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Unread postby willow » Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:16 am

So it seems that in Ontario there has been a challange to several of our nations anti-protituion laws as being unconstitutional. Canada already has legalized prostitution and has for some time now, however the government has made nearly everything related to prostitution illegal.

This means the prostitution trade is much like in the US and essentially illegal, with the exception largely of escort services. In the last few weeks it seems that a group of sex trade workers in Ontario have managed to argue that several of those laws governing prostitution force prostitutes to be exposed to increased risk of violence and murder and are thus unconstitutional. Namely:
Laws against keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade were "contributing to the danger faced by prostitutes," an Ontario Superior Court judge said in September in striking them down.
A group of Vancouver sex trade workers have been trying to plan a similar challange for some time but had never actually attempted it as of yet in court.

This essentially equates to allowing legalized brothels and open solicitation for sex(street walkers). The police would no longer be able to bust a woman just for offering sex for money. By allowing them to legally live on the avails of prostitution means they would be required to report their income and pay taxes to the government. The remainder of our laws around prostitution would remain in place. There should be, legally anyway, no weakening of our laws protecting children or against pimping or human trafficing etc.

The sex trade workers in most major cities do have a high victimization rate and are then, arguablly, victimized again by the state by being prevented from using the states means eg. the police and courts, to recieve redress like a regular citizen because in doing so they have to admit to commiting a crime and face prosecution themselves. The risks involved in working in bad areas of town due to being pushed out of better lit and more populated areas by police trying to rid those areas of prostitution also place sex trade workers at increased risk to their health and safety. They also have an unusually high rate of dissapearance at least in BC (which we think may have been largely due to Robert Pickton a Serial Killer from Vancouver) which are rarely investigated or considered a priority by the police given their vocation.

The above points were the main thrusts to the arguments made in court to remove those laws. Allowing prostitutes to work in a brothel, select their clients and work with police in the event of being attacked, robbed or otherwise injured as well as allowing them to legally pay taxes and claim their income.

In any event, the three specefic laws were struck down as unconstitutional and the Government is prepairing its appeal. Given that they were federal anti prostitution laws, if its upheld after an appeal to the supreme court it would require the federal laws nation wide to be revised. Currently it seems that the stay put in place to prevent the opening of brothels etc while the specifics are worked out and an appeal is launched is set to expire on saturday which could open Ontario to legalized prostituion and whore houses until the appeal is decided.

What do you think, legalized prostitution? Good idea? Bad idea? beginning of the downfall of a "decent" society? :P
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Re: Prostitution

Unread postby UnwantedSunbeam » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:48 pm

Seems like a needed service for most of society, and legalising can only make it safer for all concerned. We have a scoring system here for restaurant hygiene levels, same could be applied to brothels. You would know the staff were clean and disease free. Win Win.
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Re: Prostitution

Unread postby DarthRavanger » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:46 am

Legalized prostitution is okay in my book, so long as it is heavily regulated to remove the potential for exploitation (pimps, use of children, etc), which in this case it looks like that regulation already exists. Making prostitution a legitimate form of business under government regulation would probably be safer for the sex workers, assuming their work was regulated by eunuchs.
Last edited by DarthRavanger on Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Prostitution

Unread postby Intercourseman72 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:01 am

It figures that escort services are seen as more legitimate businesses whereas street hookers are marginalized by most of society as mainly ghetto trash. I tend to think this phenomenon is the rich people who own lots of property in any given area lobby the government to place heavy emphasis on pushing out street prostitution and street drug dealings because it's shady, trashy, etc and ultimately drastically brings down the value of their property. It's not so much an issue of morality or some Puritanical dogma that controls the laws on this, but rather, it's the people who have enough power to clear the streets of such clutter and push it out somewhere else.
I don't assert this claim as proven but I see that claims contrary to this make little sense and that powerful people are likely to influence law enforcement in this way. If we are to accept this premise that the current situation with prostitution laws is related the self-interest of very influential people, then it really makes no sense to debate over where it's sensible to legalize it or argue over its morality or whatever.

If we don't accept the claim that prostitution laws are extremely draconian and punitive (they almost always send the most vulnerable people to jail for offering to give someone an orgasm for money) because of the most powerful people's self-interest in the area using the state to enforce their preferences, then we can argue and contemplate how prostitution would work if it were legal or even prohibition was approached from a different angle.

With various ways to prosecute those who participate in prostitution, I know that Sweden only prosecutes those who pay for prostitution rather than those selling it. Though this is a rather invasive measure to attempt to curtail what is usually a consensual activity, it does seem to be more effective and less oppressive to those who are most vulnerable. In the US and likely most other places, the jons tend to not be prosecuted or are prosecuted at a much lower rate than the hookers. It's a bigger political pain in the ass for cops to take the risk of arresting someone who could be their boss's golfing buddy or who is someone very influential in the community. It is also very difficult for law enforcement to prosecute the pimps because they have a lot of coercive power over their hookers who are often far too intimidated to testify against them. So if you still believe that people should be controlled and submit to your will via the force of the state and your will consists of preventing people you likely will never know from doing something completely consensual, then I would say that changing how prostitution is prosecuted would be the best way to go.

As for risking some sort vague, meaningless abstraction of a moral compass, I really do not see how making prostitution legal could accomplish such a thing. Criminalizing this activity in such a way is what is far more damaging and harmful to society and to the people involved. By making prostitution illegal, you put ever prostitute who is too destitute to support themselves in any other way at risk of being owned by a pimp, at the mercy of whatever psychopath customers they have to deal with, abducted by human traffickers, and dealing with the cops and going to jail. Legalizing prostitution allows the prostitutes strips the people who are in the greatest position to do harm to these people of their power and allows them to the autonomy to take matters into their own hands to at least the same extent that profession wrestlers of (American) football players.
As for government regulating such an industry, I really don't see why that would be necessary or beneficial. All that's necessary is the legal consequence for abuse by everyone involved in the industry and the ability for firms to proliferate. The things likely most concerned with illegal prostitution now are pretty much non-existent at places like the Bunny Ranch in Nevada. All the hookers are free of diseases, there is surveillance so there is no rape, and the women are allowed to keep the money they agreed belongs to them under contract. I would imagine that the pay for prostitutes would be better by percentage, there would be a wider variety for customers to choose from, and that the pimps or madames would have less power as more firms were created because the planning and managing of brothels would pretty much be procedural and require much less business savvy.
My greatest concern with prostitution being legal is that there would be some sort of pimp lobby for regulations to cartelize the industry and restrict supply, this giving a few firms greater market share and much more power over the workers and customers. But that can't be any worse than how it is now.
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