Class Notes (836,415)
Canada (509,777)
Sociology (4,081)
SOC323H5 (91)


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Nicole Myers

Soc323 – regulation vs. criminalization – the case of prostitution Supreme Court is about to decide soon, but we’ll discuss what people think the Court will decide Video “Buying Sex”: legal victory for sex workers Prostitution Act of accepting money for sex; never been against the law in Canada; transactions and actions occurring around it are not allowed  communicating (soliciting)  act of asking someone for money for sex or asking if they’d like to exchange money for sex is criminal - Prior to current laws, prostitutes were status offenders & lumped under vagrancy laws Is criminalization a better way to control and regulate prostitution? Decriminalization removes criminal element  purchasing sex may no longer be a criminal offence but still an offence  like a traffic ticket – not wanted in public; no criminal record Legalization: no offence (not criminal, nor civil) & absolutely fine for it to occur – legal to be a prostitute, purchase sex, run a brothel, have security  employment standards, taxes (work like anything else); healthy and safety regulations: condoms, tested for STIs Netherlands’ Red Light District: acceptance of people going to have sex so place to purchase, security staff, cameras are not allowed Amsterdam: very open about sex, live sex shows Canada: no indoor space so street workers, can be standing on streets to solicited drivers (certain streets where you drive slowly), leaning in = communicating = criminal offence Approaches Invented in Paris; adopted by Germany, Holland Receive license for that your occupation is a prostitute – women allowed to work long as they had a yellow ticket Sanitary police: surprise burst-ins, allowed to engage in sex or be in bed with a man if you have this license or a marriage license otherwise taken to jail Thailand: liberal sex work, child sex work; sex tourism: pushed into sex work thru oppression and brought from other countries or are under legal age Government recognizes existence of prostitution, market for sex so rather than criminalizing it and sending people to jail, best thing to do would be to regulate: facilitate safety, taxes, focus attention on those trafficked from other countries, children, abused, and/or forced into it Regulation has not been designed to help prostitutes: forced to take tests for STIs & if found so, forced to take on treatment – problem b/c men (purchasers) are not forced Canadian francophone culture is more open to brothels and red light district & regulate prostitution as a business enterprise regardless of moral views  limit where it occurs (take off streets), moving workers indoors (out of public view, brothels), requiring licensing (easier to locate those underage or those forced) English sys: liberal theory – individuals left to do as they please long as does not harm others & recognizes sanctity of privacy, cannot criminalize sex, can only criminalize if infringe public safety, health, morals, and space Many recognize criminalization as an utter failure Police are in a difficult position in terms of how to address: if let women engage, have complaints by public BUT if try to move sex workers, are accused of accepting a red lights district (putting them in a particular area of the city) What would feminists think? Continual support for decriminalization of communication & prohibitions around body house; see law as element of state control over bodies of women – control women and their choices; general agreement that current state of law is not the best way; issue of women freely choosing (are they being forced into it? Marginalized or racialized women? Is it free choice if you feel like you had no other choices?) History Vagrancy laws: police allowed to pick up wanderers doing nothing, address nuisance, emphasis on public space Simply being known as a sex worker was a crime; criminal to be part of a brothel or live on veils of prostitution  1892; unchanged until 1970s 1972: vagrancy laws taken out, soliciting was criminal, males can’t be prostitutes  73: BC Sup Court said males can be, 78: Sup Court provided clearer definition of solicitation, BC Sup Court ruled that purchasers were not criminalized under politicization while ON court said both purchasers and sex workers can be convicted 1982: Charter –
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