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Chapter 17

FRHD 2100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 17: Softcore Pornography, Dominick Fernow, Candida Royalle


Department
Family Relations and Human Development
Course Code
FRHD 2100
Professor
Tuuli Kukkonen
Chapter
17

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Chapter 17 Commercial Sex
Prostitution is considered to be the world's oldest profession- can be traced to Mesopotamia
(temple prostitution). It also thrived in medieval Europe and during sexually repressive Victorian
period
Major motive for becoming a prostitute was for economic reasons
In England it was thought that women didn’t enjoy sex so it was better for men to go to
prostitutes than to "soil their wives with their carnal passions"
The term "sex worker" has replaced "prostitute"
Prostitution Law in Canada
The profession itself is legal, but almost all activities associated with it are illegal.
Criminal Code prohibits:
oTransporting or direction or offering to transport a person to a bawdy house
oKeeping, being an inmate of, being found without lawful excuse in, r allowing a
place to be used for the purpose of a common bawdy house
oProcuring and living off the avails of prostitution
It's against the law to engage in activities that facilitate prostitution or be in a house of
prostitution
Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, Winnipeg and Windsor have tried to regulate
prostitution through escort services- Escorts have to register through local police, pay
licensing fees and keep records of clients' names and addresses
When escort services were first started in Windsor, police tried to use entrapment
techniques (encourage escorts to negotiate fees for sex services and then charging them
for illegal activities) they were not treated as though they were a part of a legitimate
business
In Newmarket, Ontario 2007 court judge chastised police officer for trying to pass off as
a client at a massage parlour- judge said the officer's actions were outside of protocol and
were unnecessary- the judge also dismissed the charges laid against the massage parlour
Police are less likely to entrap those engaging in homosexual prostitution (possibly
because they do not want to act as decoys for entrapment)
In more recent years, legislation has targeted the customers- suspending the driver's
licenses of men convicted of soliciting prostitutes
Legal Challenges
Due to a number of deaths of prostitutes in Vancouver and Edmonton, Parliament voted
to create a Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws- to improve the safety of sex workers
(2003)
Despite what the subcommittee found, the Conservative Government rejected the idea
of decriminalizing prostitution- they find prostitution to be a degrading act that no one
would willingly take part in
Idea is that the prostitution laws in Canada contribute to violence against street based
sex workers and the resulting harm outweighs the law's benefits to society- so 3 main
sections of the law were challenged by a group of lawyers based out of Toronto and BC:
oProvision against communication for the purpose of prostitution because it
prevents se workers from screening potentially violent clients
oProvision against bawdy houses because it prohibits se workers from working in
an indoor environment which is safer than on the streets
oProvision against living off the avails of prostitution because its too broad and it
prevents sex workers from hiring security personnel

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Result of this challenge- in 2010 the Ontario Supreme Court and BC Court of Appeal
issued ruling that effectively struck down Canada's prostitution laws- SCC in 2011
announced it would consider the challenge brought by the group of individuals (Downtown
Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence and Society)
Canadian Attitudes
2009 poll found that most Canadians would like to see prostitution laws modified- but
with great disagreement about how
50% wanted some aspects to be decriminalized
25% want it to be prohibited entirely
16% said it should remain as it is
8% were unsure on the matter
Church attendance was one of the strongest predictors about the prostitution poll
o52% Of those who attend church 2+ times a week thought that it should be
completely illegal
People in their 20s or younger were less accepting about prostitution than older
Canadians (maybe because they were more idealistic about relationships)
Female Sex Workers
Are usually classified according to the setting in which they work
Street Based Sex Workers:
Bottom of the hierarchy- are most visible to the public
20% of commercial sex workers base their transactions on the streets
Earn less than off street sex workers like escorts or brothel workers
Incur a high risk of abuse by customers or pimps
98% of sex workers in Vancouver experienced violence from clients, pimps or other sex
workers
Homeless youth are often forced into sex work for money, shelter, food (aka survival
sex)
From 1991-2004 171 female sex workers were murdered- almost all being
streetwalkers- Robert Pickton convicted in 2007 for murdering prostitutes
Street-based sex workers operate in the open which draws more attention and puts
them at higher risk for arrest
Criminal justice system is a revolving door for many sex workers- they pay the fine or
spend the night in jail and right back in
Pimps often receive more than 90% of the sex workers earnings in return for acting as a:
lover, companion, father figure and master- pimps often use violence as a means of
control
Brothel Workers:
Occupy a middle position between street based workers and call girls- they work in
brothels or massage parlours
Massage- Parlour Workers:
To avoid massage parlour regulations- owners obtain licenses claiming they were holistic
health centres or aromatherapy centres
A lot of massage parlours limit their sexual services to masturbation (rug and tug) and
don’t offer oral sex or penetration- with the belief that this will protect them from
prosecution

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Escorts:
Escort services (typically, but not always) offer sexual services
Found in every major Canadian city- "legitimate, businesses that provide escorts for
men"
These women often come from middle class backgrounds and are well educated- can
hold their own in social situations and conversations
Call Girls:
Highest rung on the social ladder of female sex work- many overlap with escorts
Most attractive and best educated and charge more for their services
Come from middle class backgrounds and usually work on their own- don’t split incomes
with pimps, escort services or massage parlours- early a substantial amount of money
They escort their clients to dinner functions, providing not only sex but also charming,
gracious conversation- make their clients feel important
Have clients to their own apartments or make out-calls to their client's homes
Advocacy For Sex Workers
The exchange of sex for money doesn’t violate the criminal code, but various aspects of
Canadian law related to prostitution is illegal- makes it hard for workers to remain safe and
secure
International Human Trafficking
Generates $5-7 billion US/year- trafficking of girls and women for sexual exploitation is
the industry's largest component
Asian and European women are lured into developing countries by promises of the
"good life" then at arrival find themselves enslaved in brothels not being allowed to leave
Entry Into Sex Work
No single explanation but poverty and sexual/physical abuse are the reason for a very
high percentage
In Thailand, families sell their daughters to recruiters who place them in brothels and the
women send home whatever money they can, they also work hard to pay off their
procurers and break free of financial bonds
In North America, many street based workers are teen run-aways
Shaver argues that while a large portion of street sex workers are run-aways from
dysfunctional families, many are also university students who work this pay because it
pays better than other jobs
oArgues that those that study sex workers from a deviance perspective miss the
fact that some of them voluntarily enter this profession and don’t think of themselves
as victims- they feel they have a lot of control over their work- they set the prices,
choose their clients, have the last say of when/how and if sex will take place
oFeels that many problems associated with sex work would go away if it were
considered a legitimate profession
Male Customers of Female Sex Workers
Eliot Spitzer- one of the most publicized sex worker customers- he was the governor of
the State of New York and forced to resign in 2008 when it became public that he was
spending thousands of dollars on call girls
500 men were arrested in relation to soliciting in Vancouver and it was found that most of
them were like the typical Canadian- age ranged from 18-92 with an average of 38- more
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