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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Move to overturn prostitution ban in B.C proceeds

Mirroring the challenge to the Ontario prostitution law, the B.C. Appeals Court has ruled that that a challenge to the B.C. law banning solicitation of prostitutes may proceed.

From the Globe & Mail:

A retired prostitute and a group representing sex workers in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside say a B.C. Appeal Court ruling that enables them to challenge Canada's anti-prostitution laws could one day lead to decriminalizing an unsafe job.

Sheryl Kiselbach said she quit working the streets nine years ago after 30 years because she felt something would happen to her. Around that time women in the poor neighbourhood were disappearing off the streets.

Read the rest

What say you, Wild Rose Alliance?

Posted by Mike Brock on October 12, 2010 | Permalink


Quite disappointed that the Wildrose Alliance came out in support of an appeal. Though prostitution is a relatively dangerous job, criminalization makes it more dangerous...

Thanks for bugging them Mike.

Posted by: Todd Kuipers | 2010-10-12 7:49:04 PM

I don't know what my party's position is - although I don't agree with pushing for an appeal - my own opinion is that it is a faulty law. Prostitution should be legalized, but not 'run by the government'. It should be in the private marketplace with certain stringent health and safety requirements.

Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2010-10-12 8:26:23 PM

Leigh, I don't think any of these court rulings have suggested that the sex industry should be run by the government.

But even if they did, it would still be a step in the right direction: ie. further from outright criminalization. That's something we should welcome.

Posted by: Bradley | 2010-10-13 12:04:31 AM

Whether one argues that prostitution should be criminalised or legalised and regulated by government (stringent health and safety requirements), it seems to me that it is two sides of the same coin. The coin is the government, so an argument to remove the government from the equation would make more sense for those supporting a free market place.

Posted by: Alain | 2010-10-13 10:25:12 AM

    Prostitution should be legalized, but not 'run by the government'. It should be in the private marketplace with certain stringent health and safety requirements.

You do realize the contradiction here? Who do you think will be in charge of enforcing those "stringent health and safety requirements"? And what happens to the people who break those rules? How can the law persuade where it cannot punish?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Anytime a debate involves women, you can pretty much rule out rational debate.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-13 1:47:26 PM

    Sheryl Kiselbach said she quit working the streets nine years ago after 30 years because she felt something would happen to her.

Right. And the fact that after 30 years her tits probably sag down to her bellybutton, bra or no bra, played no role whatsoever.

Guys, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to reduce government interference in our lives. Are you really so indoctrinated on the evils of any form of social order that you'll ship any old load of tripe just to have something to kvetch about?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-13 1:51:30 PM


Are you really so indoctrinated by the evils of thinking you know what's best for how people should live, such that you want the state to imprison people who step outside that mold?

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-10-13 2:41:50 PM

You don't want to step outside the mold, Mike. You want to shatter it to bits as a matter of principle, whether anyone else is still using it or not, and give little impression of caring about whatever consequences might transpire, so long as they don't happen to you.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-13 8:39:38 PM

P.S. As for what to do with people who refuse to live by the rules of society, I agree banishment would be a better option; they can then try their luck at running a society with other like-minded people. Unfortunately, as of the 21st century, we're pretty much out of unsettled lands to transport convicts to, unless you count Antarctica.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-13 8:45:08 PM

Men: it's not about reducing government interference in our everyday lives, or telling people what's best for them and how they should live. Prostitution is violence against women, and it is inherently a sexist and racist practice that targets poor people. It is not something women consent to or choose freely, when it is clear that most women are not in a socioeconomic position to choose otherwise. We should be decriminalizing women, but criminalizing pimps and johns. Support freedom, instead of reforming modern day human slavery.

PS. Alain, I think you need women in any rational debate, especially for an issue that affects mainly women's lives, not yours (unless you're a pimp or a john, in which case - stop it).

Posted by: Sarah M Mah | 2010-10-20 12:06:22 PM

So what you're saying, Sarah, is that whenever something bad happens to a woman, it is somehow, in some way, the fault of men. Well, that sounds faintly familiar, and it should. Men have been listening to such treatises since the beginning of time, but at no time in history has it been less true.

And no, you do not, in fact, need women to have a rational debate, even if the debate concerns women exclusively. A complete debate of any sort requires women, and an informed debate about women would certainly benefit from women, but a rational debate does not require any specific group; the only prerequisite is a rational mind. Women, for their part, are certainly not shy about weighing in on matters that affect primarily men, especially when it comes to seeking redress for injustices both real and imagined, as your remark above demonstrates.

Here are a few facts that many women stubbornly refuse to acknowledge: A woman's life is NOT worth more than a man's life; violence against women is morally NO worse than violence against men; women are actually LESS likely to be victims of violence than men (and so could do with LESS protection and not more); a poor woman is NO more deserving than a poor man; and, above all, it takes TWO to tango. And in the case of prostitution, consent is not only mutual, it is CHARGED FOR.

Saying that someone is forced by circumstance into prostitution is like saying they're forced by circumstance into any other sort of criminal lifestyle. Petty thieves and drug addicts aren't usually swimming in dough either, but both lifestyles are the result of conscious choices by that person. Many, in fact most people in such circumstances do not opt for crime. It is the old, old story: The same fire that tempers steel melts butter, and you have a large say—indeed, the only say—in which one you will be.

There is no a la carte approach to equality; no one can be equal and special at the same time. Women will never be truly “equal” so long as they are willing to infantilize themselves for short-term gain. You cannot be equal to men without the respect of men. And lecturing them on how they are responsible for the conduct of both sexes while women are responsible for that of neither is not an encouraging start.

P.S. Women do NOT have a reputation as rational thinkers, certainly not when it comes to anything to do with them, and furthermore, only they have the ability to change that reputation. True equality cannot be "seized" or "won"; it can only be earned. Now get cracking.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-10-20 1:22:54 PM

Shane, perhaps I need to clarify (and sorry Alain - my previous PS was to Shane, not to you):

When I mention male violence against women, I don't just mean "something bad happen(ing) to a woman" - like these events are completely isolated cases that have no relation to societal/political/economic conditions. I am saying it is a systemic problem, and it is a symptom of gender inequality. When a man chooses to control, abuse, manipulate, rape, or otherwise violate a woman, it is a political statement of power - a person #1's power over person #2, at least in part motivated by the fact that person #2 is a female, and definitely enabled by the fact that person #1 is a male.

The responsibility that I WILL attribute to most of you, men, as a particular group of people that hold a particular social and economic position in the world, is that most you do not speak out this. No - you stay silent. You say "oh no, it might be that guy over there, but it's not me." Worse off, you deny it happens at all. So yeah, it's your fault you guys have the reputation for being rapists, for being pimps, johns, wife batterers - because by and large, a whole lot of you don't do or say anything about it. You don't call your friends out on it. I don't see a whole lot of you taking pro-feminist positions (and congratulations to the ones that do), and do you know why? Because you have trouble deferring to women. And your reputation as these awful people will never end until you start listening to women, believing them, taking some female leadership, help us end violence against women, and support gender equality. Patriarchy hurts everyone. It hurts men and their reputation, but it hurts women more.

These "treatises since the beginning of time"? I've never heard of them. The only ones I've seen are the ones written by men.

Okay Shane - my mistake. In theory, you do not need women for a rational debate, but the less informed these 'rational debates' are, chances are the less accurate the premises on which you are basing your argument are, and likely the less valid your arguments are. It could result in a pretty limited, invalid debate, don't you think?

I never said a woman's life is worth more than a man's life. I also never said violence against women is morally worse than violence against men -however, the vast majority of sexist violence is against women, and it is very common.

I also never said a poor woman is more deserving than a poor man. However, do keep in mind that the worse off in the world happen to be brown, poor, and women. Just the facts.

When men buy and sell women, it is exploitation - using something/someone for personal/monetary gains with little to no regard for their well-being. When a woman is in prostitution because she is poor, aboriginal or a woman of colour, you really think she made a free choice to prostitute? If the choice is between prostitution and dying, that is not free choice. The options are limited. Most women are introduced into prostitution as girls, and have a history of child abuse. Do you think girls are able to give informed consent? You think they really made that choice, huh? You really think that women, children, and men make the decision to be trafficked into prostitution? Okay, maybe we'll just agree to disagree.

Prostitution is a symptom of women's subordinate social position. It is not a coincidence that women are the bought, and men are the buyers and sellers. When women have what they need (guaranteed livable income, food, shelter, healthcare, childcare), and they still choose prostitution, then we can talk. But until then - prostitution is not consensual, no matter how loud that 1% of women who claim they chose it are. I speak for the 99% of women that aren't in the position to say they want out, and they want better.

I never said I don't respect men in general. I have loads of respect for certain men that don't treat the opposite gender like crap, and don't see the opposite gender as any more or less than themselves, but are willing to admit to the vast inequalities that do exist, and do/say something about it. I respect men that choose not to use the power they have been given in society. I respect my father - who most definitely has the power to beat my mother, control her financially, who has the power to beat and molest his children, to rape. He's got the power the get away with all of that (and most men who do these things, DO get away with it - look at the prosecution rate for rape, for example), but he doesn't. He chooses not to exercise that power. Instead, he accepts that it happens, and speaks out against sexist violence, and for that, I respect him, and other men like him. Respect and trust from women must be earned too, Shane. There isn't any special branding or marking on you that tells me you are a pimp, a john, or a rapist, and to stay away from you. I can't tell. Women can't tell. We are therefore socialized to protect ourselves from all of you men as a class. It sucks, I know.

I think it's time you saw it a different way: that men have to earn the trust of women. I am deeply offended that you think women have to EARN equality. We are every bit as smart, sharp, and able as you are, my friend. I am born equal to you. We are not BORN as inherently lesser beings that by default, must aspire to the status of "man." I never saw anything men did to "earn" their power over women. Women are born into a society in which women are lesser than men - it is an attitude, a paradigm, a socialization - not a default state. So all this "women aren't rational" business - quit the misogyny, and I'll make an appeal to YOU to get crackin' and change the reputation of men, and the common, factual phenomenon of male violence against women.

Posted by: Sarah M Mah | 2010-10-20 4:19:08 PM

Prostitution is an act of freewill
aka " you can fuck me for money "
its is not rape where the rapist
leaves the unwilling victim a tip

Prostitution, in my opinion
is _not the oldest profession:
art is the oldest profession
People were making art
long before prostitution
went major league

Posted by: 419 | 2010-10-20 5:46:37 PM

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