Any discussion of economic relationships and the character of society needs to fully consider the reality of prostitution or it remains incomplete. Initially, this can be a fraught undertaking but the honest citizen observing social difficulty with a conscience is obliged to make an effort given the implications of prostitution and human trafficking for women, youth and children within what is a very large, global business.
The essence of prostitution is the purchase of temporary access to the body of another, mostly by a man, for the purposes of penetration and gratification. While such a transaction seems simple enough it is usually accompanied by a societal smokescreen of ignorance, opinion, financial interest and emotionalism such that the reality remains obscure with a subsequently frustrating effect on creating a general perspective, let alone helpful social policy.
With this difficulty in mind we are lucky to have a generation of individuals giving us their efforts and words. Some of their urgency about prostitution is a response to recent legalization efforts in a number of countries. While considered sensible and well-intentioned at first these legalization efforts appear to be resulting in more harm than good. Prostitution seems to become industrialized where it is legalized.
Simple legalization ignores the direct reality of selling one’s body and little accounts for the behaviour of the male buyer. This blog recently came across the work of three women activists that offer a high-level starting point for considering this topic. Their Twitter accounts are a quick way to find and learn from their articles, websites, activism and books. Natashe Falle is in Toronto (see also her site Sex Trade 101). Rachel Moran and Julie Bindel are in Ireland and the UK respectively with Caitlin Roper Australia-based.
Through varied paths these women seem to have arrived at a common appreciation for what needs to come after legalization of the kind seen in New Zealand and Germany as well as other countries.
Here is a recent item from the website of UK magazine The Spectator by Julie Bindel with a podcast and other links.
Over sixty percent of Canada’s reported human trafficking activity takes place in the Greater Toronto Area. This CBC piece describes a recent case in Mississauga. The dull image of a row of motels on Dundas Street, a major artery used daily by a huge number of motor vehicles, gives no indication of the human risk encountered by trafficked women and youth in such places. While most of North America’s sprawl does not have ‘traditional’ red light districts like those of Amsterdam, for example, these communities are still home to sexual exploitation, pimping and prostitution.
‘Anyone can be a victim’: Canadian high school girls being lured into sex trade. Toronto-area teenager recounts how she was recruited into sex work by peers at 16
Recent attention to the so-called Nordic Model in which the criminalizing of paid sexual activity is transferred to the male buyer has generated enthusiasm and backlash. Canada is considered a Nordic Model country but it would seem there is still plenty of work to do on all of this.
Taken. I was a teenage runaway struggling to survive when I met a man who promised me love and security
On prostitution, can Canada learn from the Nordic Model?
The new era of Canadian sex work
vice.com (video 34:41)
image: Victory of the People via Flickr/CC
Three pieces about the big concrete buildings. Two practical, one more emotional, human. Important stuff.
Zoning changes give new life to Toronto’s ‘apartment neighbourhoods’: Hume. Hundreds of apartment highrises in Toronto were built with assumption that residents “would drive where they wanted to go, so services weren’t necessary”
More than just ‘neighbours’. As the seniors in her building begin to leave her life, Katarina Ohlsson tries to find the word that encapsulates their importance
image: Craig Sunter via Flickr/CC
New Westminster renovictions leave low-income renters feeling desperate. Company says building hasn’t seen significant work since 1970 and renovations are necessary
image: Google Streetview
If you have ever encountered an aspect of public life in Canada and maybe found it kinda lacking in some way this is probably a big part of the reason why.
Preferential treatment. The history and cost of tax exemptions, credits and loopholes in Canada
policyalternatives.ca (link to 42-page .pdf file)
image: Ben Tesch via Flickr/CC
Transparency legislation is the recommended tool for clarifying, and then presumably doing something about, the gap in incomes between men and women in Ontario. Looking quickly through social media and the mass media there appears to always be lots of dumb commentary denying the entire idea of a pay gap by gender.
Yes, there’s plenty to consider in regard to who gets what in the economy and why they get it. Factor in race and things become even more complex. Complexity, however, should not mean ‘impossible to comprehend fairly’. The incentive is a common sense one: when women do well in the workforce everybody benefits, children, partners, other women, pets, and yup, even the men.
Ontario urged to tackle gender pay gap with transparency law. Gap between men and women’s pay has barely narrowed in three decades, advocates say
Who is minding the gap? New data show the split in annual earnings between men and women persists in Canada, Tavia Grant reports. If the trend isn’t addressed, long-term drawbacks for our economy will be unavoidable
Equal pay day: a wage gap fact check. How would someone go about finding the true wage gap numbers across gender and race groups in the US? Mona Chalabi investigates on Equal Pay Day
These are reasons why we need Equal Pay Day
To Iceland for some International Women’s Day inspiration. If you want something good you gotta get it into legislation.
Then they came for the suburbs. And I did nothing because I didn’t have a car, or a job, medical coverage, or mortgage insurance.
Hopefully the Trump presidency will be shortened by litigation, impeachment, or the man’s general unfitness.
Meantime, looks like Prince Cheeto isn’t wasting time putting the boots to people.
image: davitydave via Flickr/CC
Downright backwards is how it seems to us that landlords are not licensed in a major city where rents are very high. How else to keep standards strong? A new survey of tenants reveals neglect on the part of many Toronto landlords, adding gravity to the call for licensing.
The Toronto Star surveys the general picture for Ontario’s workers as Decent Work Day (Oct 7th) and the conclusion of public consultations within the province’s Changing Workplaces Review coincide with what has been a blue sky Thanksgiving weekend.
Advocates demand better protection for Ontario workers. Is Ontario turning into a low-wage economy? Research shows over half of Toronto jobs are considered precarious
image: Hope Abrams via Flickr/CC