Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sex Workers =/= Organized Crime

A den of organized crime?

Sorry for the dearth of new posts, I've been a little preoccupied. I do want to take the time to draw people's attention to this article in the Toronto Star.

The Justice Minister announced new regulations which give the government powers to wiretap, deny bail and "move in on people," as the article says, without safe-guards such as warrants. These regulations were enacted without debate in Parliament, naturally. They're targeted at fighting organized crime. But one of the crimes that they apply to is "the keeping of a common bawdy house," the definition of which is broad enough to capture individual, independent sex workers who choose to work indoors rather than on the street. Working from home, or from a condominium that you split the cost of with a couple of other sex workers, gives you a lot more control over your work and your clientèle. The fear is that these regulations will drive sex workers onto the streets.

I recommend reading the entire article. It includes commentary on the problem with how Canada deals with prostitution (prostitution is not illegal, but communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and living off the avails of prostitution are), the failure of law enforcement officials to take violence against sex workers seriously, and the Conservative government's tendency to make policy based on moral conviction rather than facts.

Contact your MP and the Minister of Justice, and let them know that you care about the safety of sex workers.

3 comments:

  1. In the 1970's Rhode Island passed a law against streetwalking, but omitted banning money for sex indoors. This year that was also made illegal, with a few women arrested and no other changes that I can see.
    Stopping exploitation, coercion, rape, is a problem with no clear solution. Maybe the best model is the strategy against domestic abuse-- education and a way out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Indeed. Making sure that the only sex workers are those who are self-employed and enjoy their work.

    Arresting women certainly doesn't solve anything.

    ReplyDelete
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