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Two former sex workers speak up against the legalization of brothels

Today in the Montreal Gazette an article was published presenting the viewpoints of two former sex workers in response to Ontario's recent brothel ruling.

Though the feminists' camp is split on the issue of prostitution, I think it is important to listen attentively to the testimonies of these women who admit having been hurt and victimized by prostitution.

“This isn’t a choice and it’s not a job,” said Julie (not her real name). “There’s no more security in doing this inside a bordello.”

"The violence against women is not on the street, it’s between four walls,” said Marie. “There are escort services, massage parlours, all operating now with organized crime and street gangs. Bordellos will be the same.” 

Notice that Marie (not her real name) clearly calls prostitution "violence against women." The fact that Marie and Julie had to appear incognito infront of the press, covered with hats and sunglasses, reveals that these women feel imminent danger of harrassment and stigma.

The issue with legalizing bordellos is not only that it will fail to protect women from sexual predators - it will also give power to the consumers, making them feel that they have a right to use the bodies of others for their own pleasure, thereby giving them greater authority to abuse the 'commodity' they have paid for.

Finally, Marie and Julie both emphasized the fact that bordellos will lure in a great number of young girls which may dramatically increase the number of underage prostitutes. 

"Bordellos will attract the young, the thin, the cute – and the laws making solicitation a crime will still target the older, less attractive women on the street", Marie said.

“Minors are going to still be in prostitution and their numbers will increase,” said Julie, who was a sex worker from 16 to 18.

I thank these two women for voicing their concerns and expressing the pain of their personal experiences. I hope that more women (and men) who have suffered from the damage of prostitution will speak up against this terrible issue which scars our society.

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