It is often said that prostitution is the oldest profession known to mankind. Whether or not that is true, it is certainly true that sex-trade workers have the longest history of professional persecution – and not just by the law.
Most prostitutes have routinely experienced persecution at the hands of the law,
their “tricks” or “johns” and, perhaps most tragically their pimps or “managers.”
Quite recently, an Ontario court struck down many parts of the federal prostitution-related laws and Ottawa is preparing an appeal.
But instead of appealing the lower-court ruling, the federal government should seek a formula for overhauling the prostitution-related laws to the best benefit of all.
Technically, prostitution itself has long been legal in Canada. But just about every activity related to prostitution is illegal. Some of that activity should be illegal, but also some of it should be legal.
As with alcohol and drugs, no government in the world has ever been successful in eradicating it by prohibition.
Just as alcohol and tobacco are almost universally available, so are sex-trade workers.
The only thing that has ever been achieved through existing laws on prostitution and prostitution-related activities, such as soliciting or “communicating for the purpose”,
has been to force the activity underground, endanger the lives of sex-trade workers and make make pimps rich.
In overhauling the laws and making them Constitutionally acceptable, the goal should be, first and foremost, to make life less dangerous for sex-trade workers and, secondly, to makes such encounters safer for both the sex-trade worker and the “trick” or “john”.
Thus there should be no law preventing a prostitute from practicing his or her trade openly,
such as “soliciting” or “communicating for the purpose” laws.
And there should be no fear of the law preventing a sex-trade worker from bringing criminal and/or civil charges against a pimp or even a “bad trick.”
Prostitution, in and of itself, need not be a problem, as long as all participation is consensual and all parties take the proper health precautions.
But pimping and pimping-related activities are a problem: “procuring,” “exercising control,” “unlawful confinement” and “living off the avails,” and other illegal activities carried out in order to facilitate pimping (such as drugging or causing a person to become addicted to a drug).
As long as a person, male or female, is of age to consent (16 in most jurisdictions) to having sex with an adult, he or she should also be completely free to set the terms of such encounters.
Pimping, however, is another ball of wax. A pimp or “manager (of prostitutes)” – as they prefer to call themselves – is amongst the lowest forms of human scum. For the most part, they are cowards who only succeed by preying mercilessly on persons who are weaker than them. And to the average Canadian pimp, the average prostitute in Canada is worth more than $280,000 a year.
No person has the right to ever control another person’s body or mind. And anyone who tries to exercise such control must be dealt with harshly.
Make prostitution at 16 or older totally legal. But make pimping, in all its forms, very costly.
“Procuring,” “exercising control,” “unlawful confinement,” “living off the avails (of someone else’s sexuality)” and the use of violence, alcohol, drugs or extortion in order to facilitate the previous activities should carry a minimum sentence of five to twenty-years. Committing any of those crimes against someone younger than sixteen years of age or making or distributing child pornography should be punishable by a mandatory ten to twenty-five years.
And the policeman should become the prostitute’s protector rather than his or her persecutor.