Prostitution, not a job like any other

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Pondering
Prostitution, not a job like any other

I frequently hear the name Robert Pickton invoked to support legalization of prostitution, a dishonest argument. 

The women who were murdered by Robert Pickton went to his farm to do drugs and party. They were not kidnapped. These are not women who would be hired by brothels. They did not turn to prostitution as an alternative to working for MacDonalds. 

Under today's laws Pickton could have been arrested. 

This article is old but the arguments remain valid.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/real-change-for-aboriginal-women...

Some opponents have claimed this new legislation reproduces colonial state violence against aboriginal women and girls by increasing police power. What this analysis fails to recognize is that prostitution is not a traditional activity for aboriginal women and, in fact, is "the world's oldest oppression." It is a system, like Canada's residential school system, that has been imposed on our aboriginal communities. Prostitution is part of the continuum of colonial male violence against aboriginal women and girls, telling us incorrectly that we are disposable in life and that predators can harm us without recourse. The end point of that continuum is the thousands of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls, an ongoing massacre that continues to tell us that we are disposable, even in death, with no official inquiry or accountability.

Prostitution, akin to the residential school system, is an institution that continues to have devastating impacts on the lives of aboriginal women and girls, who are disproportionately involved in street-level prostitution. Prostitution is an industry that relies on disparities in power to exist. We can see clearly that women, and especially aboriginal women and girls, are funnelled into prostitution as a result of systemic inequalities such as their lack of access to housing, loss of land, culture, and languages, poverty, high rates of male violence, involvement with the foster care system, suicide, criminalization, addiction, and disability. To imagine that prostitution, a system that feeds these inequalities, should be allowed or encouraged, is dangerously misguided and supports the ongoing systemic harms against our women and girls. In the same ways that those who came before us were funnelled into the residential school system "for our own good," the attempts to now funnel us into the system of prostitution, and to support the rights of pimps and johns, is also being incorrectly portrayed as being for our own benefit and protection.

I will not deny the existence of women who are empowered by prostitution and claim that it affords them a better life than any other employment available to them, or even that they enjoy it more than any other profession available to them. It is also true that there are laws againsts all forms of abuse that happen within prostitution. But then laws didn't stop Pickton and neither would decriminalization or legalization. It would not prevent the mass exploitation of minority women who in many countries make up the vast majority of visible prostitutes. New Zealand is held up as a model but their population is only 4.5 million and it's an island. It is far more likely we would end up like Germany than like New Zealand. 

This is encouraging:

  • 58% of Ontarians oppose any changes to the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act that would decriminalize pimps, brothel owners and sex buying
  • 75% of Ontarians think that prostitution is harmful to women and girls
  • 77% of Ontarians feel that most women and girls do not want to have repeated sex with random men
  • 78% of Ontarians would NOT support their son, brother, husband or family member purchasing sexual services from a prostituted person
  • 58% of Ontarians do NOT view prostitution as a job like any other

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/six-in-ten-ontarians-oppose-dec...

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It is also true that there are laws againsts all forms of abuse that happen within prostitution. But then laws didn't stop Pickton and neither would decriminalization or legalization.

If laws didn't stop Pickton, what did?

And if you believe that laws didn't stop Pickton (did you mean prevent?) then are you arguing against (more) laws, or for (more) laws?

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

The women who were murdered by Robert Pickton went to his farm to do drugs and party. They were not kidnapped. These are not women who would be hired by brothels. They did not turn to prostitution as an alternative to working for MacDonalds. 

This is a misogynist statement that demeans the memory of these women whose lives were ended by this serial killer.  I am astounded that anyone would debase women in this manner in 2018.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
It is also true that there are laws againsts all forms of abuse that happen within prostitution. But then laws didn't stop Pickton and neither would decriminalization or legalization.

If laws didn't stop Pickton, what did?

And if you believe that laws didn't stop Pickton (did you mean prevent?) then are you arguing against (more) laws, or for (more) laws?

I did mean stop him from killing all the women he did, so prevent. The laws we have now would have enabled police to pick him up for soliciting so maybe it could have saved one. Prostitution is inherently dangerous regardless of how long a woman has to assess the man. Being alone with a man is always a risk to a certain extent but being alone with one who is a complete stranger who has paid to get you naked is dangerous.

If there were simple answers we would have them by now. The Swedish law does seem to cut down on street prostitution which is the most dangerous and it lessens demand in general. 

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pondering wrote:

The women who were murdered by Robert Pickton went to his farm to do drugs and party. They were not kidnapped. These are not women who would be hired by brothels. They did not turn to prostitution as an alternative to working for MacDonalds. 

This is a misogynist statement that demeans the memory of these women whose lives were ended by this serial killer.  I am astounded that anyone would debase women in this manner in 2018.

Women are not debased by the truth. There was nothing misogynistic about my statement. What demeans these women is using their deaths to justify decriminalization when it wouldn't have helped them at all. They wouldn't have been working in brothels and he wouldn't have been going to brothels. These were not women making even 100$ an hour. He lured them to his farm with promises of drugs and partying. He chose street prostitutes so they wouldn't be missed quickly and because their disappearances leave few clues.

People disappear all the time and they can't even be reported missing right away but when they don't use bankcards or credit cards and don't show up for work it starts getting taken more seriously. Then their movements start to be traced.  Not just prostitutes, but anyone who doesn't have a regularized life and goes places alone with people they don't really know is vulnerable to predators. That includes gay men and even Tim Bosna who thought he was just selling his vehicle. He also had plenty of time to "size them up". You can't tell which men are predators by looking at them or having a casual conversation with them. When you are alone with hundreds of men a year your odds of being abused or even killed go up. 

 There was never talk of any of these women having  fancy apartments or putting their kids through private school. 

Here are the lives of a few of them:

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2007/01/22/who-were-picktons-alleged-victims/

http://www.missingpeople.net/robert_pickton.htm

These were not empowered women who chose "sex work". They are women who were funneled into prostitution though the circumstances of their lives. Their lives were not improved by having that avenue open to them, in my opinion of course. 

voice of the damned

Pondering wrote:

Being alone with a man is always a risk to a certain extent but being alone with one who is a complete stranger who has paid to get you naked is dangerous.

Being alone with a single man in a van who has picked you up as a hitchhiker can also be pretty dangerous. In fact, if a woman were to ask me for advice on the matter, I'd recommend against getting into a vehicle under those circumstances.

So, should there also be a law against women getting into vans with strange men? Or perhaps a Nordic Model, where the man can be arrested for picking her up, but the woman can't be charged?

JKR

I think that the criminalization of sex work had a very negative affect on the relationship between many of Pickton's victims and the police and judicial system and that played a significant role in Pickton being able to commit his evil serial murders.

JKR

DP

quizzical

what you think jkr and reality are 2 different things.

did ya read the links pondering provided or even looked into it all? or did you just decide to have an opinion?

Picton was reported over and over again. one of my mom's best friends today was almost a victim. she jumped out of his car going down the highway when she realized who he was. 

she reported him too.

it was the police who weren't interested in doing anything.

kinda like Toronto police weren't interested in missing persons in the gay community even though there was a task force.

JKR

quizzical wrote:

it was the police who weren't interested in doing anything.

I agree. That's basically what I was trying to say.

Pondering

voice of the damned wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Being alone with a man is always a risk to a certain extent but being alone with one who is a complete stranger who has paid to get you naked is dangerous.

Being alone with a single man in a van who has picked you up as a hitchhiker can also be pretty dangerous. In fact, if a woman were to ask me for advice on the matter, I'd recommend against getting into a vehicle under those circumstances.

So, should there also be a law against women getting into vans with strange men? Or perhaps a Nordic Model, where the man can be arrested for picking her up, but the woman can't be charged?

No. I'm just pointing out that it is a dangerous thing to do whether legal or not. It was legal for Tim Bosna to go for a drive with the men interested in his truck. He was still murdered. Decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution won't make it safer to get into cars with men you don't really know or have any connection to. 

 

voice of the damned

Okay, gotcha.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
I think that the criminalization of prostitution had a very negative affect on the relationship between many of Pickton's victims and the police and the judicial system that were supposed to protect them and that played a significant role in Pickton being able to commit his evil serial murders.

It's a good thing the law has changed and prostitutes are no longer at risk of arrest. Pickton could have been arrested without proof that he was murdering women. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

It sounds like you're blaming the victims in your initial post, Pondering.  Sure you want to leave it like that?

Pondering

Ken Burch wrote:

It sounds like you're blaming the victims in your initial post, Pondering.  Sure you want to leave it like that?

The only person to "blame" is Pickton.  If you read the link many of these women started out in foster care. Others were drug addicted. Street prostitution gave Pickton access to them. There was no way for them to know what they were walking into. 

MegB

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pondering wrote:

The women who were murdered by Robert Pickton went to his farm to do drugs and party. They were not kidnapped. These are not women who would be hired by brothels. They did not turn to prostitution as an alternative to working for MacDonalds. 

This is a misogynist statement that demeans the memory of these women whose lives were ended by this serial killer.  I am astounded that anyone would debase women in this manner in 2018.

I have to agree with K and Ken on this one. Your statement implies that the women brought on their deaths themselves. It doesn't matter that this was not your intention. It IS victim-blaming. Laws do not stop serial killers, as we know. Picton could be well assured that the police would put little effort into discovering who was behind the disappearances because those women were not deemed worthy of justice. The lives of Indigenous people, in particular women and girls, have little value to law enforcement and in the judicial system, as we have seen time and time again.

Pondering

MegB wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Pondering wrote:

The women who were murdered by Robert Pickton went to his farm to do drugs and party. They were not kidnapped. These are not women who would be hired by brothels. They did not turn to prostitution as an alternative to working for MacDonalds. 

This is a misogynist statement that demeans the memory of these women whose lives were ended by this serial killer.  I am astounded that anyone would debase women in this manner in 2018.

I have to agree with K and Ken on this one. Your statement implies that the women brought on their deaths themselves. It doesn't matter that this was not your intention. It IS victim-blaming. Laws do not stop serial killers, as we know. Picton could be well assured that the police would put little effort into discovering who was behind the disappearances because those women were not deemed worthy of justice. The lives of Indigenous people, in particular women and girls, have little value to law enforcement and in the judicial system, as we have seen time and time again.

The firefighters who died recently in California and Ontario died because they were firefighters and that put them in the path of danger. Do you interpret that as blaming them for their own deaths?  

They were not murdered because prostitution is illegal. They were murdered because Pickton had easy access to them which would continue under decriminalization. 

Certainly police missed opportunities but even had they not many women would still have been murdered. One was too many. 

If anyone I knew considered street prostitution the first thing I would say is that it is insanely dangerous. Is  this something that shouldn't be mentioned for fear of "victim blaming"?  

How about acknowledging that the foster care system spits girls out at 18 and a disproportionate number of them end up working the streets. I consider it chillingly ironic  to hear the street defended as a place they have the "right to work". I don't believe it can be honestly said that these women are choosing the life. In fact their personal life stories say otherwise. 

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2007/01/22/who-were-picktons-alleged-victims/

Sereena Abotsway

She never really had much of a chance at life, yet friends say she was able to make the best of it.

She was born with fetal alcohol syndrome in a bad area of town. Both her biological parents died when she was young, with her father succumbing to a drug habit...

Mona Wilson

She was removed from a First Nations reserve in Alberta to find a life that varied from extreme happiness to outright misery. As a young girl, she lived in a treatment centre, but was taken out after being found badly beaten in a hallway....

Angela Joesbury

She grew up amid the spectre of alcoholism, physical abuse and mental illness. So when a boyfriend persuaded 16-year-old Joesbury to move away with him it seemed like the perfect escape....

Brenda Wolfe

Not a lot is known about how Brenda Wolfe got from Lethbridge, Alberta to the mean streets of Vancouver’s East Side. She was briefly addicted to drugs but seemed to have turned her life around, working as a waitress and a bouncer in a local eatery...

Georgina Papin

Both Georgina and her eight siblings were put in foster care early in life and she never really knew her family. By the time she hit 18, the First Nations-born Papin had been living with dozens of different people and couldn’t put down roots anywhere.

Marnie Frey

She seemed to have it all – a loving home and a family that supported her. She even attended a Christian school.

But when Marnie Frey had a daughter at age 18, her life changed. She was lured into the world of drugs though a local gang and finally wound up on the streets of Vancouver selling her body to maintain her habit.

These are not women who would be safer under decriminalization. It would simply facilitate men cruising the streets even more than they already are. 

Sugar-coating the truth about why those women were exposed to Pickton dishonors them. It is important to acknowledge that they went to his farm willingly and why and how they ended up making that choice. Why are they the women that ended up being his victims? It's not because of the legal status of street prostitution. It's because of the existence of street prostitution as a supposed improvement over working at MacDonalds. Empowering. Freedom. Liberation. Examining the actual lives of his victims illustrate a tragic pattern of doomed lives. 

http://www.missingpeople.net/robert_pickton.htm

No pattern was discernible in the early cases. Rebecca Guno, 23, was last seen alive on June 22, 1983, reported missing three days later. Most of Downtown Eastside’s vanished women were not so promptly missed. The next "official" victim, 43-year-old Sherry Rail, would not be reported missing until three years after her January 1984 disappearance. Thirty-three-year-old Elaine Auerbach told friends she was moving to Seattle in March 1986 but she never arrived, reported missing in mid-April. Teressa Ann Williams, a 26-year-old Aboriginal, was last seen alive in July 1988, reported missing in March 1989. Fourteen months elapsed between the August 1989 disappearance of 40-year-old mental patient Ingrid Soet and the report to police on October 1, 1990. The first black victim, Kathleen Wattley, was 39 years old when she vanished in June 1992, reported missing on the 29th of that month.

Police definitely made terrible decisions but we shouldn't overlook the days, months and even years before women were reported missing. That is tragic. Imagine that degree of isolation. Their histories matter. Their reasons for going  to his farm matter. To throw up decriminalization as a solution that would lessen the risk for these women is false. To me that abuses their memory and sanitizes their lives by describing them as professional sex workers that just needed decriminalization to lead lovely lives rather than lost desperate drug-addicted women. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Never apology and never back down.

 

JKR

Why not allow sex trade workers to determine whether their profession should be deemed criminal or not? Aren't they in the best place to judge?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The firefighters who died recently in California and Ontario died because they were firefighters and that put them in the path of danger. Do you interpret that as blaming them for their own deaths? 

I think we tend to have two definitions in our head for terms like "blame" or "deserve".

For the one, we understand that making some choices puts one at a greater risk.  Racing cars, or wingsuit flying, or holding fireworks in our hands, or hitchhiking.  It's hard, if harm comes of any of these choices, to not want to acknowledge that choosing risky behaviour was a factor in the outcome, but that's not the same as saying "... and this person was so terrible that we're glad they died".

The other is a moral stance, reserved for people who we feel probably should have got what we feel was coming to them.  When someone ignores the warning signs and jumps the railing and walks out to the edge of the cliff (that they then fall over) for example.  If they do this to save a toddler, they're a hero.  If they do it to "get the perfect selfie" we just roll our eyes.  They were so obsessed with Instagram "likes" that they abandoned common sense and they died, so whatever.

When I see the words "blame" or "deserve", I like to look closely and see what's really being talked about.  When someone says "did this young person DESERVE to die" (or, "... are you really BLAMING this young person for their own death???") it's worth trying to figure out which version of blame or deserve is really being talked about.

 

Paladin1

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If laws didn't stop Pickton, what did?

Someone showing up with a gun.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Paladin1 wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If laws didn't stop Pickton, what did?

Someone showing up with a gun.

Actually what it took was the cops finally deciding that the mass murder of sex workers was a BAD thing, after years of doing nothing because the police-industrial complex saw the lives of these women as having no value simply because of what they did for a living.  They'd known where Pickton lived for years.  They'd known it was him-it's just because, for years and years, the cops thought "why should we care?  They were just (fill in the slur term for sex workers of your choice).  It's not like they're people or anything."  

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

(self-delete. dupe post.)

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Pondering wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

It sounds like you're blaming the victims in your initial post, Pondering.  Sure you want to leave it like that?

The only person to "blame" is Pickton.  If you read the link many of these women started out in foster care. Others were drug addicted. Street prostitution gave Pickton access to them. There was no way for them to know what they were walking into. 

Then it doesn't matter WHY they'd ended up at Pickton's farm, and it doesn't matter if they'd chosen to end up there.  They were just as much innocent victims as any privileged white woman whose disappearance gets exploited for years, sometimes decades, by journalistic pond scum like Nancy Grace.

 

Paladin1

Ken Burch wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If laws didn't stop Pickton, what did?

Someone showing up with a gun.

Actually what it took was the cops finally deciding that the mass murder of sex workers was a BAD thing, after years of doing nothing because the police-industrial complex saw the lives of these women as having no value simply because of what they did for a living.  They'd known where Pickton lived for years.  They'd known it was him-it's just because, for years and years, the cops thought "why should we care?  They were just (fill in the slur term for sex workers of your choice).  It's not like they're people or anything."  

I still think the act of police showing up armed with guns is what physically stopped him.

 

But are you saying the police knew for years that he was murdering these women but they just didn't care?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Paladin1 wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Paladin1 wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If laws didn't stop Pickton, what did?

Someone showing up with a gun.

Actually what it took was the cops finally deciding that the mass murder of sex workers was a BAD thing, after years of doing nothing because the police-industrial complex saw the lives of these women as having no value simply because of what they did for a living.  They'd known where Pickton lived for years.  They'd known it was him-it's just because, for years and years, the cops thought "why should we care?  They were just (fill in the slur term for sex workers of your choice).  It's not like they're people or anything."  

I still think the act of police showing up armed with guns is what physically stopped him.

 

But are you saying the police knew for years that he was murdering these women but they just didn't care?


They were police.  Obviously they were going to show up with guns...other than London bobbies, police never show up unarmed to arrest someone.   Pickton was armed to the teeth, it's not as though a lone wolf "hero" type could've taken him down.

I'm saying it's at least strongly likely the cops had known(Pickton's neighbors would have to have noticed suspicious things happening and reported them to the provincial police or the RCMP).  Least-damning scenario, the police simply didn't think that the lives of sex workers mattered enough to investigate their disappearance.  

quizzical

they did know. DTES residents warned of him for years.

 there's lots of things i disagree with pondering on but i didn't read her words as victim blamming. i read it as matter of fact pointedness. pragmatic. if anyone has a better way of describing what happemed without putting an emotional or slanted spin i'd like to read it.

 

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Pickton's neighbors would have to have noticed suspicious things happening and reported them to the provincial police or the RCMP

Someone mentioned the Toronto gay community having done the same thing, upthread.

Not only do I live in Toronto, but my best friend of 30 years was one of the victims of Toronto's newest alleged serial killer.  But I don't personally agree with those who think the police coulda/shoulda/woulda done something special just because some citizens "had a hunch".

Sure, we want the police to solve crimes, and bring killers to justice.  But we want them to do it without stopping anyone, questioning anyone, "carding" anyone, searching anyone, or otherwise inconveniencing anyone. 

And yet if an anonymous "tipster" says "I think there might be something shady going on here" they're supposed to get right on that valuable tip and have someone in cuffs promptly somehow.

There's a very definite limit to the degree to which police can "investigate suspicious things", and we're actually the ones who want that limit.  It's not the police saying "well, we'd be a bit uncomfortable searching this property without a warrant, so, sorry."

Paladin1

Agreed about the guns. But that's a different topic.

 

As far as the police willfully ignoring these murders because it's "only" sex workers I'm not so sure.

From what I know of police work when cops, especially detectives and such, solve cases then it's recorded in their files and goes towards advancement and promotions. No one is going to promote (pay raise) a detective whos collected a salary for 10 years and not solved a case, right? So depending on how you see it police have a selfish reason to solve cases. If anything then it makes them look better to their supervisors and it goes towards more money for them.

Cops ignoring a serial killer responsibe for 50+ murders just because they don't care about the victims? If they didn't care about the victims then they would at least care about themselves, their careers and money.

That just doesn't add up to me.

WWWTT

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
The firefighters who died recently in California and Ontario died because they were firefighters and that put them in the path of danger. Do you interpret that as blaming them for their own deaths? 

I think we tend to have two definitions in our head for terms like "blame" or "deserve".

For the one, we understand that making some choices puts one at a greater risk.  Racing cars, or wingsuit flying, or holding fireworks in our hands, or hitchhiking.  It's hard, if harm comes of any of these choices, to not want to acknowledge that choosing risky behaviour was a factor in the outcome, but that's not the same as saying "... and this person was so terrible that we're glad they died".

The other is a moral stance, reserved for people who we feel probably should have got what we feel was coming to them.  When someone ignores the warning signs and jumps the railing and walks out to the edge of the cliff (that they then fall over) for example.  If they do this to save a toddler, they're a hero.  If they do it to "get the perfect selfie" we just roll our eyes.  They were so obsessed with Instagram "likes" that they abandoned common sense and they died, so whatever.

When I see the words "blame" or "deserve", I like to look closely and see what's really being talked about.  When someone says "did this young person DESERVE to die" (or, "... are you really BLAMING this young person for their own death???") it's worth trying to figure out which version of blame or deserve is really being talked about.

 

Kudos for you Mr Magoo!

You put some good thought into making this comment and it adds to the debate/discussion.

I agree with you only a fraction of the time but credit is due here!

quizzical

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Pickton's neighbors would have to have noticed suspicious things happening and reported them to the provincial police or the RCMP

Someone mentioned the Toronto gay community having done the same thing, upthread.

Not only do I live in Toronto, but my best friend of 30 years was one of the victims of Toronto's newest alleged serial killer.  But I don't personally agree with those who think the police coulda/shoulda/woulda done something special just because some citizens "had a hunch".

Sure, we want the police to solve crimes, and bring killers to justice.  But we want them to do it without stopping anyone, questioning anyone, "carding" anyone, searching anyone, or otherwise inconveniencing anyone. 

And yet if an anonymous "tipster" says "I think there might be something shady going on here" they're supposed to get right on that valuable tip and have someone in cuffs promptly somehow.

There's a very definite limit to the degree to which police can "investigate suspicious things", and we're actually the ones who want that limit.  It's not the police saying "well, we'd be a bit uncomfortable searching this property without a warrant, so, sorry."

why are you trying to erase the systemic bigotry? they finally got the warrant after the public at large got involved. 

 

WWWTT

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Pickton's neighbors would have to have noticed suspicious things happening and reported them to the provincial police or the RCMP

Someone mentioned the Toronto gay community having done the same thing, upthread.

Not only do I live in Toronto, but my best friend of 30 years was one of the victims of Toronto's newest alleged serial killer.  But I don't personally agree with those who think the police coulda/shoulda/woulda done something special just because some citizens "had a hunch".

Sure, we want the police to solve crimes, and bring killers to justice.  But we want them to do it without stopping anyone, questioning anyone, "carding" anyone, searching anyone, or otherwise inconveniencing anyone. 

And yet if an anonymous "tipster" says "I think there might be something shady going on here" they're supposed to get right on that valuable tip and have someone in cuffs promptly somehow.

There's a very definite limit to the degree to which police can "investigate suspicious things", and we're actually the ones who want that limit.  It's not the police saying "well, we'd be a bit uncomfortable searching this property without a warrant, so, sorry."

Then there's this, nobody here wants this!

https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/guy-paul-morin-case/

But at the same time, I do not believe that the police out in BC(and the rest of Canada) have completely clean hands. The media gave a fuckin ratts ass about Indiginous women, sex trade workers and whomever they felt are not worthy of any sympathy that every person deserves!!!

As far as the recent arrest of a mass murderer in Toronto, the exact fucking same thing applies!!!! The media couldn't really give two fucking shits about a gay man/woman etc etc!!!! But if Justin attends gay pride, it's all over the CBC!

Cops care more about the media than justice.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Pickton's neighbors would have to have noticed suspicious things happening and reported them to the provincial police or the RCMP

Someone mentioned the Toronto gay community having done the same thing, upthread.

Not only do I live in Toronto, but my best friend of 30 years was one of the victims of Toronto's newest alleged serial killer.  But I don't personally agree with those who think the police coulda/shoulda/woulda done something special just because some citizens "had a hunch".

Sure, we want the police to solve crimes, and bring killers to justice.  But we want them to do it without stopping anyone, questioning anyone, "carding" anyone, searching anyone, or otherwise inconveniencing anyone. 

And yet if an anonymous "tipster" says "I think there might be something shady going on here" they're supposed to get right on that valuable tip and have someone in cuffs promptly somehow.

There's a very definite limit to the degree to which police can "investigate suspicious things", and we're actually the ones who want that limit.  It's not the police saying "well, we'd be a bit uncomfortable searching this property without a warrant, so, sorry."

No one is saying that the police shouldn't do necessary investigative work.  What we're saying is that they should never target particular communities(especially communities of color) for collective assumption of criminality, for tactics that are not investigation but simply harassment("stop-and-frisk", for example, has little if anything to do with actual crime fighting and it's NEVER used in communities where people with white skin are heavily-to-exclusively responsible for organized criminal activity), and for use of force in situations where police would generally try to de-escalate the situation if the people they were facing were white.

Police are rewarded professionally for solving crimes against the pale, the "pious", the powerful and the privileged.  For rimes against FN women, other women of color, against non-wealthy women? against sex workers of any race?  Not no much.  Not NEARLY so much. If ever.

Paladin1

Ken I feel you're basing your opinion on police behavior and motivation on conjecture more than solid facts.

 

Humor me for a second here- who was indicated as the primary culprit behind FN women murders and disapearences?

lagatta4

Actually, I doubt a thousand-dollar escort would have been seen as disposable as transient Indigenous women are.

But overall, sex work is off the track in terms of violence, even in places where it has been legalised. In that sense, I feel about prostitution as I do about asbestos mining (given current technology); something that cannot be made safe. The workers involved should have every right to paid retraining.

If people think the term prostitution is offensive to the people involved, I'd like someone to come up with a more precise definition of "sex worker", which can also mean people who do phone sex (where one might die of boredom, but that is the case for all people selling crap on phones) or even pimps or madames.

Pondering

The point I am making here is specifically in response to the claims that the Pickton murders would not have happened under decriminalization. The specifics of these women's lives are critical to that argument. Two claims or inferences are made.

The first, that when women have a few extra minutes to evaluate a john they can screen out the bad ones. The second, that women would be safer in brothels. While that may or may not be true these women wouldn't have been in brothels nor would extra time to evaluate have saved them.

Serial killers don't all choose prostitutes street or otherwise. Some prowl the streets around colleges and night clubs at closing time. They hide in parking lots. They kidnap women. There is still no denying that strolls are shopping malls for men who want to abuse women in one way or another.  Murder is just the extreme. 

To suggest that the Pickton victims would have lived if only prostitution were decriminalized erases them. It sweeps their entry into and experience of prostitution under the rug. Is that because their lives don't support the popular narrative surrounding prostitution that it is a job like any other? 

I understand why you might think that saying they went there to party and do drugs is placing blame on them but in this context it is not. It is acknowledging the truth of their lives. 

We know that lack of transportation along the highway of tears has contributed to the ranks of MMIW. With no other means of transportation they got into vehicles with men they did not know. Can we all acknowledge that it is critical to find a safe means of transportation along that highway? Tim Bosna got into a vehicle with men he did not know. Street prostitutes get into vehicles with men they do not know hundreds of times a year. There is no way to make that safe. 

JKR

I think because sex work is criminalized the sex workers Pickton picked up had to work in areas that were relatively isolated and obscure in the wharehouse areas of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. If sex work was legal, sex workers could work in safer more open areas where there are more people around to witness things and cameras around to record things. In this kind of safer environment Pickton would have had a much harder time getting away with his heinous murders.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

I can't claim to be a judge of what is misogynist or not, as I am a man. Nonetheless, I think that it is nobody's place to tell a woman what to do with her body. 

Pondering

JKR wrote:
I think because sex work is criminalized the sex workers Pickton picked up had to work in areas that were relatively isolated and obscure in the wharehouse areas of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. If sex work was legal, sex workers could work in safer more open areas where there are more people around to witness things and cameras around to record things. In this kind of safer environment Pickton would have had a much harder time getting away with his heinous murders.

Women were not even reported missing for months and years. Also, I am more concerned with prevention than punishment. 

Pondering

progressive17 wrote:
I can't claim to be a judge of what is misogynist or not, as I am a man. Nonetheless, I think that it is nobody's place to tell a woman what to do with her body. 

You are absolutely right, and no one is trying to. If women want to have lots of sex with strangers it is completely legal. 

Commerce is regulated. For example, no one has the right to work for less than minimum wage even though many people would do so willingly. We have safety rules. Medical workers must wear gloves and masks in situations where they could be exposed to any human fluids such as blood, urine or saliva. A condom is not enough. 

It usually isn't illegal for someone to harm or endanger themselves but it is illegal to pay someone to harm or endanger themselves or to pay less than minimum wage because we recognize economic coercion as  another form of might makes right. 

It the case of seatbelts, it is illegal for someone to endanger themselves so laws that protect people from risking self-harm do exist. 

A justification for that is we do have public health care and we do have to hire people to pick bodies up off the street which in itself is traumatizing for many workers. 

Sex isn't regulated. Commerce is. 

Pondering

Paladin1 wrote:

Ken I feel you're basing your opinion on police behavior and motivation on conjecture more than solid facts.

https://globalnews.ca/news/320610/politics-police-partly-to-blame-in-pic...

VANCOUVER – There were “colossal” mistakes made by police in the Robert Pickton case, but politics was also to blame for missed opportunities that might have snared the serial killer much sooner....

The same kind of jurisdictional problems were revealed after Clifford Olson was caught for killing 11 B.C. children in the 1980s.

“It’s unfortunate- to put it mildly – that the promises that were made at the time of Olson matter weren’t honoured.

 http://www.missingpeople.net/robert_pickton.htm

Janet Henry survived a near-miss with serial killer Clifford Olson in the 1980s, drugged but spared by Olson for reasons unknown, yet she wound up in Low Track a decade later and met another predator. Henry was reported missing on June 28, 1997, two days after her last contact with relatives.  

NDPP

Re: "There were 'colossal' mistakes made by police in the Robert Pickton case, but politics was also to blame for missed opportunities that might have snared the serial killer much sooner..."

"...If everyone knew of the wild activities going on at the Pickton's property involving Hell's Angels, sex trade workers, drugs,  if off-duty police officers had been frequenting the place, and if a long time friend of the Pickton family worked in a civilian capacity for the Coquitlam RCMP, then how could the police fail to put two and two together when the information about the Pickton's connections with missing DTES women began coming in...?"

http://www.cameronward.com/2011/10/our-opening-statement-unredacted/

http://www.missingwomeninquiry.ca/2012/06/june-8-2012-statement-from-wal...

 

Pondering

From the same link as above.

http://www.cameronward.com/2011/10/our-opening-statement-unredacted/

The families believe that the law enforcement authorities responsible for protecting the public and keeping our communities safe appear to have failed miserably in their duties.  They believe that these institutions, although they had millions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds at their disposal, turned a blind eye to the issue of the missing women, either because of absolute indifference, breathtaking incompetence or possibly for more sinister reasons. Whatever factors may have led to the five year delay in charging Pickton, and we intend to find out exactly what they were, the families of the missing women are absolutely outraged by what happened in this case.  They believe that the authorities are culpable in the deaths of over a dozen women because their negligence enabled Pickton to literally get away with murder for more than five years.  Make no mistake about it, our clients believe that the VPD, the RCMP and the CJB and perhaps others have the blood of their loved ones on their hands.

49 women were murdered by Pickton. Perhaps over a dozen of them could have been saved had authorities done their jobs as well as they could have. That still leaves the majority dead. 

These women all had "choices" but those choices were made within the context of being  severely disadvantaged therefore vulnerable. That is not true of all sex workers. It appears to be true of most who end up on the street. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

progressive17 wrote:

I can't claim to be a judge of what is misogynist or not, as I am a man. Nonetheless, I think that it is nobody's place to tell a woman what to do with her body. 

This is a response/statement that always annoys the living shit out of me.

It boils the issue of sex commerce down to a single, grossly oversimplified element - and ignores all the social, cultural, legal repercussions and considerations from the picture. It's the polar opposite of a thoughtful, informed and intelligent approach to the subject.

As has been pointed out, sex isn't being regulated. You can still have sex with whomever, however many people you like. No one is talking about limiting that.

When business enters the picture, though, it complicates things. As the song goes, money changes everything - from power dynamics to zoning to social supports and politics. All of it.

So let's stop reducing this to some trite little thought and get on with the work of looking at the bigger picture.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

Women were not even reported missing for months and years. 

As I remember it, many of the women were reported missing. During the 90"s he mayor of Vancouver, Phillip Owen and the VPD went on the record numerous times saying therr was no serial killer! There was even a poster finally made with pictures of many missing women to get information from the public.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:
I think because sex work is criminalized the sex workers Pickton picked up had to work in areas that were relatively isolated and obscure in the wharehouse areas of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. If sex work was legal, sex workers could work in safer more open areas where there are more people around to witness things and cameras around to record things. In this kind of safer environment Pickton would have had a much harder time getting away with his heinous murders.

Women were not even reported missing for months and years. Also, I am more concerned with prevention than punishment. 

As I remember it, many of the women were reported missing. During the 90"s he mayor of Vancouver, Phillip Owen and the VPD went on the record numerous times saying therr was no serial killer! There was even a poster finally made with pictures of many missing women to get information from the public.

Some were, many were not. Police often fail to report serial rapists too. As my previous posts pointed out there were failures on the part of police. The DTES is as public as everywhere else. Women have tried to organize, ugly mug for example, or watching who gets into which cars. I imagine that is why they started noticing Pickton.  The sex act must occur somewhere more private, like the warehouse area, because few people want to be watched having sex. The dangerous part is not walking up and down the street. It's the part when they get into a car and are driven to an isolated place to have sex.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It the case of seatbelts, it is illegal for someone to endanger themselves so laws that protect people from risking self-harm do exist. 

A justification for that is we do have public health care and we do have to hire people to pick bodies up off the street which in itself is traumatizing for many workers.

If you're bored later, look up "bike helmets" on babble and see how popular some of those "nanny state" laws actually are.  And if you're REALLY bored, see if you can find out why seatbelts are only mandatory in cars, but not buses or streetcars or subways or on motorcycles.  Hell, motorcycles pretty much take the cake when it comes to the public assuming an unneeded risk, legally and uncontroversially.

Quote:
Medical workers must wear gloves and masks in situations where they could be exposed to any human fluids such as blood, urine or saliva. A condom is not enough.

I think you really mean blood.  Urine is typically sterile and harmless.  Saliva might not always be, but the TTC claims that one of their drivers is spat on pretty much every day, and I don't see them wearing any special masks or other PPDs.

This isn't the part where, if sex work were legalized, it would be necessary for sex workers to wear a haz-mat suit (for SAFETY, of course, not to be an impediment or anything!) is it?  Or what did you mean by "a condom is not enough"?

susan davis

Paladin1 wrote:

Agreed about the guns. But that's a different topic.

 

As far as the police willfully ignoring these murders because it's "only" sex workers I'm not so sure.

From what I know of police work when cops, especially detectives and such, solve cases then it's recorded in their files and goes towards advancement and promotions. No one is going to promote (pay raise) a detective whos collected a salary for 10 years and not solved a case, right? So depending on how you see it police have a selfish reason to solve cases. If anything then it makes them look better to their supervisors and it goes towards more money for them.

Cops ignoring a serial killer responsibe for 50+ murders just because they don't care about the victims? If they didn't care about the victims then they would at least care about themselves, their careers and money.

That just doesn't add up to me.

ummmm...yes they did....the missing women's inquiry in BC proves it....check out this report;

https://www.scribd.com/document/103641727/Independent-Counsel-Report-to-...

it is called wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire...because that was a direct quote from the vancouver police chief....they had him in the hospital after a woman he was murdering escaped by cutting his throat...she was picked up running down the street with the hand cuff still on her wrist...they took her to the same hospital as (the person whose name i never mention) ....he had the key to the hand cuff on her wrist in his pocket...they let him go....stating she was an unreliable witness.....

the police and every nimby citizen of the city were responsible via contempt and complacency...i also blame those who refuse to see the truth in the way forward for safety for sex working people... 9 years with no murder of sex workers in vancouver under decrim....

there was a civilian employee of the vpd who told families of missing women that they "were out partying" and would show up...she is featured prominently in the reports as a part of the systems failure to protect sex workers in vancouver..

for the record, anyone who is really attached to these issues never uses that persons name....we instead say the man responsible in the case of the missing women...so i refute above claims that decrim proponents use that persons name....

there is no doubt about what the police did....period...full stop....also this kind of dicrimination is system wide, refusing sex workers welfare support, housing, medical attention...oh yeah...believe it...that is what happens when you deem a population criminals....they are driven into the hands of predators...

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
It the case of seatbelts, it is illegal for someone to endanger themselves so laws that protect people from risking self-harm do exist. 

A justification for that is we do have public health care and we do have to hire people to pick bodies up off the street which in itself is traumatizing for many workers.

If you're bored later, look up "bike helmets" on babble and see how popular some of those "nanny state" laws actually are.  And if you're REALLY bored, see if you can find out why seatbelts are only mandatory in cars, but not buses or streetcars or subways or on motorcycles.  Hell, motorcycles pretty much take the cake when it comes to the public assuming an unneeded risk, legally and uncontroversially.

Quote:
Medical workers must wear gloves and masks in situations where they could be exposed to any human fluids such as blood, urine or saliva. A condom is not enough.

I think you really mean blood.  Urine is typically sterile and harmless.  Saliva might not always be, but the TTC claims that one of their drivers is spat on pretty much every day, and I don't see them wearing any special masks or other PPDs.

This isn't the part where, if sex work were legalized, it would be necessary for sex workers to wear a haz-mat suit (for SAFETY, of course, not to be an impediment or anything!) is it?  Or what did you mean by "a condom is not enough"?

I don't see what the popularity of various laws had to do with it. The principle remains the same. We do protect ourselves collectively through laws even when it infringes on "freedom".  We reject "might makes right" as a guiding principle. Economic might can be as misused as physical might. 

Drivers being assaulted, even if it is spit, is not an expected part of their job. Barriers are considered for their protection and some jurisdictions use them. Store clerks could also be spat on.  

Urine is not sterile.

We don't legitimize dangerous activities by allowing them to be commercialized. Any business that places employees in danger are shut down. The only exception is professions deemed necessary to save lives such as police and firefighters.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/30/british-stag-group-in-spai...

When people are desperate for money they will "choose" to self-harm to obtain it. That isn't freedom. 

What I meant by "a condom is not enough" is that prostitution requires women to put themselves at risk not to save lives but to gratify men's desires. People will consent to work for less than minimum wage. That doesn't mean it isn't exploitation or that we should tolerate it. 

Certainly street-walking is inherently dangerous.

 

Pondering

susan davis wrote:
the police and every nimby citizen of the city were responsible via contempt and complacency...i also blame those who refuse to see the truth in the way forward for safety for sex working people... 9 years with no murder of sex workers in vancouver under decrim....

There are lots of places where it is illegal and there are no murders there either. It depends on whether or not there is an active serial killer around not the legality of street prostitution. 

Decriminalization would have done nothing to protect his victims and whether or not you say his name doesn't mean you are not invoking their murders. In any case I am not referring to you specifically. I have seen that argument put forth by others at various times. 

If that isn't an argument you use then we are in agreement on that score. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Drivers being assaulted, even if it is spit, is not an expected part of their job.

Even when their employer claims it happens daily?  Or what does "expected" mean?

Quote:
Urine is not sterile.

In the absence of a UTI or blood in the urine, it basically is.  At any rate, in the absence of a UTI or blood, it's harmless. Paramedics aren't wearing those blue gloves in case of some pee-pee.  Neither are parents changing an infant.

Quote:
The only exception is professions deemed necessary to save lives such as police and firefighters.

Nonsense.

The top ten most dangerous jobs don't even include those.  And the others don't save lives.

 

 

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