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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Prostitution: Criminalizing the Men

FEMINISM/SEX - What is the point in arresting prostitutes? We charge them, fine them and release them back on to the street within 48 hours.

But the Johns and pimps on the other hand... to say nothing of sex traffickers who smuggle children into sex-slavery. Those are the people we should be worried about.

"89% of prostitutes desperately want out"

In the world of international exploitation and sex trafficking, it's men, the customers and the people pushing the women into into sex, who should be charged and tossed in prison.

Some women choose to work as prostitutes, but many admits its "the ultimate act of humiliation and desperation". They do it to survive and put food on the table. Studies show that 89% of prostitutes desperately want out. They're hungry, need to feed children or give health care to aging parents, and the only alternative is to take their clothes off and service a line-up of willing men.

In some countries there's really no other kind of work for young women to do, especially in countries with struggling economies. Its not like the United States or Canada or other western countries where prostitution is largely a choice. In many countries they don't have other options available.

And even here in Canada there is surprising results for the makeup of prostitutes. Many of them are immigrants with poor English, struggling in this new place. In Vancouver many of them are Native Canadians who were raised on reserves and are now being controlled by pimps who pay them with drugs.

The drugs keeps them controlled and coming back for more.

The pimps are the root of the problem and the Johns seeking a "moment of bliss" are the demand. So how do we cut off that demand?

"These men never ask how she is, how did she get here, is she being forced. They don't look into her eyes beyond the veneer of gaudy makeup, stiletto heels and cheap clothes. They just want to get their rocks off. When money changes hands, it's the ultimate conscience pacifier. They don't have to deal with guilt," says investigative reporter Victor Malarek, author of "The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men who Buy It".

"They delude themselves into believing that every moan and groan is because of their magnetic masculinity. They want to believe it, and the women are trained to do this," says Malarek.

And the type of men who use women in this way, they're not exactly pro-women, just pro-sex. "When anyone on the... sex sites raises the question about conscience, they are immediately asked, "Are you a feminist, a fem-Nazi, a fundamentalist? Who are you?" They don't want anyone to raise the question," says Malarek.

Then there's the STDs, the beatings, the men who pay extra for strange services (including having sex without a condom)... and even murders. Legalized prostitution comes with all the same risks as illegal prostitution, the problem is its giving men a green light to do whatever they want, without fear of police looking over their shoulders.

Even in drug-and-sex-crazed Amsterdam, the mayor is saying, "What a big fricking mistake." Women there are still controlled by pimps, beaten, trafficked, forced and controlled with drugs. There is almost no measures to protect women and organized crime is rampant. The government there has essentially becomes pimps and pushers.

Prostitutes in Sweden have been reduced by half.

So what would happen if we started having sting operations and charging Johns?

Well, theoretically we could get that 89% of women out of the business and doing something else. Give them job training so they can find jobs and create careers with a future.

In Sweden the government decriminalized the women and criminalized the men. Since then the number of prostituted women has been reduced by half. Norway just introduced identical legislation in January 2009.

So would it work in Canada and the United States?

"I believe it would. We have a mishmash of laws that don't seem to make sense. Sweden is concerned with equality of women ... and an option for women to be retrained, to seek psychological help, all the safety valves. Here, there is certainly no protection for women," says Victor Malarek.

Laziness seems to be the key for some of these men. They say they don't want the drama, they don't want to invest in relationships, because it takes too much time, effort and emotional strain.

But if it was illegal for men, if the police did a lot more sting operations to catch Johns, it would cause men to be more worried about getting caught with their pants down and their balls on the chopping block.

If its proven to work in Sweden and Norway, why can't we do it here?

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