Sex work laws in Canada, Sweden, and elsewhere

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susan davis
Sex work laws in Canada, Sweden, and elsewhere

A Swedish sex worker on Swedish laws:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D7nOh57-I8

 

apparently not as great as it's made out to be....

susan davis

Stockholm - When Swedish public radio stations posted fake ads for sexual services on websites in May, they were swamped with almost a thousand inquiries.

The stunt would hardly have raised an eyebrow in most European countries, but in Sweden, where an antiprostitution law that targets clients has been in force for a decade, it prompted an uproar, as well as calls for stricter penalties for those who patronize prostitutes.

The country's pioneering "sex purchase" law - promoted internationally as a model for reducing human trafficking and prostitution - is under review this year. Although lawmakers and police want harsher sentences to deter clients, some sex workers' organizations and analysts claim the law is unworkable and fails to protect prostitutes.

"It has made Sweden a less attractive destination for traffickers, but the penalties are so low that the police have not prioritized the crime," says Johan Linander, a Center Party member of parliament.

Mr. Linander's party, part of Sweden's governing center-right coalition, wants stricter sentencing, particularly for repeat offenders and those who frequent prostitutes controlled by pimps or human traffickers.

In Sweden, it's not illegal to be a prostitute. But it is illegal to hire one. The law considers prostitution a form of violence against women. Visiting a prostitute is currently punishable with a six-month jail sentence. However, despite about 2,000 arrests, no one has been jailed and convictions have only led to minor fines - due mainly to difficulties with finding evidence and the low maximum penalty on the statute books.

"We need the real possibility of jail terms for the law to become more of a deterrent," says Detective Inspector Ewa Carlenfors, chief of Stockholm's antitrafficking group, which has successfully closed several East European prostitution rings.

"At the moment, the penalty is the same as for petty theft. But buying a person's body and pinching a tube of toothpaste is hardly the same thing."

WHEN THE LAW CAME INTO FORCE in 1999, street prostitution virtually vanished here, but in recent years it returned, prompting calls for a crackdown.

Nonetheless, compared with other European capitals, Stockholm's red-light district - a nondescript street perched on a hill above the commercial center - hardly deserves the name. Most prostitution in Sweden is mobile, and some estimates suggest less than 10 percent is operated from the streets.

"It's much easier to sell sexual services via the Internet and cellphones. The hidden part of prostitution is far bigger," explains Anna Jutterdal, a spokesperson for Stockholm city's prostitution unit, which offers healthcare and advice to about 200 women per week. The prostitution unit's official role is to reduce prostitution, and having a law - however ineffective - that targets clients, plays an important part in that effort, says Ms. Jutterdal.

"Prostitutes are already a stigmatized group and this law says we don't want to stigmatize them further," she says. "There is evidence that shows the sex-purchase law has changed attitudes. Young men are far more negative about prostitution here than in countries where it is legal to visit a prostitute."

 

ALTHOUGH OPINION POLLS INDICATE that a majority of Swedes support tough antiprostitution measures, only a fifth of those surveyed believe the law has reduced demand, leading some to challenge what analysts and sex workers' organizations say is a particularly Swedish sacred cow.

Last month, the youth sections of several center-right political parties proposed a softer approach. A few months earlier, a controversial academic study titled "Is Sex Work?" attracted a flood of media coverage and irate criticism.

"The sex-purchase law is seen as a symbol of equality in Sweden - prostitutes are portrayed as victims of men's violence who need to be rescued. That makes the issue more hotly debated here than in other countries," says Susanne Dodillet, author of the study, adding that the law is a legacy of Sweden's influential feminist movement and old left-wing views of prostitution as capitalist exploitation.

"Since it came into force, nothing has been done to improve the situation for women in prostitution," says Ms. Dodillet. "The same feminists who lobbied for the law argued against any measures that could make things easier for those in prostitution."

Dodillet compares Sweden to Germany, which legalized prostitution in 2002 and introduced harm-reduction measures to reduce the dangers associated with sex work. "It's not that the authorities there are in favor of prostitution," she explains. "They just see legalization as the best way to reduce the risks to prostitutes, by integrating them into the welfare system and giving them healthcare, unemployment insurance, and pension benefits."

Pye Jakobson leads the National Alliance for Sex and Erotic Workers, which has lobbied for sex workers' rights and campaigned internationally against the Swedish model recently adopted by Norway and Iceland. She says the Swedish approach puts prostitutes in danger and pushes them further toward the margins of society.

Antipimping provisions make it illegal for prostitutes to share apartments, which would increase their safety, Ms. Jakobson says. Compared with other European countries, there is also a marked absence of other harm-reduction measures, such as distributing condoms and deploying outreach workers in red-light areas.

"The whole attitude is that harm reduction would mean recognizing prostitution," she says. "But this law violates sex workers' human rights - their right to earn a living and to safe, healthy working conditions. We're not doing anything illegal, so we should have those rights

susan davis

Is sex work?

Helena Aaberg, Information Office
University of Gothenburg
02/09/2009 11:02

Susanne Dodillet

Susanne Dodillet

Susanne Dodillet's book "Is Sex Work?"

Susanne Dodillet

Few things have aroused such conflicting feelings and heated discussions over the millennia as the sale of sexual services. Swedish prostitutes are regarded as victims and are protected by the Sex Purchase Act. In Germany persons who sell sex are seen as professionals and they can operate in legal brothels. Just in time for this year's tenth anniversary of the Swedish Sex Purchase Act, historian of ideas Susanne Dodillet explains how it is possible for these two similar societies to have such radically different ways of dealing with this activity. Purchasing sex has been forbidden in Sweden since 1999. The Sex Purchase Act was passed in order to show that prostitution is a practice that is not acceptable in Sweden. Two years later the Bundestag, the German parliament, approved a law with the aim of integrating sex sellers into society. Since then prostitutes in Germany have been entitled to unemployment benefit, sickness benefit and pensions in the same way as all other skilled workers.
Furthermore, running a brothel has been made legal. The change in the law was intended to reduce the stigmatisation and discrimination of those who sell sex.

- The disparity in the countries' prostitution policies is partly due to their view of the welfare state, of feminism and of religion, explains Susanne Dodillet at the Department of Literature, History of ideas and Religion, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The Sex Purchase Act in Sweden was introduced as a way of influencing society's view of gender equality. Prostitution was described as an unacceptable expression of society's genderised power structures.
According to the author of the thesis, a normative law such as the Sex Purchase Act is made possible partly due to the comparatively high level of trust that Swedish people have in the state. She considers that Germans, on the other hand, tend rather to question the state's responsibility for setting norms.

- It has something to do with the experience of two dictatorships.
Swedes have had a positive experience of their welfare state, but both the National Socialist dictatorship during the Third Reich and the socialist GDR highlight the fact that states can abuse their normative power. It was the German left that pushed through the legalisation of prostitution and they emphasised that the state should not regulate sexual relationships between consenting adults.

When it comes to feminism, radical feminist theories have gained a strong influence in Sweden, emphasising power structures as male domination and female subservience. In Germany feminism has more similarities with queer feminism, which is compatible with the way in which the state is viewed. While Swedish prostitution policies are based on a normative view of how equality should manifest itself for women and men, the German left emphasises that there is a large range of sexual identities and modes of expression. According to this way of thinking, selecting some as more equal and thereby superior to others entails discriminating against deviants.

With regard to religion, Dodillet points to the major influence that the Christian Democrats have in the German social debate.
- She calls attention to the fact that in Germany the Christian Democrats control half the parliament. In common with the church, they oppose prostitution on moral grounds and sympathise with Swedish prostitution policy. However, the left opposes the moral argument and the view of prostitution is consequently more liberal than in Sweden where there is little Christian political opposition.

Title of the thesis: Is sex work? Swedish and German prostitution policy since the 1970s.
The thesis will be public defended on Saturday January 21, 2009 at 10.00
Venue: Stora hörsalen, Humanisten, Renströmsgatan 6, Gothenburg, Sweden
Opponent: Professor Brian Palmer, Uppsala Address to personal website:
http://www.lir.gu.se/om-institutionen/personal/Doktorander/Susanne_Dod
illet or www.susannedodillet.com
The thesis will be published by Vertigo on 15 February 2009.
For further information contact Susanne Dodillet, tel: +46 (0)31-786
58 87 (work), mobile: +46 (0)704-90 88 12 or e-mail: susanne.dodillet@idehist.gu.se

Press contact: Barbro Ryder Liljegren
Faculty of Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden Tel. +46 (0)31-786 48 65, e-mail barbro.ryder@hum.gu.se
more information: http://gup.ub.gu.se/gup/record/index.xsql?pubid=88989
URL of this press release: http://idw-online.de/pages/en/news299263
Criteria of this press release

CMOT Dibbler

Bump!

susan davis

bumpiddybump!!!

no one commenting on this? strange i would have thought people would at least try to defend this as some are proposing we should also follow this model in canada? or can you see the gaps emerging as pya states?

 

autoworker autoworker's picture

Perhaps there'll be a day when prostitutes will no longer be fined for solicitation, but for smoking in their workplaces.

martin dufresne

I believe this material had been posted before; I have certainly come across it a few times in discussions Can we agree that it is a partial view? Post #1 is clear that local opposition to the 1999 law and ensuing policies is from "some sex worker organisations and analysts". The "uproar" mentioned in the same post about Swedish men's continuing attempts to buy sex - gee, whodathunk?... - doesn't get any further echo.

It's a limited analogy, but if Canada's attempts to establish a gun registry and limit sales were to be judged on the basis of comments and an essay from gun owners/sellers associations and a sympathetic academic, I would at least want to hear other voices and official figures, government assessments, anti-violence pressure groups.  

susan davis

autoworker wrote:

Perhaps there'll be a day when prostitutes will no longer be fined for solicitation, but for smoking in their workplaces.

i can't believe what happened to that truck driver! so ridiculous!!

please, sex worker...not prostitute.thanks autoworker

susan davis

martin dufresne wrote:

I believe this material had been posted before; I have certainly come across it a few times in discussions Can we agree that it is a partial view? Post #1 is clear that local opposition to the 1999 law and ensuing policies is from "some sex worker organisations and analysts". The "uproar" mentioned in the same post about Swedish men's continuing attempts to buy sex - gee, whodathunk?... - doesn't get any further echo.

It's a limited analogy, but if Canada's attempts to establish a gun registry and limit sales were to be judged on the basis of comments and an essay from gun owners/sellers associations and a sympathetic academic, I would at least want to hear other voices and official figures, government assessments, anti-violence pressure groups.  

 

me too, i had hoped you might have info and post some links as you seem knowledgable and support this model....

autoworker autoworker's picture

Whether it be directed at sex workers or truckdrivers, it's social engineering run amok,  ad infinitum absurdum. By the way, Susan, I wasn't using the word 'prostitution' in the pejorative.  Actually, it's rather mainstream, in the sense that many people, politicians included,  'prostitute' themselves in myriad ways, for various consideration (the lawyer/client relationship comes to mind). Anyway, whether it be autoworker or sexworker, we're both paid by the hour, and we're both on the receiving end.

Michelle

We'll continue in this thread from here.  Susan, hope you don't mind, I changed the thread title so that we could have a broader discussion about laws around sex work since this thread seems to be about a comparison between sex laws in Sweden and Canada.

News about the court case in Canada can go here too.

susan davis

autoworker wrote:

Whether it be directed at sex workers or truckdrivers, it's social engineering run amok,  ad infinitum absurdum. By the way, Susan, I wasn't using the word 'prostitution' in the pejorative.  Actually, it's rather mainstream, in the sense that many people, politicians included,  'prostitute' themselves in myriad ways, for various consideration (the lawyer/client relationship comes to mind). Anyway, whether it be autoworker or sexworker, we're both paid by the hour, and we're both on the receiving end.

 

so true , so true....

susan davis

no problem michelle!!

susan davis

Superior Court of Ontario - Why Stella supports the constitutional challenge
to the laws against sex work
http://www.chezstella.org/stella/?q=en/challengeOntario

Montreal, October 9th, 2009

This week, to our great excitement, three sex workers in Toronto launched a
constitutional challenge to the laws against sex work in the Superior Court
of Ontario.

We are a group by and for sex workers in Montreal that has worked for the
past 15 years for the health and rights of our community. We offer services
to sex workers on the street, in crack-houses, in prison, in escort
agencies, massage parlours and strip bars on a daily basis. We have over
6000 contacts with sex workers a year and every day we are confronted with
how the criminalization of the sex trade makes it impossible for sex workers
to work in a safe environment, to avail ourselves of police protection, to
have our rights protected.

It is egregious that some anti-prostitution proponents would use the
high-rate of violence against us to argue for the criminalization of our
clients. Such criminalization already exists in Canada and has done nothing
but increase violence against us. It drives sex workers more under-ground
and into more isolation. It drives away good, respectful and well-paying
clients and sex workers are left to pick from clients who may be drunk or
agressive, who we would normally refuse. All these factors lead to more
incidents of violence against us. We documented this in 2001, when the City
of Montreal, under pressure from conservative groups arrested clients on the
street en masse during a 3 month period. During that same period, sex
workers using our services reported 3 times the rate of violent attacks and
5 times the rate of attacks with a dangerous weapon.

Our work - the selling of sexual services - is not violent in and of itself.
It is the policies that criminalize our lives and work that foster and
create violence against us.

Decriminalizing the sex trade, as our fellow sex workers in Toronto are
arguing before the courts, would allow sex workers the chance to work in
safety and with dignity. Put simply, it would protect our lives.

susan davis

that is so awful remind.....i have terrible survivor guilt....why didn't i die.....i am always moved to hear of other workers who experinced what i did as far as police protection and the individual in question.

also, thankyou for not using his name.....

remind remind's picture

From the now closed thread where I lost a long post responding to this, when the thread was closed.

susandavis wrote:
i myself tried to report a rape by the man convicted in the trial in the case of the missing women in 1991. 3 times, i waited for police and no one came to take my report. imagine if sex workers were treated equally and my assault taken seriously, how many of those women would be alive today? was 49 he claimed?

Interesting that you attest to this too, as a very close friend of mine reported him to the Van police over 25 years ago for raping and beating her.

Over the ensuing years she had forgotten his name, but did not forget the incident, and it wasn't until she got her case files for being a youth in care, in respect to a court action she is launching against the province, that she found out it was indeed said person.

Finding this out was a sobering thing for me, as it made me examione the impersonalness that I was holding about it all, and how it was based upon patriarchial indoctrination, of an "us" and "them over there" mindset.

In respect to your points about language changes, thank you, and I can agree, I think, almost 100% as I have long held that the patriarchial, classist and morality language use  needs to change in respect to work that is involeved with giving sexual gratification/pleasure.

remind remind's picture

She believes she would have died, had she not fought so hard, by kicking him the face to get out of the car, as it was moving. She has much guilt too, as she believes that her fighting back and escape, made him change his attack strategy to ensure escape did not happen again. Her being forced into sex work, greatly influences my perceptions about it all, I have to admit. [thread drift] my damn formatting bar is gonew again, grrrr

susan davis

i too dove out of his moving car....naked and ran like hell....

remind remind's picture

Is there a group for survivors of him?

Have often wondered if a court case can be launched against the Van police, for their failure to protect, when informed?

susan davis

no, not really....families of the victims received supports and were supported in coming together to heal but "street family" received no supports or consideration in this regard. as a survivor i couldn't access supports as described by barriers to accessing victims services for sex workers. maybe we should try to organize something...i will bring it up in a few meetings and see what i can arrange...

 

remind remind's picture

Thank you, as I believe there is a need, based upon what I know, and a class action court case by the survivors, would bring much attention to the patriarchial and classist bias occuring within police enforcement.

Infosaturated

Many examples point towards an increase in physical abuse of women when prostitution is legalized or decriminalized.  Studies have shown there is no reduction of stigma and women in the sex industry are not treated better by police. The missing aboriginal women of Canada are not missing because prostitution is illegal they are missing because they have a low status on the socio-economic ladder.

"Sex Work Laws" is so broad it pretty much covers every possible direction the conversation could go. Sort of like "The Sex Industry" because we would be talking about the outcome of such laws in every country of the world. 

susan davis

i would like to say, the missing first nations women is a tragedy. but criminalizing all sex workers with that as the reason is not helping. please give links to inforantion stating mureders and violence increased in countries where decrim has been adopted. and not links assuming things but hard facts.

in the gay rights movement, the decriminalizing of gay sex did not immediatley impact treatment of gay people by police etc. it has taken a long time for our stigma to grow and it will not be an overnight problem solver, but it WILL over time force police services and support services to be held accountable when discriminating or ignoring violence against us.

Infosaturated

susan davis wrote:

i would like to say, the missing first nations women is a tragedy. but criminalizing all sex workers with that as the reason is not helping. please give links to inforantion stating mureders and violence increased in countries where decrim has been adopted. and not links assuming things but hard facts.

Maybe I have misunderstood, what was the point of the following exchange if not to suggest that it wouldn't have happened under  decriminalization?

remind wrote:

susandavis wrote:
i myself tried to report a rape by the man convicted in the trial in the case of the missing women in 1991. 3 times, i waited for police and no one came to take my report. imagine if sex workers were treated equally and my assault taken seriously, how many of those women would be alive today? was 49 he claimed?

Interesting that you attest to this too, as a very close friend of mine reported him to the Van police over 25 years ago for raping and beating her.

I am trying to keep Michelle's point about threads in mind so I don't want to copy my "harm reduction" arguments here. On the other hand, you appear to be inferring in the above that decriminalization will result in a decrease in violence against women. 

If you are going to make that claim then I think the ball is in your court to provide substanciating data if you choose to.  I'm not asking you to do that here because I feel that aspect of it, providing evidence of outcomes, is best left to the harms reduction thread to prevent duplication and drift.

I will put links in the Harm Reduction thread once I am up to researching violence against women again. Too much of it and I start to get sick to my stomach after which I am not far from alternating between rage and weeping at the magnitude of the problem.

But, if you want to argue it from an opinion/theory based perspective I don't mind responding on that level here or there but I would rather not deal with it in both threads.

 

just one of the...

susan davis wrote:

it has taken a long time for our stigma to grow and it will not be an overnight problem solver, but it WILL over time force police services and support services to be held accountable when discriminating or ignoring violence against us.

this i think needs to be repeated and repeated. than you susan for all your research, your links, your experiences and your testimony

Mike Stirner

Ya know the simple and quite libertarian position to take on this issue is to write sexuality out of the law completely just as how speech is written out of american law.

remind remind's picture

What do you mean by this?

susan davis

 First Day for the Crown: Playing the Kiddie Kard -- and other Sleights of Hand


Reports on the first day's arguments of The Attorney General of Canada:

Lead summary by Kevin Connor for Sun Media:

"An A-list prostitute working indoors faces the same dangers as drug-addicted hookers working the low track on the street, a court heard yesterday."

http://www.torontosun.com/news/toron...51791-sun.html

Kirk Makin for the Globe & Mail:

In a staunch defence of the country's embattled prostitution law, federal Crown counsel Michael Morris argued that the law against communicating in public is aimed at more than merely curbing an unappetizing spectacle.

"It is directly tied to a concern about children being attracted into prostitution," he told Madam Justice Susan Himel of the Ontario Superior Court. "That is what happens when an 11-year-old is exposed to the sale of sex and is potentially attracted to it."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle1318058/

Natalie Alcoba for the National Post:

Mr. Morris argued yesterday that there is no such thing as a safe place for prostitution. He said the harm, both physical and psychological, comes from the act itself, and not from the laws.

"No one's security is in danger by following the law," said Mr. Morris, who went on to describe the impact drugs and violence associated with prostitution had on the streets of one neighbourhood in Edmonton: contaminated needles, condoms, theft and property crime.

"Doesn't all this support Prof. Young's position of the additional danger on the street?" asked Judge Himel.

Mr. Morris said the government agrees street prostitution is dangerous, but he said that does not prove it is safer indoors. He said not enough is known about "the hidden phenomenon of indoor prostitution" to conclude that it is a better option.

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/can...tml?id=2083988

tamara o'doherty from simon fraser university criminology did research some time ago that does prove it is safer to work indoors and is included in professor youngs argument. the crown simply don't seem to have read our testimony.....

it will mean crowns downfall......

see her full research/ thesis here;

http://ir.lib.sfu.ca/handle/1892/925...ll+item+record
Lack of violence among off-street sex workers

June 28, 2007

By Marianne Meadahl

Contrary to popular perceptions about prostitution and violence, more than two-thirds of off-street sex workers who participated in a recent SFU study say they don't experience violence while working.
Sixty-three cent of the study participants-who work in massage parlours, for escort agencies or independently out of their homes-have never experienced violent behaviour.
Those who did said the majority of incidents were related to a client's refusal to pay or to wear a condom.
School of Criminology grad student Tamara O'Doherty, who conducted the study, says her findings suggest that the off-street sex trade is safer than it is for the 10-20 per cent of prostitutes who work at the street level.
"The lack of violence as shown in this study doesn't reflect what many people typically fear about prostitution in general-that it is a dangerous profession," says O'Doherty, who surveyed 39 off-street sex workers and conducted in-depth interviews with 10 women involved in the sex industry.
The women were mainly Caucasian, aged 22-45, and earned an average of $60,000 annually working four days a week. Ninety per cent had some post-secondary education and more than a third had a university degree.
O'Doherty says the findings suggest that potentially violent men target street prostitutes.
That "should be no surprise," she says. "Street sex workers, forced to work in isolation with little or no protection from police, are ideal prey for violent men."
O'Doherty argues that exploitative working structures and the quasi-legal status of prostitution severely compromise sex workers' safety.
Instead of protecting these vulnerable women, she says, "we have enacted laws that further marginalize and expose them to harm."
O'Doherty's thesis supervisor, criminologist John Lowman, says the research is at odds with the Conservative government's prohibitionist approach to prostitution.
"This research suggests that Canadian prostitution law exposes street prostitutes to extreme violence, while many women in the effectively legal off-street trade are working violence free."

susan davis

http://www.courts.govt.nz/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications...

 

Survey participants were questioned on whether they had experienced any adverse incidents in the last 12 months, including: refusal of a client to pay; having money stolen by a client; been physically assaulted by a client; threatened by someone with physical violence; held against their will; been raped by a client; or received abusive text messages. Street-based workers were significantly more likely than managed and private participants to report all of these experiences in the last 12 months, with the exception of abusive text messages (see Table 6.4). Over a third of private workers had received at least one abusive text message in the last year. Few participants indicated that they reported adverse incidents to the police, but most reported that they did tell some other person instead of the police. There was little difference between sectors in reporting of adverse incidents.

susan davis

2008 report from new zealnd prostitution law review board;

 

http://www.courts.govt.nz/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications...

 

Introduction

This report presents the Prostitution Law Review Committee's (the Committee) review of the operation of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 (PRA) three to five years after the Act's commencement, in June 2003. The purpose of the PRA was to decriminalise prostitution (while not endorsing or morally sanctioning prostitution or its use); create a framework to safeguard the human rights of sex workers and protect them from exploitation; promote the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers; contribute to public health; and prohibit the use in prostitution of persons under 18 years of age. The PRA also established a certification regime for brothel operators. This report fulfils the Committee's obligations to report on specific matters and make recommendations to the Minister of Justice on its findings.

The Committee's report is research based and draws heavily on the work of the Christchurch School of Medicine (CSOM) and Victoria University's Crime and Justice Research Centre (CJRC). The CSOM and CJRC reports are available on the Ministry of Justice website: www.justice.govt.nz.

Estimation of the Number of Sex Workers in New Zealand

Baseline estimates of the size of the sex industry were provided in the Committee's first report, The Nature and Extent of the Sex Industry in New Zealand: An Estimation (2005). To the extent possible, the baseline data is compared with more recent estimates carried out for this report. However, caution must be applied to any estimate of the numbers of people involved in the sex industry. Direct comparisons between pre- and post-decriminalisation figures are possible only for Christchurch where an estimation using comparable methods was undertaken in 1999 (CSOM, 2007).

In the Committee's first report it was estimated that there were 5,932 sex workers in New Zealand. The current report estimates the number of sex workers to be 2,332 in the areas included in the study. The Committee does not consider that this means the numbers of sex workers in New Zealand have declined by 3600 over five years. Rather, the different estimates are the result of the limitations of the initial data collection methods, and the more robust methodology used to estimate numbers in the current report.

The research divides the industry into three sectors: private indoor workers, street-based sex workers, and managed workers (generally those working in brothels). A 2007 estimation of numbers of sex workers in five centres (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hawke's Bay and Nelson) found a total of 2332 sex workers. A comparison between the number of sex workers in Christchurch in 1999 and 2006 shows that the total has stayed approximately the same over that period. The study does not indicate that there has been any increase in the number of street-based sex workers in Christchurch over that period, contrary to some public perceptions.

Accurately counting the number of sex workers remains difficult. However, the Committee endorses the findings of the CSOM that the enactment of the PRA has had little impact on the numbers of people working in the sex industry.

 

The Use of Under Age People in Prostitution

The PRA makes it an offence to arrange for or to receive, or to facilitate or receive payment for, commercial sexual services from a person under 18. The offences carry a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. It is not an offence for a person under the age of 18 to provide commercial sexual services.

The Committee considers that the threshold of 18 years should remain. The existing threshold acknowledges the vulnerability of people used in under age prostitution and recognises that there is a difference between commercial sexual activity and other sexual activity. The Committee also believes that the PRA should remain consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organisation Convention 182.

The CSOM survey found that under age people used in prostitution made up 1.3% of the total number of sex workers surveyed. The Committee does not consider the PRA has increased under age involvement in prostitution. The Committee believes the passage of the PRA has raised awareness of the problem of under age prostitution, and that this is a positive consequence. A very small percentage of young people who are sexually active are active in the context of prostitution. Further, few young people who can generally be termed 'at risk' are involved in prostitution.

The Committee is concerned that 17 year olds 'fall between the cracks' in terms of government support, being too old to be eligible for assistance from Child Youth and Family Services, and to young to be eligible for income support. The Committee was advised that the Independent Youth Benefit (IYB), available to 17 year olds in certain circumstances, is difficult for some young people to access. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Social Development develop strategies to assist at risk young people in accessing the financial support they are entitled to.

Street-Based Sex Workers

The Committee endorses the findings of the CSOM study that 'the numbers of street-based sex workers have remained stable since the enactment of the PRA, with comparable numbers on the streets to estimates done prior to decriminalisation'. The CSOM survey found that the street-based sector made up 11% of the sex industry in 2006, making it by far the smallest sector.

Complaints about street-based sex workers have predominantly been made about the Christchurch and Manukau street prostitution areas. The Committee concludes the effects of street-based prostitution can be managed through proactive measures taken by local councils (the provision of lighting and street cleaning), Police (Police presence to discourage disorderly or anti-social behaviour), and NGOs (providing support services). Further, because under age people are more likely to work in the street sector, a Police presence is necessary to discourage clients seeking contact with under age people. Such Police action should be used in conjunction with other child protection measures.

The Committee considers that the purpose of the PRA, particularly in terms of promoting the welfare and occupational health and safety of sex workers, cannot be fully realised in the street-based sector. The Committee recognises the danger street work poses to sex workers, and acknowledges the concern and upset it causes communities. The Committee considers street-based sex workers should be encouraged to either move to a safer, indoor setting, or leave sex work altogether.

susan davis

http://www.courts.govt.nz/prostitution-law-review-committee/publications...
Executive summary

The Prostitution Law Review Committee (PLRC) was set up to evaluate the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) 2003. A number of tasks were identified in an evaluation framework, which was developed by the Crime and Justice Research Centre. This report will inform three of the four tasks identified in this evaluation framework.

A multi-methods research project was undertaken in five locations in New Zealand: Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Nelson and Napier. This study utilised a community-based participatory approach, with researchers from the University of Otago working in partnership with New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective (NZPC). Some comparisons were possible pre- and post-decriminalisation as the research partnership had carried out a similar study in Christchurch in 1999. Comparisons are therefore possible for this city but not for the other locations of the study. The study was implemented over a number of phases. The first phase of the study included some exploratory focus groups, which informed data collection in phases three and four of the study. This phase of the study has been reported on previously.

The second phase of the study was an estimation of the number of sex workers in the study locations. This phase of the study addressed task one identified in the evaluation framework.

  • Greater than 50% of sex workers in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Nelson and Hawkes Bay work in the managed sector, comprising brothel and escort workers.
  • Over a third of sex workers in these locations work privately.
  • About one tenth of sex workers work on the street.
  • Christchurch data would suggest that there has been a move from the managed to the private sector following decriminalisation.
  • The street sector in Christchurch has changed little since decriminalisation. The street sector in both Christchurch and Wellington has been stable in the 18 month time period of the research.
  • The estimation of number of sex workers in the locations of the study indicates that the PRA has had no discernable impact on the number of people entering the sex industry.

The third phase of the study was a survey of 772 sex workers in Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, Napier and Nelson. Random sampling was not done as it was considered that this would elicit a level of distrust amongst those selected to participate and the resultant response rate would be low, compromising the external validity of the sample. Purposive sampling was therefore used but steps were taken to represent the overall cultural make-up of the population within the sample:

  • There were participants from street, private and managed sectors.
  • There were participants with the different gender identifications of male, female and transgender.
  • There were participants from both large cities and smaller towns.

An exclusion criterion for this study was that participants whose English was not sufficient to understand the questions without the aid of an interpreter, were excluded. There is therefore limited representation of Asian workers in New Zealand.

The majority of survey participants were New Zealand European, female, between the ages of 22 and 45 years, had entered the industry after the age of 18 years and had education levels of at least three to five years at the secondary school level, with many having tertiary level education. Nearly half of the participants reported having children. Most participants (67%) had been in the industry for longer than two years, with more than half reporting working prior to the implementation of the PRA in 2003. There were significant differences in personal characteristics identified across the different sectors and the different geographical locations of the study:

  • Street-based workers were significantly more likely than managed or private workers to report some Maori ethnicity, identify as transgender, have started working in the sex industry before the age of 18 years and to have lower levels of education. They were also more likely than participants in other sectors to have worked in the industry for more than 10 years.
  • Managed workers were predominantly female, had mostly attained education levels of at least 3 years of secondary school or higher and had entered the sex industry between the ages of 18 and 29 years.
  • Private workers were more likely to be older and also to have entered the industry at an older age than both street-based and managed workers.
  • Christchurch participants were more likely than participants in other locations to be younger, of New Zealand European ethnicity and to have no other activities outside of the sex industry.
  • Wellington participants were less likely than other participants to have children and were more likely to have tertiary education, be involved in study and to work part-time outside of the sex industry.
  • Participants in the smaller towns of Napier and Nelson were more likely than other participants to be older and to have entered the industry at an older age. They were also more likely than their city counterparts to report having worked for more than five years.

In addition, there were differences identified between different ethnic groups, with Maori and Pacific participants more likely than New Zealand European participants to have entered the industry before the age of 18 years and also more likely to identify as transgender.

There were few differences between the 2006 sample of Christchurch female sex workers and the 1999 sample. There were slightly more Maori participants and street sector participants in 2006 than 1999. There were some differences in ethnic breakdown of the street sector between the two samples, with a higher proportion of street-based workers in 2006 identifying as an 'Other' ethnic group compared to 1999.

The fourth phase of the study included in-depth interviews with 58 sex workers in the study locations, six Medical Officers of Health (Inspectors under the PRA), two sexual health promoters and an occupational health nurse employed by the Department of Labour. An analysis of the content of eleven submissions by Medical Officers of Health on proposed territorial local authority bylaws and district plan changes was also carried out.

The conclusion of this report is that there have been many positive outcomes from the decriminalisation of the sex industry, but in some cases it is too soon to see many differences. There is little or no evidence that there have been negative consequences for the health and safety of sex workers post-decriminalisation.

susan davis

Infosaturated wrote:

susan davis wrote:

i would like to say, the missing first nations women is a tragedy. but criminalizing all sex workers with that as the reason is not helping. please give links to inforantion stating mureders and violence increased in countries where decrim has been adopted. and not links assuming things but hard facts.

Maybe I have misunderstood, what was the point of the following exchange if not to suggest that it wouldn't have happened under  decriminalization?

remind wrote:

i "infered" that if police took violence against us seriously, it would decrese violence against women....and? if we weredecrimed we would no longer be considered crriminals and would be entitled to equal protection of law....decreasing violence against women

susandavis wrote:
i myself tried to report a rape by the man convicted in the trial in the case of the missing women in 1991. 3 times, i waited for police and no one came to take my report. imagine if sex workers were treated equally and my assault taken seriously, how many of those women would be alive today? was 49 he claimed?

Interesting that you attest to this too, as a very close friend of mine reported him to the Van police over 25 years ago for raping and beating her.

I am trying to keep Michelle's point about threads in mind so I don't want to copy my "harm reduction" arguments here. On the other hand, you appear to be inferring in the above that decriminalization will result in a decrease in violence against women. 

If you are going to make that claim then I think the ball is in your court to provide substanciating data if you choose to.  I'm not asking you to do that here because I feel that aspect of it, providing evidence of outcomes, is best left to the harms reduction thread to prevent duplication and drift.

I will put links in the Harm Reduction thread once I am up to researching violence against women again. Too much of it and I start to get sick to my stomach after which I am not far from alternating between rage and weeping at the magnitude of the problem.

But, if you want to argue it from an opinion/theory based perspective I don't mind responding on that level here or there but I would rather not deal with it in both threads.

 

i infered that if police took violence against seriously, it would decrease violence against women....?and?

Infosaturated

susan davis wrote:

i infered that if police took violence against seriously, it would decrease violence against women....?and?

Women subjected to severe domestic violence are regularly killed because the police fail to act even though the perpetrator is easily identifiable, easily found, and has a documented history of violence against the woman. Perhaps if their attacker could be arrested as a john they would be safer!

From the link you provided:

The Committee endorses the findings of the CSOM study that 'the numbers of street-based sex workers have remained stable since the enactment of the PRA, with comparable numbers on the streets to estimates done prior to decriminalisation'. The CSOM survey found that the street-based sector made up 11% of the sex industry in 2006, making it by far the smallest sector.

Decriminalization in New Zealand did not cause a reduction in street-workers nor in the harm they suffer. We do know that they represent 11% of the population. As everyone agrees they are in the most danger I think what happens to them should be our main concern.

There are unsubstanciated claims that indoor work is safer, even under our current laws. The Swedish model has resulted in substancial reductions in street work. As you have noted yourself these women don't earn enough to get apartments. Because johns can no longer prey on these women openly the demand has dried up.

So, the Swedish model which focuses on johns appears to be the most successful at reducing the exploitation of the most vulnerable of women, minors, drug-addicts, the mentally ill, etc.

Prostitution in and of itself is not illegal in Canada as you have noted. Women are not arrested for anything if they report violence against them by a john or a pimp. The Swedish model goes farther and also decriminalizes solicitation. If anything happens to a woman they can go to the police as can sex workers here in Canada.

Also from your link:

An exclusion criterion for this study was that participants whose English was not sufficient to understand the questions without the aid of an interpreter, were excluded. There is therefore limited representation of Asian workers in New Zealand.

The premise that decriminalization or legalization will result in fewer street workers leading to greater safety for sex workers is false. Street-workers are not avoiding indoor work because of legal barriers to working indoors. It is not available to them because they are the dollar store product.

The theoretical claim that decriminalization reduces violence against women appears logical but I have yet to see any direct evidence of reduced violence against sex workers. That indoor work is safer than outdoor work would only matter if decriminalization resulted in moving women from outdoors to indoors but the Swedish model appears to do that more successfully than any other model presented so far.

The other argument to greater safety is that if only it were legal sex workers could hire drivers and security but I don't believe there is a shortage of men willing to be employed in these positions. 

That brothels are illegal doesn't seem to have stopped escort services and massage parlours so I fail to see how it prevents women from banding together for the same purpose. 

One of the motives of decriminalization is so that sex workers can work from home.

It's bad enough having to walk by men lounging outside of strip clubs on Saint Catherine street and on St. Laurent. I definitely don't want them walking down the halls of my apartment building or going to the house next door to mine.

I agree that as in Sweden the women who participate in this business either willingly or unwillingly shouldn't be stigmatized but that doesn't mean the business or the johns should be destigmatized along with them.

susan davis

how does a quote about street sex work relate to indoor sex work? did read tamara's thesis? did you follow the links i provided to see levels of violence compared across sex work venues? you question if it's safer in doors and when i provide you with links you don't bother to read?

prohibition is on going for 100 years, the fact that numbers of sex works have gone down and violence has stabilized , not increased as i demonstrated in numbers of murders in vancouver should be at least a glimmer of the possiblities of decrim.....

stabilized is better than getting worse and i believe that after only 5 years of decrim and 100 years of destabilization....we need to see if it begins to bring levels of violence down....

did violence against gay people end simply because gay sex was decriminalized? no it is an on going effort combat stigma and hate crimes...i believe the same will occur with decrim of sex work.

susan davis

so, you support exclusion of sex worker? not in your back yard? i guess that says alot about you....do you object to black people as neighbours too? i don't want some sex worker in my building? or no men in your building....i don't understand your anger.....

sex workers already live in your building

sex workers are already your neighbours

sex workers are human beings and canadian citizens, we have every right to live in cities and building s and to live.

in the end your abolitionist stance seems to be more about "get rid of sex workers" than anything else. well, it's working...my friends are dead....good job....

Infosaturated

susan davis wrote:

so, you support exclusion of sex worker? not in your back yard? i guess that says alot about you....do you object to black people as neighbours too? i don't want some sex worker in my building? or no men in your building.

How dare you. Both sex workers and men are not only welcome in my building they are welcome in my home. Sex workers and men attended my wedding. It is disgusting to use the very real issue of racism as a tool to insult someone.

"Johns" is not a synonym for men. While all johns may be men not all men are johns.

That I welcome sex workers to my wedding and to my home doesn't mean I am willing to be subjected to the presence of johns. If they are such nice people security wouldn't be an issue.

susan davis wrote:

....i don't understand your anger.....

in the end your abolitionist stance seems to be more about "get rid of sex workers" than anything else. well, it's working...my friends are dead....good job....

The implication that I am, in any way shape or form, responsible for their deaths is deeply insulting.  You have absolutely no right to imply such a thing. I believe decriminalization will increase violence against women including murder.  Given that decriminalization is your goal...  How does that feel Susan?  You are not responsible for the deaths of women at the hands of johns. Feminists are not responsible for the deaths of women at the hands of johns. Men in general are not responsible for the deaths of women at the hands of Johns.  Johns are responsible for deaths of women at their hands.

MALE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS NOT THE FAULT OF WOMEN.

susan davis wrote:

....i don't understand your anger.....

Disagreeing with you does not mean I am angry, racist or hold any animosity towards sex workers of any kind.

Disagreeing with you does not mean I am a prude, hate men, or am against worker rights.

I think I understand your anger.  In the avalanche of material you bring to the boards it all boils down to theory and supposition.  The facts you bring to the table do not prove that legalization or decriminalization leads to greater safety for the majority of women affected by the sex trade. The preponderance of facts available illustrate that legalization and decriminalization harm women.

You know that this is true and you don't want the rest of us to find out:

http://www.xpalss.org/index.html

Ex-Prostitutes Against Legislated Sexual Servitude

..... none of us have ever met a prostituted woman who would not leave the “trade” if she had a real chance to do so

We oppose any measure that would put more power in the hands of the men who abused us by telling them that they are legally entitled to do so.  This proposal does not speak for us, would not have affected our level of safety in a way that matters, and would not have spared us the harm that is inherent in prostitution.

 

I believe they know what they are talking about because whenever I drill down to the hard facts, there is zero evidence that women are safer when prostitution is decriminalized or legalized. There is plenty of evidence that harm at best either continues unabated or gets far far worse.

susan davis

i am a feminist......read ....then speak...i will no longer answer your posts....

YOU BE THE JUDGE

We support Allan Young challenge of Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which would allow prostitutes to apply their "TRADE" indoors.   The bottom line prostitution has been around for centuries.  Why not give prostitutes the best chance to apply their legal TRADE in a place they consider safe the same as we do for drug addicts providing them crack pipes and needles to conduct their illegal activity.  If prostitution was legal indoors they could protect themselves with body guards of surveillance cameras and more apt to call police for assistance when their safety is in danger.  There would be less prostitution on the city streets and kids/public wouldn't be subjected to dirty needles or used condoms.    Let's be REAL  here Prostitution will never go away and a large percentage of sexual acts is between two consenting adults behind closed doors for money.  

 

Well it seems the City of Ottawa and other municipalities across Canada have jumped the gun and started selling "ADULT entertainment BODY RUB PARLOUR" licences back in 2005 and Nations Capital "The City of Ottawa" issued 32.   GEE I wonder what they are selling and what is happening in these ADULT BODY RUB PARLOURS when ONLY 18 + are allowed to enter the premises.  A LOT of the public don't really know what these license's entails.

http://www.ottawa.ca/calendar/ottawa/citycouncil/occ/2005/09-14/epsc/ACS2005-CPS-BYL-0028.htm

" "adult entertainment establishment" means any premises or part thereof where goods, entertainment or services that are designed to appeal to erotic or sexual appetites or inclinations or body-rubs are provided and includes adult entertainment parlours, adult entertainment stores and body-rub parlours

How can a Municipality SELL these licenses when they clearly conflict with the criminal code section 210 of the Bawdy House Law? This is definitely "BIZZARE".  When a parlour owner buys this licences and renews it every year what did they think they we buying when it talks about Adult Entertainment Establishment BODY RUB to cater to an erotic or sexual appetites.   In MY opinion the municipalities are living off the avails of prostitution since 2005.  We think that this challenge should be judged on facts outlined and leave the moral issues out of a court room. 

CMOT Dibbler

bump!

remind remind's picture

:rolleyes:

martin dufresne

You be the judge: "...In MY opinion the municipalities are living off the avails of prostitution since 2005."

Agreed. And it's against the law. So instead of trying to change the law to fit their behaviour, we ought to insist that they stop skinning women this way, just the way we insist that corporations be held accountable for trying to bust unions, as Wal-Mart did and was.

 

Infosaturated

  http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/mhvslave.htm

In Belize, for example, the government touts prostitution as work for poor women. Not only does it feel no shame at doing so, but proudly reports on this approach in its 1996 report to CEDAW, stating, "Recognized prostitution in Belize is a gender-specific form of migrant labor that serves the same economic function for women as agricultural work offers to men and often for better pay."

Supporters of prostitution in Canada agree with the government of Belize.

"...when prostitution is accepted by a society as sex work, it becomes even more difficult for poor women and girls, socialized into an ethos of self-sacrifice, to resist economic and familial pressures to enter prostitution."

Do we agree with the government of Belize?

Is this what a progressive community supports for the under-privileged women of Canada?

"You have to spread your legs, you have to open your arms, and you have to open your mouth."

That's womens rights? That's women's freedom?

susan davis

Infosaturated wrote:

 

"You have to spread your legs, you have to open your arms, and you have to open your mouth."

That's womens rights? That's women's freedom?

doesn't this also describe marriage?

G. Muffin

susan davis wrote:

Infosaturated wrote:

 

"You have to spread your legs, you have to open your arms, and you have to open your mouth."

That's womens rights? That's women's freedom?

doesn't this also describe marriage?

No!

martin dufresne

Summarized from an update on this issue of the Summer 2009 issue of Rain&Thunder - a radical feminist magazine.

In April 2009, Iceland banned paying for sex and strip clubs. Selling sex had been illegal in Iceland up to 2007, then the govt decriminalized prostitution under certain circumstances, while maintaining criminal sanctions for people profiting from the prostitution of other persons (pimping). However, concerns over a rapid rise in trafficking brought the government to criminalize johns last April. The US-based Protection Project identifies Iceland - like Canada - as both a source and destination country for human traffickers. Seventy per cent of Icelanders approved banning the purchase of "sexual services". Sanctions can be up to a year in jail, two if a minor was involved.

Norway also banned the purchase of "sexual services" in January 2009, as had Sweden in 1999, while Finland has criminalized the buying of sex from victims of trafficking in 2007.

Mike Stirner

remind wrote:

What do you mean by this?

 

I mean exactly as I say. This is a position that prominant french intellectuals like foucault were taking in the 1970s when it looked like sexuality in the west was(even still in a judeo-platonic context) moving in a progressive direction. Nothing says societal control like sex laws, they are probably the original form of control before all others.

Get it out of the law all of it. The one good thing about modernity for all of its bullshit is the idea of privacy. Nothing is more private then sexuality.

There's also the fact that laws as such are cuntish, I wish they didn't exist, but that they do lets at least try to real back their powers.

Doug

Mike Stirner wrote:
There's also the fact that laws as such are cuntish

Probably not the best adjective to use.

Mike Stirner

It was a nod to debord, though he was somewhat of a masogenist

remind remind's picture

Mike Stirner wrote:
It was a nod to debord, though he was somewhat of a masogenist

Who the hell are you talking about here?

Infosaturated

Sex as a marketable product is no longer private. It enters the public sphere therefore becomes subject to public control and even banning. For example, car surfing is against the law even if all participants are willing. We must wear seatbeats even as adults.  To be part of a community requires the rights of the individual to be balanced against the rights of the community as a whole.  Money only has value because we all agree that it does. Otherwise, it's just paper.

 

 

martin dufresne

About the privacy thing - One can argue that the privacy dimension some of us want to remain associated with sexuality is in effect protected by banning people from profiteering off the sale of other people's sexuality or from using their financial advantage to purchase it.

This is the logic underlying the Nordic model, including its programs to offer youths and women alternatives to selling sex to survive.

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