Christine Wilson is a former prostitute and a sociologist. This is not her real name.
I am a former hooker, and the first thing that I want you to know is that I would not encourage anyone to enter the sex trade. The second thing I want to say is that Canada’s proposed new prostitution laws couldn’t be more of a disaster.
I’ve heard the triumphant rhetoric from some feminist types who claim the new laws are a glorious victory for women’s rights. Wrong. It is the biggest set back we could have possibly faced.
What the government wants you to believe is that women in the sex trade will now be treated like the victims that they are and the johns will be viewed as the predatory perverts they have always been. That is what Justice Minister Peter Mackay wants you to believe. The reality is very different.
The fact of the matter is regardless of what Mr. MacKay may say; he has effectively condemned his “victims” to a life of working on the streets. Provisions in the legislation that will ban both print and on-line advertising mean that sex trade workers will no longer be able to work from home or in what are known as bawdy houses.
If you can’t advertise, that means you can’t bring the customers to you. You can’t pre-screen your clients and you can’t have a driver or body guard because it will also be illegal for a third party to profit from someone else’s prostitution. That leaves one option – alone on the streets. There simply will be no other way to do it.
The fact is that most hookers work out of ads. I counted 118 such advertisements in one Toronto alternative magazine alone. That means there will be at least 118 more women who will have to turn to street walking if they want to continue work at all. This is the least safe, lowest paid form of sex work there is. Factor in that johns will now pressure the women to jump in the car as fast as possible so they won’t be arrested, and you’re leaving these girls in the most vulnerable position possible.