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This is a prohibitionist propaganda film from Canada. It more or less reflects the prohibitionist arguments used world wide to justify their attacks on sex workers.
If you take out the parts in the film dealing with the sexual exploitation of children however which obviously has been included to evoke an emotional reaction the film is filled with dangerously simplistic exploitation of questionable statistics that fail to stand up to scrutiny. The subject matter is emotive and presented in a way that will tug at the heartstrings of politicians too lazy to research the truth.
Many of the issues raised such as aboriginal exploitation are very real but that exploitation has to be viewed in context, especially a historical context and not as specifically a sex industry issue which the film suggests. Both child exploitation and aboriginal exploitation are separate subjects that are here being abused to profit an ideologically motivated political pressure group.
I cringed when a female spokesperson told us with a straight face that it was Ok to refer to someone as prostituted but not as a prostitute. I cringed when one of the female speakers said that she would tell middle class prostitutes (read sex workers who spoke up for their rights and for an end to state persecution) not to work because they made the industry look respectable. I cringed at the financial claims made that again do not add up even in this report and certainly do not reflect my 11 years in the industry. I cringed when it was claimed that 96% of sex workers were trafficked or desperate to leave the industry but were trapped. I cringed that once again male sex workers and trans men and women sex workers were totally ignored. In fact I found the whole presentation cringe worthy but then as a sex worker I know my industry and I know that although my industry is not perfect it is not what these moral crusaders would have politicians and the innocent public believe.
Of course the prohibitionists in this film would claim (as they do in the film) that either I was a spoilt middle class sex worker, a tiny and unrepresentative minority or that I had been brainwashed into thinking that I had freely made my choice to be a sex worker and therefore need psychiatric help to recover from my years of abuse. I think however that the brainwashing is in their camp.
The statement that legalisation encourages trafficking is outrageous and ignores totally the well researched and documented reality of decriminalisation in New Zealand and NSW in Australia. Statements about Holland and the closing of brothels and windows in Amsterdam for example conveniently ignores the political situation in Amsterdam or the pressure of other non sex worker businesses to move into the very popular and attractive historical centre of Amsterdam where the red light area is situated. Talk of disease again ignores that where sex work is legalised access to health services is safe and easy and encouraged and therefore stds are much lower in the sex worker community than in the general public.
Sweden is praised for its exit strategies (which they really don’t have). The reality however in Sweden is that to access any assistance you first have to accept the role of victim. The state otherwise criminalises your clients and outlaws every way in which you can work together for safety. Despite all of this sex work continues and thrives if in secret (use Google and you will find plenty of sex workers advertising both in Sweden and in other Nordic countries who have adopted variations on the Swedish law). Sex workers in Sweden and their representative groups continue to demand very loudly and very bravely decriminalisation and recognition of their rights. Recent opinion polls in Sweden suggest that their demands are being heard by the general public if not by the politicians who spend both time and money exporting their ideological driven legislation to anyone who will listen with dangerous results for sex workers.
Trafficking statistically appears to be a very small if disturbing reality with in the sex industry. It does however attract huge amount of monies and media interest compared with other industries such as agriculture or domestic service because it is well, sexy and therefore media friendly. Trafficking has become the popular stick with which to beat sex workers and the excuse used to deny us our rights. The tragedy of trafficking is being used as an excuse to turn old prejudices into bad laws. The result of bad laws is that the real victims suffer. Trafficking is presently the sexy and fashionable cause to support and monies are being thrown at the rescue industry in which careers are being made. It is a weird world where the denial of rights is presented as justice.