Hey, look! Somebody I know published a fine piece on that famous “hooker ruling”. And it neatly addresses something that’s been bugging me for a while about the debate over whether prostitution should be legal – the way people confuse “legal” with “good”. As in: prostitution should be legal because let’s be honest, what’s the big deal? So what if some women (and men) want to sell their bodies? It’s theirs, right? Well, no. Not right.
Countries with legalized prostitution should consider the number of young girls transported in dirty containers from places like Ukraine, Russia, Nigeria and elsewhere, to service western buyers. Will Canada join their ranks?
Some in the Netherlands are now hoping to undo the damage of legalized prostitution. Amsterdam’s Mayor Job Cohen told the press in 2007 human trafficking was on the rise and crime was running rampant: “Since the legalization in 2000, things have changed. The law was created for voluntary prostitution but these days we see trafficking of women, exploitation and all kinds of criminal activity.”
Prostitution is dangerous whether legal or illegal. Furthermore, it’s not a choice. The vast majority of women come to it through drug and sexual abuse, mental health problems and extreme poverty.
Maintaining strict laws is about protecting women who are abused by the very way in which they survive. This is also about the kind of country we want to live in.