Op/Ed BY ERIC DUHAIME in the Toronto Sun —
The Conservatives tabled their bill last week to criminalize prostitution, especially targeting the clients who pay for such services.
As we recall, last December the Supreme Court of Canada struck down our current prostitution laws since it put the safety and lives of prostitutes at risk.
Our Parliament had a year to redraft its legislation vis-à-vis the oldest profession on Earth.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay said about his new initiative: “The bill recognizes that the vast majority of those who sell sexual services do not do so by choice. We view the vast majority of those involved in selling sexual services as victims.”
Instead of seeing prostitution as the trade of sexual favours for money between consenting adults, Conservatives believe it is an exploitation of women. Instead of trying to ensure the safety of sex workers, they want to impose their own moral values and criminalize those who do not obey.
What is most astonishing and concerning is that two lobby groups who usually fight against each other, the religious right and the radical feminist left, are now working hand in hand on this issue. Both extremes have reached out to each other.
The most questionable of all is that their arguments are often based on false data and lies. Prejudice instead of reality is being used to legislate their “views.”
As Ronald Weitzer, professor at George Washington University once wrote, “In no area of the social sciences has ideology contaminated knowledge more pervasively than in writings on the sex industry. … Much of this work has been done by writers who regard the sex industry as a despicable institution and who are active in campaigns to abolish it.”
Like it or not, since time immemorial, some individuals have chosen to rent their bodies in exchange for dollars, just like others rent their brains or their arms. Not all prostitutes are forced into it and some even work more and more often without pimps or johns.