Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Voice of the People

p. A12.

Safe zones victimize prostitutes even more

Re: Safe zones for sex-trade workers the easy way out for politicians, Daphne Bramham, Sept. 29

I agree that prostitution is not a profession and creating "safe zones" legalizes and decriminalizes systems of prostitution; it does not address the root causes. Addressing the real issues, such as adequate housing, support, education, drug and alcohol services, and the equal opportunity for work or access to welfare is a more realistic approach.

Most women did not make a "choice" to enter into prostitution; they had no alternatives. What could self-defence training, a 24-hour drop-in centre, outreach van and safe zone do for them? In my experience working on the street outreach van, I was only providing a Band-Aid solution and keeping the women in the same place as I left them the night before, not making any advances to enhance their women's lives. When a woman is scared, afraid and terrorized by her pimp who exercises every form of control over her, what would the harm reduction approach do for her?

Safety zones will not protect women from harm. They will encourage the sex industry to flourish rather then squashing it. Promoting safe zones will encourage men to buy more sex, normalizing this behaviour. It sends the message to men that prostitution is acceptable and that all women, prostituted or not, are sexual commodities and that prostitution is harmless fun.

Prostitution is not a hot or sexy topic. It is dangerous, coercive and a crappy way to make a living.

Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter

No woman who has a choice wakes up with the brilliant idea to open a business that merchandises her body. Women who end up resorting to prostitution are victims of circumstance, whether it be coercion, poverty, or drug addiction. To legalize prostitution is to allow men to exploit these victims. Safe zones do not protect these women; they only victimize them more.


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Created: October 6, 2006
Last modified: October 8, 2006
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