Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Reader takes exception to editorial

Response to "World's oldest trade is here to stay.

Response to "World's oldest trade is here to stay."

In response to the Kamloop's Daily News that legalizing prostitution will improve conditions for prostitutes, prostitution in itself is violence against women, indoor prostitution is not safer than outdoor prostitution, and legalizing prostitution creates an environment where sex trafficking can flourish.

Notions of human dignity underlie every Charter of Rights and Freedoms right. Since prostitution occurs when someone exchanges sexual services for money, women and girls become mere "goods" for sale, and legitimate commodities, whose only purpose is the sexual gratification of another. With legalized prostitution, pimps and traffickers become legitimate entrepreneurs and businessmen, and Johns become clients in a valid meat marketplace.

Sociologist Richard Poulin states that "by reducing women and girls to the status of merchandise that can be bought, sold, rented out . . . prostitution reinforces the connection between women and sex, reducing them to a lesser form of humanity."

Therefore, prostitution in itself is degrading and harmful. Calling prostitution "work" normalizes prostitution to be acceptable and commonplace.

There is inconclusive evidence that indoor prostitution is safer than outdoor prostitution. The large majority of prostitution occurs indoors, without criminal charges. However, in such places, women are treated degradingly, which in other contexts would be assault or rape. Studies have shown that women in indoor prostitution still suffer from anxiety and great stress, sometimes are less able to control their interactions, and can face greater risk of exploitation and enslavement, while having less opportunity to exit the trade by interacting with outreach workers. "Safety" is thus a relative idea in prostitution.

Countries such as New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, which have legalized prostitution also have reported significant increases in sex trafficking and prostitution. Ninety two per cent of human trafficking victims are exploited for sexual purposes. Sex trafficking is a natural consequence of a legitimized and approved sex market.

However, Sweden, the only Western country that has criminalized the purchasing of sexual services, tackled the key factor of demand, but has not criminalized prostitutes themselves, and has reported a significant decrease in prostitution and trafficking, while an increase of prostitutes exiting prostitution and seeking outside help.

The belief that prostitution can and should be reduced or eliminated is an optimistic and hopeful one, based on the belief that people's inherent dignity and value should be protected and enforced through our laws.

Jennifer Park

Prince George