This post isn’t about abortion, but Andrea said we could post about anything so here goes.
As most of you know, the Supreme Court of Canada is releasing its decision in the Bedford prostitution case tomorrow. Here’s what you need to know for what follows:
The Bedford case is a challenge to three of the key laws that inhibit prostitution in Canada, which would otherwise be completely legal. One of the laws whose fate we await is the Criminal Code provision that makes it a criminal offence to live on the avails of prostitution, or the pimping law.
This provision was struck down at the Ontario Superior Court, then rewritten at the Ontario Court of Appeal so that it would “only apply in circumstances of exploitation.” It has been argued before the Supreme Court and in the media by pro-prostitution groups that this provision prevents women in prostitution from hiring bodyguards, drivers, or even bookkeepers, thereby making their ‘work’ less safe. It’s a charming chapter in a fairy tale version of prostitution, in which the men involved in the prostitution industry are benevolent fellows whose interests lie in assisting and protecting prostituted women. But the thing about fairy tales is when you look a little deeper you often find something darker and more ominous.
I’ve never believed that fairy tale. And what my colleague Julia Beazley at the EFC heard about few weeks ago only further confirms that this fairy tale is a myth.
A mass text message was sent to women engaged in prostitution in the GTA warning them that if they were currently working independently and they didn’t put themselves under the thumb of a pimp by December 15, there would be serious consequences. The text opens with the words “Attention All Bad B*****s/Working Girls/Escorts/Strippers… Exile Season Starts December 15!”
Julia doesn’t post the text message in its entirety because the language is just too horrifying, but here is her summary:
The exile season warning is directed at all women known to be prostituting in the Greater Toronto Area, and possibly even more widespread, whether on the streets, in massage parlours, escort services or in strip clubs. Intended to intimidate and threaten, it is a less than subtle directive that failure to ‘choose’ a pimp to work with on a ‘100% basis’ would result in those women no longer being permitted to work, period. The text makes it clear that enforcers – whose nicknames aren’t fit for print – are ready and willing to deal with non-compliers. The message is unambiguous: working independently, anywhere, will not be tolerated; and those who don’t play by the rules will face consequences.
I was sickened by what I read. I’m told this type of communication is just part of ‘the game,’ and must be taken seriously. These men are not drivers or bodyguards. They are dangerous individuals, exercising a perverse sense of power and entitlement, and bent on maintaining control.
There has been no news coverage of this mass text message, and this story should be getting coverage, especially in light of tomorrow’s decision.
Is legalizing prostitution really pro-woman? Is this best we can offer our country? According to Julia’s research, 90% of women would leave prostitution if they could. That says something.
For more information on the case, and to learn about alternatives to our existing prostitution-related legislation, read Julia’s post.by