Why Prostitution must be Criminalized

There are many reasons why prostitution in Canada should be illegal.

First, the impact of migrant trafficking is an estimated 120 to 400 million dollars a year and accounts for roughly 8000 to 16,000 people arriving in Canada a year illegally. Vancouver B.C is also a major port for human trafficking. This goes a lot deeper than your typical prostitute on the street corner soliciting drivers. About twelve 15 to 30 year-old Asian girls are trafficked into Canada each week on visitors or work permits and then sold into prostitution. These women are working in brothels, and many of these are unlicensed establishment disguised as therapeutic massage centers, nail pedicure places, etc.  These women do not want to become prostitutes; they did not grow up with dreams of one day becoming a sex slave or being pimped.  Many of these are ‘tricked’ into coming on work visas and then forced into prostitution.

Second, the demands for young prostitutes is very high as customers prefer the services of adolescents for their own sick reason and they are also ‘perceived’ to be more clean and less likely to harbor sexually transmissible diseases. Many teens are recruited into prostitution by friends who are already part of the trade and youths who have left broken or abusive homes. They are, in turn, susceptible to offers of shelter and emotional support and are often tricked into prostitution. The average age of entry into prostitution in Canada is 13 to 14 years old. Most of them are recruited or coerced into prostitution and many are leaving abused homes.

Approximately 80% of women in prostitution have been victims of rape. Prostitutes are raped on average of eight to ten times per year; they are the most raped class of women in the history of our planet.  In a study, several prostitutes showed many of the same characteristics as soldiers returning from war. 76% of prostitutes met criteria for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). That number is higher than soldiers and Prisoners of war.

As a forward moving nation, we should make prostitution illegal, but we should not make the laws as tough for women caught prostituting as we should for the pimps, Johns and recruiters, since many of them did not choose this lifestyle nor can escape it. Where there is a demand, there will always be a supply. We need to have stiffer laws for the Johns, recruiters and the pimps in order to reduce the demand for the prostitutes. Prostitutes convicted of communicating are more than likely to be fined, which, in turn, forces them to prostitute themselves again to pay the fines. Brothels in Canada are charged roughly $3300 annually for business licenses, which profits represents more money for the city in licensing fees and fines. In my opinion, the city is now living off the avails of prostitution. The laws state that it’s illegal to live off the avails of prostitution, yet the cities allow brothels to run and operate? Therefore, since the brothel owners are clearly living off the avails of prostitution, their establishments should be closed. The city just wants $$$. Licensing brothels and maintaining their legitimacy creates more illegal and criminal activities. Many of these businesses are owned by criminal organizations for human trafficking and money laundering purposes just to name a couple.

Legalizing brothels doesn’t make prostitutes safer!! Many of the women working in brothels are human trafficked, pimped or working for criminal organizations as well. We need to protect our future generations by making stiffer laws for the Johns, recruiters and pimps, which, in turn, will greatly lower the number of prostitutes. The vast majority that work in brothels eventually end up working on the street, once they get too old to work inside, to keep up with the competition, or if their drug addiction becomes too much, the majority land in the streets eventually. By allowing brothels to be legal, we are enabling the problem to fester, to grow worse for our future generations. The number of women entering the sex trade is climbing higher every day. Legalizing prostitution becomes an incentive for women to enter the trade if we keep it legal, for they will justify being prostitutes since it can be easy money and prostitution being a legal endeavor (if not to say ‘career’). Once they enter the trade the statistics show that less than 3% of prostitutes can exit. They get addicted to the money, they get addicted to drugs, they lack education and they can’t get out.

What we need to do is focus on stiffer laws for the pimps and Johns as well as prostitutes. We need to raise awareness on the effects prostitution has on society, we need to be aware of the statistics and get in the high schools and colleges and do some prevention work. We live in a country where women are very important. Many are doctors, chief executives, lawyers and judges. We need to keep our young women in school and encourage them to strive towards good careers instead of taking the fast, easy approach whereby they become uneducated and can’t get out. Statistics show that two-thirds of the children born from prostitutes end up prostitutes as well or in jail. It trickles on down the line and ruins our future generations by legalizing prostitution.

The diseases that are spread are vast. Our pharmacare systems are making money from the medications used by prostitutes that become ill from the profession. Medication that the majority of taxpayers pay for.  Many of the prostitutes are on welfare in turn costing our health-care system lots of money. The tax payer pays for welfare, pharmacare, drug rehab, etc. Legalizing prostitution fosters its growth rather than eliminating it as much as possible.

Out of all prostitutes murdered, approximately 80% are women killed by their Johns, pimps or are drug related. The women are punished criminally more often than the Johns, pimps and traffickers. This has to change.

Since the communication law came in effect, the focus on arrests has been on street prostitutes, but we need to keep in mind that the majority of brothel and Craigslist’s prostitutes end up street workers eventually—it’s just a matter of time.

Most prostitute homicides go unsolved because the perpetrator was a stranger.

The laws for Johns who see women, pimps who control and manipulate the women and ‘recruiters’ should get far tougher penalties than what they are currently. They are the real criminals—not the women and children who were forced into the sex trade and sold as human slaves or simply entered the trade.  We need to insert the fear of long jail sentences and stiff penalties into the pimps and brothel owners who are making money off the women and children, who are tricked into being provided false comfort and material benefits. Many of these brothels advertise “Female owned and operated. Earn up to $2000.00 daily. Fun friendly, safe environment”. This is all a lie and it glorifies the trade.

Men who buy or sell sex with minors in their employ should face an even more severe sentence.  Also let’s not forget that prostitution includes young girls and boys being sold for sex to pedophiles, something that we rarely hear in our local news. In our system today, a young girl on the streets having sex with older men for money is looked at as a “bad girl” or just another one looking to support her drug habit. Sometimes we forget that is it what she really wants? Is this the life she chooses? Maybe somebody is forcing her to do this for their personal benefit. Maybe she is doing it because she doesn’t know what else to do. This is why it is crucial to protect our women and remove them from the vicious cycle of abuse and violence by locking up the men, Johns, brothel owners and pimps who contribute and live lavishly off them.

In a 1998 report of prostitutes across five countries, 92% of women said they wanted to escape prostitution immediately and they would if they had resources.  Women who sell themselves are often coerced, forced or drugged into it—sometimes even at gun point. They feel they have no other skills or abilities to succeed in life. The thought of trying to escape is often not a reality when fears of being caught and killed or severely beaten start running through one’s head or they simply lack the self confidence or education to do so. Many of these girls that come on working visas, and then are forced into sex slavery, can’t go to the police for help for fear that their families will be murdered back home. It is very hard to escape the industry, since most girls have no sense of purpose other than what they do. They are ashamed. Without resources or knowing where to go, these women have nowhere to go for help. We need more organizations to help them. When career criminals go to jail they receive counseling and education in jail to help reprogram them back into society. Yet, because prostitution is legal there aren’t as many programs to help reprogram these women back into society, which is the reason for the need to make prostitution illegal, and, we definitely need to drastically focus on prevention. The numbers have jumped sky high as far as the amount of women now entering the sex trade is concerned. We need deterrents.

In conclusion, too many young girls and women are being forced into prostitution, becoming victims of rape and into a life-long agony. Fear of jail and humiliation is what must be put into effect if you are caught purchasing sex and or living off the proceeds of prostitution or contributing to the profession in any way.

Written by Tania Fiolleau