Canada's federal government was reviewing its legal options Monday after Ontario's top court swept aside some of the country's anti-prostitution laws, saying they place unconstitutional restrictions on prostitutes' ability to protect themselves.
But it doesn't seem that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is very pleased about safer sex work. He spewed to Postmedia News:
There's some elements we like more than others. We'll examine the decision and decide what the next steps are. But I think the position of this government is well-known. We view prostitution as bad for society, and we view its effects as
particularly harmful for our communities and for women, and particularly for vulnerable women. And so we will continue to oppose prostitution in Canada.
The landmark decision means sex workers in Ontario will be able to hire drivers, bodyguards and support staff and work indoors in organized brothels or bawdy houses, while exploitation by pimps remains illegal.
However, openly soliciting customers on the street remains prohibited, with the judges deeming that a reasonable limit on the right to freedom of expression.
The Ontario Court of Appeal suspended the immediate implementation of striking the bawdy house law for a year to allow the government an opportunity to amend the Criminal Code.
The decision is binding in Ontario only, but will undoubtedly prompt similar challenges in other provinces.
Federal opposition parties suggested the government was making an inappropriate response to the ruling, urging it to bring the debate to Parliament to develop a solution to protect vulnerable women at risk. NDP deputy leader Libby Davies.
I think the response of the Conservative government always implies a moral involvement and moral judgment. The issue here is the status of the law and the fact that sex work does take place. The issue for us to respond to is how do we protect
and ensure that sex workers' rights are upheld just as any other member of society. That's what has been at the core of these court decisions.
Three majority justices of the five-judge panel wrote in their decision:
The government's attempt to salvage its prostitution prohibitions, implies that those who choose to engage in the sex trade are for that reason not worthy of the same constitutional protection as those who engage in other dangerous, but legal
Prostitution is a controversial topic, one that provokes heated and heartfelt debate about morality, equality, personal autonomy and public safety. It is not the court's role to engage in that debate. Our role is to decide whether or not the
challenged laws accord with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.
A bill to regulate the Dutch sex industry has been put on ice in the Upper House. Justice and Security Minister Ivo Opstelten has been told to provide more information on storing data and to investigate whether the plan infringes on human rights.
The bill stipulates that customers have to ascertain whether prostitutes are working legally, because it is a criminal offence to visit an illegal prostitute. This means customers have to be able to find out whether the establishment has a
licence, so that they can rest assured that prostitutes are working legally.
Prostitutes who do not work for a brothel have to be registered, so that customers can check their status by phone or on the internet.
The minister does not want to scrap registration altogether, but is willing to have prostitutes registered under a number rather than under their own name and address.
Lebanon's online escort services promise that beautiful women, and some men, can be delivered to your door and be at your service for a hefty fee. But these escort agencies also appear to exact a high price from the women involved, and differ in
some key ways from the prostitution that takes place in country's nightclubs and super nightclubs.
Prostitution is nominally legal in licensed brothels in Lebanon, but no new licenses have been issued in decades. It takes place through the well-known artist license loophole, which is given to women working out of night clubs.
Maya Ammar of KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), an anti-sex work group, says the artist visa is a so-called legal scheme, whereas the women who work in these [escort] companies are part of the 'illegal' sector.
Women with artist visas are tested monthly for HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. These medical checkups are regulated by the Interior Ministry and General Security. Women who contract STDs can't return to work until they are
cleared by doctors, and those non-Lebanese who get HIV lose their visas.
Arranging an evening with an escort is fairly simple. When a reporter from The Daily Star called the mobile numbers listed on several websites and asked to meet with specific women, he was provided with their mobile numbers. Meetings were
arranged on the same night, and prices were negotiated. Over the phone, the women described the sexual acts they were willing to engage in.
And all of this is operates under the nose of the government. The Internal Security Force's Office of Electronic Crimes is tasked with shutting down the websites that advertise such services. A security source told The Daily Star that while the
businesses are illegal, they are difficult to close given the ease with which sites can pop up again.
Many of the websites make a nod toward legality with disclaimers saying that they simply connect people with independent escorts. But any such services advertised online that are reimbursed with money violate the law, a source said.
Residents of the Swiss city of Zurich will vote Sunday on whether to build dedicated garages where prostitutes can ply their trade, in a proposal aimed at moving streetwalkers away from residential zones.
Proponents for the Zurich referendum want a parking zone built for prostitutes by 2013 at the entrance to the city.
The site would be open from 7pm to 5am, and would have an alley where prostitutes and clients can cruise along and garages where they can carry out their transaction.
The site will be shielded from sight by signs, be fitted with showers and toilets and will feature a gynaecologist for any medical problems and volunteers from the Flora Dora women's group for any advice.
The proposed site aims to eliminate area's like Zurich's Sihlquai area, where about 60 streetwalkers work every night.
There is a lot of competition along Sihlquai, where many women go with their clients to the backyards of buildings, creating a difficult situation for residents who have to put up with the noise and disorder, said Ursula Kocher, who heads
Kocher said that the proposal had the support of the prostitutes themselves, as it could offer better security.
As the parking site would be under the authority of the municipality, officials can get rid of overly aggressive clients, said Kocher.
The forthcoming London Olympics have sent the media into a feeding frenzy of scare mongering. Warning us that tens of thousands of sex slaves are under starter's orders in outlying foreign counties, ready to sprint headlong, handcuffed in
readiness, to England for the start of the games.
As a global anti-trafficking organisation, GAATW is concerned that international sporting events are being linked with increases in trafficking for prostitution, without supporting evidence.
How likely is this?
Trafficked sex workers are as hard to get your hands on in London as face value stadium tickets.
The police have spent years and 5 million quid with their specialist task force Operation Pentameter hunting for sex slaves and found hardly any. How do they expect a non-English speaking tourist with a dog-eared A to Z or an IPhone app to
So who's telling fibs and why?
This unsporting bout of statistical fakery has been created by the media and the abolitionists, including the Poppy Project and the Salvation Army. These groups would like to see an end to the commercial sex industry. By saying sex workers are
all victims of abuse or trafficking they get an outraged public onto their side of the argument to criminalise prostitutes and punters. If a story, or myth is repeated often enough and loud enough it seeps into the public psyche. People accept it
as fact and act accordingly.
Enjoying the services of a prostitute in Israel may cost you more than money - it may get you time in jail, under a proposed law that would criminalize buying sexual services.
A few people demonstrated outside of Israel's parliament on Sunday to lobby lawmakers to adopt legislation making the purchase of sexual services from prostitutes punishable up to five months in jail. They would also have to attend a two-day
educational program, known as the School for Johns. Similar protests took place in New York, Washington DC and London. The demonstrations were organized by group called Atzum,
Every country that has put this in place, the Scandinavian countries, England, San Francisco has seen a rapid decrease in the amount of prostitution both because the criminalization itself sends a message to prospective clients and the
publication of their names, the shame proves daunting, especially in a society this small, said Rabbi Levi Lauer, executive director of Atzum.
A woman's body shouldn't be for sale. Women aren't a commodity, demonstrator Rose Prevezer told The Media Line. I believe that this bill ... is the best way possible to reduce violence against women, to reduce the rate of sex
trafficking in the country. In countries where they have instituted it, it has been proved to be a very effective deterrent.
On February 12, Israel's Ministerial Legislative Committee will be weighing a law containing these provisions proposed by MK Orit Zuaretz, who belongs to the opposition Kadima Party. From there it will begin its journey in the parliament until it
If this legislation is passed we will see a radical decrease in the amount of prostitution and consequently an even more radical decrease in the amount of trafficking of women into Israel, Lauer told The Media Line.
An earlier attempt to pass similar legislation in 2009 was rejected for a variety of reasons.
A bill that will make paying for sex services a criminal offense passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday and will be forwarded to one of the parliamentary committees for further review and adjustments before becoming
The legislation was proposed by MK Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Trafficking in Women, and is supported by many Knesset members from across the political spectrum. Related:
It will impose a sentence of six-months in jail or community service on any person who utilizes the services of a prostitute or pays for any other related sexual services.
On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation gave the bill its initial stamp of approval, and the proposed draft is already being well-received by anti-prostitution groups.
Earlier on Wednesday, Zuaretz held a hearing in her committee to discuss the success of the bill thus far and to explore next steps if and when the law is finally passed
A majority of Israelis oppose proposed legislation which would make paying for sexual services a criminal offense punishable with a prison sentence or community service, according to a Dahaf Institute poll commissioned by the Knesset Channel.
While only 34% of respondents said they supported the bill, which passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum last week, 59% answered that they oppose the proposed legislation.
East Java Deputy Governor Saifullah Yusuf has vowed to close down all red-light districts in the province but warned it could only be done in steps.
Speaking at an Islamic boarding school in Pasuruan, Saifullah said his administration would work with the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) to close down all brothels across the province.
He said the administration would deal with the economic fallout of shutting down an entire industry and find new jobs for sex workers, while the MUI would handle moral aspects of the campaign.
Surabaya, the provincial capital, is home to the Dolly red-light district, said to be the biggest in Southeast Asia. City authorities have already restricted its opening hours and prohibited the hiring of new sex workers in a bid to slowly phase
Pham Thanh Kien, Vice Chairman of District 1 People's Committee, confirmed the district's administration has steered subordinate governments to crackdown on the illegal services at the striptease restaurants this month.
The official made the decision right after several articles on Vietnamese ladies offering beer bathing and other nude services to foreigners were printed in Tuoi Tre newspaper.
He said besides strengthening inspections, and education, local authorities had other special methods to stop the violations. Restaurants that repeat the offences several times will have their investment licenses revoked.
With huge profits, the businesses resume operations successfully soon after they are suspended or closed down, Kien complained. Despite this complicated situation, we are determined to deal with the violated restaurants this month, he added.
According to the municipal department of Culture, Sport and Tourism, last year, teams have inspected 230 enterprises that offer entertainment services in the city and found 220 cases in violation. Common violations include operating without a
license, offering obscene entertainment services and prostitution activities.
Anti-sex trade campaigners have claimed backing from 80 TDs (MPs) and senators (out of 226), for their demands to criminalise buying sex in Ireland.
An umbrella group, calling itself Turn off the Red Light , want to see Nordic-style repression introduced in Ireland which would grant sex workers immunity while those who buy sex are persecuted.
Sarah Benson, of Ruhama - one of 48 organisations in the campaign - said the threat of fines and criminal convictions similar to that in Sweden, Norway and Iceland was needed to stamp out the exploitation of vulnerable sex workers. She said:
The profile of sex buyers is that they tend to be men of means, they tend to be married, they are people who care about their reputations.
Consistent studies of sex buyers in the UK and the US indicate the greatest deterrent to buying sex would be either a criminal offence or being named.
That's what we will be driving at. We wouldn't be looking to lock up (sex customers) and throw away the key.
The motivation is to create a deterrent effect in recognition that the trade is exploitative, that those who are bought for sex suffer serious harm as a consequence, and that really we would like Ireland to adopt a similar message to other
countries who say buying sex is not okay.
Benson was among a delegation from Turn off the Red Light who met with four TDs, representing the Independents technical group. Benson said they had a very positive response from the Independents.
The South Korean government has written to a number of Sydney mayors asking them to snitch on Koreans found to be involved in prostitution.
The move comes on the back of figures suggesting at least 1000 of its nationals are working in the local sex industry.
A letter sent by Jin Soo Kim, the Sydney Consul General for South Korea, has requested them to advise us immediately of any information on Korean nationals involved in illegal sex practices, either as a victim or an offender . The letter says the consulate has a
police attache ready to support enforcement activities where needed .
One mayor who received the letter, Hornsby's Nick Berman, said: It's not every day a foreign government writes to me about anything. So when I get a letter on something so disturbing, I take it very seriously.
South Korea is understood to be pursuing reprisals against its nationals who willingly participate in the industry here, including a year in jail and compulsory return to Korea. More serious offences, including sex trafficking, can lead to 10
years in jail.
South Korea sent its special ambassador for overseas Koreans, Moon Hayong, to Canberra in December to meet senior foreign affairs officials and federal police. There have been reports of tensions between the two countries over the sex issue.
The Super Bowl is one of America's largest sporting events, and it is a time when nutters enjoy making ludicrous claims about thousands of girls, many under-aged that will somehow be trafficked to the event.
The award for this year's most inane nutter campaigner must surely go to Theresa Flores, founder of Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution (S.O.A.P.). She told The Christian Post that major sporting events like the Super Bowl generally have more
men in attendance who are visiting from a different city, and often do things they wouldn't normally do at home. This creates a demand that traffickers and pimps are there willing and waiting to supply, she said.
Because of this, about 150 volunteers for S.O.A.P. are heading to Indiana before the event to pass out soap at Indianapolis motels.
Each bar of soap will have a label on it with phrases like Are you being threatened? or Are you witnessing young girls being prostituted? The soap provides the number for a human trafficking hotline so that those at the hotel, or
young girls who are being trafficked, will see it and can call for help.
S.O.A.P. volunteers will distribute the bars Feb. 1-2, in conjunction with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship students who will hand out fliers to raise awareness for the trafficking issue with football fans.
Offsite Comment: Superbowl Sex Trafficking Increase? Super Nonsense
An increasing number of groups are intent on persuading Americans that we have a terrible and growing problem with sex trafficking. Their data is virtually non-existent, elided with words like experts agree, a shameful epidemic,
and enormous human suffering. The media reports their conferences and feral estimates, politicians grimly respond with vows of stricter laws, and the occasional wildly unusual victim is trotted out as proof of some enormous underground
The favorite ploy of anti-trafficking groups is to grimly remind us that major sporting events are a central focus of this evil. Every year, the NFL has to deny that they're the center of an odious international sex slavery ring. NFL spokesperson
Brian McCarthy says the super bowl sex slave story is a simply an urban legend.
But that doesn't stop those who are feeding---and feeding off of---America's latest Sex Panic.
A famous Parisian swingers club said to be a favourite haunt of ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn faces closure for allegedly allowing prostitutes to operate on its premises.
Les Chandelles has been shut down temporarily and police have placed three people under investigation on suspicion of highly organised pimping .
Les Chandelles - which translates as The Candles - is located adjacent to the Louvre on Paris' elegant L'Avenue de l'Opera. It is regarded as the most exclusive of the French capital's 50 swingers' clubs and members are reputed to include
Strauss-Kahn, celebrities and several politicians.
Admittance is only granted to the wealthy, famous or extremely good-looking. The club hosts risque dancers and the chance to swap partners or indulge in group sex in lounge and private rooms.
But detectives believe the club is frequented by high-class prostitutes and have shut it down until further notice.
Les Chandelles, a well-known club for swingers in Paris has been closed down by the capital's police for one month, according to the French radio station France Info.
Police began an investigation following reports that former footballer Alim Ben Mabrouk was involved in a prostitution ring at the Chandelles.
Subsequent surveillance revealed that genuine swingers tended to frequent the club at weekends while during the week some men appeared to be visiting the club with prostitutes to avoid paying hotel bills.
An account of a middle class Dublin woman's venture into sex work could act as a spur to impressionable young women to enter a trade that is dangerous and detrimental to mental health, nutters have claimed.
The book, Between the Sheets , is an account of the alleged double life of a middle-class Dublin woman who lost her job and embarked on a life in prostitution to maintain her comfortable home and family lifestyle in the face of
financial collapse . The author has adopted the pseudonym Scarlett O'Kelly .
Penguin Ireland, the publishers, claim it will be one of the most controversial books of the year and say they are satisfied that the woman's account is genuine, adding:
The book claims to be 'an illuminating and explicit account of a year spent working as an escort in middle Ireland, a gripping account of living a double life, and the high price it exacts'.
The author, Scarlett O'Kelly , said the sex industry was nothing like she expected it to be: I expected it to be seedy and awful and it wasn't. She said that during her time as an escort and prostitute, she had had sex with more
than 150 men.
Ellen O'Malley Dunlop of the Rape Crisis Centre said:
It is what is happening in terms of young people being sexualised before they are ready. It's unreal what is happening out there in terms of young people being inured to it.
Nusha Yonkova, Anti-Trafficking Project Co-ordinator with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, expressed serious reservations about any work that sought to portray prostitution as in any way a suitable or easy lifestyle:
The book would be read by young people who may be at an unstable point in their lives and this could act as an encouragement. It is very disappointing that Penguin has done this. I think it is purely to gain profits. It is a poor choice.
The reality is that there are almost no middle-class, middle-aged women (in prostitution). The reality is that they are predominantly migrants from Eastern and Central Europe, poor central American countries and Africa. There are some Irish
women, but the majority of them would also have addiction problems. That is the difference. They would not be people who have choices.
Former Garda Detective Superintendent PJ Browne, who led an investigation into Dublin's vice trade, said that, while he had not read the book, he was concerned about any impression that might be given that prostitution was a safe or lifestyle
choice. He said:
We found that a large number of young women working in prostitution were from very poor backgrounds and from countries where they could get no work. It is sordid and it is dangerous. I have no idea what experiences this woman had, but the vast
majority of women working in this trade in Ireland are young foreign women who are desperate for money.
A German city that introduced a tax on street prostitutes via kerb-side meters has said that the programme had been a success and would continue.
The Bonn government said a sex tax covering levies on sauna clubs, erotic centres and automated pay stations similar to parking meters that were rolled out in August had brought in around 250,000 euros last year. About 14,000 euros
came from the sex meters.
Bonn was the first city in Germany to introduce the meters for sex workers as a means of extending a general tax on prostitution previously only levied on indoor sex businesses.
The meters were installed in an industrial area near the centre of town with each sex worker paying six euros per night worked, regardless of how many customers they have. Those repeatedly caught without a ticket they can be fined.
The Olympics and Trafficking: Myths and Evidence
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT
Wednesday 25 January 2012 5:45pm
Julie Ham, GAATW
Marlise Richter, International Centre for Reproductive Health, Ghent University
Joanna Busza, LSHTM
In the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games, concerns have been raised about the possibility of an increase in trafficking for sexual exploitation linked to the event. Similar rumours were circulated prior to other international sporting events,
including the World Cup in Germany and South Africa, the Olympics in Athens and Vancouver, and the US Super Bowl. Yet once the fans go home, the media loses interest, and little is heard about the consistent lack of evidence for any rise in sex
Recent research demonstrates that anti-trafficking measures put into place in a range of countries have proved irrelevant, or harmful in cases where sex workers become increasingly criminalised and unable to access health and social programmes.
As the 2012 Olympics come to London, this seminar will review the international evidence on trafficking, sex work and sports events, consider public health implications, and ask to what extent police and local authorities here in the UK are
basing their policies on evidence.
Admission: Free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis.
The state-funded Korea Consumer Agency announced the results of a survey on Friday which found that two-thirds of South Korean senior citizens are sexually active, and half of those pay for sex.
The Korea Times reported that the survey of 500 South Koreans over age 60 determined that 66% are having sex, and that 53% of that group --- or 35% of the survey group overall --- said they pay for sex.
Paying sex workers is illegal in South Korea.
An even larger group, 39%, argued that paying for sex is necessary because the elderly have no choice. That's fewer than the 31% who said prostitution is unacceptable.
The Korea Herald reported on Sunday that more than half of the sexually active senior citizens said they buy anti-impotence pills, and 20% of them said they used sex toys.
The Maldives president has lifted a ban on spas in the upmarket tourist destination after establishing they were not being used for prostitution, as alleged by muslim protesters.
The tourism ministry ordered all massage and beauty treatment centres to close six days ago in response to public demonstrations in the capital against spas organised by the hardline islamic opposition Adhaalath party.
There was a huge demonstration in Male against spas, saying they were brothels, President Mohamed Nasheed said. We had to respect the crowd so we ordered a quality control regarding their use.