Below is an excellent overview of the current situation in Canada regarding legalization of prostitution there.
What happens in Canada in the next year could have a significant impact on how this issue is dealt with by other countries world-wide, so it’s important to understand the situation in Canada, and to support those in favor of abolition and the Nordic Model there and everywhere. (It criminalizes the johns who create the DEMAND, and helps women who want to exit and transition to healthier lives to do so.)
[Women’s E-News] –Jackie Lynne, a social worker and former prostitute, is one of the many vocal critics of the Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision late last month to strike down all of Canada’s laws that criminalize prostitution.
Lynne is concerned by the message decriminalization sends to the Canadian public about prostitution; namely that prostitution should be recognized as a career choice.
“My body knows that it was never work,” Lynne said in a phone interview from her home in Vancouver. “It has been decades since I have been prostituted. I am still healing from the harms of it.”
The Supreme Court struck down laws prohibiting operating a brothel, living off the avails of prostitution and street communication. The case was brought by three former and current sex workers. They argued that the laws–which made practices such as hiring drivers and guards illegal–violated their constitutional right to a safe work environment.
Lynne has studied prostitution academically for 15 years, after completing a master’s degree in social work at the University of British Columbia. In 2012 she co-founded Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry, based in Vancouver, to bring attention to the inequalities that land indigenous women in sex work and to demand resources for women trying to exit the industry.
What troubles Lynne most as a Métis, an aboriginal group in the country, is the overrepresentation of indigenous women in prostitution in Canada. For her, decriminalization won’t change the conditions that drive such women into prostitution and won’t make it any safer.
“It’s sexual assault and why it’s not called that is because we live in a society where if you pay for something, it’s OK,” Lynne said.
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