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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Best Little Whorehouse in Toronto

 The above image is courtesy of 'moi', thank you very much!

 Okay, here's the issue everyone in Canada, and a lot of people around the world are talking about today: yesterday's Ontario court ruling affectively legalizing everything associated with prostitution that wasn't legal previously.

 In Ontario, being a prostitute was legal, but paying for sex (being a 'john'), soliciting prostitution in public, and   'keeping a common bawdy house' were illegal.  So basically, you could be a prostitute and be open about it, but you may be arrested for soliciting prostitution in public, being a hooker.  So, you could walk up to a cop and say "I'm a prostitute" and not be arrested, but if a cop sees you walking up to a car and saying "Hey, wanna good time?  Blow jobs are only $15.00!", you could be arrested.  So could the guy for handing you money in that situation.  And if the cops find out you are using an apartment or house to 'perform your services', you could be arrested for that.  You could be also arrested for being a 'pimp' (soliciting the prostitution of someone else).  But TECHNICALLY speaking, being a prostitute was legal.  Yes, the law can be confusing sometimes.

 And in the back pages of most free urban weeklies in Ontario (our equivalents of 'The Village Voice') such as Now Magazine and Eye Magazine in Toronto, and View Magazine in Hamilton, ads for escorts of all kinds (Busty blondes! Exotic Asians! Well endowed but very feminine looking shemales! Buff young men!) proliferate.  Plus, one of the most poorly kept secrets around is that many, if not most, strip clubs have their customers enjoying sexual acts for money in the back room.  Cops would often visit strip clubs to make sure that all that was going on was stripteases and lap dances.  Well, that's what they would SAY their visits were for, anyway... nudge nudge, wink, wink.

 But now, as long as the federal government's appeal is rejected, prostitutes can be more open about what they're doing.  They may openly operate 'common bawdy houses', which makes the horrible violence that sex workers often endure much less likely.  They may hire bodyguards for their protection, instead of being at the mercy of exploitive pimps. (If you were to tell me that you're a prostitute, I would not think any less of you, especially if you use condoms.  If you were to tell me you're a pimp though, I would see red.)

 So, although I'm not crazy about prostitution, I strongly support the court ruling made yesterday.  (I'm an attractive young female, why would I ever have to pay for sex?)  Prostitution is often called the 'oldest profession', and in some form or another, it will always exist, regardless of the law or of how socially acceptable it is.

 From Jezebel, written by Anna North:

Several of Canada's anti-prostitution laws were ruled unconstitutional today, a decision that may make the lives of Canadian sex workers much safer.
According to CBC News, prostitution is legal in Canada, but "virtually every activity associated with it is not." Sex workers were previously barred from "keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of the trade." Even a judge once called these prohibitions "bizarre" — and three sex workers filed a lawsuit saying that the laws forced them to work outside their homes and in unsafe conditions, and kept them from doing things like paying security guards or screening clients. Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford (pictured, left) told Ontario's Superior Court of Justice that she still bore the scars from being attacked with a baseball bat by a client several years ago. But her job may be about to get a lot safer: the Court just ruled all three laws unconstitutional.
"These laws, individually and together, force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," said Justice Susan Himel in her decision. Conservative group Real Women of Canada argued against repealing the laws, alleging that prostitution harms women. But being attacked with a baseball bat pretty clearly harms women too, and making prostitutes' jobs more dangerous is hardly the way to help them. It appears that the Superior Court of Ontario has finally listened to sex workers' voices — maybe some in the US will start doing so too.

Read more:

The good news is that the federal government's appeal will probably be rejected.

 I strongly feel for sex workers, female and male alike, and how they are often subjected to horrible violence. These laws will make it more likely that they will be safer.  I hope sex workers everywhere put their foot down and insist a fresh condom is used whenever a penis is involved.  And I hope female sex workers make sure they are using birth control of some kind, in addition to condom use.

 Child prostitution, bestiality and sex with corpses (necrophilia) remains illegal.

 In Canada, we must set an example of social liberalism to the world.  I surely hope ending the war on drugs is next... but I'm not holding my breath.


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