Nordic model of prostitution law an exercise in futility

Apr 29, 2014
Legal
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It had to be said…

Ever since the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the prostitution provisions of the Criminal Code last December, the federal government has laboured to cobble together a solution to the gigantic headache the judges gave the justice minister.

Nordic prostitution model an exercise in futility

Terri-Jean Bedford, one of three current and former sex workers who initiated a challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws, reacts at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa December 20, 2013. The Supreme Court of Canada struck down all current restrictions on prostitution on Friday, including bans on brothels and on street solicitation, declaring the laws were unconstitutional because they violated prostitutes’ safety. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

All of the noises emanating from Parliament Hill seem to indicate the government is leaning heavily towards the so-called Nordic model — favoured by Sweden, Iceland and Norway — which criminalizes the buyers of sexual services and the pimps who control those services. This is the favourite choice of Conservative MP Joy Smith, as featured in her Tipping Point report.

There is no end to the problems with this report. Not the least of which is that Smith starts with a pre-conceived notion that presumes something which is simply not true, but is rather a sop to her own sensibilities. “There are those who wish to legalize and normalize the industry, those who wish to criminalize all aspects of the industry, and finally those, like myself, who recognize prostitution as a crime that is inherently harmful to women and girls and therefore must be eliminated,” she writes in her introduction.

Eliminate prostitution? With a law? Well, good luck with that — there’s a reason it’s called the “world’s oldest profession.”

Maybe if Smith jumps up and down, holds her breath until she turns blue, and wishes really, really hard that’ll happen. But I doubt it.

Read more about the utter futility of the “end demand” approach…

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[…] There is no end to the problems with this report. Not the least of which is that Smith starts with a pre-conceived notion that presumes something which is simply not true, but is rather a sop to her …read more     […]

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[…] touted as a way to abolish the sex industry without harming or criminalizing sex workers. Under the Nordic Model, at least in theory, providing sexual services in exchange for money is not criminalized, but […]

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