"Progressives" abandon class analysis for prostitution YXXX

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Pondering
"Progressives" abandon class analysis for prostitution YXXX

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/f-word-collective/2011/11/why-does-left-want-prostitution-be-%E2%80%98-job-any-other%E2%80%99

"The go-to perspective on prostitution from many progressives in Canada these days seems to be a fairly hard and fast vote for decriminalization or legalization. Even many of our beloved East Vancouver lefties  seem convinced that the most progressive position to take is one of "sex as work," arguing that debates around prostitution should prioritize labour rights, allowing women to come out from the underground and"'into the light" as free and autonomous workers."

In any other area progressives do serious research and make moral decisions based on the good of the collective not just the individual.  I believe the progressive community has abdicated that role concerning prostitution.  It's much easier to just be "sex positive" and swallow simplistic neoliberal logic.

Migrant farm workers might prefer to have exploitative work in Canada if the alternative is not to work in Canada at all.  The same goes for domestic workers. If Canadians could pay foreign domestic workers a hundred dollars a month plus room and board I am sure many more people would import fully willing domestic workers.  Having a law preventing this is therefore denying workers and employers from entering into a voluntary contract.  How dare we!

While it is true streetwalkers only represent around 15% of workers in what industry would it be okay to use workers in such desperate straits to do such a dangerous job?  The fact that they are being hired by individual johns makes it okay? 

 

On one hand there seems to be a distinct lack of class analysis -- we forget that there are reasons that some women are prostituted while others are not, that some women have a "choice" while others do not. On the other, because decriminalization has, in part, been framed as a labour issue (i.e. that this is a job like any other and, therefore, should be treated in the same way any other service sector job is, in terms of laws), the gender and race factors fall to the wayside and we forget that prostitution impacts women and, in particular, racialized women in an inordinate way. Prostitution simply doesn't happen to men in the same way that it does to women. It is no mere coincidence that the missing and murdered women and that Pickton's victim's were, largely Aboriginal women, that many of the women on the streets in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver are Aboriginal. Where is the race, the gender, and the class analysis within decriminalization rhetoric? How will licensing help women who cannot "work" legally? How will decriminalizing male buyers, male abusers, pimps and johns keep women safe from these men? Particularly when so many of the women being bought and sold have little choice in the matter?

Why has decriminalization been positioned as the progressive position to take in Canada?

Pasted from <http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/f-word-collective/2011/11/why-does-left-want-prostitution-be-%E2%80%98-job-any-other%E2%80%99>

 

This comes from a rabble blog so I hope we can discuss the article here. It fits in nicely with my complaints to Oldgoat in this post http://rabble.ca/comment/1424725#comment-1424725

This is supposed to be a progressive message board.

Please don't start the actual class analysis in this thread because I would like to keep it on the topic of why progressives have abandoned it so easily as well as lobbying for the feminist forum to be protected.

pookie

How would you square the class analysis with the evidence of a not-insignificant link between the impugned laws (bawdy house, avails and solicitation) and increased risk for those who engage in sex work?

Would you demand positive state action to remove the economic and social factors precipitating some people into prostitution? Would you have the courts refuse jurisdiction?

Just wondering how this maps out onto the decision.

Pondering

Pookie, you are jumping to the end of the discussion without first exploring the parameters of the question.

Many people here know more than I do about formal class analysis. I’m sure someone else can come up with a better description but I will give it a shot. Basically, the premise is that civilization is stratified and that must be examined when evaluating the world.  For example, First Nations prostitutes must be examined through the lens of the colonialism that has informed their existence from the day they were born.  Seeing them as individual women who just happened to decide to become prostitutes ignores the context in which they made that choice. Organizations of Aboriginal women have good reason to see it as an extension of colonialism that is contributing to the destruction of their communities.  Their young women are hooked on drugs then to get those drugs they have to sell their sexuality.  This affects their entire families not just the particular woman involved. 

This factor deserves far more respect and acknowledgment.  We are still the dominant society and we have visited terrible injustices against the First Nations people some of which are only coming to light now. Aboriginal women view their over-representation as a direct result of the residential schools that ripped their communities apart.  We have to take into account that we will be worsening their situation yet again in favor of the "rights" of more privileged women to be high class "escorts" to serve privileged men.

We cannot call ourselves progressive if we don't consider that we may be perpetuating yet another crime against them in legitimizing further exploitation and contributing to the continued breakdown of their communities.  All prostitution is not the same. Just like the rest of society it is stratified.  There are 30K a night women and 10$ bjs on the street. Aboriginal women never get the 30K jobs. Viewing it through the lens of the individual woman making a choice and wanting to do what she is doing because it pays better than Walmart or night cleaning is a gross mischaracterization of what is happening to disadvantaged aboriginal women.

As progressives we should be carefully examining all the angles, all the different types of prostitution, who populates each type and how each type has been impacted around the globe under different systems.   We should be talking about how Canada differs culturally and geographically from other countries that have legalized.

In my opinion, legalizing prostitution leads to an increase in violence against prostitutes.  Other people (yourself I assume Pookie) believe the opposite is true.  Perhaps both conclusions are true depending on the class of prostitutes we are discussing

Prostitution law in Canada has been wiped clean leaving the door open for full criminalization, the Nordic Model, or full decriminalization/legalization.  Progressives have a responsibility to do real class analysis before adopting the neoliberal viewpoint on prostitution pushed by the sex industry and mainstream media.

J'accuse "progressives" of taking a male-centric flippant shallow view to the topic of prostitution arguing for women's "right" to serve men sexually because it suits men, it's easy. It is male entitlement shrouded in the guise of defending women's rights. 

My challenge is simple.  Allow feminists to have in depth abolitionist discussions without immediately jumping in to derail them by demanding that we explain, defend and prove the entire abolitionist argument in 500 words or less in every thread no matter what the topic.

shartal@rogers.com

I see a different issue. I do not believe that any law will stop very poor women from selling themselves for money. Many of the women trafficked are originally lured by the promise of work and income. Every week I work with women beaten by johns. It seems to me that a progressive approach to the sorrow in prostitution must include legalization with protection. If the police can chase down shoplifters they can charge violent johns. Concurrently low barrier access to support service is essential. With that we must continue to oppose poverty. Class misery, deep demoralizing poverty and the lack of practical alternative fuel the sex trade.

cco

Pondering wrote:

Their young women are hooked on drugs then to get those drugs they have to sell their sexuality.  This affects their entire families not just the particular woman involved. 

But how is this possible? We're already halfway to the "Nordic Model" when it comes to drugs. Buying drugs is illegal, which has clearly eliminated the market for drugs. The only step left is to legalize their sale.

shartal@rogers.com

Drug use has two common roots, partying that gets out of control and self medication to bliss out from a terrible life, often in childhood.Most of my clients are users and most start overusing before they were 13 years old. Most start with alcohol and move when it stops being to get effects. This is an understandable and , dare I say it, reasonable response to the misery experienced by traumatized people who are very poor. As a society what does Canada offer these children? Boring education, no real future options, and the prospect of more of it in the future. Being blissed is better. The sex trade is not a by product of drug use. Drug use and the sex trade are the outcome of hopeless poverty.

cco

Amen. It's much easier to go after the side effects of poverty, because we can gin up some moral outrage against "whores", "johns", "drug dealers", "thieving beggars", and all those things that result from a fundamental societal unwillingness to confront the fact that our current economic system doesn't serve the people. As long as we have enough police to recycle the wreckage, we can ignore the fact the train tracks lead straight into a concrete wall. Throw in some old-school sexual moralizing, and we've let ourselves off the hook.

Pondering

@ shartal

post 3

So far every police force in the world has failed to protect prostitutes whether it is legal or not in their jurisdiction so just saying the police should protect prostitutes is naive.

In my opinion legalization leads to increasing violence against lower class women while privileging brothel owners and higher class women. The only way to discover the truth is to do research and analysis.  It isn't sufficient for me to simply say what  I believe. Hard numbers are difficult to come by for either side but there is lots of evidence available if people care to look.

If you would like to start a thread on examples of where violence has been reduced through legalization/decriminalization I think people would find it very interesting; I know I would. If legalization really does reduce violence against women, in fact not just in theory, that is something I definitely want to know about as it would radically change my opinion.

 post 5

Not all, or even most, women living in poverty in Canada become drug-addicted prostitutes. I don't see legitimizing prostitution as a means of financing drug addiction as being helpful. If they are drug addicted due to childhood abuse and trauma it is all the more outrageous to legitimize their continued abuse by legalizing it.   It's pushing them out of the frying pan and into the fire.  They are doubly exploited by johns and drug dealers. This class of women is affected differently by laws than other classes of prostitutes.

@cco

post 4

Comparing drugs and prostitution is like comparing jaywalking and credit card fraud. The drug war failed so prostitution should be legal is not a logical argument.

post 6

Buying into the neoliberal "right to work as a prostitute" philosophy for poverty stricken abused drug addicts is society turning it's back and letting itself off the hook. 

Pondering

Do Canadian farmworkers fight to have unlimited migrants allowed to work in Canada?  Doesn't that depress wages and create a second class workforce that is easily exploited? Is there any reason sex workers should be able to skip the usual immigration process?

 

It is an insult to women that the sole solution even considered is an extreme no rules neoliberal vision of sex as work even though we know that many women suffer great harm within the industry from PTSD to murder. 

 

Prostitution is a rare industry that hasn't been legally sanctioned so mega-corporations haven't got their fingers in the pie yet.  If it were to be legalized it is the best chance in centuries to create an industry that does not exploit workers for the benefit of the few.  But for some odd reason, progressives couldn't care less what survivors have to say.  The only sex workers progressives want to hear from are the ones who want the "right to work" for brothel owners. 

 

Even if we intended to legalize I should think we would be looking at where other systems have failed in order to design a better one.  Instead progressives are embracing the unfettered capitalist market driven business model. 

 

I'm an abolitionist so I don't believe there is any framework under which prostitution should be legalized but if I did support legalization it certainly wouldn't be this neoliberal vision of unfettered capitalist exploitation of prostitution as a new service industry for the desperately poor to survive on.

 

Just off the top of my head I would insist that all brothels be coops owned solely by those providing direct services. I would require all other staff be hired through Employment Canada to ensure there could be no possibility of excessively paid "guards" and "receptionists".  I would insist that all taxes collected go directly towards protection including audits and exit services. 

 

When it comes to women, these are not things that occur to progressives.    Nope, where prostitution is concerned, even though it is well known as a job in which workers are in extreme danger "progressives" support a zero laws or controls model. Heaven forbid that any effort be made to keep out organized crime.

 

No, progressives stand up for the rights of women to work in outdoor stalls like animals or sit in windows so they can be selected by race to provide sexual services.  That is the "progressive" view for women.  Why?  Because some sex workers said that's the way they really really want it so we should believe them and support them in their endeavours.  Survivors are just wannabe whiners that didn't make it in the industry. Must be just sour grapes.

 

How wonderful that neoliberal free-market capitalists and progressives have something they can agree over.

cco

Pondering wrote:

Comparing drugs and prostitution is like comparing jaywalking and credit card fraud. The drug war failed so prostitution should be legal is not a logical argument.

With the "evil, exploiting" drug dealers taking the role of the jaywalkers in your argument, I'm guessing?

So, let's see. Marginalized communities, the poor, and people of colour overrepresented among those in the trade? Check.

Centuries of attempted enforcement utterly unsuccessful at eradicating the trade? Check.

Verifiable harm caused by the trade, compounded by verifiable harm from laws targeting it? Check.

Heavy and almost inevitably hypocritical social judgement of both buyers and sellers? Check.

Devaluation and willful blindness when it comes to murders of sellers? Check.

Religiously-flavoured moralizing with a healthy dose of bigotry? Check.

Specific symptoms of poverty being singled out as unique social ills to avoid discussion about broader economic reforms? Check times a hundred. (Note that the thrust of all the "Nordic model" advocates is never "provide a guaranteed annual income so no one is forced by poverty into selling sex", but always "target those filthy, evil men who buy sex, and hope that those who sell sex will get that job at Wal-Mart they passed up because the hours from hooking were so much better". Gosh, is there any parallel in the drug war arguments?)

Nope, can't see any similarities between the war on drugs and the war on sex at all. Carry on.

quizzical

pondering what's the liberal party's position on legalizing prostitution? i'm looking for a place to park my vote next year. the ndp apparently is supporting the legalization of prostitution and i won't be voting for them.

the lack of caring i see here about marginalized women being over represented in prostitution makes me ill...and then when you chuck in gratuitous bs remarks like opposers are sexually repressed moralists...well it really makes you want to vote ndp. okay not so much.

and i wish they avid supporters of legalization would get their critical thinking skills together. first they claim it's to stop male john violence against women. then they want us to stop thinking the men who buy sex aren't filthy and evil???!!!! which is it?

are they wonderful and caring men who commit no acts of violence against prostitutes? or are they abusers and thus their actions need to be legalized so we as a society can stop them from being abusers....ffs...the mental loops people must put their minds through to support legalization.

cco

quizzical wrote:

the ndp apparently is supporting the legalization of prostitution and i won't be voting for them.

Prostitution is already legal. As for whether the NDP supports criminalizing it, there was a motion at last year's convention about sex work, which other than the party constitution was the only remotely controversial thing on the agenda. In keeping with the philosophy of Mulcair's NDP, it was deferred at the last minute and sentenced to committee to be buried. If you're looking for an abolitionist party, I suspect the NDP will provide just as many ambiguous weasel words as the Liberals will.

lagatta

cco, actually, I believe the Nordic Model advocates do demand a guaranteed annual income, training and social services. Any I have read do. However that is easier in the social-democratic Nordic countries than in many other places.

There is no easy solution to any of this, as legalization has also been hijacked by the predominance of human trafficking, in the Netherlands and Germany.

And no decent solution at all (whatever the policy) for the people in the huge bordellos in some Southeast Asian countries. Personally, I'd tend towards abolitionism as a goal (like eliminating asbestos production) but at the same time support organising efforts by people in the sex trades. Yes, that is contradictory, but so is capitalism.

quizzical

cco wrote:
Prostitution is already legal.

talk about weasel words. i think you know full well i meant FULL legalization. i guess we can expect the personal disparging line of attack to continue from those who think decriminalization will well serve marginalized women and women in general even though there's no evidence to support it and lots to disprove it.

cco

Exchanging sex for money is legal in Canada. Were you only referring to the laws recently struck down by the Supreme Court, laws which primarily targeted street prostitution instead of the higher-end escort services which half of Parliament Hill probably uses?

I don't feel like I was targeting anyone personally by bringing up the obvious fact that religious moralizing is a key element in the war on sex workers (as I've already mentioned, the war on women always starts with the war on whores). But if you feel you've been the victim of a "personal attack", quizzical, then I apologize unreservedly.

lagatta, I stand corrected on the guaranteed income.

shartal@rogers.com

The central issue is that human trafficking occurs because of poverty not because of the sex trade. Lagatta correct me if I did not understand the situation correctly, I understood that the Dutch and German approach of legalization and regulation is undermine by the mass importation of trafficked women are effectively slaves and have no legal immigration status. As a result they are very unlikely to be able to complain about violence and exploitation. I do not see how the Nordic model would change this. Migrant farm workers do not complain for similar reasons. Overall the exploitation of desperation expands within illegal or semi legal situations. Who would complain if the net result is deportation back the the desperation we tried to escape?

Jacob Two-Two

I'm having a little trouble figuring out what the abolitionist stance is exactly. I get that you disagree with the claim that legalisation makes prostitution safer. Let's assume you're right. Then what is your recommendation for making prostitution safer? Are you claiming that this shouldn't be considered because we should all just be trying to eradicate it instead? Do the abolitionists have a plan to improve the lives of women who are currently trapped (or just employed) in sex work?

susan davis

quizzical wrote:

cco wrote:
Prostitution is already legal.

talk about weasel words. i think you know full well i meant FULL legalization. i guess we can expect the personal disparging line of attack to continue from those who think decriminalization will well serve marginalized women and women in general even though there's no evidence to support it and lots to disprove it.

what evidence..? you claim to want to have a reasonable conversation then put up this so called evidence.....no....? the SCC considered all of this so called evidence and found it to be lacking in credibility and gave it no weight....but yet abolitionists blindly follow on believing the lies and myths which have caused such wide spread harm.

as for creating liveable incomes and supports for sex workers, abolitionists have done nothing. they seem to feel this so called nordic approach (which apparently is not what people claim even at face value- ie there is no nordic model) is some magical solution and that sex work will magically disappear if we criminalize the source of sex workers income.

even in the face of such a strong win and the decision made by supreme court justices, some of whom are women, abolitionists cling to their assertions of saving the world under a recriminalization model.

Pondering

cco wrote:
Pondering wrote:

Comparing drugs and prostitution is like comparing jaywalking and credit card fraud. The drug war failed so prostitution should be legal is not a logical argument.

With the "evil, exploiting" drug dealers taking the role of the jaywalkers in your argument, I'm guessing?

No, I could just as easily have said apples and oranges only they are not different enough from one another.  How about, butterflies and kangaroos? 

I support the full legalization of marijuana including sales and the decriminalization of all other drug use and low level dealing.  I don't think it should be legal to sell heroin or meth.

Drugs are a thing, women are people.  With drugs, some of the users are victims. With prostitution, some of the women are victims.

"War on sex", seriously?  People can have sex without prostitution. Sometimes, both people want to have sex.

Pondering

cco wrote:
I don't feel like I was targeting anyone personally by bringing up the obvious fact that religious moralizing is a key element in the war on sex workers (as I've already mentioned, the war on women always starts with the war on whores).

 

I don't think any progressives other than sex industry promoters uses religious moralizing to support their views. I have certainly never seen a religious reasoning put forth here. The article you linked to is about women getting arrested for having condoms.  I don't see the relevance as all progressive and feminist positions support decriminalization for prostitutes.  They could carry condoms no problem. I don't think women in Canada are being arrested for having condoms.

Pondering

shartal@rogers.com wrote:
Overall the exploitation of desperation expands within illegal or semi legal situations. Who would complain if the net result is deportation back the the desperation we tried to escape?
Illegal migration expands dramatically when prostitution is legalized.  That has proven to be true across Europe, in Australia and it has even begun in New Zealand.  If you read my thread on Trafficking and Migrants you will see the proof of it.  Only 13% of the prostitutes in Ireland are Irish.  This isn't from biased sources.  The information from New Zealand is from the Prostitutes Collective which is pro-legalization.

This is why I feel these arguments really need to be deconstructed so we can agree on some basic facts before trying to debate.  There is overwhelming evidence that illegal migration increases under legalization. We can't have a productive discussion without acknowledging obvious facts.

Pondering

@ quizzical

Trudeau was asked last April and said this:

As for sex work, “I'm not entirely there yet in terms of legalization of prostitution. Obviously it's something that we need more broadly understood science on it,” he says. “I want to hear from more people on it.”

Pasted from <http://dailyxtra.com/canada/news/justin-trudeaus-priorities>

Sophie Grégoire, his wife is involved in a lot of women's issues including eating disorders, mental health and violence against women. I think she would strongly support the Nordic Model.

I have no doubt that before the next election we will have new prostitution laws.  If Harper introduces a Nordic model it will get broad bi-partisan support even in a free vote.  The NDP convention did not agree to support Libby Davis either.  There is plenty of opposition from the NDP.  It will be interesting to see the results of a free vote on the Nordic model.

Bedford suggested that this be treated like abortion law and gay marriage but that isn't going to happen, especially under a Conservative government.  The Nordic model will pass a free vote with ease. After that it will be the default that no Canadian government wants to touch with a hundred foot pole.  With Marijuana moving towards legalization the police will be incentivized to turn their attention to exploitative prostitution.  That will help make Canada a Nordic Model success story.

Pondering

susan davis wrote:
they seem to feel this so called nordic approach (which apparently is not what people claim even at face value- ie there is no nordic

The Nordic model, as it applies to prostitution, is all systems under which buyers rather than providers are prosecuted.  Prostitutes themselves are decriminalized while everyone else involved is breaking the law. Other factors can vary.

Pondering

@ Jacob Two-Two

Thank-you for your questions. Abolitionists viewpoints vary but the core belief is that legalization is not just neutral, it endangers more women. It may seem counter intuitive but it increases the violence by expanding the industry for the most vulnerable women in multiple ways. No woman gets into prostitution expecting that she will suffer PTSD but the numbers of those who do get it are very high, even for upper-level workers.  Many survivors say that before they quit they claimed that they were fine. The most dangerous forms of prostitution, the lower levels, increase the most.  Many countries have tried to make prostitution safer through legalization and they have failed badly.  New Zealand faired the best, but they too have been starting to feel the negative effects and they are relatively protected geographically.

Many prostitutes claim that they are happy in their work, or if not happy, satisfied with the trade and prefer it to other work for which they would be paid less. I'm sure the ones making 5K a night don't want my rescue, but they don't need it either. Legal or not women at that level are as safe as any woman dating. That prostitution is illegal is an inconvenience not a danger.  Medium level through an escort service is probably the next safest. Some mid-level independents are fairly safe too as they only service a limited set of regulars and only take referrals they can verify. They don't use craigslist.  Then there are some small higher end "massage" parlours.  I do believe prostitution is psychologically harmful for the majority of these women too but they all do have alternatives and the law doesn't interfere much with their activities.

The lower end, which I think is the majority, begins with massage parlours of foreign women who don't speak English. For the most part these women are illegal economic migrants or trafficked. When they are trafficked, I would not be adverse to offering them refugee status otherwise they should deported. Then there is the independent financially struggling young craigslist type that won't hire guards and don't understand what they are getting themselves into. They have bought into the normalization pretty woman fantasy.  Nothing can make that safe. The streetwalkers are at the bottom of the pile. In Vancouver they are estimated to be 70% aboriginal. None of these women are made safer through legalization and their numbers expand dramatically.

This thread which will soon close itemized the enormous increase in migrant labor in countries that legalized. The increase in illegal migration is undebatable. It has happened in every single country bar none.  Canada, does not have a moral obligation to become a brothel for the benefit of foreign workers even if they do want to be here.

http://rabble.ca/comment/1425198#comment-1425198

Why did unions and socialism even begin if it was not to protect the people who don't have the money from the people who do have the money?

Money is power and offering it for certain things or services is against the law because there are people desperate enough to do anything even though they are putting themselves at great risk. Offered an unreasonable amount of money for a relatively unskilled service it's hard to refuse.   Why are virgins worth more? In what "profession" is it better to be inexperienced? It's a very powerful lure to anyone who is struggling financially. After all it's just sex, something women do for free all the time. The difference is, when women do it for free, it's because they actually want to have sex. 

No woman wants to regularly have sex with even five different men a day. She is forcing herself to do it for the money. Emotionally it can be the equivalent of offering yourself up voluntarily to be raped. Women speak all the time of disassociating themselves from their bodies, telling themselves "they" weren't really being touched, it was just their body.  Many women who are not on drugs to begin with end up taking them to cope. Does that happen to all women? Apparently not, but it does happen to a lot of them as per the testimony of survivors. Maybe it's not happening to the 23 year old university student who has her pick of customers but that does not justify what happens to most women. Like with drugs, many don't know what they are getting themselves into until it is too late.

Sineed posted this in another thread " Right now I'm thinking of a former patient, a crack addict, who had men ejaculate on her face so many times we had to keep treating her for gonorrhea in her eyes. " How is that not degrading and damaging to that woman's very core as a human-being? How does that not destroy someone's sense of self-worth?  There are some really bad exploitative jobs in Canada, but I don't think any of them come anywhere close to that horror. I'm sure the legitimisers would just say she can be treated with antibiotics plus how else can she get the money for drugs? How dare we try to stop men from doing this to her!  She is willing. She chose it. It's the way of the free market.

Providing someone with money to buy drugs is called enabling so I don't think it is doing them any favors to make it legal for men to do what they did to that patient Sineed referred to. To sanction that is an abomination. We don't let people sell handicrafts on the street but we are going to sanction selling sex because it's moralistic not to?  That is just bizarre logic. I see nothing moral about sanctioning what was done to that poor woman.

I support guaranteed minimum income and I do believe we are moving in that direction. It is supported by both the Liberals and the NDP. Of course I want to see improved exit services. Many women quit but are unwillingly lured back in by the quick money. Much like drugs, it is "just this once", but then they can't stop. Just like drug addicts they pay a terrible price.

Some prostitutes don't get PTSD and are relatively happy and extremely well paid in their work.  I would guess those are mostly the ones who see the fewest men per week and have a screening process they feel comfortable with. I care about them but I am not particularly worried about them. Laws or no laws these women will not be stopped or made more or less safe. Same goes for high level brothels and escort services.  Cheap brothels, streetwalkers and Craigslist/backpage expand dramatically under legalization and that is where the most serious harms occur.

As a progressive and an abolitionist my focus is on the terrible toll prostitution takes on the lower class women who enter the industry but they are not the only ones who pay a price. This woman, a former sex trade activist discovered that she was far more damaged than she had realized when she retired and tried to have a normal life.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bethany-st-james/life-after-prostitution_b_3833940.html

As a courtesan and as a certified sexual health educator I had spent years counseling others on love and sex

Here is another:

http://ruthjacobs.co.uk/2013/01/13/in-the-booth-with-ruth-rebecca-mott-exited-prostituted-woman-and-abolitionist/

I choose to fight for the prostituted class for I believe it is vital for exited prostituted women to take hold of the leadership of the abolition movement.

I believe deeply that for many centuries the words and views of the prostituted class has been forced into silence, mainly because the ‘history’ of prostitution has been made in the interest of the profiteers of the sex trade. This means that any language of the prostituted that shows any form of discontent, or that seeks a path to full humanity, is censored. The only language that is allowed to be public is the voice of the ‘happy hooker’ – which is the voice of the pimp and the voice of the punter.

I want the multiple voices of the vast majority of the prostituted to rise to the top, the voices of a whole class that has been enslaved and silenced. One way this can happen is through pushing to the forefront of the abolition movement the multiple voices of exited women who know the real face of the sex trade.

Pasted from <http://ruthjacobs.co.uk/2013/01/13/in-the-booth-with-ruth-rebecca-mott-exited-prostituted-woman-and-abolitionist/>

I believe it is the moral obligation of progressives to pay attention to these voices and to not allow them to be denigrated or disappeared by anyone. These women are under attack and they deserve protection. Demonizing abolitionists is silencing.

susan davis

Pondering wrote:

cco wrote:
I don't feel like I was targeting anyone personally by bringing up the obvious fact that religious moralizing is a key element in the war on sex workers (as I've already mentioned, the war on women always starts with the war on whores).

 

I don't think any progressives other than sex industry promoters uses religious moralizing to support their views. I have certainly never seen a religious reasoning put forth here. The article you linked to is about women getting arrested for having condoms.  I don't see the relevance as all progressive and feminist positions support decriminalization for prostitutes.  They could carry condoms no problem. I don't think women in Canada are being arrested for having condoms.

women in canada are being arrested for carrying condoms. condoms are used as "proof of prostitution" by police all across the country. it has caused sex workers to not want to use them, unprotected services are becoming more and more the norm.

because of criminalization.

 

Jacob Two-Two

Thanks for your response, Pondering, but I'm afraid I didn't see an answer to my question anywhere in there.

There was a lot about how awful prostitution is, but I doubt you're going to find much of anyone who can't see how bad sex work is for sex workers in the world as it is. The question is, given that's it's a reality and that it isn't going away anytime soon, how do we alleviate some of it's most harmful dangers to the people who are doing it now? I have yet to see anything addressing this in the many posts you've written about this subject.

I can't see merely talking about how awful prostitution is as doing anything to help prostitutes, and I think that's where our focus should be. If you have a plan that improves conditions for them then I'd like to hear it.

Pondering

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
The question is, given that's it's a reality and that it isn't going away anytime soon, how do we alleviate some of it's most harmful dangers to the people who are doing it now? I have yet to see anything addressing this in the many posts you've written about this subject.

I can't see merely talking about how awful prostitution is as doing anything to help prostitutes, and I think that's where our focus should be. If you have a plan that improves conditions for them then I'd like to hear it.

Well if you have a plan I'd like to hear it because legalization just ensures that even more women are endangered. So, a good place to start is not making things worse through legitimizing the industry. 

How do you make hitch-hiking safe? How about going home with random men you meet in clubs? How do you make that safe? Prostitution is not safe. That it does not harm 100% of women is an unreasonably high bar to set.

The greatest beneficiaries of legalization are brothels and johns. Prostitutes become a dime a dozen.

Pondering

What about this class of women?

In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a typical lap dance did not constitute an "obscene" act within the meaning of the Criminal Code of Canada. The Crown did not argue that lap dances constituted "prostitution" and therefore the court did not address the possible issue that the typical lap dance may contravene one or more anti-prostitution laws.[15] This led to the displacement of strip clubs and table dancing clubs in Canada by lap dancing clubs.

Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lap_dance#Canada>

Strippers used to be able to make good money stripping down to a g-string on a stage. Now they pay the bar a stipend and do free stage dances for the privelege of giving lap dances for 10$ a pop.

At the time it was said that no strippers would be required to do lap dances.

Strip clubs smell dollars and opportunity on the heels of a Supreme Court of Canada decision Friday to strike down key Criminal Code provisions. The Adult Entertainment Association of Canada says it’s ready to provide “enhanced” services once brothels become legal in Canada. “The country’s licensed adult entertainment clubs are already the Canadian version of a brothel,” said association president Tim Lambrinos in a statement, adding that they don’t yet go as far as full-on brothels do.

Pasted from <http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2013/12/21/21352716.html>

Strippers don't want to be prostitutes but they will have no choice if they want to continue working. Women will have to do more for less.

Pondering

DaveW wrote:

Pondering: I don't think disagreeing with your views is "demonizing" anybody, it is just disagreeing.

Absolutely but abolitionists have been disparaged in multiple threads, not just disagreed with.

Pondering

susan davis wrote:
women in canada are being arrested for carrying condoms. condoms are used as "proof of prostitution" by police all across the country. it has caused sex workers to not want to use them, unprotected services are becoming more and more the norm.

because of criminalization.

Then I hope the Nordic Model comes through so that prostitutes will no longer be criminalized. Didn't you say something about the police working with prostitutes in Vancouver even now? 

susan davis

yes but that's vancouver, because of rhetoric spouted by abolitionists all over the rest of the country, raids are on going...you know to "rescue" people....condoms are used as evidence of prostitution...

you think that your views aren't harmful and that you and your fellow abolitionists are not causing any harm with your skewing of the facts and ignoring of sex workers voices.

well, you are harming. all the time.

and once again its not LEGALIZATION!!! we had LEAGLIZATION and it sucked. thousands of women died.

we want and have for now DECRIMINALZATION!!!

can you maybe at least get that one part of our quest right? can you please just not skew this one part of our fight? and stop representing us as in favor of LEGALIZATION? we are not, we WANT DECRIMINALIZATION!!!

i know abolitionists would like to own DECRIMINALIZATION and use the word often now to promote their idea of recriminalization under the so call nordic model.

but you don't want DECRIMINALIZATION, you want LEGALIZATION...you want workers to be legal and buyers to be illegal....no? does that not include criminal code provisions? so its not DECRIMINALIZATION abolitionists want, its more LEGALIZATION...

yup the perfect abolitionist feminist world where a mostly male government define under what circumstances a woman may have permission to allow access to her body....sounds really feminist to me....

DaveW

Pondering: I don't think disagreeing with your views is "demonizing" anybody, it is just disagreeing.

"" Abolitionists' viewpoints vary but the core belief is that legalization is not just neutral, it endangers more women. ""

... we can debate the above assertion, studies and research in hand, but reach opposite conclusions in good faith.

I am in the grayest middle ground, seeing the shortcomings of both proposed approaches, criminalizing and legalizing/regulating the prostitution trade.

One thing for sure, politics makes for strange bedfellows, and the 2 views will unite advocacy groups that are otherwise polar opposities in politics -- Left radicals, Church groups, civil libertarians, women's rights advocates, etc. Left and Right will mean essentially nothing in the media/court/political battles ahead this year.

wage zombie

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
The question is, given that's it's a reality and that it isn't going away anytime soon, how do we alleviate some of it's most harmful dangers to the people who are doing it now? I have yet to see anything addressing this in the many posts you've written about this subject.

I can't see merely talking about how awful prostitution is as doing anything to help prostitutes, and I think that's where our focus should be. If you have a plan that improves conditions for them then I'd like to hear it.

Pondering wrote:

Well if you have a plan I'd like to hear it because legalization just ensures that even more women are endangered. So, a good place to start is not making things worse through legitimizing the industry. 

How do you make hitch-hiking safe? How about going home with random men you meet in clubs? How do you make that safe? Prostitution is not safe. That it does not harm 100% of women is an unreasonably high bar to set.

The greatest beneficiaries of legalization are brothels and johns. Prostitutes become a dime a dozen.

As someone following this discussion, this is pretty disappointing to hear.  I guess you think that the current situation is the best it's going to get, and the amount of danger currently faced by prostitutes is acceptable.

I think babblers following the discussion are willing to consider various ideas and arguments.  But giving the thumbs up to the status quo is not going to impress anybody.

Pondering

wage zombie wrote:
As someone following this discussion, this is pretty disappointing to hear.  I guess you think that the current situation is the best it's going to get, and the amount of danger currently faced by prostitutes is acceptable.

I think babblers following the discussion are willing to consider various ideas and arguments.  But giving the thumbs up to the status quo is not going to impress anybody.

I never said I was okay with the status quo. I am firmly against the status quo. I agree with the SCC that current laws were written to prevent public nuisance while maintaining access for the 1% who had no need of brothels or pimps. The majority of arrests were always of prostitutes not johns.

Under the Nordic model prostitutes are not breaking the law. That is not the status quo.

 

 

Bacchus

No they will just be driven further undereground or be exploited by people  'protecting' them by supplying undergroiund brothels or at more risks for unsafe/murderous/assaulting customers

Pondering

Bacchus wrote:
No they will just be driven further undereground or be exploited by people  'protecting' them by supplying undergroiund brothels or at more risks for unsafe/murderous/assaulting customers

You completely ignore the fact that the illegal brothels grow faster wherever prostitution is legalized. I guess those women don't matter as long as the ones serving the 1% are fine.

susan davis

we had LEGALIZATION...we want DECRIMINALIZATION...what the hell....LEGALIZATION does not work.....we agree......stop skewing the sex worker position in support of decriminalization....

we have laws to protect people from rape, murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, slavery, unlawful confinement, extortion, debt servitude....

why 2 sets of laws? admit it...you think sex workers are a lower class....not worthy of the same laws which are in place to protect all canadians....we need our own set of laws...cause you know...violence against us is different...we're different...seperate from other canadians...

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

susan davis wrote:

yes but that's vancouver, because of rhetoric spouted by abolitionists all over the rest of the country, raids are on going...you know to "rescue" people....condoms are used as evidence of prostitution...

you think that your views aren't harmful and that you and your fellow abolitionists are not causing any harm with your skewing of the facts and ignoring of sex workers voices.

well, you are harming. all the time.

and once again its not LEGALIZATION!!! we had LEAGLIZATION and it sucked. thousands of women died.

we want and have for now DECRIMINALZATION!!!

can you maybe at least get that one part of our quest right? can you please just not skew this one part of our fight? and stop representing us as in favor of LEGALIZATION? we are not, we WANT DECRIMINALIZATION!!!

i know abolitionists would like to own DECRIMINALIZATION and use the word often now to promote their idea of recriminalization under the so call nordic model.

but you don't want DECRIMINALIZATION, you want LEGALIZATION...you want workers to be legal and buyers to be illegal....no? does that not include criminal code provisions? so its not DECRIMINALIZATION abolitionists want, its more LEGALIZATION...

yup the perfect abolitionist feminist world where a mostly male government define under what circumstances a woman may have permission to allow access to her body....sounds really feminist to me....

Susan, you're making unfounded attacks.  Nobody has said anything about your last paragraph, you've made it up and then told us (who support the idea that sex work, in the best of all possible worlds, wouldn't exist) that's what we advocate. 

You say we don't care about sex worker's voices.  Well, news flash.  *I* don't care.  Others may, but I don't.  There you go.  I don't give a flying fuck what you think, what you say, or what you want.

Sex work is inherently destructive to women.  As long as women's bodies are a commodity, we are not an emancipated society - which, in a large, general sense, is what feminism is about.

There is nothing you can say or desire that will change that.

Sex work is inherently antifeminist, IN MY OPINION. And that's just my opinion, so don't go grafting it onto anyone else's stance.

susan davis

and i have to give a flying fuck about outsiders who continuously undermine our work for equality. i am not making anything up. it has been said over and over...promponents of legalization....we are not proponents of legalization. its decriminalization and always has been.

its nice to know what kind of feminism you side with however. i always knew there were a few real haters here.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

susan davis wrote:

and i have to give a flying fuck about outsiders who continuously undermine our work for equality. i am not making anything up. it has been said over and over...promponents of legalization....we are not proponents of legalization. its decriminalization and always has been.

its nice to know what kind of feminism you side with however. i always knew there were a few real haters here.

This, for example: 

Quote:
yup the perfect abolitionist feminist world where a mostly male government define under what circumstances a woman may have permission to allow access to her body....sounds really feminist to me....

is a complete fabrication, then attributed to Pondering. 

The "kind" of feminism I side with seeks to emancipate women - not just one subset.  And if that subset wants to continue an institution that is inherently harmful to women in general, then yes, I'm against that agenda. It's not about being a hater, it's about there being one huge, foundational issue that never really gets addressed by advocates such as yourself. 

I'm not sure how helping the commodification of women's bodies (ie: sex industry) can be equated to equality, and certainly no argument has been made that doesn't just muddy the water further.  Should women, any woman, in or out of the sex industry, have the full protection of the law?  Absolutely.  How does promoting the sex industry achieve that end?  Ooooh, haters!

Highly logical.

Pondering

susan davis wrote:
we have laws to protect people from rape, murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, slavery, unlawful confinement, extortion, debt servitude....

Laws only work if they can be enforced.  If many banks were robbed every day the police could not respond. Society relies on the fact that most people will be law-abiding.  When marijuana is legalized the trade will expand enormously.  The B.C. industry will at least double.  There will probably still be a lot of low-level illegal production but it doesn't matter because no one will be harmed and all the big farms and big dispensaries will follow the law. Most people will buy legal supplies because it's easier and safer.  Some private growers will sell to close friends and family like people do with wine.  Smugglers and organized crime will be out of business.

With prostitution, the opposite occurs. The illegal industry expands along with the legal industry and grows beyond police ability to control as it has in Amsterdam, Germany and Australia.  Many more thousands of women enter the lower levels of the trade where they are terribly abused. Child prostitution increases. "Let the police take care of it" you say, and if they can't, well that isn't your fault. What's important to you is to legitimize and expand the sex industry. The rest is someone else's responsibility. 

susan davis wrote:
admit it...you think sex workers are a lower class

Most people probably consider me lower-class so if sex workers are lower class they are in excellent company.  I think you should do some admitting of your own. 

You are no streetwalker. You get to screen your clients.  You were not vulnerable to Pickton.  I googled, you have been interviewed by the press.  You won't be getting repeated  gonorrhea infections in your eyes from letting men come in your face.  You want to open up a brothel, but I doubt you would be working one of the rooms there. Admit you aspire to be the "manager", not one of the service providers. 

There are a lot of escort services and massage parlours and strip clubs in Canada.  I wonder how many of them are owned by women.  The strippers can't just strip in clubs, they have to do lap dances to make money ever since lap dancing became legal. If prostitution were legal, why would men pay 10$ for a 3 minute lap dance?

susan davis wrote:
we need our own set of laws...cause you know...violence against us is different...we're different...seperate from other canadians...

No, the point is you are not different from other Canadians. Being a sex worker is not a human right. You are not a special snowflake. The prostitution industry brings a plethora of problems that society is forced to deal with. Canadians have a right to decide the price is too high to pay on multiple fronts.

susan davis

the price is too high...? unenforcable laws...? prostitution laws are unenforceable....i don't get it....murder is too hard to enforce but you think it will be possible to enforce against prostitution....?

the "special snow flake" yup that's me! is that some kind of slam on me being white...you really are out there.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I don't think "special snowflake" has anything to do with your race, susan.

Nobody has said that murders should not be investigated or prosecuted.  I'm fairly confident that everyone on this board is in agreement that any woman, regardless her line of work, should be protected from assault and from being murdered.  Clearly, when crimes against sex workers are not investigated or prosecuted as they would be for others, something needs to change.

However, I think the point Pondering is attempting to make is that special protections and provisions for sex work - having your own set of laws, especially for sex workers - is less reasonable than expecting the protections of the justice system (flawed as they are when it comes to women in general) as it pertains to the rest of us be acted upon for sex workers as well.

cco

Pondering wrote:

There are a lot of escort services and massage parlours and strip clubs in Canada.  I wonder how many of them are owned by women.  The strippers can't just strip in clubs, they have to do lap dances to make money ever since lap dancing became legal. If prostitution were legal, why would men pay 10$ for a 3 minute lap dance?

Do you think stripping should be illegal too, by any chance? Are strippers the next group of Canadian women you plan to set free by banning their profession? (Oh, sorry -- presumably stripping would still be legal, it would just be illegal to watch.)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

cco - Does stripping commodify the female body?  Does its existence encourage the kind of sexual entitlement that men already enjoy?  I'm not sure what Pondering thinks, but I can't see how it adds anything positive to the world. 

cco

Does that mean you think it should be outlawed? Porn, too?

Unionist

Just a comment, cco. I hate religion. I think it divides people and debases the human spirit. But I would and will fight to the last breath to prevent its being outlawed.

I think males refusing to share domestic duties is abusive of the rights, equality, and dignity of women. I'm not too sure I'd like to see that enshrined in the Criminal Code.

Why not engage what TB and others are saying instead of reducing it to its lowest common denominator?

 

 

cco

I'm trying to be sure of what's being said before I jump in. I just want to know whether Timebandit (and Pondering) want to ban stripping and porn as well as sex work. As you point out, being opposed to something isn't the same as wishing it outlawed. Some people will be opposed to all of these things no matter what Parliament does. What I'm curious about is whether "Nordic model" advocates would be satisfied with criminalizing sex work, or whether it's the first step of many.

susan davis

Timebandit wrote:

I don't think "special snowflake" has anything to do with your race, susan.

Nobody has said that murders should not be investigated or prosecuted.  I'm fairly confident that everyone on this board is in agreement that any woman, regardless her line of work, should be protected from assault and from being murdered.  Clearly, when crimes against sex workers are not investigated or prosecuted as they would be for others, something needs to change.

However, I think the point Pondering is attempting to make is that special protections and provisions for sex work - having your own set of laws, especially for sex workers - is less reasonable than expecting the protections of the justice system (flawed as they are when it comes to women in general) as it pertains to the rest of us be acted upon for sex workers as well.

this is what are fighting for. no special laws for prostitution...the same laws as everyone else....i am unclear what it is about decriminalization you disapprove of...the nordic model means there will be "special" laws for prostitution....decriminalzation means the same laws which apply to all canadian apply to people in the sex industry....

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

cco - I don't know if stripping should be outlawed.  I'm pretty much on the fence, and I freely admit that I don't have all the answers.  In SK, liquor licensing laws have made it near impossible to run a strip club (no booze + naked women, you can only have one or the other), which I always thought was a nice, indirect way to deal with it.  (SK just loosened that law, though).  I guess I'm not opposed to measures that make it impractical or unnecessary - like stronger social supports.  There's no question, though, that I would be doing a happy dance if we could find a way to make stripping as a profession gone, gone, gone. 

What really has to happen, though, beyond the whole debate around criminalization/decriminalization, is a culture shift.  We have to find a way to get to the point where the citizens with dicks get to the point where they don't feel entitled to view, objectify or have sexual access on demand to the citizens without.  I know it's a long way off and far easier said than done, but it's male entitlement that drives all of this. 

Susan - You would find these debates a lot less hostile if you weren't so contradictory.  In one conversation you say you want special laws, in the next you say you don't.

Frankly, what I'm getting from the debate is that pimps and madams will be better able to profit on the backs of women doing the actual sex work by being allowed to run brothels. I'm having trouble with the idea that this is a good thing.  I don't want harm to come to anyone, and I believe that all citizens should have equal access to the protections of the law.  But I don't think provisions that promote or make the sex industry easier will benefit us in terms of where our culture is, or how women are regarded in it.  It seems to me that the sex industry just doubles down on the status quo of woman as inferior, an object of desire and therefore limited in the roles she might take on.  Nor do I think that anything that normalizes man as horndog does the males in our culture any favours, either.

That said, as unionist touched on, I also think that religious fundamentalism is a blight on our culture as well.  What to do about it?  I haven't got the concrete answer.  Culture shift needs to happen.  Better education, more options.

ETA: 

Quote:
decriminalzation means the same laws which apply to all canadian apply to people in the sex industry

Technically, it's my understanding that they already do - it's whether or not the justice system/police forces act on that as they would for other people.  So it looks to me like these are actually two different issues. 

quizzical

Timebandit wrote:
What really has to happen, though, beyond the whole debate around criminalization/decriminalization, is a culture shift.  We have to find a way to get to the point where the citizens with dicks get to the point where they don't feel entitled to view, objectify or have sexual access on demand to the citizens without.  I know it's a long way off and far easier said than done, but it's male entitlement that drives all of this. 

........I don't think provisions that promote or make the sex industry easier will benefit us in terms of where our culture is, or how women are regarded in it.  It seems to me that the sex industry just doubles down on the status quo of woman as inferior, an object of desire and therefore limited in the roles she might take on.  Nor do I think that anything that normalizes man as horndog does the males in our culture any favours, either.

good words! really really hope some here listen to them and examine them for the truth they hold. there's now enough evidence around showing it didn't work in germany, austrailia or the netherlands and it's well on its way to becoming a fiasco in new zealand too.

i've been asking myself just why do some peeps believe canada will be oh so different???? truth is it won't be. canada is no more special than any other country. and just may be a lot worse. canadians are just so entitled to their entitlements and think we're oh so special when we aren't!!!!!!!

 

Quote:
Quote:
decriminalzation means the same laws which apply to all canadian apply to people in the sex industry

Technically, it's my understanding that they already do - it's whether or not the justice system/police forces act on that as they would for other people.  So it looks to me like these are actually two different issues. 

i agree and putting the 2 together is just wrong and imv deceptive!

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