Thursday, March 22, 2007

Libertarian Challenge of Canada's Prostitution Laws

All Libertarians both those of the Left and the Right should support this court challenge by Canadian Sex Workers. Of course the most outspoken support for these workers rights have come from the Left.

But even those on the right should recognize the fact that this is an impediment to self sufficiency and an attack on the right to run a business.

But our right wing Libertarians in Canada are simply Republicanadian conservatives. For a real individualist libertarian perspective check out Lady Aster

It is also an issue of public safety and crime prevention as the Picton case so horribly shows. These women would not have been forced to ply their trade on the streets and died at the hands of a serial killer if the Canadian laws had not forced them to.

Prostitutes launch constitutional challenge

A group of current and former prostitutes and an Osgoode Hall law professor joined forces yesterday to launch a constitutional challenge aimed at striking down three provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with the sex trade.

The challenge effectively amounts to a call for decriminalization.

"Some people may find this controversial," law professor Alan Young said at a news conference in Toronto yesterday, "I don't."

In the past, Prof. Young, well known in the Canadian legal community, has launched similar challenges to Canada's marijuana laws.

Currently, prostitution is not illegal. However, communicating for the purposes of prostitution is against the law. That's one of the three sections being challenged by Prof. Young and his supporters, who say the law keeps women from ensuring their clients aren't likely to harm them.

The team is also challenging the provisions on "bawdy houses" and living off the avails of prostitution, saying the two laws force prostitutes onto the street and keep them from hiring security and support staff in the same way other businesses do.

If for instance women and the men that work in this industry formed a business it would be subject to far more regulation, for their own safety, for their health, ending drug use, for age legality, and for eliminating pimps. And hey they would pay taxes. And of course the best form of business would be a worker owned and controlled cooperative and if the business was privately owned then the workers should have the right to unionize. As I wrote;

Sex Workers Union: Whether strippers, prostitutes, escorts, porn actors, etc. women workers in thus unregulated industry face the dual oppression of being exploited by owners and customers, and their banishment by society at large. The exploitation of children and young adults as well as immigrant women is allowed to exist due to this free market. Laws against prostitution need to be abolished and the regulation of this industry be under workers control through a sex workers union.

Sex workers have an alternative method of organizing as well. They could form a religious order, a tax free charity, the Order of Jezebel, and thus could provide religious rites by the members of the Order. After all this is the traditional meaning for 'get thee to a nunnery.' And they would not have to pay taxes!

Prostitution and Religion are historically co-joined, the temple prostitutes in the ancient pagan cultures, and later with the Christian Bishops of Bath running brothels in that fine city in the middle ages.

With a charitable brothel system, the Order could earn enough to pay for education and other skills thus limiting the time spent as a Sister or Brother allowing the members to move on to other professions without the usual social stigma.

According to Nelson's Bible Dictionary Corinth was ancient Greece's most important trade city. At Corinth the apostle Paul established a flourishing church made up of a cross section of the worldly minded people who had flocked to Corinth to participate in gambling, legalized temple prostitution, business adventures, and amusements available in this first century navy town. The city soon became a melting pot for the approximately 500,000 people who lived there at the time of Paul's arrival.

Merchants and sailors, anxious to work the docks, migrated to Corinth. Professional gamblers and athletes, betting on the Isthmian games, lived there. Homeless slaves, free or runaway, roamed the streets day and night. Prostitutes (both male and female) were abundant. All of the Mediterranean world relished the lack of standards and the freedom of thought that prevailed in the city. These were the people who eventually made up the Corinthian church. They had to learn how to live together in harmony, although their national, social, economic, and religious backgrounds were very different.

Near the city's market place were the butcher stalls or meat markets that Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:25. The meat was often dedicated to pagan idols before being sold. This presented a culturo-religious problem for the Christians in Corinth. Rising 1,500 feet above the city and to the south of the acropolis was a fortified hill upon which loomed the infamous Temple of Aphrodite or Venus. This pagan temple and its 1,000 temple prostitutes greatly influenced the city's culture and morals.

Prostitution was an active and profitable enterprise in the Middle Ages. Historians examining town records have found that most towns and cities had some sort of brothel, often an official one that was actually publicly owned, though this was more common on the continent than in England. Prostitutes, while an inevitable part of urban and town life, existed in a rigorously restricted space, both in a physical sense and in less tangible but no less noticeable ways. In most places, common women were only allowed to sell their "wares" on certain streets or in certain neighborhoods, and sumptuary laws (i.e., laws mandating that prostitutes should dress in a manner different from other women) were passed in order to make whores immediately distinguishable from respectable women.

So why did medieval women go into prostitution? Ruth Karras notes that while most medieval prostitutes were probably not coerced into their trade, becoming a prostitute wasn't any woman's childhood fantasy, either. As for the actual reason, Karras makes this observation:

Whereas for men prostitution sometimes substituted for marriage as a sexual outlet, for women it substituted for marriage as a means of financial support. It was difficult for a woman to support herself outside the conjugal unit . . . [f]or those who did not marry -- whether by choice or by circumstance -- options might be limited even under favorable economic conditions (Karras, 49).
Prostitution may have been the only acceptable way for some women to support themselves in the absence of a husband who would provide for them economically. Unfortunately, most prostitutes' reasons can only be guessed at due to a lack of records in this area. Historians must generally rely on court records that mention women accused of whoredom; very rarely do records detailing the workings of actual brothels still exist. Since the records in question seldom define what they mean by "whoredom" it can be difficult to figure out if the women in question were truly prostitutes (women whose services were generally available to all and sundry in exchange for a fee) or just a bit licentious (akin to Chaucer's Wife of Bath).

Contributing further to the confusion in England, at least, is that for most women in the trade, prostitution was not their sole occupation. When a woman's normal occupation didn't bring in enough money, she might turn to prostitution in order to make up the difference. Therefore, prostitution may have even been, for many women, a cyclical income source undertaken during whatever was the "off" season for their regular occupations (Karras, 54).


Sex Workers

Legalize & Unionize the Sex Trade

Feminizing the Proletariat

Sex Workers Want A Union

Marx on Bigamy

Whose Family Values?

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Mike said...

Damn straight Eugene.

Crazy that the government stipulates that this victimless activity is illegal. Making it illegal has created victims, not the other way around.

Let's hope this gets struck down quick

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