“Warren Kinsella's book, ‘Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse,’ is of vital importance for American conservatives and other right-leaning individuals to read, learn and understand.”

- The Washington Times

“One of the best books of the year.”

- The Hill Times

“Justin Trudeau’s speech followed Mr. Kinsella’s playbook on beating conservatives chapter and verse...[He followed] the central theme of the Kinsella narrative: “Take back values. That’s what progressives need to do.”

- National Post

“[Kinsella] is a master when it comes to spinning and political planning...”

- George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC TV

“Kinsella pulls no punches in Fight The Right...Fight the Right accomplishes what it sets out to do – provide readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”

- Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics

“[Kinsella] deserves credit for writing this book, period... he is absolutely on the money...[Fight The Right] is well worth picking up.”

- Huffington Post

“Run, don't walk, to get this amazing book.”

- Mike Duncan, Classical 96 radio

“Fight the Right is very interesting and - for conservatives - very provocative.”

- Former Ontario Conservative leader John Tory

“His new book is great! All of his books are great!”

- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD

“I absolutely recommend this book.”

- Paul Wells, Maclean’s

“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”

- Calgary Herald


In Sunday’s Sun: it isn’t sex – it’s bought rape

It isn’t the world’s oldest profession. The world’s oldest profession is apathy.

Those who, when confronted with wrongdoing or injustice or abuse – and prostitution can be any one of those things, or all of them – just, you know, shrug. “It’s been around for a long time,” they say. “There’s got to be a good reason for that.” And then they go back to sleep.

That recent Supreme Court of Canada decision is just that: apathetic (and pathetic). It’s dressed up in all sorts of legal finery, and high-sounding words, to be sure. But, when distilled down to its base elements, it just sort of gives up. Young girls being coerced into trafficking their bodies? Women being traded like commodities, and beaten and battered and worse? Innocence being lost to dirty old men, who care nothing for anything, except their own grimy desires?

Who cares.

The highest court in the land doesn’t certainly doesn’t seem to care. If you pore through their 132-page collective shrug, their reasoning effectively comes down to this: prostitution has been around a long time, so deal with it. In the very first sentence on the very first page, no less than the Chief Justice intones: “It is not a crime to sell sex for money.”

And it goes on from there. But, as in a lot of legal reasoning, the problem lies with definitions. Is what is being sold really, truly “sex”?

Not according to a lot of people who would know. The U.S. National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children – who do, dare I say it, God’s work – think that what is being bought and sold isn’t actually “sex.” It’s something else. Says the Centre’s experts: “Prostitution creates a setting whereby crimes against women and children becomes a commercial enterprise.”

When a pimp, or circumstances, compels a girl to sell her body, that isn’t sex, says the Centre. When forced to submit “to sexual demands as a condition of employment, it is exploitation, sexual harassment, or rape – acts that are based on the prostitute’s compliance rather than her consent.” Noticeably absent from the Centre’s assessment: that it is, in the benign language of the high court, “sex for money.” It’s a lot, lot less than that.

Unconvinced? Melissa Farley is a Ph.D, and the founding direction of Prostitution Research and Education. She doesn’t really define it as “sex,” either. Nor is she as indifferent to prostitution as Canada’s highest court seems to be. “Prostitution is extremely dangerous for women,” she says. “Homicide is a frequent cause of death.”

Farley goes on: “It is a cruel lie to suggest that decriminalization or legalization will protect anyone in prostitution. It is not possible to protect someone whose source of income exposes them to the likelihood of being raped on average once a week.”

Finally, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – because, really, that is what we are talking about, trafficking in human beings – doesn’t define this age-old commercial enterprise as “sex” either. They are much more blunt, and therefore (to me) closer to the truth.

“Prostitution cannot eliminate rape when it is itself bought rape. The connection between rape and prostitution is that women are turned into objects for men’s sexual use; they can be either bought or stolen. A culture in which women can be bought for use is one in which rape flourishes.”

So say the experts – so say former prostitutes themselves. It isn’t “sex.” It is a business. It is coerced submission. It is bought rape.

There are many, many people who – when confronted with a problem that has been around for a long time – say that it cannot be solved. Drug addiction, or prostitution, or myriad other social problems have been around for centuries, they say. So, ipso facto, they can’t be eliminated.

That may be. And it may be that those like me – a left-leaning type, who aspires to a better and more equal world for his daughter – will ultimately lose this debate.

But don’t you think it is better to try and make things better, than to be apathetic, and to simply shrug?



59 Responses to “In Sunday’s Sun: it isn’t sex – it’s bought rape”

  1. Matt says:

    So, given the SCC’s ruling, what angle should the government be taking as it re-writes the prostitution laws?

    Do they go hard after the “john’s”?

    • Swervin' Merv says:

      No easy answers here. As an apostate Catholic, I understand Warren’s implied position that our bodies need to be respected as “temples of the Holy Spirit,” but this is a broader view (of sin) than constitutional (legal) declarations about protecting “security of the person.” We are at risk of believing that secular laws can provide the discipline required to avoid sin.

      We sometimes allow adults to waive their legal rights, though not the most “fundamental” ones, but we don’t permit this of children. So I read the argument as one of protecting professional prostitutes despite their expressed wishes—when we could be focusing our efforts more earnestly on preventing trafficking (slavery) and other forms of clear coercion.

      The argument could be easily extended to the production of pornography, where similar lines are often drawn between “voluntarily sold” participation in eroticism and clear cases of coerced violence. The most stomach-turning reportage on that industry is Chris Hedges’ chapter on The Illusion of Love in his Empire of Illusion (2009).

      As Warren might say, instead of just debating the chances of eliminating all forms of prostitution, I’d rather see more concerted ACTIONS taken to better protect those women and children most at risk.

    • Robin says:

      Warren writes: In the very first sentence on the very first page, no less than the Chief Justice intones: “It is not a crime to sell sex for money.”

      Isn’t the Chief Justice’s comment simply another version of a previous statement by a former Liberal Justice Minister of Canada: “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.”?

  2. Andrew Prescott says:

    Warren, it’s for articles like this that you are, by far, my favorite Liberal.

    OF. ALL. TIME.

  3. Ian Howard says:

    If you wish for a more equal world for your daughter your time would be far better spent pushing for a guaranteed annual income. This would provide the security to continue an education or pursue skills that would allow real choice about what to do with ones future.
    I don’t know the moment where women in the sex trade lose the ability to make choices about what to do with their body. What I do know is that far to many people from the moment of birth are at an economic disadvantage that forces them into all kinds of decisions they would likely never make if they had the ability to live day to day with a real sense of security.
    I would rather not tell anybody what to do with their body, instead I would rather they had the means to develop those abilities that will give them the greatest happiness.

    • david ray says:

      bang on.

      after witnessing the sex trade third world style up close in places many of you may have visited where speaking out could get you killed i wrote the first verse of a song nobody wants to hear as it upsets them too much or so ive been told but i sing it anyway. it’s my only way to handle the injustice of apathy.

      spanish speaking island in the Caribbean sun
      sitting by the pool drinking rum
      when i saw a sign on the door next to mine
      no children allowed after five

      tired bartender said with a weary shrug
      fat german bankers in their pink speedos
      and a lot of strange men from the lands of the snows
      like to brings the boys and girls back from the barrios
      the ones their families rent for a few pesos
      and when the men are finished they work on their tans and portfolios

      spanish speaking island in the Caribbean sun
      sitting by the pool no more fun

      it’s a hundred times worse than what you can imagine in our first world culture but i won’t bore you with any more.

    • dave says:

      A person who argues this is Hugh Segal. You likely could go ogle an article of his in Lit Review of Canada of some months ago that puts the idea clearly. He uses the example of a programme tried by the feds and Manitoba in Dauphin area in the early 1970′s.

      People who use money to control others don’t like this idea at all.

  4. Ann Jarnet says:

    Warren, please run for Parliament. If you do, I will leave Québec and go to the riding you want and I will knock on every door and use my best charm to convince folks that we need you (and others like you) to run our country.

    • Warren says:

      Wow! Thank you. But I have something even better than that planned! Say tuned.

      • Don Johnson says:

        Wow! angling for a Senate appointment (joke!)

        Seriously, I appreciate your column, right on. I’d like to hear what you think should be done about this as well. It seems the Prime Minister has ruled out the notwithstanding clause, and I am not sure that would be the best option, so where do we go from here?

      • Sean says:

        I will also drive to whatever riding / ward you are running in to volunteer. I might even bring people with me!

  5. You’re so correct on this.

    A friend emailed me a link to an article on this with the title, ‘Those Crazy Canadians’.

    On reading his email, my intense pain – in terms of embarrassment for my country – amounted only to a tiny fraction of the damage being done to these women on a daily basis.

  6. Arnold Murphy says:

    Not shrugging but trying to think critically sometimes is damning, it relieves us of that thing we call a conscience. As an recovering addict, because your always recovering, never recovered I can admit to having been around some pretty lowly people as a matter of choice and that sometimes I prefer their company to those that claim to be normal. Having lived through those experiences, I can say that there is much truth to your assessment but its missing a Human quality. We don’t think much of the situations of other nations and our allies, we usually pander or pan we have little time for understanding them since we are so wrapped up in our own self glorification. So before I take this to an level not easily understood, I agree with you in premise that it is an ideal you propose that I agree with. That being said, the real world we have abandoned consciously is part of the problem. In the real world, there is no way to tell if person a performed any service for person b, if they mutually agree to keep a secret. Something like lawyer client privilege on the honor system. And in a case of honor, person a must be more credible than person b to form a conclusion that a service may have been provided or procured. The irony is that there has already been a similar and very ironic factual decision made in regards to this, in that police officers can engage in sex to support their cover or gain information to gather evidence and investigate a case. Yes ironic isn’t it, that a police officer can be “forced to have sex” in order to solve crimes. This if I may suggest is a contradiction to your premise, in that we have to now assume that sex is a tool of law enforcement, its in the toolkit. I don’t want to burst the bubble really, I prefer your premise that sex is evil, I also think hard labor is evil, so is capital punishment, so is impoverishing veterans and single mothers, I got a long list. But these are moral principles, which are dare I say culturally influenced. At one time, in our not so distant past a dowry was exchanged and given to the groom I don’t get the tradition but I accept money when offered and if it comes along with the woman I happen to love all the better, dear diary does this make me a bad person? All I know is I ended up working and earning more in todays society than my wife who I happily married in spite of the tradition not being observed. Its not her fault that society is tilted towards a certain demographic that seems to favor owning slaves, marrying 15 year olds, being violent and controlling and I will admit that I share that demographic with Warren and every other man. Yes there is chapter and verse in the bible supporting all of the afore mentioned, including a wise young Jewish Rabbi who sent a certain Mary home to a new career pronouncing her old one a sin. This is of course in spite of the Judaic traditions associated with Hebrewic law that are fully accepting of slavery, pronounce polygamy as acceptable and pedophilia under circumstances of ethnicity. So morally, although I am aware we share some time under Catholic Alter Boys Robes, our own hopefully that we have some similar backgrounds. And again here I inadvertently left out the Catholic Church for a minute, which does interpret the bible, hey it can do it, it wrote it as interpretable. So the Pope may come out in support of prostitution at some point in the future, lets face it we pretty well know now that they wont be sanctioning pedophilia especially as a paid occupation for children in the near future, but at one time in Rome Dionysus or Bacchus both enshrined as saints and emulated in the bible would have. Morally a slippery slope it is, because it is Human history. And to play on your Oldest Profession theory, I have always assumed since being married that begging was the oldest profession and that prostitution resulted from it. After all we find in primate culture that monkeys and some of our nearest primate relatives trade for sex and use physical dominance to get sex, its natural, science says so. But I still agree with your premise that its not Human ideally, because I believe Humans are still evolving. One day we wont exchange expensive pieces of gold and diamonds as affirmations of our love, we will just say we love the other person and make them a part of our lives. Following that we may evolve to a point where we share our abilities and talents freely, where we have no expectations of payment of any sort. In that we evolve to meet our basic needs, I hope that we evolve from a trade and barter system to a Human needs fulfillment system whereby all of our needs are fulfilled as a result of mutual gratification, that we work to make what we need. But that is my Utopia, a place where we don’t, we is a strong word I cant use it because its not me nor is it you, its someone else who is in more need than I and society has not evolved to the point to take care of that person. So we live in a world of predators and prey, your right, its disgusting, and yet disgustingly Human. What evolves out of decriminalizing person a’s right to provide person b with a service, I don’t know, probably detrimental to society as a whole. But, there my critical thinking cuts in again. The Greeks or Spartans had a peculiar ritual in their society of throwing their young out of the house at a certain age to fend for themselves or die, they would learn to kill, but first to steal, to beg, to prostitute themselves even and this was the case sometimes. What you call nature and I call nature is not the real world, the real world is cruel is heavy and weighs upon people it drags them down. I know one thing, that is I want a better world, one where everyone gets an opportunity to do something good for themselves and others, where we provide for each other and without that we are stuck with a dilemma. How can you ask person a not to work for person b when the money and the services exchanged are legitimately without coercion being exchanged? Because of all the circumstances surrounding society, it is impossible to enforce such laws, they are as Oliver Wendell Holmes would argue unenforceable and therefore bad laws. I am not a concurrent proponent of criminalizing such behavior, such behavior built Vancouver as a city and maintained it for some time, its a fact that it cant be controlled without interference with society that is in itself harmful and no suitable rehabilitation is established, nor is opportunity being created to avoid such enterprise, indeed in Saskatchewan the new stripper laws are being heralded as and advance in societal values. I shit you not, beauty as truth is in the eye of the beholder and some think that sex is entertaining, I don’t get it. I know for sure though we need to protect people from predators, we need to provide safety and make some rules so people know where the lines are, not like some European country with questionable taste, we don’t need to emulate Borat’s home country but its going to be the joke around the country for some time until we see who is the best prostitute of all Canada. I wonder what Larry Flint would say about this dilemma we find ourselves in?

  7. e.a.f. says:

    It very unlikely anyone enters the field of the sex trade, willingly. They do it because they believe they don’t have options.

    Your comment that it is paid rape is a good way of looking at it. If the chief justice says it is not a crime to sell sex, then the questions should be, should it be a crime? And then, who is the criminal? In the past it was always been the seller, which in 95% of the cases are females. of course there will be those who argue, why can’t a person sell their body for sex, we sell our bodies to employers for work.

    If one may sell their body or their minds to be writers, construction workers, doctors, lawyers, etc. then why should people not be permitted to sell their bodies for sex? It comes down to how you feel about someone invading another’s body for money. Part of the issue is, other workers have laws which protect them as workers. Sex trade workers don’t have any, not really. There maybe laws against rape but we rarely see them enforced when it comes to people in the sex trade. the majority of sex trade workers are female and historically there hasn’t been much value attached to work done by women. In some countries women are still considered “chattel”. In western society, it wasn’t that long ago that women were also considered chattel and didn’t have the right to vote. Prostitution, is a mind set which continues from those times.

    You have to wonder about men who feel its o.k. to pay women to have sex with them and you have to wonder about a country which thinks its o.k. for men to pay women for sex. Are we all that different from some tribal societies which permit men who rape girls, to marry them to avoid going to jail. In Canada, as long as you give them money, its o.k.

    Some may say the sex trade is the oldest profession. You say its apathy. My conclusion, its simply the poor treatment and attitude towards women and many women are complicit in this, where it is a class issue. do we make it illlegal to buy and sell sex? do we make it illegal to buy and sell sex under a specific age? when ever there is inequity, prostitution flourishes. whenever women are not viewed as equals prostitution flourishes and child prostitution is simply a power issue and very sick.

    In some countries, prostitution is legal, taxed, regulated, etc. Does it make it any better? or does it simply make society feel better. Even in countries where it is legal and regulated there is always the “underground” sex trade. Society permits it to flourish because at some level it works for society and that isn’t a pretty idea.

  8. Nikki Thomas says:

    Wow Warren, I had so much respect for you before this nonsensical rant. I thought you were the sort of person who can see through propoganda, and recognize junk science when you come across it. Melissa Farley? CATW? You actually believe this crap? Did your BS detector run out of batteries? To call my job “paid rape” is the ultimate devaluation of labour, and in all honesty, sex workers are far less likely to whore themselves out to the highest bidder than your average politician. We offer a service, we set our limits, and clients, for the most part respect that. Those who don’t find themselves without companionship fairly quickly. If the public understood what our job was really about, the public perspective would be considerably different.

    By the way, I appreciated all the support you gave us when I was leading the SaveToronto Rally back in November. You were there; you watched me as I led the chants, introduced the speakers, and helped the city vent its outrage. Do I REALLY seem like the sort of person who would let men pay me to “rape” me?

    Before you dismiss me as an outlier or an exception to the rule, please realize this – there are literally hundreds of outspoken sex workers in this country who have been rallying for our rights for much longer than Toronto has been rallying against Rob Ford. In addition to the hundreds of us who speak out (and risk marginalization and ostracism in the process) there are thousands of others who support our cause who don’t have the ability to speak out in public.

    If 70% of us all suffered from PTSD (as one of Farley’s since-debunked “studies” once claimed, a “study” that assessed 18 subjects with a 14-question questionnaire) then such rallying and activism simply wouldn’t be possible. Our sheer existence disproves the stereotypes; the very fact that we have fought so hard to end criminalization of our trade proves that we must have far more agency than the CATWs of the world lead you to believe. Try talking to a few actual sex workers’ rights groups, run by actual sex workers – only then will you understand what we’re really all about.

    • Warren says:

      I was there. You led nothing.

      You’re not leading with this, either.

      • Nikki Thomas says:

        You didn’t answer any of my questions.

        • Warren says:

          You lost that opportunity after the first couple insults.

          If you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. I intend to do likewise, with you, from this point forward.

          Take care of yourself.

        • David Church says:

          Your opinion as an actual sex worker, regardless of the fact that you are clearly intelligent and seem well informed in regards to the social and data based research, conflicts with Kinsella’s rigid beliefs.

          So rather than engaging in a reasoned discussion, it’s easier to simply ignore or dismiss your insights.

          • Kaplan says:

            I’m actually really disappointed Warren so quickly brushed off Nikki, who’s got a lot to say on this topic.

            Frankly, it would’ve been cool to see the two of them have a discussion on this one.

          • Warren says:

            I don’t engage with folks who lead off with insults. Waste of time.

    • david ray says:

      riddle me this. as Ian suggested a few comments up would you still be a sex worker if you had a guaranteed annual income of say 60.000 net which would easily cover food, rent and clothing for a year in a city like Toronto? a base like this would provide the greatest freedom of all… time, time to prepare without threat or coercion and make an informed choice about vocation. would your time not be better spent advocating for that rather than the status quo whatever it’s current interpretation by you and or Warren?

  9. I would have thought the apathetic are those who want to stay with the status quo of criminalization/pseudo-criminalization with all the problems you ably list, not those who want a reform that will give those who are providing this service the ability to protect themselves, to get protected by authorities and reduce the problems. It’s their constitutional right, after all.

    • The Golem says:

      I wanted to make apathy my profession, but couldn’t be bothered to look for clients.

    • Robin says:

      What is the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.

      Therefore, more awareness and understanding of this issue and the root causes that drive people to choose prostitution in order to cover basic living costs would be advisable.

      It seems to me, at the very least, a guaranteed annual income in conjunction with increased availability of affordable housing with supports from the relevant social service agencies would be a good start. In addition, financial assistance to encourage pursuits in education and skills training combined with affordable child care services particularly for single parents with pre-school aged children.

      This may not eliminate prostitution but it should help ensure that it is a choice and not a last desperate resort for someone in financial need.

  10. patrick says:

    Prostitution is not bought rape.
    I would agree with that notion for anyone forced into prostitution by another – pimps and predators are true scum.
    But a person who makes a choice to become a prostitute, either due to economics, laziness or an overwhelming sex drive is not being raped. If a person chooses to offer sexual favours for pay instead of working at McDonalds that is a choice, perhaps not a great one, particularly due to the mantra of disgust put forth so long by judgemental religious twits who decided that they have the right to approve and disapprove of what turns one’s crank, but the consensual exchange of cash for services is not rape.
    What’s particularly hysterical about this is just how insulting it is to women. You are essentially stating that any woman who does not use her sexual organs in ways that you and other fanatical organizations (name your religion here) do not approve of, then she can only be a lost, powerless soul in need of saving from the world.
    Sexuality has long been a tool of control and domination by the fanaticals and you do no service in muddling up human trafficking and exploitation that involves labour and sex, with the age old puritanical notion that a person of their own free will is incapable of making a choice to have sex for money.
    Prostitution isn’t immoral. It shouldn’t be a crime. And bringing it out of the dark ages will do more to protect the vulnerable and exploited than shaming, talking about sin and keeping it hidden in the alleys.

    • sezme says:

      Right on. The real problem is coercion. We need to deal with human trafficking and child exploitation directly and harshly. But let’s not mix that up with banning people from doing what they like with their bodies. Women should not be treated like children who are not capable of making informed decisions. If a man or woman decides that sex for money is worth it for him or her (and has a real choice in the matter), I’m OK with that. I believed the Supremes made the right choice, and now it’s up to Parliament to make better laws and to shine more light on what’s happening and what’s going to happen anyway. To me, the idea that all prostitution is “bought rape” is incredibly patronizing.

      • e.a.f. says:

        obviously not someone who has worked in the sex trade.

        “bought rape” is not a patronizing comment. Its what many feel it is. its not like prostitution is a career anyone wants their kids to get into. Its not a healthy line of work. Its not like you or anyone else would be advertising to the family your kid went into the sex trade.

        • sezme says:

          OK, since you called me out on not being a sex worker I presume that means that you have been one and speak for them all, apart from the ones who disagree with your position. Is that so? Only sex workers are qualified to comment on this issue?

          I think you’re completely missing my point, which is that once one removes real coercion, it is up to the individual to make the choice. If you start from the position that prostitution is always degrading, humiliating, and shameful, then it follows that it’s always a product of coercion. But taking that position completely ignores the fact that many sex workers including Terri-Jean Bedford, Valerie Scott, and Amy Lebovitch who brought the case to the courts, state that they engage in that line of work completely of their own free will. So if you refuse to take them at their word on this point, it seems that you are deeming them mental incompetents, incapable of acting in their own best interests. It’s a circular argument.

          Put another way, most people in Canada these days believe that adults should be able to have sex with anyone they wish to as long as it’s a consensual relationship between adults, even if that relationship lasts only an hour or two. Does money changing hands instantly turn it from choice to coercion? I guess it all comes down to one’s attitude on the sanctity of sex, and perhaps a failure of imagination on your part. Even if I were to accept your premise that no one would willingly do this for a living if they had a real choice, I don’t see how that’s any different from other shitty jobs, most of which pay a lot less. I think sex workers should be able to engage in their work in the way that they feel is safest, and that’s what this case was about.

        • sunny says:

          If you heard someone who has worked in the sex trade tell you that ‘bought rape’ is patronizing, would that be OK. What is unhealthy about sex, btw, I just got sidetracked by that comment.

          Obvious, sex workers don’t advertise they are sex workers for a few reasons: one is, they do not wish to be saved, so spare us the ‘help.’ There is a societal stigma, and a great deal of ‘but that doesn’t actually happen’ while explaining why one does it. There is the fact that, until Dec 20, 2014, providing a location to work in is illegal. If the place you provided your services was considered illegal, would you announce to friends, families, and neighbours you are running a home based business next door? Probably not.

          Children need protection, even the sex work laws have an entire section dealing with that. Let the law do it’s job, it’s already in place. Just as laws against human smuggling, working without proper visas, and trafficking are already illegal whether one is doing sex work, construction or housekeeping. Having ‘special’ laws implies that adult women are incapable of running their own lives.

          And yes, if you want to argue a case against prostitution, never refer to anything done by Melissa Farley. She’s been reported to the APA by her peers, for blatant falsification of data on this topic.

  11. M5SLIB says:

    This is obviously a complex issue. I had this exact discussion with my brother over the holidays, and he mentioned similar arguments to yours. One thing that’s striking in your piece, though, is that you speak solely about female prostitutes. How do male prostitutes fit into the equation? We all know they exist. I’m not saying this to detract from your argument, but simply because it’s an aspect that has to be considered.

    Personally, I’m ok with an adult consenting to exchange sex for money. Key word is consenting; obviously, it’s not a simple concept. What I’m not ok with is the coercion and danger. That’s pretty standard. What we currently have doesn’t adequately integrate these two concepts. The only thing my limited brain can think of is legalizing the industry, and putting in place the most severe punishments for those who engage in prostitution outside the regulated framework – maybe even make them registered sex offenders or something.

  12. Campbell says:

    I think my problem with Warren’s argument is that, taken to its end, he seems to be saying that any activity become necessarily exploitative once you accept money for it. I don’t think prostitution is “bought rape” any more than I think landscaping is “bought forced labour”.

    I have a big problem with Farley’s quotation that says “It is not possible to protect someone whose source of income exposes them to the likelihood of being raped on average once a week”. To me, it is this attitude that sounds like apathy. Not possible to protect them, so why bother trying? I think we owe our fellow citizens better than that.

    I would argue that the Supreme Court’s position is anything but apathetic; that by taking this action, they are allowing people engaged in the sex trade to do things to reduce the likelihood of being raped, or of finding themselves on a “bad date”.

    Warren, wondering if you have a reaction to this perspective?

  13. The Golem says:

    Such an absurd premise. If paying for consensual sex is “bought rape” then it must follow that consensual sex without exchanging money is “free rape”.

  14. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Thank you Warren, well said!

  15. dave says:

    I thought that the Supreme Court decision turned on the workplace safety of the people who are on the street selling quickies. I thought the decision made it possible to work in safer places.

    Perhaps trafficking people, children is a little different issue.

    The idea above, from Ian is one way to help people make other choices.

    Meanwhile, I have to finish reading Oscar Wilde’s MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION. It reflects a definition of prostitution a little broader than is mentioned here.

    • david ray says:

      to paraphrase C S Lewis … man needs air to breathe, sex to reproduce and food to eat but no-one goes to a stripper bar to watch someone cook a pork-chop. to me the sex trade in whatever guise is not a profession if it’s dependent only on attractiveness.
      imaginary conversation with stripper bar patron

      why do you come here
      to watch the girls strip
      you know you can’t have sex with them
      sometimes you can if you pay enough
      but what if you don’t have enough money
      well i just watch and drink my beer
      do you think the girls do this willingly
      of course
      why
      for the money
      so you pay them to take off their clothes
      yah so
      who gets the money
      the girls do of course
      anyone else
      the bar owner
      any chance that’s a woman
      not likely
      so you’re paying a woman to strip so she give money to a man
      i guess so
      why
      cause he has the money
      and she doesn’t
      i guess not
      do you think she’d be here if she had enough money to live on
      probably not
      would you still come here
      probably not
      do you like porkchops

      • dave says:

        Hah!…Nicely done!

      • sunny says:

        Sure, but would anyone work if they were wealthy enough to not work? Would that young woman then simply dress in scimpy clothing and go to a club to dance in a flashy way, in order to get attention from men, except now that it is free, it is somehow different?

        I think people forget that whether food not grown, gathered and/or cooked by yourself, someone somewhere is getting paid to get you that porkchop too.

        It goes without saying there are many other jobs that are not sex work that are unavailable to anyone who is not attractive. Why aren’t there lobby groups (who profit from ‘saving’ sex workers) who are out there trying to save models and child actors from the horrors of being cute or pretty, and the people who want to profit off their beauty?

  16. Sean says:

    I don’t think I completely agree with Warren on this issue, but I absolutely love the quote “apathy is the world’s oldest profession.”

    • Derek Pearce says:

      It sounds cute but is false in relation to the true oldest profession. No one has ever charged a client and been paid for apathy services.

      • Sean says:

        uh huh… have you *ever* *discussed* *anything* with a “public policy consultant”?

        professional apathy is often selling for around $300 + per hour… and that would be the basement rate.

      • sunny says:

        Then you have a very narrow view of what sex work actually can be, for some clients. :)

        Did you miss what one of the court challengers did for a living?

  17. Mulletaur says:

    I want to say, what sense does it make to talk about what happens between “consenting adults” when one party to the transaction is very often doing something out of direct economic necessity, fear of a pimp or to feed a drug addiction ? On the other hand, such thinking opens a whole can of worms about the meaning of being a wage slave. Ultimately, we should suppress as a society what causes or results in harm where possible and reasonable, not facilitate it. I will watch with great interest what the Harper government does about this ruling. In the meantime, I think it would be wise for the federal Liberals to wait and see.

  18. WestCanGrit says:

    Rape is a crime of violence that happens to use sex as a vector of attack. Equating paid sex to paid rape twists the argument in favour of the desired outcome.

    (This is not an insult. This is a difference of perspective and opinion.)

  19. Fraternite says:

    Well, everything is a commodity these days; it’s Western society and it’s what we do.

    It’s pretty sad that something that can be as beautiful as sex is being reduced to a commercial transaction, but we really shouldn’t be surprised about that — if there’s something that both the Left and Right want more of, it’s money. Cottage industry sex workers will be in for one hell of a surprise, though, when legal big business starts getting involved; if they thought that sex workers were frequently exploited and dehumanized by the criminal elements of our society, just wait until corporations get involved and start doing the same things with the blessing of the state.

    This isn’t going to end well for women, and it’s going to continue to redefine what being a man in our society is, too.

  20. po'd says:

    “But don’t you think it is better to try and make things better, than to be apathetic, and to simply shrug?”

    Clearly this is a very serious topic, and what comes to mind is, are changes in order and if so, what should they be? Or should the status quo stand? What I know suggests the problems you point to already exist so how wise or realistic is it to just leave things as they are?

    I read your post and the responses and what I didn’t see was suggestions on what should be done to deal with existing problems or how to improve current circumstances? Hear no evil, see no evil won’t make the problems go away.

    I think legalizing pot has similar considerations. Somethings will be gained, somethings will be lost but reality strongly suggests the status quo isn’t improving either situation. What we are doing is costing a lot, wasting a lot of resources and leaving society in the same rut or simply watching while things get worse, as in the availability of MJ to teens. The War on drugs is a failure and the wars on prostitution never stopped it or even seriously curbed it.

    • sunny says:

      There are already laws that are more than sufficient to deal with any existing problems, if they are actually there. There are laws against kidnaping, coercion, etc. There have been laws against living off the avails of prostitution, and yet the number of people found and charged with that over the years are few and far between. The fact is, that in spite of what the rescue industry heroes are telling everyone, there just isn’t that much of this kind of thing going on.

      When laws do more harm than good, then the SCC comes along and declaws them, and that is actually the right thing to do. People are only up in arms because they think the hookers are going to be swarming the street corners again. The numbers of teenage girls lured and forced by pimps is also inflated by the rescue industry. A verifiable study on this topic in NYC a couple of years ago found about 3,500 teenage sex workers on street work in that huge city. HALF of those teens were boys. Only 10% of the girls had pimps. 90% of all teen sex workers did it by choice, and economic necessity of course. As one teen boy put it, who’s going to hire him? He isn’t going to go back home, and Covenant House idea of safety is he was sexually assaulted 3 times.

      If the law isn’t finding trafficked and coerced women in Canada, maybe it isn’t because they aren’t investigating and enforcing the laws, maybe it is because there are so few of them in the first place. Certainly not thousands, let alone hundreds of thousands. The public is being lied to by the rescue industry, and people like Farley.

  21. Kre8tv says:

    I don’t agree with your take on this, but I do admire your willingness to take a position on it. Newspapers are kinda fun to read when they contain provocative opinions. Too bad that’s so rare these days.

  22. Patrice Boivin says:

    I think in the past the focus was on the women instead of the johns because some of the lawyers, MPs and judges might get caught. Not too many prostitutes are also lawyers, judges and MPs or senators, but some Johns probably are lawyers, judges , MPs or senators… especially the ones who are away from home at regular intervals, for weeks at a time…

    All those hotels with live-in suites in downtown Ottawa… ‘nough said.

  23. Carly says:

    That is why I’m being part of the solution, click my name to find out more.

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