Religious groups seek standing to oppose full decriminalization of prostitution

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susan davis susan davis's picture

it was a quote from summary done by a civilian member of VPD diversity division....are you suggesting VPD are part of your pimp conspiracy too?c' murders occured until destabilization began.moralistic abolitionism began in 1900's and affected eastern regions first and more severley but eventually began to affect us our west as well... reading up on history puts it all in context.

i'm with you nine knight!!

martin dufresne

someone should slap a slander suit on you for comparing Valerie Scott to a pimp

That is not what I wrote, as anyone can verify. I am not naive enough to think that the three individual claimants are alone and drawing only on their own resources. The legislation is primarily being challenged by a billion-dollar industry, and yes, it includes pimps, whether you want to call them that or "sex industry stakeholders" or "living off the avails", since this is what they need to be to be entitled to lodge a Court challenge. (The B.C.-based challenge was thrown out because the claimants weren't.) If this reality is so heinous as to trigger some slander lawsuit, why should it be decriminaliized along with soliciting by women, as was done in Sweden and now Norway and Iceland? A reform effort focussed on supporting and decriminalizing prostituted women would draw near-universal support from feminists and progressives in Canada, were it not for this kind of all-or-nothing, industry-friendly package deal - necessarily including pimps and brothel-owners - that goes on being promoted by a small fraction of the front-line organizations.


susan davis susan davis's picture

so, osgood law school are part of your pimp conspiracy as well? the challenge is being brought forward by students and professor alan younge. are you suggesting they represent organized crime?traffickers,pimps?

 not all workers can work independently for a number of reasons and truely a person new to sex work should not work alone at first. we need places to work and not all busines owners are as you describe.

 in our culture older workers become madames and teach inexperienced workers all they have learned. you would have workers denied access to this most important information by making it illegal to give workers tools to make safe decisions about their work.

your narrow vision is so representative of abolitionism. you have no understanding of how we live and refuse to listen when we try to express our needs.

try to imagine meeting your first customer and not having any information on what to expect, how much to charge, safe sex practices, client screening procedures, security would leave us to sink or swim as it were. entering our industry is more and more dangerous as less and less workers become madames for fear of being labled a pimp, leaving a gap for less honorable people to exploit. taking advantage of a new workers lack of knowledge and experience telling them bareback service and kissing are safe. taking all their money and forcing them to work 24 hr shifts and fining workers who miss calls while sleeping leaving workers living in debt servitude.

you need to consider your morale stand point and recognize you and others like you are causing the very thing you are trying to prevent.

susan davis susan davis's picture   Legislation needed to protect women who work the streets Sep 25, 2009 04:30 AM Comments on this story (6) Antonia Zerbisias

Last time I looked, prostitution was not a capital crime.

But right here in Canada, where sex work is - technically - legal, it can earn you a death sentence.

A 2006 government commission found that, between 1994 and 2003, "at least 79 prostitutes'' were murdered on the job.

"At least,'' because, as the commission added, "(T)his is almost certainly lower than the real figures, since it includes only those cases in which the police were able to determine that the death occurred during prostitution- related activities.''

Worse, the commission noted, "Some police officers do not take the violence committed against them seriously, often regarding it as an inherent part of prostitution and believing that no one who engages in such activities should be surprised at being mistreated.''

She asked for it.

Now understand that, when it comes to the so-called oldest profession, only a fraction of workers - an estimated 8 to 20 per cent - are actually, as we used to say, "streetwalkers.''

The overwelming majority of them are aboriginal women.

You don't have to dig deep into the headlines to see what's been happening to them: More than 500 have gone missing over the years, and dozens of their bodies have been found.

What's more, as a result of the obscene - and longtime - government inattention to this tragedy, even young women who don't sell their bodies end up as corpses. The Native Women's Association of Canada says 14 per cent of the missing girls were under 18 years of age when they vanished.

The really insane thing is, women who work the streets are the ones who, as long as they don't "communicate'' with a prospective customer in a public place, are working legally.

If they get into a "john's" car or truck to talk business, it's basically a-okay under the law.

But it's also dangerous. Very dangerous.

Because of that, three members of Sex Professionals of Canada, plus some two dozen others who can testify to the violence they've suffered, are arguing that their human rights are at stake, that they, like other Canadian workers deserve a "safe haven.''

Which brings us to their current constitutional challenge of that section of the Criminal Code, and other sections that forbid the keeping of that quaintly named "bawdy house," ie. taking it indoors, and "living off the avails,'' e.g. hiring security.

"It's a health and safety issue,'' their lawyer Alan Young tells me. "They are denied basic civil liberties that any other occupation would have and, in the face of our knowledge of what's happening in the streets, the law can't prevent what we're calling a safe haven.''

The case resumes today in a Toronto courtroom where a coalition of conservative groups - the Christian Legal Fellowship, REAL Women and the Catholic Civil Rights League - will jockey with Young to get as much intervention time as they can, in order to present their "moral perspective.''

This coalition will, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Catholic Civil Rights League, "discuss the harm prostitution causes to the individuals, family and children, particularly those forced to engage in it, and the broader implications such a change would have for society."

But not all sex professionals are "forced'' into it. They like their work.

And anyway, lots of things are "immoral,'' including adultery - but they aren't criminalized.

More to the point, isn't it "immoral" not to come up with legislation that protects our young women who, for whatever tragic reason, end up on the streets? Or those sex professionals who suffer abuse at the hands of clients - and even the cops?

As Mae West might have said, "Goodness has nothing to with it.''

Doing the right thing does.