Prostitution Freed From Legal Restrictions in Canada

Sex workers wanting to be left alone get a big boost from Canada's Supreme Court.

Terri Jean BedfordTerri Jean BedfordYesterday, the long running saga of sex worker Terri Jean Bedford's (pictured at right) challenge to Canadian restrictions on prostitution came to a head as the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down several such laws in Canada v. Bedford. Declaring laws restricting brothel-keeping, negotiating the terms of a sexual encounter, and living on the proceeds of prostitution to be unconstitutional, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote that such laws "infringe the … rights of prostitutes by depriving them of security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

The decision is set to take effect in a year's time, with the expectation that the Canadian government will meanwhile decide what laws, if any, would be suitable and appropriate to replace the current ones. The decision is being watched with particular interest in the UK and in Ireland where the laws are very similar to those of Canada. There, calls for criminalization have worked their way through the system over last year.

Already, the decision is being decried by the losing side with complaints of how dangerous it would be for Canada to become "the next Amsterdam." On the one hand this is true: the Dutch system does not work. I have a friend who is an escort in the Netherlands and her home is regularly raided by police who accuse her of running an unlicensed brothel, even though she's an independent escort who works alone. Because she doesn't want to work in the kamers (windows) or a licensed privathuis (brothel), she's illegal. It's a system that makes no sense.

In Amsterdam, plans to continue to close kamers in the Walletjes and elsewhere mean more sex workers will have to go off the government radar to work. When I was in Amsterdam a couple of months ago, talking to women in the windows and brothels, one thing was clear: if the police get any worse in Holland many will simply move on to Germany.

But sex workers would prefer to not work in a country like the Netherlands or like Germany, and certainly not in the dangerous and misguided setup endorsed by Sweden. Laws there make buying sex illegal, in theory criminalizing only the customer, but in effect also criminalizing the workers themselves, who struggle to find adequate housing and to access social services because of their status. Rather, most sex workers advocate for full decriminalization—as seen in the laws of New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia—as the best way to ensure minimum abuses and maximum access to rights for the men and women who are sex workers.

Decriminalization, in the context of sex work, means the elimination of all, or most, regulations pertaining to where and how sex work can be carried out. This is distinct from legalization, where only particular setups are permitted, such as licensed brothels and premises. While legalization solves some problems, it can create others when the restrictions place all the power in the hands of bosses, as has been the case in Nevada.

Laws that criminalize activities around sex work keep the most vulnerable from being able to confidently work in safer conditions without fear of arrest. They also deter sex workers from reporting crimes against them or suspicious people to law enforcement. When I worked as an escort in London, I worked with the knowledge that what I was doing was legal. But those less fortunate than me who worked on the streets did not have that level of safety. The poor outcomes that this leads to have been noted at length by the Supreme Court in the Bedford ruling. Government should not be making potentially risky choices more risky.

Criminalization often leads to arrest records, which impedes those who wish to exit the business. And, in Scotland, increased police raids on saunas in Edinburgh use possession of condoms as evidence of criminality, potentially putting public health at risk. Similar raids in Soho, London have been criticized by actor and activist Rupert Everett as a cynical "land grab."

Full criminalization (as is mandated in most areas of the United States) has failed to eliminate either the supply or the demand for sex work. Increasingly, the workers and the organizations that support them are calling for full decriminalization instead. This is a view also supported by the WHO, UNAIDS, and other international aid agencies. It echoes the human rights approach to drug policy that is increasingly turning over decades of failed "War on Drugs" criminality and despair.

Hovering over the Canadian ruling have been the shadows of the 49 victims of Robert Pickton, a pig farmer convicted of the murders of women he picked up from downtown Vancouver over a 20-year period. It was claimed that human meat may have been mixed into ground pork produced by his farms; others have said he may have fed the bodies of some of his victims to the animals. If the laws were different, less stigmatizing, would Pickton have been detected sooner? Would the authorities have cared to do something earlier? That's what many believe.

As the unanimous court decision states:

The prohibitions all heighten the risks the applicants face in prostitution—itself a legal activity. They do not merely impose conditions on how prostitutes operate. They go a critical step further, by imposing dangerous conditions on prostitution; they prevent people engaged in a risky—but legal—activity from taking steps to protect themselves from the risks … Moreover, it makes no difference that the conduct of pimps and johns is the immediate source of the harms suffered by prostitutes. The violence of a john does not diminish the role of the state in making a prostitute more vulnerable to that violence.

Will Canada's government craft a model of decriminalization, or something else, in the year until the new ruling takes effect? At this point it is difficult to say what motivation the Harper government has, if any, to make real and substantial changes in this area that advance rights and safety of sex workers. But for the people like Terri Jean Bradford who have fought a long time for this day, and the team at Pivot Legal who supported them, at least there is finally hope.

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  • SusanM||

    Speaking of condoms, if a trans woman in, say, New York, is found to have condoms on her it's grounds to be arrested for prostitution.

  • SusanM||

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wow. In addition to being flat-out fucked up, that could result in some very bad outcomes

  • ||

    The comments are great, and illustrate why the situation is as bad as it is.

    Wow.

  • Irish||

    yovilleplayerlaura Mar 31, 2013
    In Jackson Heights/ Elmhurst, there is a large population of transgendered prostitutes plying their trade on "Vaseline Alley".

    Not saying these ladies are hooking; but how many condoms does one need for a night of consensual, unpaid pleasure? And if this is a huge problem, why not let the men carry the condoms?

    See, it's okay to arrest transgendered people so long as they have more condoms than the state thinks is proper.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    but how many condoms does one need for a night of consensual, unpaid pleasure?


    Well, it depends on how quickly, on average, one recovers after an orgasm.
  • Irish||

    Also, what if you're bringing condoms for the whole group?

    Then you're just being considerate.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Interesting. It seems the "how many bullets do you need" argument has mutated. I never imagined seeing this strain pop up in the Village Voice, though.

  • ||

    You haven't been reading the Voice for long enough, then. Their anti-authority streak started going out of them by the time Bloomberg started. They used to be very strongly anti-police-abuse too (I'm not sure if they still are).

  • Kid Xenocles||

    That's a fair cop, since I've never read it. I was working off my stereotype. I guess it's gone the way of the other nominally liberal rags, then.

  • Winston||

    They used to be very strongly anti-police-abuse too

    Hard to be anti-cop when it is your cops beating up the kulaks and wreckers.

  • Rhywun||

    In Jackson Heights/ Elmhurst, there is a large population of transgendered prostitutes plying their trade on "Vaseline Alley".

    I was wondering where all the tranny hookers went after the Meatpacking District went full gentrification some years ago.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Garcia, 23, who has long dark hair and a hesitant smile, is a transgender woman

    I have to admit to not being up to speed on the lingo. Is a transgender woman a man (originally) living as a woman, or the other way around?

  • Kid Xenocles||

    The convention is to use "man" or "woman" to describe the gender the person identifies as now. Thus a "trans woman" was once a man (or at least would have appeared as one, depending on how you view the issue), and a "cis woman" (if you see that prefix) would have always been called a woman.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Thanks. I looked it up but all I did was confuse myself.

  • Tejicano||

    I guess maybe now we are all confused. Was that the point?

  • V V||

    If a trans-prostitute showed up on your street and started trying to sell sex to random people, wouldn't you want it stopped? I am in favor of legalizing prostitution, even that kind of prostitution, but they need to have respect for everyone else who doesn't want to see that. It should only be allowed in a private, discrete location.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    I bet you do some things in public that some people object to. Let's ban those too.

  • V V||

    I can't think of anything. Give me an example.

  • DK||

    Smoking an e-cigarette.
    Talking on your cell phone.
    Carrying your groceries in plastic bags.
    Driving a car.

  • V V||

    E-cigarettes are unsightly, but hardly to the point that most people would want to ban it. And the other three, only a very few individuals would ever suggest banning it.

    The public spaces, the street, the park, are a public good, and the government has a justifiable reason for trying to keep those areas clean. Of course radical libertarians might advocate the(ridiculous) notion of privatizing those places, but if that ever happened, the private company that owned them would prostitutes selling themselves on it as well, because the vast majority of their customers wouldn't like it. Either way, the small minority will respect the rights of the majority.

  • DK||

    Kid Xenocles said "some people" which qualifies as a few individuals.

    E-cigarettes - New York is looking to ban it.

    Talking on cell phone - banned on airplanes for no good reason. Also, some places are looking to ban walking on streets and talking on cell phones (because they are distracted and might not notice the car ready to run them over).

    Carrying groceries in plastic bags - my city is banning grocery stores from using plastic bags on Jan. 1.

    Driving a car - GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

  • V V||

    A few individuals do not like something. Who on earth cares.

    Only on the e-ciggates do you have a point. Of course in a confined space like an airplane most people want peace and quiet.(And a private business anyway) Not comparable. Banning plastic bags and driving cars are also not comparable, those are environmentalist interventions.

  • DK||

    A few individuals do not like something. Who on earth cares.

    Exactly, yet the government bans/regulates anyway.

    Of course in a confined space like an airplane most people want peace and quiet.(And a private business anyway)

    Regulated by the government. And those buses and trains are confined spaces, too, yet cell phones are not banned. Does that bother you?

    Banning plastic bags and driving cars are also not comparable, those are environmentalist interventions.

    So, it's OK because of environmentalists?

    Not comparable.

    And? What does that have to do with anything? You seem to be content with banning things that are objectionable to your "betters" (i.e. your government, and, apparently, environmentalists).

  • OneOut||

    "Of course radical libertarians might advocate "

    Oooh. I like the sound of that. Radical Libertarians. RADICAL Libertarian. Not only Libertarian but RADICAL LIBERTARIAN. We Bad, We Rad.

    I'm not one though. Alas. I'm really not even a Libertarian, even though I've had a 15 minute, one on one conversation with Ron Paul back when he was running for Prez and I was the Treasurer for "The Campaign to re elect Congressman Joe Barton". I went home that night and took off my bow tie (figuratively speaking) and never looked back at Republican Party Politics.

    I'm a NeoLibert...and you can too !

  • OneOut||

    "E-cigarettes are unsightly,"

    Unsightly ? WTF is so "unsightly about an E Cig ? Are you serious ? E Cigs do no harm to anyone in the area. That's just anti tobacco hysteria taken to the extreme.

    Your Liberal desire to determine what is best for other adults is showing.

    Plastic grocery bags have already been banned in several cities and is under consideration in others, Austin , Texas being one.

    "and the government has a justifiable reason for trying to keep those areas clean."

    Will those in government whose job it is to "keep those areas clean" have the same squishy idea you do that E Cigs are "unsightly" ?

    "Either way, the small minority will respect the rights of the majority."

    So the concept of "the tyranny of the majority" is fine with you when you are in the majority ?

  • Bobarian||

    "So the concept of "the tyranny of the majority" is fine with you when you are in the majority ?"

    51% of the people agree with this sentiment.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    The government has no justifiable reason for anything. It is a criminal organization. Put it to death.

  • prolefeed||

    Carrying your groceries in plastic bags.

    Already banned here in Austin, unless you bring your own to the store.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    I don't know you, so how can I? But your response tells me all I need to know. You want the things you don't like banned but you can't think of any way this policy might be turned against you. I suggest giving it some serious thought, maybe learning to live with the foibles of others rather than becoming a petty tyrant.

  • V V||

    Why can't the very small majority of prostitutes and their customers live with the fact that the vast majority of people don't want to see that in their public space?

  • ||

    Do you actually think anyone gives a fuck about what you want to see in a "public space"? You give yourself too much credit. No one gives a fuck what you think.

  • V V||

    I missed the part where everyone in the world was a libertarian nihilist, and I'm the lone voice of reason, pathetically trying to convince the entire world to hear me out, when in reality no one cares.

  • ||

    Are you still talking?

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Why should they? Because you say so? If you want to limit someone's liberty, you owe us a decent explanation as to why. I'm afraid "People don't like it" doesn't meet that standard, even if there are many such people.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    And maybe they should show other people some understanding and limit their displays and sales pitches so that they only reach the audience that desires them. But that's an entirely different statement from saying those other people have a right to use force to make this happen. You're basically saying that we have the right to have people threaten to beat them if they continue the disliked behavior. You may not see this, but it can be no other way. You will ask them to stop and warn them that you will call the police if they don't. The police will come and ask them to stop at the risk of being charged with a crime and arrested. If they resist the arrest the police will use all the force necessary to accomplish the arrest. So think very carefully about what petty differences you are willing to suppress if for no other reason than the fact that you could easily find yourself on the other end of that baton someday.

  • V V||

    KX, I think it's fairly unlikely that someday a mob of enviro-primitivists will beat me up for driving a car or something like that. Suppose they came and did that on my front lawn. In your worldview, I would have every right to call the police to come and beat them with a baton if they refuse to move. I am just saying that as taxpayers, we have the right to make sure the things we pay for are inhabitable for us.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    You aren't listening. The mob doesn't have to raise a hand against you. They have their hired agents for that. That's what the law is.

  • OneOut||

    " I am just saying that as taxpayers, we have the right to make sure the things we pay for are inhabitable for us."

    And those you want shut down are paying the same taxes and saying the same things.

    What makes you special ?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why can't the very small majority of prostitutes and their customers live with the fact that the vast majority of people don't want to see that in their public space?

    So your main issue is zoning/Red Light Districts?

  • V V||

    I support zoning, to a certain extent. I don't want my neighbor's house torn down and replaced by a McDonald's. It can be made entirely consistent with libertarianism, anyone who buys property in a region will have to sign a contract stating that they can only do such and such with it.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Unless that agreement is there at the owner's insistence, it has nothing to do with libertarianism. Coercion doesn't change its nature just because you call it a contract.

  • V V||

    In a libertarian society it would have been done at the start of the building and selling of the houses in the neighborhood. Of course massive challenges will be entailed if we were to go directly from what we have now to night-watchman libertarianism. Suppose I buy the road in front of your house and charge you an exorbitant fee to use it, then telling you "it's the free market, use another damn road."

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Just as a blockade is an act of war between two nation-states, your absurd scenario represents an act of aggression against a peaceful party, to which the homeowner would have moral authority to defend himself.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What you refer to is called a "covenant". If two parties make a transaction of real estate to which a covenant has been attached, bully for them.

    However, if your neighbor and McDonald's voluntarily make a transaction and the deed has no covenant attached, there is Jack squat you should be able to do about it.

  • General Butt Naked||

    @HM

    I find Stefan Molyneux's advice not to engage in petty squabbles over obscure "what ifs" regarding a stateless/libertarian society to be helpful.

    For every one you have an answer for there's ten more absurd situations that people will wonder aloud how a libertarian society will solve.

    It can be a fun thought experiment at times, but don't lose sight of the fact that the only fact is that coercion, outside of self-defense, is morally wrong.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well said, GBN. I must admit that I have a weakness for thought experiments thanks to that gateway philosopher Daniel Dennett.

    Can't get enough of that Chinese Room or Swampman!

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Yes, GBN, but the reality is most people (and votes) argue like VV. How do we get people to come to this side is the challenge.

    I see it with my own friends and family. Attempting to make them understand the 'non-aggression principle" for example is a massive hurdle. Just take how the average person takes the Robertson "scandal" and you'll see how far the gulf really is.

    That's how I'm seeing all this anyway.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    The prostitutes can live with this fact. Why can't the vast majority of people live with the fact that they have no authority or right to dictate what prostitutes do with their own bodies regardless of whether or not they're on "public" property or not? Democracy is just 3 wolves and a sheep deciding on dinner. Liberty is a well armed sheep contesting the vote.

  • Tejicano||

    Let's look at this realistically. If we made prostitution legal I highly doubt we would see any hookers on the streets. Who needs the risk and humiliation? If it were legal they would all go on-line and sell their wares to the highest bidder rather than to whoever they happened to run across in the street.

  • prolefeed||

    Why can't the very small majority of prostitutes and their customers live with the fact that the vast majority of people don't want to see that in their public space?

    Why can't the small minority of people who are gay live with the fact that the majority wants to keep them from engaging in icky sex?

    Why couldn't the small minority of Japanese in America in the early 40s live with the fact that the majority was OK with them being locked up in concentration camps?

    Why can't the small minority of people who want to (insert something you find icky, but not anything you enjoy where you are in the minority) just quit doing that for your and your friends' peace of mind?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    If the government didn't own the street, none of this would be a problem.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If a trans-prostitute showed up on your street and started trying to sell sex to random people, wouldn't you want it stopped?

    Nope. Next question.

  • ||

    Exactly.

  • OneOut||

    I don't own any streets.

    Do you ?

  • KRoyall||

    We the people own the streets. Surely you don't believe government owns public streets?

  • ||

    Who cares what you "want to see", you statist asshole. You're asserting rights you don't have. In short: Fuck off, slaver!

  • SForza||

    Wonderful news. I'm all in favor of discouraging friends & family from going into prostitution, but I can't see any legitimate reason (drink!) government should make dangerous work that much more dangerous.

  • SusanM||

    Especially since it's often a desperate last resort for so many of those involved. Having the government punish you as well seems like a double whammy.

  • V V||

    If it really is the "last resort" than there is a problem that needs to be solved.

  • OneOut||

    If there weren't people wanting to stigmatize it ( sound familiar ? ) it wouldn't necessarily be the "last resort".

  • ||

    Yes, we must save people from their poor decisions. Paternalism is libertarian as fuck.

  • ||

    You really are a statist little fuck. Let people solve their own problems. Government makes problems worse.

  • HennaMac||

    I agreed with you @SForza!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Every time New Zealand pops up in an article I read, their being awesome.

  • SForza||

    This.

  • np||

    I thought Brooke's profile sounded familiar.. so looking up the Telegraph profile:

    Born and raised in Florida, Dr Brooke Magnanti studied anthropology and mathematics before coming to the UK for a doctorate in forensic science. While living in London she worked as an escort which led to writing the award-winning anonymous blog Belle de Jour: Diary of a London Call Girl, later adapted into several books and a television series starring Billie Piper. She has since worked in genetic epidemiology and cancer research and has written The Sex Myth under her own name. Brooke is The Telegraph Wonder Women’s sex writer. When not whingeing on the internet she can usually be found kayaking the sea lochs of North West Scotland. Follow her on Twitter @bmagnanti

    Now I remember the brouhaha and listening to an interview on the radio. Before she revealed herself I recall people were saying she had to be fake, as if a respectable professional couldn't possibly trade sex for money.

  • V V||

    Reminds me of "libertarian girl." No one thought it could be real. Turned out, it wasn't.

  • Dave Krueger||

    Hooray for the novel concept that "the right to choose" actually includes the right of a woman to do what she wants with her own body even though the women most aggressively advocating a woman's right to choose don't think it includes the right for a woman to have sex on her own terms.

  • Winston||

    There are a lot more choices the courts have yet to allow...

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

  • Gene||

    Meh, I couldn't care less what either 'thinks', I was happy to see our own cyto getting into it with the progs on the second link.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Which link?

    I wanna see this.

  • Winston||

    I believe he's referring to this? http://fullcomment.nationalpos.....t-victims/

    Also I'm not going to look at any comment posts in order to preserve my sanity.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Yeah, there's too much idiocy for this time of day. I'll go later when I'm drunker.

  • V V||

    I don't support criminalization of prostitution, but it's certainly not any type of "work." Calling it work is insulting to those of us who actually work.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    but it's certainly not any type of "work.

    Why?

  • Irish||

    Well, I'm glad you were here to make up definitions of 'work' that bear very little resemblance to the ones in the dictionary.

    1: activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something:
    a : sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result
    b : the labor, task, or duty that is one's accustomed means of livelihood

    Prostitution seems to meet all of those.

  • V V||

    Prostitution seems to meet all of those.

    So does theft. But would you call a thief a "working man?" And begging. Would you call a hobo a "working man?"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You still haven't answered my question.

  • Frank_Carbonni||

    Just ignore it. It's most likely just American.

    It has already done the coded racist references as it has a habit of doing.

  • Irish||

    A thief is certainly working, he's just doing an activity that should not be allowed.

    When people say 'don't call prostitution work' what they're really doing is trying to say that they're in favor of legalization but think that hookers are lesser creatures who need to be looked down on anyway. Your statement that prostitution, which is the exchange of a service for money just like any legitimate job, shouldn't count as work serves no purpose but to allow you to look down on someone whose lifestyle you don't approve of.

    Don't try to pretend that your word policing is anything other than your elitist attempt to tut tut and show your disapproval.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Are you sure he even thought it that thoroughly? I'm guessing it was just a knee-jerk "Well, having sex is enjoyable, and nothing enjoyable can be considered work!"

  • V V||

    If it was enjoyable(for the women), the men wouldn't have to pay for it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If it was enjoyable(for the women), the men wouldn't have to pay for it.

    Nonsense. My work is enjoyable to me; however, I still desire to be compensated for it.

  • General Butt Naked||

    My work is enjoyable to me; however, I still desire to be compensated for it.

    Whore.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Hey! I have a PHD - a Pimpin' Hoez Degree!

  • V V||

    You express my point exactly. When you talk about work, you use the dictionary definition, so that even a thief can be a worker, but when I talk about work, I use the social, historical, cultural meaning of the word. Among the working class in the past, a man's ability to do work was a main determinant of his pride, he would never consider a thief or a con man or a prostitute to be a worker. So yes, I do not view prostitution as a socially desirable occupation, I do not view it as equal to actual work. It's a stretch to call this view "elitist" I'm sure most Americans have this view, especially the working class, and your view seems to be more popular with the actual elite.

    I wonder if Irish has any daughters, or any sisters, i he would be perfectly content if they entered that occupation. There is a natural disgust for this kind of thing, an innate, evolved disgust, and I'm sure everybody has it when it comes to their own flesh and blood.

  • DK||

    I wouldn't be perfectly content, but my only concern would be for their safety. But, that would be because of the black market nature of it, not of the profession itself. I suppose I might also be embarrassed to tell some people (but certainly not disgusted). But, that is more because of the current societal mores. I'm willing to bet that I'd be more embarrassed (and disgusted) if I had to tell people that your were my sibling.

  • V V||

    In my own life I've always grown up around mainly liberals. Don't kid yourself. Your view is in the extreme fringe even for liberals.

  • V V||

    In my own life I've always grown up around mainly liberals. Don't kid yourself. Your view is in the extreme fringe even for liberals.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    In my own life I've always grown up around mainly liberals. Don't kid yourself. Your view is in the extreme fringe even for liberals.

    Why?

    What do you base your righteous indignation on? Do you even know why you look down on prostitutes? Is it just because your friends do? I mean, you do have a reason, right?

  • Calidissident||

    You listen here everybody. This is a real Merican man. Alright! He follow da tradition of a real Merican man and they don't consider no prostitute to be workin! You think there were prostitutes in the good ole days of the 1800s? Heavens no, society was so much better and more moral in those days. Women stayed in the kitchen, the blacks knew their place, the natives stayed on their reservations, and the Mexicans and Asians stayed in their countries!

  • Ann N||

    he has a legitimate point, and it applies to security guards, and many other occupations.

    Being a prostitute prolly has challenges, I know security guards have to fill out insurance paperwork when hired.

    But the main part of the job is to just sit there and take it.

    Calling that work strains the meaning.

    Now if a prostitute exclusively served a quadrapelegic clientele, that would be something. now THAT's a worker!

  • ||

    But the main part of the job is to just sit there and take it.

    Calling that work strains the meaning.

    If it wasn't work it would have no value or utility to the employer and there would be no market for it.

    This is also where the definition of work including theft or other violations of the NAP breaks down. In the narrowest technical sense you could call theft work, but it's not comparable to prostitution, where a voluntary exchange of value takes place. Theft by definition isn't voluntary, and there is no exchange of value since the thief did not perform a service that the recipient agreed to receive. Prostitution is no different from any other service performed in exchange for money from a birthday clown to a caterer to a customer service phone operator.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's a stretch to call this view "elitist"

    No, not really.

  • JW||

    Why are you guys wasting your time arguing with droopy tits?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Boredom.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Traditionally hobos have often been itinerant laborers, so yes I would. And there's nothing inherent to prostitution that requires prostitutes to steal.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Kid Xenocles||

    That sounds almost exactly like what Heinlein wrote in Sixth Column.

  • SusanM||

    Um, what isn't work?

  • V V||

    Sitting on your ass collecting welfare.

  • SusanM||

    Well, alright then. Of the sex workers and pro Dommes I know, "sitting on your ass" is the biggest insult you can think to say.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Of the sex workers and pro Dommes I know, "sitting on your ass" is the biggest insult you can think to say.

    Yeah, if you're working you're "sitting on someone's face".

  • SusanM||

    Thats extra

  • SusanM||

    work, I mean.

  • Homple||

    "Can't sell it
    gonna keep sittin' on it
    you'll never catch me givin' it away"

    Old Song, Ruth Brown?

  • OneOut||

    That's a ridiculous statement VV.

    You're comparing a weekend duffer who golfs because he likes it to PGA Professional.

    Try and tell someone who hits 500 practice shots a day that his profession isn't work.

  • Response||

    I wonder if the SoCons should embrace a form of Title 9 regulation requiring equal number of men be used as prostitutes as women. I wonder what the liberals would say about that. I would imagine it would greatly reduce the availability of licensed female prostitutes and yet somehow be pleasing to both parties.

  • V V||

    They(liberals) could care less whenever an industry is dominate by women.

  • ||

    Not that everybody doesn't say it incorrectly, but it's kind of a pet peeve of mine:

    It's couldn't care less. As in "could not care less". As in "I could not possibly care less about this issue". If you COULD care less, then the issue is more important to you than at least some other conceivable issue and the effect is lost.

  • Tejicano||

    Nit to push the point too strongly, but /\/\/\THIS

  • Winston||

    depriving them of security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

    How many laws couldn't be struck down using such logic? And could spending cuts be unconstitutional under such logic?

  • V V||

    Libertarians hardly ever consider the precedents these decisions set or the statist justification that are given for them. When the DOMA was partially struck down, they were ecstatic, completely ignoring how the decision contradicted the federalist principles the claim to support.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    There are many here who don't support federalism at all, and many more who don't think it should be applied in all cases. Slaver is not an issue most of us think should have been left to the states, for example. Please learn more about what you are criticizing, or at least ask questions rather than make absurd statements.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    *Slavery

  • V V||

    Mostly they support it when it doesn't involve the states gassing six million Jews, and they use it as an argument all the time when opposing this or that government project. If they don't believe it, they shouldn't use it as an argument.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    That's what I thought. Goodbye.

  • Calidissident||

    DOMA itself contradicted federalist principles, because the feds assumed a power that was never granted to them by the Constitution.

  • ||

    How in the everloving fuck do you figure that overturning a part of the law that gave the federal government the right to ignore licenses from the states defied federalism?

  • Cytotoxic||

    And could spending cuts be unconstitutional under such logic?

    This hasn't happened in NA yet and I don't think it ever will. More rationalizing.

  • RishJoMo||

    Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with the punches.

    www.PrivacyTru.tk

  • Winston||

    Is "punches" a euphemism for something sexual?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I believe he is referring topunches of the donkey persuasion.

  • Winston||

    Okay the thing that gets me is that SCOTUS said there is a right to privacy is order to strike down contraception and abortion laws. Oddly this right has not been extended to strike down lots of other things like say the IRS, the FBI, the CIA, the FDA or the NSA. I wonder why that is?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Awesome article by Israeli security honcho on why the TSA sucks ballz.

    It's on Cracked which means it's in tasty as hell list-form.

    He calls TSA workers failed Walmart cashiers, which is fucking awesome.

  • Winston||

    Of course we can't get rid of it because then the Terrists HUV ONE!!!

    Nevermind that it was only created about 12 years ago.

  • croaker||

    What is it with federal judges? The ones that have the moxie to kick the government right in the nuts as deserved then wimp out and give them time to find another way to bend us over with a corncob covered in Tiger Balm. It happened here, and it happened when the judge ruled against the NSA last week.

    Enough. Don't stay your rulings, tell the government if they want to appeal, they have no more standing than the rest of us -- live with the ruling until competent authority overrules.

  • Winston||

    Well they are appointed by the federal government. And these guys aren't libertarian they just want "appropriate regulation" whatever that is supposed to mean.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    How about "Murder Freed From Legal Restrictions Just About Everywhere"? How about "All Moral Restraints Suspended For An Indefinite Period"? What a great f***king world we live in.

  • Irish||

    This is a great analogy. Murder and consensual sex are the same thing.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Hey there IRISH. How are you doing A**hole? If you were not so f***ing stupid you might have detected some sarcasm and satire in my comment. But since you are one of the millions of undereducated dip shits who populate our land, and takes everything literally, I guess you did not catch it. Too bad. Happy holidays to you butt breath.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I took it seriously as well.

    I'm an undereducated dipshit too.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    FRANCISCO D ANCONIA

    Don't blame me because you are an "undereducated dip shit". It's not my fault. Blame it on the American educational system.

  • Calidissident||

    You mad?

  • BigT||

    I took it seriously based on your track record.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Don't blame me because you are an "undereducated dip shit". It's not my fault. Blame it on the American educational system.

    You really think time should be wasted teaching people how to interpret your dumbass comments? Gawd, what a steaming pile of rotten cunt you are.

  • Irish||

    Wow. This escalated quickly.

  • ||

    If you don't want people to confuse your sarcasm for a genuine argument, maybe consider making genuine arguments that are indistinguishable from satire?

  • ||

    Fuck off and die Mary.

  • ||

    Footnote in the decision:

    The focus is on security of the person, not liberty, for three reasons. First, the Prostitution Reference decided that the communicating and bawdy-house provisions engage liberty, and it is binding on this point. The security of the person argument is a novel issue and an important reason why the application judge was able to revisit the Prostitution Reference. Second, it is not clear that any of the applicants’ personal liberty interests are engaged by the living on the avails provision; rather, they have pleaded that they fear that it could apply to their employees or their loved ones. Lastly, it seems to me that the real gravamen of the complaint is not that breaking the law engages the applicants’ liberty, but rather that compliance with the laws infringes the applicants’ security of the person.

    So the whole issue wasn't decided on the question of liberty: that issue was dealt with in the Prostitution Reference in 1990, and liberty lost.

  • prolefeed||

    If a trans-prostitute showed up on your street and started trying to sell sex to random people, wouldn't you want it stopped? I am in favor of legalizing prostitution, even that kind of prostitution, but they need to have respect for everyone else who doesn't want to see that. It should only be allowed in a private, discrete location.

  • prolefeed||

    Whoops, reply got eaten by server squirrels:

    First of all, it's not my street, it's the street owned by the ruling local criminal gang (aka government).

    Second, the problem is that it is a government owned street, and thus subject to a tragedy of the commons situation. If it was a privately owned street or park or whatever, the owner could decide whether or not such commercial transactions should be allowed, and if so, on what terms. Problem solved.

    Third, people having sex isn't any business of the govt.

    Fourth, adults engaging in mutually satisfactory voluntary exchanges for money -- also not any business of the government.

    Fifth, combining the two -- sex and monetary transactions -- still not any of the govt's business.

    If you don't want to observe public acts of commerce involving sex or anything else, get a house in the burbs or in the sticks and enjoy your privacy.

  • KRoyall||

    Yet another article on Reason advocating something with no serious discussion of the social consequences. Here's one to ponder, legalized sex trade has led to increases in human trafficking, even children. Are we going to leave it to an incompetent government to ferret out who is a willing participant in prostitution and who is not?

  • SIV||

    WHITE SLAVERY !

  • SusanM||

    It would be helpful if the government didn't punish the victims as criminals, wouldn't you say?

  • ||

    What a load of horseshit. Care to provide some statistics to back it up?

  • Normajeana||

    Although this discussion seems to have petered out (so to speak) I hope that KRoyall will see this message. I am a sex worker rights activist (and retired sex worker) and have been involved in the sex worker rights movement (as a libertarian) for 32 years, so, perhaps I have a little more knowledge about this issue than you do.

    The notion that decriminalizing prostitution leads to an increase in human trafficking is absolutely false. Actual number of confirmed victims of human trafficking in the entire world 2012: 46,570

    Not to mention that the number of 'children' 'trafficked' into prostitution is so very few, and those minors who are in prostitution are primarily 16 and 17 year olds. Even those 16 and 17 year olds are considered 'victims' of trafficking regardless of their consent. In 2012, there were 657 minors arrested for prostitution, which is an ALL TIME LOW number of arrests for minors. There were more minors arrested in 1982- when there were 2,386 minors arrested.

    http://www.policeprostitutionandpolitics.com/

  • Normajeana||

    continued response to KRoyall- There are far more children who are sexually exploited by cops than who are 'trafficked' into prostitution. In fact, the government itself says that over 90% of all predators who sexually exploit children are someone whom the child knows and trusts, like priests, preachers, teachers, coaches, parents, boy scout leaders and cops. http://www.policeprostitutiona.....&Itemid=50

    So unless we plan to ban any profession which may lead to the sexual abuse of children, the idea that keeping consenting adult commercial sex illegal to protect children is illogical and irrational.

    And I DO have the statistics from the government- and you can find the numbers and the links to the government stats here:

    http://www.policeprostitutiona.....&Itemid=61

  • Joe Clave||

    Oh Canada.

  • MaggieMansfielddva||

    uptil I saw the draft for $8854, I accept ...that...my brother was like realie earning money in their spare time online.. there brothers friend haz done this 4 only about seven months and recently paid for the depts on there home and bought a gorgeous volvo. see page
    ===========================
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    ===========================

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