Posts tagged prostitution

Victoria Sexual Assault Centre takes official position in favour of full decriminalization of prostitution 

COMMENT:

The idea is that johns will not want to get caught buying sex therefore everything moves “underground.” However, johns already don’t want to get caught buying sex, and sex workers are able to screen them. (Half of them are married for heaven’s sake. Getting caught by your wife is as bad as getting caught by the cops. Either way you’re in deep shit.) The passing of this bill isn’t gonna make it impossible for a woman to ask for a john’s ID, talk to him over the phone first, or look him up on a “bad date” list. If he’s not planning on violating her boundaries, he doesn’t have to fear her calling the cops. Why would a woman call the cops on a man who she considers to be a “good” client? Obviously she doesn’t want to lose him as a client if he’s helping her pay her bills. But he SHOULD fear her calling the cops if he DOES violate her boundaries, and she should feel comfortable calling the cops since she is not doing anything illegal.

The “dangerous areas” thing doesn’t make a lot of sense, really. Every area is dangerous when there’s a rapist present. It’s not the “area” raping women, it’s men raping women, and they’ll do it anywhere, even in a hotel or apartment, it doesn’t matter to them where.

Actual evidence shows the Nordic model works 

A study commissioned by Norway’s government shows that criminalizing the purchase of sex has decreased trafficking and has not caused violence against women to increase, as some have claimed.

Johns have been criminalized in Norway since 2009, following in Sweden’s footsteps.

Reuters reports:

"The nearly 200-page report is based on six months of research, including interviews with male and female prostitutes, police and support organizations.

The Norwegian law applies to all its citizens anywhere, making it illegal for Norwegians to buy sex even in countries where the activity is accepted.

Penalties for breaking the law are set by local municipalities. In Oslo, Norway’s largest city, convicted sex buyers face a 25,000 crown ($4,000) fine.”

Since criminalizing the purchase of sex in 1999, the number of men who buy sex in Sweden went from one in eight to one in 13.

Opponents of the Nordic model tell us that criminalizing the purchase of sex will make it more dangerous and push the trade “underground.” Despite the fact that there is zero evidence to back up these claims and that, in truth, the “underground”/illegal sex trade thrives under legalization, this myth persists, thanks to this oft-repeated misinformation.

The truth is that criminalizing the purchase of sex makes countries that do so less desirable for pimps, johns, and traffickers. It is no real surprise that organized crime has taken over the trade in places that have legalized — it’s simply easier to buy and sell women in places where the practice is normalized and legal. Women and girls are trafficked because there just aren’t enough of them who enter the trade willingly — demand begets exploitation; reduce demand, reduce exploitation.

Meanwhile, claims that legalizing or decriminalizing the purchase of sex and the exploitation of women would make the trade safer, have not proven to be true. As a result, countries like Germany and New Zealand are reconsidering their laws.

In 2012, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that he didn’t think the Prostitution Law Reform Act 2003 had reduced street prostitution or underage prostitutes, stating:

“The argument was that it would eliminate all the street workers and underage people, particularly girls, and the reports that we see in places like South Auckland is that it hasn’t actually worked… I think it’s been marginally successful, if at all.”

The study is timely as the Canadian government has recently put forward a bill that, if passed (which it most-likely will), will target demand and criminalize pimps and johns.

why we care what men who buy sex from vulnerable women think about women’s liberation or gender equality is beyond me because if they had any understanding or concern for women’s human rights and ending patriartchy they wouldn’t be buying sex from prostitutes. Do you know any feminist men who buy sex? Would you laugh in their faces if they told you they desired an end to male power and violence against women just after they’d gotten a bj from an Aboriginal woman on the Downtown Eastside? I would.
Atchison wants the discussion of exploitation and abuse to be about those other johns over there. But too bad! Because prostitution exists upon and because of a foundation of inequality that makes women into things that exist for male pleasure. Some individual johns are more physically violent than others, sure. But we don’t know which ones those are until they become violent, as Trisha Baptie noted in her testimony, nor is physical violence the whole conversation. The fact that prostitutes experience higher rates of PTSD than war veterans do speaks to that.
There is no single argument that could in any way legitimize the idea that men who buy sex from vulnerable and desperate women are an oppressed minority akin to gay people. Also, buying sex is not a sexual identity. Men buy sex because they want to have sex with someone who they don’t have to consider, know, or relate to as a human being. They want their needs met beyond all else and, often, they want someone to use and abuse in a way they can’t get away with in their homes and intimate relationships. That desire has little to do with “sex” if we are talking about “sex” as a thing that is desired and enjoyed by all parties involved — you know, not-rape sex.

We say to the left: in this past decade you have failed to live up to your rhetoric of revolution. You have not reached the people. And we won’t hitch ourselves to your poor donkey. There are millions of women out there desperate enough to rise. Women’s liberation is dynamite. And we have more important things to do than to try to get you to come around. You will come around when you have to, because you need us more than we need you… Fuck off, left. You can examine your navel by yourself from now on. We’re starting our own movement.

- Shulamith Firestone

If you can’t imagine a world without prostitution, then you can’t imagine a world without colonialism, poverty, misogyny, and racism. And what the fuck kind of socialist utopia is that?
There are very good things in the bill and there is a potentially bad thing in the bill. It isn’t, in my opinion, accurate to say that Canada has adopted the Nordic model, though we are much closer than we were previously. The Nordic model does not include a provision that could potentially criminalize prostituted people if in a a public place “where persons under the age of 18 can reasonably be expected to be present.” But the reality is that we are in a better position to advocate for what we want now than if, for example, the proposal were to fully decriminalize or if it weren’t so specific in its intention to target demand and support women. I would like to see a commitment to reeducating the police in order to ensure they actuallyfocus on the johns and both leave prostitutes alone and support them if they need support. This is a key part of the Swedish model. It’s also, of course, important to remind ourselves that Sweden has stronger social safety nets and a better welfare system than Canada does and so we need to keep the pressure on in regard to all of these aspects.

Porn teaches men they are gods. Pop culture teaches men that the epitome of success is to be surrounded by naked women, fawning over you. Prostitution exists because we, as a culture, very much believe that women exist to pleasure men. We tell women that they have to “work” in marriage, to keep their men happy, to keep them from straying — buy sexy lingerie, try threesomes, try anal, perform every porn fantasy he has — he needs it, he deserves it, it is your job.

We can continue to skirt around these truths — that the sex industry and our patriarchal culture breed men like Rodger — but expect more violence, more deaths, more rape, and more abuse. Our world is rife with Elliot Rodgers. We create them every day. They aren’t going anywhere.

Everett wants to sell a notion of prostitution as glamorous, sexually liberating, and economically empowering, but reality gets in the way. “A teacher can nearly double her weekly take-home income with just a good day’s work with this agency,” Everett proclaims. As though living in a world wherein a teacher must resort to selling sex on the side in order to survive is a great social achievement.
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