Unionist

Skdadl, thanks for your insights, and you really must drop in and stay more often!

 

Infosaturated

skdadl wrote:

Infosaturated, I can't point to a single place in the entire world where violence against women has been eliminated. I know that in my own country, it has mostly gone indoors. Overwhelmingly, women in danger in Canada are in danger from intimate partners.

 

I did not think that this was a general discussion of violence against women.

I pointed you to countries with various systems so you could illustrate how willing sex workers are safer in countries using systems similar to what you are proposing.

You dismiss the trafficking of women and children as a policing issue to be dealt with as a separate matter but it is an integral part of the sex industry.  In other countries with equally strict laws against trafficking it has still increased with the legalization of pimping and brothels.

As we saw on the news, brothels are operating publically and well able to pay for security etc. 

It is the women on the street that are most vulnerable and legalized pimping doesn't move them inside.

That nice lady and her nice daughter we saw on the news mentioned that rooms are 100$ an hour and the girls have to negotiate their fees with the client. I bet the girls doing the work for the john aren't getting 100$ an hour.

The daughter said a pimp got a hold of her when she was only 15 years old.

Mom suggested that by running a brothel she was protecting girls like her daughter but these places don't pick-up minors, or shouldn't.

The sex industry is launching propaganda at us.

Examples across the globe show dreadful outcomes for sex workers and the general population when pimping is decriminalized. Organizations of ex-prostitutes and aboriginal groups around the world are saying decriminalizing pimps and brothels is a bad thing. You say they are wrong. Show me the facts not your theories.

 

remind remind's picture

"Concern trolling for aboriginal women"

Please do explain what you meant by that?

Infosaturated

From Wikipedia

A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user's sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.[11]

While I may be gone more than I am present I am far from from a sock puppet. My point of view is not different then the one I am expressing. 

You appear to be accusing me of not really wanting what is in the best interests of women within the sex industry or of aboriginal women.  If that is true, then it should be easy to demolish my arguments and to discredit the information I am trying to bring to the discussion.

Instead you focus on morality arguments, challenging my right to speak, and my motives.

You appear to be trying to drive threads into the ditch so people can't debate the actual issue which is what system of control or lack thereof will create the safest outcome for Canadian women including but not exclusively happy sex workers.

remind remind's picture

well that definition could describe 30% of babblers, including song time ones.

susan davis

martin dufresne wrote:

CASAC's Lee Lakeman answered Zerbisias critique of Benedet's Op-Ed on the Broadsides blog with additional information about Nicole Parisien's murder in a B.C. brothel:

I sat in court to observe the murder trial to which Janine Benedet refers in her op ed piece. And yes as a feminist I also observed the Pickton case from the early years of police failure to the media circus. Interestingly those promoting the decriminalization and de facto legalization of prostitution ignored the details of both Pickton and the murder of Nicole Parisiene by Andrew Evans. If they both had been more featured you might have seen things differently. Both Pickton and Andrew "hired" women for indoor prostitution. The pig farm was a brothel and so was the apartment where Nicole was murdered. Both were used quite often by numbers of men. In Nicole's case there was a security surveillance system run by an owner and on which her killer was captured. That is how the jury could see that he was not rendered incapable by his consumption of alcohol. I heard the evidence in that trial that Nicole was strangled by hand. Like many men before him, when the fantasy they paid for disappoints, Evans exploded. According to the forensics, that explosion of projected anger took somewhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. He hit Nicole with a shoe so hard that the sole left an impression of treads on her face and could have cut off her oxygen. Andrew says he does not know whether he strangled her or hit her first. Contrary to your imagining, no "beefy security guard" could have saved her even if he was standing outside the apartment door. What I find so horrifying in the testimony of the case is what appears in so many cases of the beating and killing of women and in every case of prostitution: an unchallenged presumption that men have a right (paid for or not) to project onto women a responsibility to satisfy the sexual needs and wants of men. Benedet gets it: the answer to tell men to grow up and stop risking women's lives.

 

my "illegal" security/'pimp' would have saved her...you people are out of it quoting lakeman...he would have run!!!any man interupting an assault would have saved her.....the boy would have run...

susan davis

definition of sex worker vs sex industry worker vs sex industry stakeholder...

it is generaly accepted that the sex worker rights movement is growing and with it terms and definitions related to how we as workers identify ourselves and other we interact with in a work sense...

so wikipedia'sdefinition s not really current and things are evolving daily...

sex worker generaly desribes someone who engages  in full contact sex workie- sex,touching, live in person...

a sex industry worker generally describes all workers in the sex industry who do not... such as exotic dancers, adult film, web cam....

a sex industry support services worker generally describes people working in non sex work jobs in the sex industry such as booking girl, bouncer, film editor

sex industry support services generally describes agencies working with sex workers to counsel or give strength ie-ngo's in the DTES

sex industry stakeholder generally describes all people who have a stake in the sex industry such as sex consumers, business owners, police services, mainstream society....

as our movement grows these terms will change and grow to encompass what we all believe to be accurate for the time/moment...

just because wikipedia says sex consumers are sex workers doesn't mean that is current and how the sex industry community feel about definitions now....

it's time for abolitionists to grow up, to quote benedet in a reverse kinda way... and stop risking womens lives.....

skdadl

remind wrote:

"Concern trolling for aboriginal women"

Please do explain what you meant by that?

 

ohai, remind.

 

When I wrote what I did at #56 (groovy new system you have here; is there a way, though, of seeing the whole thread while writing a comment without opening two tabs?), I was reacting to what I consider an absurd reduction (#54) of one paragraph in an earlier post of mine.

 

I'm not sure I'd know what staying on topic in this thread would mean, but the topic of the court challenge had come up, so I figured my comment to that fairly narrow topic would be ok. The short paragraph of mine that got quoted later (at #54) was a paragraph that basically said "these are related but distinct issues that I am not writing to at the moment because they are too big."

 

And for that, I got dinged for dismissing the concerns of aboriginal peoples about every aspect of this very complex topic. Perhaps it is my bad writing, but I honestly don't see how my original post (#50) could have been read that way unless (1) the commenter  hadn't read the full discussion; or (2) the commenter was expecting to push a babble button.

 

The wiki definition of concern troll looks disputable to me (and that may be why it is so garbled, because people have been disputing it). I don't know who threw in sock puppets as a distraction there. Unless you consider all online handles to be sock puppets, which obviously most of us don't, it doesn't take a sock puppet to be a concern troll. I'm not writing this out as an accusation against anyone; I'm writing it because the conversation has continued and I want to keep the facts straight.

 

I don't mind disagreeing with someone like Martin, although clearly we are writing to different priorities. Martin must know that I'm not letting go of mine, as I recognize he can't let go of his. Fair enough.

 

But otherwise, I'm kind of at sea in this conversation. I try to stay on the turf I argued in the first place (howzzat for a mixed metaphor?), and suddenly I'm a racist: I'm dismissing voices; I'm driving the thread into a ditch -- oh, and on top of that, I have assignments that I haven't turned in yet! Someone has given us wiki links to the general entries for a whole lot of countries, and I am a bad girl for not doing the homework that someone else feels s/he/it has the right to impose on everyone else.

 

Sheesh. Next thing you know, we'll be taking attendance.

 

PS: I know that my presence here is iffy, and I srsly do not want to give Michelle and oldgoat grief. I'll try to shut up for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stargazer

No no no. We need more people, not less, who have a similar viewpoitn. Susan and I are getting the same accusations hurled at us, then they are the victims of a "smear" job when that is pointed out. help!!!

Michelle

Your presence here is not iffy as far as I'm concerned.  It's more than welcome, as others have stated.

remind remind's picture

Thanks skdadl!

peasant woman

While this is all interesting...I think we have skidded off the rails a bit. can we bring it back to harm reduction? This is one of those phrases that has become ubiquitous, and yet there are few (if any) definitions to which everyone agrees. I'll start...I understand the concept of 'harm reduction' as emerging from western medicine to address some problems related to intravenous drug use. Specifically, IV drug use by people who are, if not homeless, pretty street-entrenched. and harm reduction is a set of tactics directed at these people to interfere with the spread of blood-borne diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. But if we can prevent overdose deaths and decrease public disorder, that's good too. In relation to prostitution, harm reduction are strategies that are supposed to reduce the harms of prostitution. These harms are things like mess and disorder in neighbourhoods, physical danger to women who are prostituting/ed in these neighbourhoods, and so on. There are free condoms, outreach workers with resource lists and bad- trick sheets, in Vancouver there's a van that goes around at night, giving some hot drinks, condoms, first aid and other comforts to women on the streets. It's staffed by medical professionals and also a peer counsellor. the aim here, at base, I think, is the same as the aim for drug users--and that is to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and to reduce the harms of those people who represent a 'symptom' of social dis-ease--namely, street entrenched drug-users and women in street prostitution. I am interested to learn more about what others understand about harm reduction as it relates to women in prostitution.and what's the goal of HR?

and are we directing anything that might be called 'harm reduction' toward men who are the johns or pimps?

In 1985, the Fraser report on Prostitution and Pornography in Canada stated that women in prostitution were most in danger from the johns and the pimps. Seems to me that is still the case. if we are offering 'harm reduction' to those who are harmed, but not to those DOING the harm, how can the harm be reduced?

 

 

Infosaturated

skdadl wrote:
I'm not sure I'd know what staying on topic in this thread would mean, but the topic of the court challenge had come up, so I figured my comment to that fairly narrow topic would be ok. The short paragraph of mine that got quoted later (at #54) was a paragraph that basically said "these are related but distinct issues that I am not writing to at the moment because they are too big."

Okay, I'm not going to hunt through the discussion because I think we can reach mutual understanding without it. The threads on this issue keep going all over the place making it impossible to discuss any one aspect. It kept returning to who should speak and who's voice was more important and accusations of being moralistic etc. So one of the conflicting arguments has been "harm reduction. Both sides claim their side will result in less harm to women. So I thought this thread could focus on that.

skdadl wrote:
And for that, I got dinged for dismissing the concerns of aboriginal peoples about every aspect of this very complex topic. Perhaps it is my bad writing, but I honestly don't see how my original post (#50) could have been read that way unless (1) the commenter  hadn't read the full discussion; or (2) the commenter was expecting to push a babble button.

I'm not sure how much you have been reading but I started two threads about Aboriginal women. In one I expressed my confusion over conflicting theories and gut sense that something was wrong but without the words to know how to deconstruct the whole thing. My basic starting point is that WOC suffer disproportionately from the harms of prostitution and yet it has also been portrayed as economic opportunity, and if they choose it, that is there right, but then there is economic coercion, so how does that fit in. I was asking how to understand it within the context of racism and I hadn't found anything on the net specific to the theory aspect. Everybody here is familiar with liberalism neo-liberalism neo conservatism fascim(sp) and a gazillion other isms.  No one answered so I posted again and no one answered.  So then I decided to start another thread, and not say a peep in it, and just post a quote on prostitution from the Woman's Aboriginal Network.  I was hoping someone else might comment but if not I would just add to it periodically when I came across aboriginal voices. Then both threads got closed because it was considered thread poliferation which I am still upset about.  So when you made that comment about Aboriginal history it seemed as though you were dismissing the disproportionate harm to them based on it being historically rooted so not pertinent to the discussion. Inside I also feel that if the Aboriginal voices had been pro-decriminalization they would have stayed in place. I'm not saying it as an accusation, it is what it is. So basically, you hit a sore spot that still feels bruised.

skdadl wrote:
Someone has given us wiki links to the general entries for a whole lot of countries, and I am a bad girl for not doing the homework that someone else feels s/he/it has the right to impose on everyone else.

I can see why it came across like that but I'm really really frustrated by the discussion staying on the level of personal rights and morality without going into any real depth.  It felt like it was all about how many people are on each team and who gets to speak and who's right based on who they are.  It's like if I post stuff about Sweden and it's discounted for no other reason than I posted it.  My feeling is that yes I'm bringing a lot of information to the board but it's not my fault no one else is.  So I was saying don't listen to me if you think I am biased. Explore yourselves. Don't take my word for it.

In my mind this thread was intended to show examples of how decriminalization/legalization had led to harm/less harm in other places. In my opinion it went off track long ago and the thread title no longer reflects the contents.

Infosaturated

peasant woman wrote:

While this is all interesting...I think we have skidded off the rails a bit. can we bring it back to harm reduction? This is one of those phrases that has become ubiquitous, and yet there are few (if any) definitions to which everyone agrees. I'll start...I understand the concept of 'harm reduction' as emerging from western medicine to address some problems related to intravenous drug use. Specifically, IV drug use by people who are, if not homeless, pretty street-entrenched. and harm reduction is a set of tactics directed at these people to interfere with the spread of blood-borne diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. But if we can prevent overdose deaths and decrease public disorder, that's good too. In relation to prostitution, harm reduction are strategies that are supposed to reduce the harms of prostitution. These harms are things like mess and disorder in neighbourhoods, physical danger to women who are prostituting/ed in these neighbourhoods, and so on. There are free condoms, outreach workers with resource lists and bad- trick sheets, in Vancouver there's a van that goes around at night, giving some hot drinks, condoms, first aid and other comforts to women on the streets. It's staffed by medical professionals and also a peer counsellor. the aim here, at base, I think, is the same as the aim for drug users--and that is to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and to reduce the harms of those people who represent a 'symptom' of social dis-ease--namely, street entrenched drug-users and women in street prostitution. I am interested to learn more about what others understand about harm reduction as it relates to women in prostitution.and what's the goal of HR?

and are we directing anything that might be called 'harm reduction' toward men who are the johns or pimps?

In 1985, the Fraser report on Prostitution and Pornography in Canada stated that women in prostitution were most in danger from the johns and the pimps. Seems to me that is still the case. if we are offering 'harm reduction' to those who are harmed, but not to those DOING the harm, how can the harm be reduced?

That's really interesting. I wasn't thinking about all that when I started the thread. I was just thinking of it in the literal sense.  That is, what frameworks have been used in other countries that have led to lesser or greater harm to women?  I see the johns and the pimps as the pushers so no harm reduction is possible from that angle. John schools exist but I think it is going to be a long tough battle to change male attitudes towards women and indeed women's attitudes towards themselves.

The type of harm reduction you are referring to seems a little like victim support groups. The damage is already done and we need to provide supports and healing services.

peasant woman

Hi...I think that's what 'harm reduction' is, in general--that is, a set of responses after the damage is done. But it seems to me, no matter the good intentions and hard work of the people providing these 'healing' services, there is no will to actually repair the damage, but rather to make the conditions of life as prostituted more bearable. sigh. I think John Schools are in that realm. They do not, in the end, hold men accountable for their behaviour, or address the structural conditions of their lives which lead them to make the decision to purchase or rent parts of women's bodies. Harm reduction has gone viral as we have systematically abandoned poor women, women of colour, Aboriginal women and their children. Some strategies we now call harm reduction were developed twenty or twenty-five years ago by women in prostitution themselves. I am thinking for example, of 'bad trick sheets'--which were developed in Vancouver, anyhow, by groups of women in prostitution to warn one another, offer one another some small protection against individual especially abusive or dangerous men. This tactic has been taken up by medical and social services, and now called 'harm reduction'. It is not part of a long-term strategy of liberation, or getting women out of prostitution, or men out of demanding women's bodies. It puts the responsibility on the women themselves to watch out for particular men. This is a lot like the usual response after a woman has been raped in a public place. It is women who are warned to walk in pairs at night, carry our keys in our hands, stay inside, blahblahblah. When the state takes women's ideas for self-protection and turns it into policy, these ideas usually end up becoming constraining or victim-blaming in some way. This appears to be what has happened with 'harm reduction'. I get it, how this happens, as front-line workers, you get overwhelmed by the difficulties of women's lives, but really and truly, there is no libratory vision driving harm reduction. I've heard workers, street nurses, mental health workers, say stuff like 'we have to suspend our judgments'--and they're talking about withholding criticisms of men who buy women--they're talking about not saying to women, "you deserve better--it's not right what's happening to you.' They're talking about slapping on band-aids, not even offering stitches....

What is required, to really reduce harm, is to offer support and services to women in prostitution, but also real ways out of prostitution and ultimately, a society wherein the commodification of women is unthinkable. we can't settle for condoms and coffee to women on the various strolls late at night.

Noah_Scape

Prohibition is the problem - let the hookers set up shoppe and run it like any business. That way they can protect themselves.

Meanwhile, harm reduction is the next best thing. Using condoms is harm reduction, and it has been helpfull and it is now accepted as  "standard equiptment" when paying for sex.

I want to add one thing off topic -  this whole SEX thing is a little wierd isn't it? Mostly, for the men I mean - it just seems like their natural instincts are being used to control them, and to take their money from them, like hanging out a carrot that they cannot resist. I think it would be liberating for males to lose their sex addiction... but apparently then there wouldn't be much worth living for? Really?

Infosaturated

 

Noah_Scape wrote:
Prohibition is the problem - let the hookers set up shoppe and run it like any business. That way they can protect themselves.

Except for the small detail that where countries legalize or decriminalize it results in increased harm to women not decreased harm. So, if the goal is to provide greater safety full decriminalization is a mistake.

Noah_Scape wrote:
I want to add one thing off topic -  this whole SEX thing is a little wierd isn't it? Mostly, for the men I mean - it just seems like their natural instincts are being used to control them, and to take their money from them, like hanging out a carrot that they cannot resist. I think it would be liberating for males to lose their sex addiction... but apparently then there wouldn't be much worth living for? Really?

I find it more than a little insulting to men to suggest that men are "addicted" to sex and if they weren't addicted wouldn't have much to live for.

The idea that women are controlling men through their natural instincts is ridiculous. If that were so we would be living in a matriarchal society.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
Prohibition is the problem - let the hookers set up shoppe and run it like any business. That way they can protect themselves.

Again  that is a shallow trivialization of what the process would actually entail...

Fingers just are not snapped, and  *poof*  there appears a business, in this case a industry, out of no where.

Regulations, restrictions, everything has to be be created from the ground up.

The Netherlandshad to start installling regulations after the fact, because things have gotten so bad there after the legalization, without regulations,  happened.

 

Violence against women is up there,  new laws and special programs have had to be started, to address how bad it has gotten, so much so they are compelled to give reports on status to the UN, as per this document linked to below.

 

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2007/wom1601.doc.htm

Thre is much in there, exposing the failures and how trafficked women became the norm, with out regulations that were put in place before legalization.

It indicates that the overall status of ALL women diminished significantly in the Netherlands, after legalization of prostitution, with out regulation, occured.

 

 

Infosaturated

skdadl wrote:
We have so much experience with prohibition in Western societies, going back centuries, and it is all bad.

I wouldn't say it's all bad, the prohibition of murder, assault, fraud, driving without a license, etc. all work for me. Gambling is spreading and it doesn't seem to be terribly beneficial while it does seem to have caused some pretty serious social ills. I remember the days of church bingos fondly.

skdadl wrote:
I've been interested to see how much practical work Susan Davis and her colleagues have done to make sex work conceivable as a safe, legal business in Canada. They aren't trying to cope with every problem at once; they're being reasonable about a trade that it is there -- and by trade, I mean both the work itself and the market demand from the johns.

Well you're in luck!  Susan has started multiple threads in the "Sex Workers Rights" forum detailing all kinds of proposals.

 

skdadl

That's the first time (Noah @ 72) I've seen anyone use the word "prohibition" in these discussions (I haven't been reading until the last couple of weeks, though), although it seems to me a common-sense thought and I suspect it's a thought in the back of many people's minds.

 

We have so much experience with prohibition in Western societies, going back centuries, and it is all bad. I'm not talking just about likker but about, eg, the current so-called war on drugs, which has made the war on drugs almost indistinguishable from the drug trade itself. This isn't the place to analyse the U.S. government as the biggest trafficker in the world, but it pretty much is that, much to the horror and tragedy of many other societies.

 

I've been interested to see how much practical work Susan Davis and her colleagues have done to make sex work conceivable as a safe, legal business in Canada. They aren't trying to cope with every problem at once; they're being reasonable about a trade that is there -- and by trade, I mean both the work itself and the market demand from the johns.

 

Their work doesn't address human trafficking, but we have other kinds of laws that can do that. It doesn't address the exploitation of minors, but we have other kinds of laws that can do that. And it doesn't address the kinds of political consciousness-raising that many people here want to do, in different ways for different reasons, but that's for debate in the agora, not for legislation. You can't make laws about how people should think, and we actually have a law that says that. Yay, section 2.

 

Anyway, I find it helpful to keep prohibition in the back of my mind as an instructive warning, and I thank Noah for mentioning it. I probably disagree with some of the rest of what he's written, but I amn't a man, so I wouldn't know ...

remind remind's picture

Laws, in theory,  cannot be made crontrolling how people think, is a true statement.

 

but we can, and do, make laws all the time, that curtail, or punish,  people's actions that come about because of  individual thinking, which are harmful to society at large, or individually.

People are not allowed to brutalize their companion animals, just because they think can, and  most certainly we can't  stop them from thinking that they can,  but we can and do prohibit them from acting on it.

Even if it means that they are not allowed to have companion animals at all.

 

We also have have labour code laws that prohibit employer exploitation of  employees, some venture into the realm of criminal, while others into human rights.

 

As the Netherlands has found out, no regulations to prohibit and control, has been disasterous for women and the country at large, and they are backtracking big time.

 

Those in prostitution, are not required to make it safe...

 

Canadians and our governing agencies are responsible for that, just as we are for every other aspect of public  health safety, business and labour laws and regulations.

 

 

skdadl

Infosaturated wrote:

 the prohibition of murder, assault, fraud, driving without a license, etc. all work for me.

 

"Prohibition" is an ordinary English word with many meanings, but in North America for the last century and a half (at least) it has had a very specific meaning. Narrowly, it means the period from (depending on jurisdiction) the late C19 to the 1930s when attempts were made to suppress the trade in alcohol altogether. Some but not much of that happened in Canada; the Americans went to extremes (I know: you're shocked), which mainly resulted in the creation of at least one major Canadian fortune and the birth of the Mafia in the U.S.

 

More broadly, because of that edumacational experience, prohibition in discussions like this one is commonly used to mean attempts to control practices common among the citizenry -- any form of seeking of intoxication (a universal human urge), sex, and I guess gambling qualifies too.

 

The universal interdictions against murder, assault, etc, do not qualify as mere prohibition. They are there in every society for the obvious reason that no one has an interest in furthering them and everyone has an interest in stopping them. I think that was a specious and cynical misuse of ordinary language.

 

 

remind remind's picture

....anyway back on topic

First and foremost, it has been deemed by those within the lived experience community, that they first require society, to step up to the plate and  fulfill their social contract obligations to protect,  exactly the same way that it is done for the rest of society at large.

And they are correct to expect this and demand it. That they have to demand it from society  is shame.

 

Thus... prohibition is not the problem, lack of societal application of universal interdictions, that apply to everyone else, is.

Lee Lakeman

The term used by those wanting an end to prostitution is abolition.  Probition refers often to restrictions on consumption but Abolition refers to ending abusive human relations and the use and abuse of human beings.  It is used precisely to reference the continuity between the abolition of slavery and the abolition of prostitution or what some call sexual slavery. The definition of feminist abolition and the similarities and links to the discussion of the ending of race slavery in Canada and to those who called for reforms and regulation instead of abolition in that context are available at

http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/issues/feminist_definition_abolition....

 

remind remind's picture

Thanks Lee that is useful....and  it underscores what I stated, society has failed to apply our universal interdictions to a whole segment of the population.

 

We have  to stop failing in this respect, as repeated failure indicates significant secxist, racial and class bigotry.

 

 

skdadl

Lee Lakeman wrote:

Prohibition refers often to restrictions on consumption but Abolition refers to ending abusive human relations and the use and abuse of human beings.

 

Actually, that is a useful and correctly put distinction, Lee, and I thank you for it.

 

I think it begins with a correct description of what prohibition entails, although not detailed enough. Prohibition is about restricting consumption of things that have been universally attractive to human beings throughout recorded history. That's why it doesn't explain, eg, our interdictions against murder or assault.

 

Abolition classically refers to the abolition of slavery, and I doubt you'll meet anyone on babble who isn't an abolitionist in that sense. I doubt you'll meet anyone who isn't opposed to human trafficking, which is slavery, no doubt. I doubt you'll meet anyone who isn't opposed to the exploitation of minors. For all those situations, we have or we can write or refine our laws.

 

 

martin dufresne

It would be egregious to prohibit prostitution abolitionists the use of the word abolition. Fortunately, I doubt you'll meet anyone on Babble who would do that.

Lee Lakeman

Exactly remind.  This class and race and and sex bias becomes especially clear if one takes a global perspective on the harm to be reduced.

We are in a global economy where thousands of women are in an economically forced migration from desperate reserves and desperate third world homelands and delivered into sex trafficking sex tourism and prostitution. 

The demand created by men/johns who caqn and do buy sex creates the flow of women from the desperate areas to satisfy those men and the profiteers/traffickers and bawdy house owners who take advantage of both.

World-wide it is men who buy and racialized poor women who are prostituted

Lee Lakeman

Yes skdadl, most people think that to buy sex from children is abhornet and to buy sex from trafficked women is also but there is no way to distinguish who is of age and who is trafficked. And there is no way to identify the women who have not freely given consent.  Prostitution requires that the enslaved perform happiness for their pay.

skdadl

martin dufresne wrote:

It would be egregious to prohibit prostitution abolitionists the use of the word abolition. Fortunately, I doubt you'll meet anyone on Babble who would do that.

 

I doubt anyone will prohibit you (although I never like to speak for anyone else), but I suspect that many will disagree with you. I certainly do.

Infosaturated

skdadl wrote:
I think it begins with a correct description of what prohibition entails, although not detailed enough. Prohibition is about restricting consumption of things that have been universally attractive to human beings throughout recorded history.

While sex can be classified as universally attractive to human beings throughout recorded history, prostitution can't be because there are societies in which it did not exist. In fact historically it has been a job performed by slave women, or, as it is today, by a class of women that isn't accepted in open society. Even in places where it has been legal for decades the stigma remains. The woman is not selling a service, she is selling access to her body. If she were selling a service the activity wouldn't be gendered. Certainly sodomy and oral sex could be performed by other men just as easily as by women.  Descrimination based on race and sex are built into the "job" as is sexual harassment. It is virtually impossible for a woman to accuse a john of rape if she changes her mind at any point during the transaction.

skdadl wrote:
Abolition classically refers to the abolition of slavery, and I doubt you'll meet anyone on babble who isn't an abolitionist in that sense. I doubt you'll meet anyone who isn't opposed to human trafficking, which is slavery, no doubt. I doubt you'll meet anyone who isn't opposed to the exploitation of minors. For all those situations, we have or we can write or refine our laws.

That's an excellent point. However in countries where prostitution has been legalized the illegal industry grows up right next to the legal ones with the attendent increases in trafficking of women and children, which police have been helpless to prevent, along with the involvement of organized crime. That is why Amsterdam is using millions of dollars to close down large sections of the red-light district. It's uncontrollable.

Denmark too has been shocked at how women were being tortured under the system of legal oversight they created.

We know that right here in Canada exotic dancers claim that the police fail to protect them from abuse. Evidence suggests that the promotion of a legalized framework to "protect" prostitutes is nothing but a fairytale told to legitimize a system that is inherently discriminatory and harmful to women despite the female voices that claim otherwise.

All we need to do, is look at the evidence.

skdadl

Maybe we should have a thread -- in some other forum; I dunno -- on the notion of "stigma."

 

If it were up to me, I'd just say "F**k stigma" and be done with it. I accept that I don't always recognize the stigmas (stigmata?) that others have had to cope with, but if they explain them to me and I get the logic of stimatization, then I'm there. It is just one of the stupidest things that human beings do to each other, and imho all adults should have learned how to defeat it in their everyday lives, allatime. I live with minor stigmata myself, and am mainly disappointed, sometimes disgusted by the stupidity of people who react to me that way.

 

One thing I will stand firm for, though. We cannot start basing human-rights law on notions as vague as stigma. No matter what you do, who you are, how you look, some people are just never going to like the cut of your jib. You want to change society at that level? You don't do that through repressive laws telling people that their gut reactions are illegal. You do that by living a life that proves them effin' wrong.

 

I'm not saying it's easy.

martin dufresne

Or, instead of dumping that job on the stigmatized, you commit to dissuading the people that stigmatize some folks for their personal pleasure. They are NOT the feminists.

 

skdadl

martin dufresne wrote:

Or, instead of dumping that job on the stigmatized, you commit to dissuading the people that stigmatize some folks for their personal pleasure. They are NOT the feminists.

 

Well, sure, martin. Can't disagree with that.

 

And that has what to do with the law?

Lee Lakeman

I apologize I was pasting a link to a newspaper site.  Obviously not correctly

Lee Lakeman

Yes stigma is a problem, a problem of human dignity according to the Supreme court is the subject of the Charter of Rights and Freeodms which is one of the Canadian applications of internatioanhuman rights law. 

Violence against women and eating and housing and the laws and social policies that apply to them are right up there too.  And just in case you have not yet seen the face of class oppression for women in urban centers check this out   --> http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/66692847.html

remind remind's picture

Quote:
instead of dumping that job on the stigmatized,

...has to do with the topic of sex trade community education to indicate that sociiety is failing to impliment universal interdictions,  to specific demographics because of stigma, which is really elitist bigotry, racism and misogyny

Personally, I cannot see anyone too much here, telling lived experience prostitutes, who are abolitionists, that they can't use the word abolition, or even believing that they should have the right to do so.

 

That link Lee says it all...

Society has failed to apply universal interdictions to a clealy  identifiable demographic

 

and to believe...that getting rid of part of said universal interdictions... that have already  not been applied, would make the plight of those women better, is mind numblingly shallow deliberations on this.

 

 

Infosaturated

skdadl wrote:
One thing I will stand firm for, though. We cannot start basing human-rights law on notions as vague as stigma.

Of course not. Stigma can be based purely on prejudice, but it can also be based on anti-social behaviors. You cannot legislate social acceptance of behaviors. We can see that in all the countries where attempts have been made to legitimize prostitution. Prostitutes remain outside of accepted society.

Venezuela ruled that "prostitution cannot be considered work because it lacks the basic elements of dignity and social justice."

Some activities or behaviors carry stigma because society views them as harmful. Bigotry is stigmatized, and I hope always will be. The act of buying access to women's bodies is stigmatized because it is harmful. Sweden is successfully fighting the stigmatization of women who have been driven to prostitution. There is wide-spread agreement that the women involved are not at fault. The stigma has been successfully shifted from the women to the men.

In countries that tolerate or legitimize prostitution the stigma stays with the women and the men are criticized but with a "boys will be boys" attitude by many although that doesn't generally include their wives.

skdadl

What we seem to be grappling with here is the difference between those bad things we can legislate against and those bad things we can't.

 

I don't quite understand why some people can't grasp that there are some things we cannot legislate. The Supreme Court of Canada is never going to tell anyone that her thoughts are illegal. That's just the way it is, and of course, it is the way it should be and must be.

 

To me, stigmatizing is something that unreflecting reactionaries do. It's that endless high-school meanness that infects so much of North American culture, and that we need to counter through education.

 

 

skdadl

remind wrote:

All things that harm people are legistated against,

 

No, they aren't, nor should they be. My God: what a vision of horror.

 

I think I understand why the lawyers hereabouts never weigh in on these threads.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
The stigma has been successfully shifted from the women to the men.

Where it always should reside, in those cases where it is applicable.

 

Personally, I see much more negative stigmatizing and meaness in the adult world, than I ever did in elementary school and high school.

 

And I think that the state of the whole world, historically and currently, bear this out, children do not destroy countries, and peoples, adults do.  And have done for 1000' s of years.

All things that harm people are legislated against, whether the laws are fairly applied once in place,  is another thing. It is our job to ensure the laws are applied cevenly

 

remind remind's picture

Okay, I am willing to be persuaded,  give me an example of what harms people in a broad public way, and isn't legislated against?

 

 

 

Lee Lakeman

skdadl wrote:

 

I don't quite understand why some people can't grasp that there are some things we cannot legislate. The Supreme Court of Canada is never going to tell anyone that her thoughts are illegal. That's just the way it is, and of course, it is the way it should be and must be.

We, well some are not debating thoughts, but arguing that we can legislate that people in this case men ought not buy sex.  Just like they cannot buy blood or sell blood or body parts. 

If you still think that is impossible perhaps if you remember that it is only a decade since we told men they can no longer rape their wives with impunity it would help you see my point that we can do this too.  And should

remind remind's picture

ach Lee, I did not even bother going there,  as if prostitution is a thought.

 

linking of  harm reduction to abstinance modelling is very  light weight awareness, and it signifys there needs to be a massive educational strategy put in place.

 

Dealing in the mystical mythical is pissing into the wind and thinking you are having a cleansing shower. I know it well, have been there myself.

 

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