Sex Work

Canada Enacts Bill C-36, Making Prostitution Legal As Long As Nobody's Buying

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@giawren/Twitter

Yesterday the Canadian government finally signed into law Bill C-36, a controversial and much-debated overhaul of the country's prostitution laws. Under the new law, prostitution per se is not illegal, but paying for sexual services or advertising their sale is. Like the so-called "Nordic model" of prostitution law, this is supposed to be an improvement over previous methods of criminalizing consensual sex between adults. 

Only the most misguided of progressives actually see it as an improvement, however. Statists and social conservatives still find fault with the fact that selling sex won't necessarily get you jail time. I say won't necessarily, because there are still many ways for sex workers themselves to face prosecution under the new law, which makes "communicating for the sale of sexual services", online or in any pulic place, a crime. This is, in part, why sex workers and their allies oppose it: What good is an end to criminal penalties for selling sex if you can still be arrested for advertising or promoting prostitution? And how are sex workers supposed to safely make a living if their clients constantly fear arrest? 

The answer, of course, is that they're not. The driving desire behind Bill C-36 is to "end demand" for prostitution so that it's eventually eradicated. Couple this with the trope that all sex workers are inherently victims, and here's where we end up. Canada's new law may mean less sex workers—the majority of whom are female—getting prosecuted for prostitution, but it comes at the expense of the idea that women are fully autonomous human beings capable of making decisions for themselves. It also comes with a corresponding rise in the number of (mostly) men prosecuted for purchasing sex, and the likelihood of little to no reduction in the power of the police state. 

Pivot Legal Society/Flickr

"This is an extremely concerning law…and stands in blatant disregard of clear evidence on the detrimental effects of the criminalization of sex work," said Dr. Kate Shannon, director of the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative and an associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia. "We know all too well from two decades of missing and murdered women in Canada and extensive research by our team and others criminalizing any aspects of sex work has devastating impacts on sex workers' safety, health, and human rights." 

The country's previous prostitution laws (criminalizing the selling of sex) were struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2013 precisely because they violated sex workers' right to "life, liberty and security of the person" as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But proponents of the new law seem little concerned with this. "Of course, we don't want to make life safe for prostitutes," said conservative senator Donald Plett at a pre-hearing for C-36 last summer. "We want to do away with prostitution. That's the intent of the bill." 

Noah Berlatsky wrote here in October about Canadian and U.S. sex-worker opposition to C-36 and efforts like it. For more on how these efforts will harm sex workers and clients, see these pieces from Vice and from Canada's Pivot Legal Society

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  1. I can’t avert my male gaze from the corner pic. Someone help me.

    1. Me either. She is spectacular.

      1. Mmrrowr.

        You will note her twitter address in the corner. Reason is now at risk of being prosecuted in Canada for facilitating illegal offers of sexay.

        1. and it is worth a visit.

      2. I like the alt text. Real creative ENB.

    2. Nor can I IH. At least my male gaze is… rational.

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D08JDW_vZ5c

  2. The driving desire behind Bill C-36 is to “end demand” for prostitution so that it’s eventually eradicated.

    Which is another way of saying giving the state control over male sexuality. The assumption behind all of these laws is that men should be prohibited from paying for sex. The rest is just various rationalizations to disguise that end. If any state ever tried to pass a law that so disproportionately affected women, the law would be considered a violation of international law and per say immoral. The goal of these laws remains unchanged. It is to let women use the force of the state to ensure that it is hard for men to have easy access to sex and thus allowing women to retain power over them.

    1. That’s what this whole thing has always been about. It’s a social conservative constrict to enforce the nuclear family.

      1. Yup. Further proof of that is how they go after gay prostitution so much less. I guess if you are going to go into the white slave business, just make them gay slaves so the police won’t be as interested.

        It is sexist and disgusting.

    2. It is to let women use the force of the state to ensure that it is hard for men to have easy access to sex and thus allowing women to retain power over them.

      Exactly. It’s a cartel trying to stamp out a rival black market.

  3. “Of course, we don’t want to make life safe for prostitutes,” said conservative senator Donald Plett at a pre-hearing for C-36 last summer. “We want to do away with prostitution. That’s the intent of the bill.”

    Incredibly utopian and completely at odds with the legislator’s supposed commitment to representing all of his constituents and their right to life, liberty, and property.

    It is none of his business what they do to support themselves. I’m not a big fan of prostitution, personally, but I’m not some busybody freak or know-nothing utopian who imagines that prostitutes will thank me for impoverishing them and throwing them behind bars. To the degree that prostitution can be mitigated, it will be through churches, people, and organizations going out and helping prostitutes — not through forcing through changes which will result in the prostitute’s loss of well-being and security.

    1. Incredibly utopian and completely at odds with the legislator’s supposed commitment to representing all of his constituents and their right to life, liberty, and property.

      Is that the oath that Canadian legislators take?

      1. Probably so, right after they finish masturbating to a picture of the Queen because they love her so much up in Canada. Amirite, folks?

        1. How old is the picture? 60 years or so ago the Queen was pretty good looking.

      2. “I, *name here*, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors. So help me God.”

        Seriously.

        1. Odd that it makes no mention of defending Her Majesty’s property, also known as Canadian citizens.

          1. The argument is that to bear ‘true allegiance’ to the Queen is to support the institutions of Canada, such as the concept of democracy. Which basically means they’re reading too much into an obsolete 19th century feudal allegiance pledge that is unfortunately a part of the Constitution Act.

        2. So basically if Canada ever wanted to get rid of the monarchy, the legislators would have to break their oaths. Neat.

          1. Not if the monarchy wanted to get rid of Canada.

          2. Not if they were overthrown in a bloody revolution. After all, the Englishmen of thirteen of the original fifteen colonies freed themselves from the rule of Georgie the German Usurper without any Tories breaking their oaths.

            -jcr

        3. I know taking oaths seriously is pass? these days, like ethics and morals in general, but that’s pathetic. It’s not like the connection to the UK isn’t mostly a pretty fiction, so why have crap like that? How about the people of Canada? Screw them?

          Better still, why not swear allegiance to the United States?

          1. Because technically the Queen is still the head of the government of Canada. We still have a Governor General with actual political power (that is never really used of course).

            1. I understand all of that, but that’s more window-dressing than reality.

              1. In terms of actual political power that’s true, but in terms of identity not so much. There were polls as late as the 1970s showing the majority of Canadians identifying themselves as British subjects first and foremost. Canadian nationalism outside of the British Empire is a very new phenomena.

                  1. The 1982 Constitution Act basically killed any hopes for a republic-style system with inalienable rights. Nope, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that:

                    “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

                    ‘Free and democratic society’ meaning whatever those in charge decree. Thanks Trudeau the Elder. Prick.

                    1. I’m going to send one of those on-line petitions to the White House to invade Canada to free it from the grip of the British Empire. Monroe Doctrine!

                    2. +1 11th Article of Confederation

                  2. But if you really want to get Canadians behind your cause, just say FREE BEER!

          2. Well, she’s the Queen of Canada completely separately from her being Queen of the UK. Canada’s a monarchy (in the same pretty, fictional way that the UK is).

        4. Who in their right mind would swear allegiance to someone’s heirs and successors? You haven’t even met them yet.

          1. The really amazing bit is that for most of history, people in their right minds mostly assumed that that was pretty much how things had to work.

          2. It’s God’s will.

            No, really. Divine right of kings and all that.

            God wouldn’t ordain anyone you wouldn’t swear allegiance to. (Except there were a lot of incompetent kings. Don’t look behind the curtain.)

  4. “We want to do away with prostitution. That’s the intent of the bill.”

    And that will never, ever happen.

    Since the dawn of the idea of bartering, there’s been prostitution. The bloody Code of Hammurabi has laws dedicated to prostitutes’ property rights. Even in societies were there was a strict concept of sexual mores and harsh penalties prostitution thrived. There will always been a demand as long as humans remain sexual beings, and there will always be a market.

    So maybe we could act like grown-ups and get over it?

    1. They won’t end prostitution John but they will succeed in ruining the lives of any number of evil straight men. That is enough for these people to want this bill.

      1. Two Johns talking about johns.

        1. Now all we need is a Johnson to start talking about his… you know.

          1. TIT Johnson is right!

            1. Florida man Johnson is right about TIT Johnson being right.

              1. I’m John’s son?!

                That’s a hell of a plot twist — no one will see it coming!

                1. My Johnson is going to have to visit the john about RIGHT NOW, I have had WAY too much beer…

    2. Mrs. McTeague (and other old ladies like her all around the world) does the laundry only because it is her role in the giant Ejaculation Control Conspiracy which, as Waterhouse is belatedly realizing, controls the entire planet. No doubt she has a clipboard down in the cellar, next to her mangle, where she marks down the frequency and volume of the ejaculations of her four boarders. The data sheets are mailed into some Bletchley Park type of operation somewhere (Waterhouse guesses it’s disguised as a large convent in upstate New York), where the numbers from all round the world are tabulated on Electrical Till Corporation machines and printouts piled up on carts that are wheeled into the offices of the high priestesses of the conspiracy, dressed in heavily starched white raiments, embroidered with the emblem of the conspiracy: a penis caught in a mangle. The priestesses review the data carefully. They observe that Hitler still isn’t getting any, and debate whether letting him have some would calm him down a little bit or just give him license to run further out of control.

      Mrs. McTeague, and other ECC members (such as Mary cCmndhd and basically all of the other young women) are offended by easy girls, prostitutes, and whorehouses, not for religious reasons, but because they provide a refuge where men can have ejaculations that are not controlled, metered, or monitored in any way. Prostitutes are turncoats, collaborators.

    3. Prostitution exists among our closest cousins, the chimpanzees and the bonobos. No fucking way is it going to be eradicated from homo sapiens.

    4. An economist taught capuchin monkeys to use silver disks as money. What happened next was predictable. One monkey took the money and traded it for sex from another monkey. The second monkey then bought a grape with it.

      1. A fermented grape?

        -jcr

  5. Canada? Don’t care…

  6. their trying to end the demand,for, pussy!? That’s like ending the demand for oxygen,or food or,hell name something

    1. Ummm….okay…. Rye Whiskey!

    2. “or,hell name something”

      Common sense?

    3. I’ll go with “free shit”.

    4. choo choos

      1. Don’t look that up in urban dictionary

      1. Ooh. Your good.

        1. Damn you’re

  7. which makes “communicating for the sale of sexual services”, online or in any public place, a crime.

    So using icky words is now a crime.

  8. Is anyone here sufficiently informed about Canadian politics to speculate about what PM Trudeau would do with this if he is elected?

    1. He’ll just defer to the Prince of Canada, buddy

      1. Who in turn is a lackey of the Canadian Devil, Beelzebutt.

    2. Trudeau has stated that prostitution is more ‘complicated than pot’ and has also avoided a push by some Liberals to have prostitution regulated and taxed. He opposed this current bill, but he’s also said that “prostitution itself is a form of violence against women” because he is a moron.

      1. I did not know that he was that stupid. Thank you.

    3. It won’t affect his access to such services at all. He has assistants for that.

  9. The driving desire behind Bill C-36 is to “end demand” for prostitution so that it’s eventually eradicated.

    Something about the world’s oldest occupation comes to mind. But I’m sure that after 6,000 years, this time they got it right.

    1. I’ve always found that saying odd. It couldn’t really be the oldest profession, could it? I mean, how do you pay the girl if that’s the only job? Everyone can’t be fucking and just passing around IOUs. Someone else has to have the oldest profession. I assume prostitution was a very close second.

      1. Adam paid Eve with apples. They were never actually married.

      2. Protection from sabertooth tigers?

        1. With a rock? Screw it, I’d stay celibate.

          1. Sugar is sweet,
            and so is honey,
            Beat yer meat,
            and save yer money!

      3. If you’re a hunter-gatherer, is doing what is needed to survive really a “profession”? If not, and you have some extra tubers, and that chick in the cave over has a reputation for getting frisky in exchange for tubers, then you’ve just found yourself a prostitute, no other professions needed.

        1. Hunter-gatherer tribes are rather eclectic about their sexual practices. It’s only with the development of agriculture that men figured out how to control who got laid and made the babies.

      4. Lawyers were first. Didn’t you ever hear the joke about who created the chaos out of which God created Earth?

      5. Prostitution is the second oldest profession. Somebody had to beg for it first.

        The priesthood comes in third.

        1. Somebody had to beg for it first.

          Stop denying female sexuality you patriarchal pig!

          1. Who’s denying it? *You’re* the one who assumes that the beggar was a man.

      6. I suppose you could call it one of the earliest ‘trade’ based jobs in a barter economy. Yeah, hunting and gathering are professions of sorts, but exchanging sex for food or other goods is a ‘trade’ of sorts.

        1. Isn’t part of being professional being paid to do something by other people? I don’t think subsistence can be considered a profession.

      7. Those other professions aren’t around any more.

  10. OT: Obama went to lunch and ate John Boehner’s war boner: Obama authorizes up to 1,500 more troops in Iraq.

    1. I’m sure Code Pink and their ilk are firing up some wicked protests as we speak.

      1. The funny (and kind of sad) thing is that Code Pink has actually stayed solidly anti-war and been as vocal about it as a tiny fringe group ever could be, the news media just doesn’t cover their outbursts anymore.

    2. Wearing combat sandals?

    3. Wait, are they wearing boots?

      1. Don’t be retarded ProLib, how are they going to wear the trunk of a car?

        1. Don’t bring your Canadian communist talk to this American non-communist blog!

          1. Look, Barack Obama is very cosmopolitan, okay? When he said “no boots on the ground,” what he secretly meant was that the rear storage compartments of the hundreds of troop transports and support vehicles that would eventually stream into what was once known as Iraq would be supported safely above ground by their tires and suspensions.

            It’s just a reflex. He can’t help being such an Anglophile.

            1. Isn’t he the one who pissed off the Queen by sending her his speeches and a sex tape with her CGIed into it? Or am I remembering that wrong?

    4. Did he swallow?

      1. African or European?

  11. It also comes with a corresponding rise in the number of (mostly) men prosecuted for purchasing sex, and the likelihood of little to no reduction in the power of the police state.

    For statist shitheads, this is a feature, not a bug. In fact, some would say this is the defining feature of any legislation.

    You don’t pass laws to leave people alone.

  12. “Of course, we don’t want to make life safe for prostitutes”

    Would he rather they be lying dead in a gutter somewhere, or dying of some easily preventable disease? Maybe he would. What a prince.

  13. Unrelated, but in the realm of man bites dog (or woman bites feminists):

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_…..women.html

    If you are against everything Joni Ernst or Mia Love stand for, then this election was bad for you, and the policies you care about, not bad for women. It should be obvious, but “women”?half the population?are not a uniform voting block with uniform ideas about what is best for them.

    Though I personally find Ernst’s far right views terrifying (she believes in fetal personhood and wants to abolish the EPA and the Department of Education), “women” in Iowa do not agree with me, and she’s their representative, not mine.

    Jessica Grose iswas a frequent Slate contributor

    1. zOMG not the Department of Education!1! How will our children learn anything?!

    2. Jessica Grose is generally pretty good.

      1. “Why do ENB’s articles always lead to an abortion discussion?”

        1. Because she is a puppet of the oligarchy?.

    3. What exactly is terrifying about fetal personhood and abolishing the Department of Education?

      1. I can understand disagreeing with those things, or thinking that they will have negative consequences. But terrifying?

        1. One can imagine terrifying consequences from establishing fetal personhood.

          The DoE policy is probably only terrifying because she equates federal education regulation with all education. Literacy rates will plummet!

    4. Fetal personhood? Ms. Grose sounds like a secret sympathizer of capitalists and their corporatist cronies.

    5. Why is “women” in quotes? Is the author implying Iowan women aren’t really women?

      1. No, just that the backwoods hicks in Iowa have been oppressed by the patriarchy for so long they don’t know that they should believe.

      2. My reading was that “women” isn’t really properly the subject in that context because women to not all think and vote as a group. She seems to be making the point that women do have differing opinions on all sorts of things, so I doubt she is suggesting that they aren’t authentic women.

  14. The biggest whores in the world, politicians, complaining about hookers. Classic.

    1. Regulatory capture in its purest form.

  15. Canadian hoes-ers

    1. Damn this stupid tablet! I meant to say they’re going after Canadian hoes-ers

  16. So, they’re making it illegal to buy a service it’s perfectly legal to sell. At this point, it’s a legal requirement that Canadian customers stiff (pardon the pun) their hookers.

    This is really, really, really stupid.

    1. Here’s how it breaks down, it’s legal to buy, it’s legal to lick it and if you’re the proprietor of a whore bar it’s legal to sell it.

  17. Anyone think roofies and rape are going to increase, eyeah?

    Law of Unintended Consequences…

  18. “‘This is an extremely concerning law … and stands in blatant disregard of clear evidence on the detrimental effects of the criminalization of sex work,’ said Dr. Kate Shannon, director of the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative and an associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia.”

    It’s pretty hard to take anyone seriously who uses “concerning” as an adjective that way.

  19. The idea of making the commercialization of an activity illegal, while decriminalizing the activity itself, seems to be particularly appealing and an increasingly applied approach for authoritarians who have a hard-on for all things commercial. It provides the anti-market fig leaf covering their brutal illiberalism.

    No doubt other purveyors of authoritarianism will catch on to the technique. Expect abortions to be legal, but the selling or purchasing of abortions to be illegal, sometime in the future.

    Thank you, the Commerce Clause.

  20. This is why I will never ever vote for the CPC if Harper or one of his kind is in charge of it and no libertarians ever should. Harper is the most anti-freedom PM Canada has had since Trudeau Sr. I had some hope for his son but he’s really stupid so I’m going to vote Libertarian. Unless I find myself ‘represented’ by McKay, Harper, or (Kill)Joy Smith in which case I will vote for whomever is most able to beat them.

    The good news is that the Supreme Court will eventually toss this thing out. The bad news is that it will take a long time.

  21. Canada’s new law may mean less sex workers?the majority of whom are female?getting prosecuted for prostitution, but it comes at the expense of the idea that women are fully autonomous human beings capable of making decisions for themselves. It also comes with a corresponding rise in the number of (mostly) men prosecuted for purchasing sex, and the likelihood of little to no reduction in the power of the police state.

    All of these things are features of modern feminism, not bugs. Almost everything they push has some or all of these three features.

  22. I didn’t pay her for the sex, I paid her to leave.

  23. Want to axe this law real quick? Prosecute everyone who places a personal ad.

  24. What is the ratio of male heterosexual whores to female heterosexual whores? I bet we are ***WAY*** the hell low on the male side! Naked-titty dancers v/s naked-dwonky dancers, ditto? I think that Government Almighty should subsidize the livin’ HELL out of MALE heterosexual sex workers, till the numbers are all the same! Where the hell is simple “equality of the sexes” here anyway?!?! Every one of us should have equal rights to be fucked by Government Almighty (this part is already true, THANK YOU, Government Almighty, may I have another?), yes, of course? But we should ALSO have equal rights to be fucked by those who take Government Almighty money, if need be, as well! We are not TRULY equal till we are all equally fucked!

  25. So, does this mean that no US Secret Service officers will be allowed to visit Canada?

    -jcr

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