Selling sex is not illegal in Canada and so every arrest for selling sex has been illegal and unconstitutional says the Supreme Court of Canada, unanimously! Mike Blanchfield, wrote in The Canadian Press, “The high court struck down all three prostitution-related prohibitions — against keeping a brothel, living on the avails of prostitution and street soliciting — as violations of the constitutional guarantee to life, liberty and security of the person.” I say, “The supreme court has no idea what it did when they decided to reopen this can of worms to satisfy a small group of sex workers who felt that Canada’s anti-prostitution laws endangered their lives unnecessarily, by not permitting them to solicit money without fear of being arrested by the police.” I agree that this business has been around for a long time and will probably never go away, because people make life altering mistakes that ensure that there will always be people qualified for little else then trading in sex for money and that means that there will always be some unscrupulous person waiting to sell them, or show them how to sell themselves for a fee.
The inequality in our society is great enough to ensure that there will always be enough sex workers available in whore houses where adults with enough money can slither to and gratify themselves sexually in manners that their mates find displeasing and will not engage in, because hard-working otherwise law-abiding citizens are always looking for ways to supplement their incomes. With the government freezing wages for up to 10 years at a time while every basic need such as utilities, rent, food, fuel and clothing are allowed to sky-rocket unchecked as the government, it seems like an easy way to make an extra buck, for those trapped in jobs whose monthly pay does not cover their monthly bills. As long as government continues to coddle business a turn a blind eye to the suffering of its citizens believing that this is the only way to maintain our fragile economic stability there will always be those who are desperate enough to go against all that they believe in as the instinct to survive and live kicks in and all morals and sense of decency take a back seat and the money being offered is just to great a temptation to ignore. Becoming a Prostitute and making a living off of selling sex is not a person’s first choice, but a last resort for most people. The sex trade does not only ensnare women who claim to be there by choice as those women who fought to get this verdict, but caught up in this net are children and other women being forced by pimps to work everyday in whore houses run by madams.
Every parent should be very concerned for their children right now, because they now have been made easy targets for pimps and told that it is not against the law to sell yourself for sex and it is not against the law for others to make a living off of them selling themselves for sex. The consenting age for sex in Quebec is unofficially 14 years old and I know this because my daughter was having sex with a 21-year-old man when she was 14 years old and when I asked police to charge him with statutory rape they said they could not and in fact said that their was nothing they could do as long as she was consenting to the sex. Now this guy in one year would be able to stick her in a room in a house at 14 years old in Quebec and have her have sex with people for money and as long as she consented to do it, there would be nothing the police could do about it.
Some questions are screaming to be asked like:
How will the law distinguish between pimp and madam and is there really a difference?
How will the law distinguish between the consensual and the non consensual prostituting of oneself?
Already this is being touted as important a decision as giving women the right to vote; if this is so will we encourage all young women to sell their bodies and anyone who can live off of the avails of prostitution?
We used to send young men to trade schools and women to secretarial schools who were not able to keep up in what was considered the academic main stream; now in a year would we send them to a brothel for career training and a chance to make a living being a whore, pimp, or madam ?
There have been a lot of assumptions made by people who mean well, but I would suggest that they are ill-informed and that this decision has tipped the scales in favor of those who make a living off of forcing young people to remain in prostitution, like pimps and madams. Whether it is a member of organized crime, the pimp in the Cadillac, or the madam in a whore house with a body-guard forcing your child to stay on their back or stomach depending on gender, the results are the same. Most young people enter prostitution willingly, some out of love for the older wiser and slicker person, some for drugs and so there is the consent. It is the getting out of the sex trade that is always the impossible task and I would ask once that consent was given, who will have the legal authority to intervene when they wish to leave the sex trade. the government is making it harder and harder to collect unemployment benefits and welfare; will the government urge the sex trade worker to remain at their job? Is there a case now for pimps and madams that a contract has been entered into by the prostitute and her employer and can not be broken without some sort of compensation?
I was 20 years old going on 21, a high school drop out with no job prospects when I decided to run a bawdy house. In under a year I had a chain of 5 body houses in the greater Montreal area. Over 100 women worked in my bawdy houses and none of them was a girlfriend or sexual partner of mine; it was all about business. I never forced one person to work in any of those houses, but I knew pimps were sending their women to work for me; half the time they never came to a house they just took the call from me over the phone and either went to the client, or entertained them at their own residence; I would send a driver for my cut at the end of a working day. No person under 18 years old worked in any of the houses I ran and no pimps were allowed in the houses I ran. I took a fee for the clients I booked. Included in the fee was the option of the client, or girl to insist that the sex be carried out in one of my houses where I provided the clients and the girls with a clean place to have the sex and a safe environment where girls could relax and clients did not have to worry about getting robbed, but all that was optional. I made a ton of money until I got busted and the government took everything and put me in jail for living of the avails of prostitution. As good as I was to the girls that worked in my houses and as fair as I was to them, there were things that I just could not provide, nor ensure like:
The person was really there of their own free will and were not being forced.
The person being able to keep the money that they earned after they left the protection of my house.
The safety of the person once the door to the room was closed, if a client was really intent on hurting them.
The guarantee that neither would catch a sexually transmittable disease.
I think that the real issue though is that this is not a career choice that most people make as a first choice and are proud to say that is what they are going to do on career day at school. I think that this is a choice that people make when they see that they have no other way to get the basic things that they need, the rent is past due and their backs are against the wall. There are good and bad in everything and the sex trade is no different, but make no mistake madams are pimps and pimps are madams and they both make a living off of prostitution. In my books if you make money off of another human being selling their body for sex you are a pimp. Whether you sit behind a desk and offer better working conditions and environment like I did, or sit behind the wheel of a Cadillac using dope, or the threat of violence to achieve your goal, like most street pimps do, I believe that you are still a pimp, because your ultimate goal is the same and that is to make as much money off of the prostitute as you can.
There is no safety for prostitutes in this striking down of the laws governing prostitution, but this is a God send to every pimp, madam and organised crime faction in Canada. Pimps will open brothels, organized crime already runs the majority of them and they will bring whores in by the boat loads to work for cheap, because it has been established by the highest court in this land that the selling of sex is legal in Canada. Is this what we want our children aspiring to be, sex trade workers? No amount of talking will ensure a street prostitutes safety. Most street prostitutes work for pimps and they have a dollar quota to fill and as long as that is the case they will always be in danger, because if they do not get in that car and do not have the right amount of money at the end of their shift they will know what real danger is and this danger will not be imaginary, but quite real.
I think that we need to make prostitution and the making of a living from it illegal. The government should step up to the plate and make the necessary changes in favor of its working class and not its business owners. We need a change in the law that would allow for a worker’s salary to once again cover their basic needs in one pay, or at the most two, leaving the rest for the worker to save and pay for a few extras. In short the only way to ensure that women are safe is to illuminate the selling of sex all together. Anything else is a mistake and allows for the usury of the prostitute, by pimps, madams and organised crime. In a year we will see just how many of these people are still smiling when the pimps and organized crime really move in and take over every aspect of the prostitution trade and the police are powerless to even slow them down.
We are now admitting that, morality, dignity and decency have no place in this country when talking about a citizens right to earn a living safely and to me that is a shame. I did my time in jail for living off the avails of prostitution, running a common body house and even got to pay a large fine after the government seized all of the money I had in my pocket, my house and my bank account as profits of a crime and I took it on the chin. I took it on the chin because I believed that what the legal authorities were engaged in was upholding the laws of Canada. Now that the highest court in the land is saying that my arrest, my being jailed, the taking of my earnings, the fine I had to pay and the criminal record that got were the result of a violation of my constitutional rights, what am I supposed to think about the way the courts and the whole justice system operates in this country? I accepted the loss of all that I had, because I was taught that if you do the crime you have to do the time. When the highest court in this country says that the government and the legal system violated the law knowingly by punishing and seizing the personal gains and profits of legitimate businesses such as my whore houses, I begin to wonder what would happen if we all sought to have what was wrongfully taken away from us given back with interest?
I entered into the selling of sex as a living, because I was uneducated and unemployable and I admit it was nobody’s fault but my own, but I still needed to eat and since I was not much for camping out under the stars and I hated being dirty, selling sex seemed like a good idea at the time; after all I was not hurting anyone. I will let you in on a little secret, “I was never proud of what I did no matter how much money I made and I made a lot and I do not think that anyone who sells themselves for money or makes a living in this business has reason to be proud either. I remember sitting on a bar stool one day in a favorite drinking spot of mine talking to one of the communities honest, hard-working old timers newly retired and him admiring my clothing and jewelry. Trying to make small talk he asked me what I did for a living and when I did not answer he said to me, “Son whatever it is that you do it is obvious that you are not proud of it and so you will never be happy. I hope that the next time I talk to you, you will be able to hold your head up and look me in the eye and tell me with pride how you earn your money, so I will know that you have found peace”; I finished my drink and left and never answered him. When I got busted finally they took over $50,000 off of me that I had lying around the house and in the bank, airplane tickets for a planned vacation to Florida and ordered me to pay a fine of over $5,000 and sent me to jail. I was mad for a minute at all I had lost, but after everything was over and the fine was paid I got the first real sleep I had gotten since I opened my fist bawdy house. I liked sleeping and not worrying about someone kicking down my door in the middle of the night a hauling me off to jail. I vowed that day to get an honest job so that never again would the police be able to take all that I worked for from me and leave me destitute. that bust saved my life and made me determined to do something different with my life. If not for the anti-prostitution laws of this country I would have never got busted and therefore never changed my life.
I am almost 60 years old now and it has been over 40 years since I ran those 5 body houses in Montreal, but I still remember what drives most people into the sex trade and none of it is good. I was fair and kind to the people who worked in my houses and they took home the majority of the money that they earned on their backs, their stomachs, or with their mouths and hands, but I was not the norm. These were not only young people, but in some cases mothers and grandmothers who were being used in any and every orifice that a client saw fit and was willing to pay money for, because they had no other way to keep a roof over their children’s head, food in their children’s bellies, or clothing on their children’s backs. I have seen the diseases such as syphilis, herpes and aides, kill too many prostitutes who thought they were protected, but not before the diseases were passed from prostitute to john and from john to his innocent unsuspecting wife. For every good reason there is to legalize prostitution there are about a hundred reasons why we should not legalize it as a society. We have criminalised the buying and selling of people in every other form and for every other reason; pray tell me why it has just become legal to sell human beings as young as a provinces consent laws will permit for the sole purpose of providing sexual gratification for anyone that can afford to pay?
- Pimp who used teenaged prostitutes arrested in Gatineau (metronews.ca)
- Canadian Court Strikes Down Laws on Sex Trade – New York Times (nytimes.com)