This month, brothels became legal in Ontario meaning that rather than women in the sex trade having to ply their trade on the dark and dangerous streets of the city, they can work in the safer environments of a chosen workplace, be it an apartment, a house, or even an office. Opposition’s to this change of law say that it will mean that more women will be forced, sold or coerced into prostitution against their will.
The worlds oldest profession has been around for centuries, through many social changes, through many changing laws, through wars and peace, feast and famine. While historically ladies of pleasure were respected, if not revered, changing attitudes have drastically changed. Jack the Ripper in the late 1800s sought out and killed prostitutes. Since then, prostitution has become more and more dangerous, with violence coming from both within and without the trade.
The argument about women and even girls being forced into prostitution is very true. There is a huge sex trafficking issue around the world with heartless and ruthless organizations entrapping and putting to work females from around the world. What is perhaps not mentioned as much are the women who choose to work in the sex trade. A survey in 2011 found that not only were many women choosing to become prostitutes of their own volition but they were not un-educated women with no other options. Many hold university degrees, or use the money earned from selling their bodies to pay their way through school or university.
No matter the women’s situations, having to walk the streets, being picked up by strangers in cars and then going to unknown locations for sex can be highly dangerous. At least with an organized location such as a brothel, customers can be vetted and security can be employed to keep the workers safe. If there is going to be prostitution, for the sake of the prostitutes, shouldn’t it be made as safe as possible?
On the other side of the spinning coin are those proponents of stamping out all prostitution, voluntary or otherwise. By making brothels legal, it has made it easier to be in the sex trade. While it is quite easy to follow the logic, denying the sex workers a safe haven is unlikely to lead to the downfall of the oldest profession. After many centuries and many attempts, women, and men, can still sell their bodies for money, or even goods.
No matter what legal changes will come and go, it has become blatantly obvious to any observer that the sex trade will adapt to any changes to the status quo and continue to provide a service to those willing to pay for it.
While the act of prostitution and the running of a brothel are both legal, it is still illegal to solicit sex. Which means that while the laws have changed as to where the prostitutes can be found, it isn’t any easier to enter into a discussion with one for sex.