Prostitution in Canada
Table of Contents
History of prostitution in Canada3
Definition of prostitution4
* What is prostitution?4
* Causes of women entering prostitution4
* Troubled childhood5
* Homelessness, poverty, employment and drugs5
* The most dangerous places6
Consequences of prostitution7
* Health and Safety Risks7
* Health Risks7
* Safety Risks8
How to prevent prostitution?9
* How to quit prostitution?9
Prostitution in Canada
Prostitution is a controversial subject, involving complex and contradictory interests, values and issues. The most visible evidence of prostitution, street solicitation, is an acute problem in large Canadian cities. This essay focuses mainly on street prostitution in Canada, and on women, who represent the majority (75%) of prostitute workers. It mainly attempts to describe prostitution, its social, health and safety consequences. Is prostitution a problem itself, or is it part of a bigger problem?
History of prostitution in Canada
Throughout the 1800s, prostitution in Canada was organized primarily around brothels. The houses were grouped together, often sharing their neighbourhood with taverns in the poorer parts of town (Gray, 1971, pp.24-26). In his book, Gray explains that at the turn of the century, with the development of the transcontinental railways, there was a mass migration of single men, “which created an environment in which prostitution flourished”. Brothels were located close to the railway stations (1971, pp.78-85). Little was done to close them, since the authorities felt that prostitution had to be tolerated because it could not be eradicated. From 1890 on, legal repression made it more difficult to operate brothels, and street prostitution became more common (Bullough and Bullough, 1987, p.67). Levels of prostitution increased during World War I when there was little employment for women, and decreased during World War II, possibly as a result of the “greater economic opportunities for lower-class women in war-related industries”. Immediately following the war, the levels of prostitution continued to fall and became much more decentralized (Gray, 1971, pp.120). Brothels, call-girl operations, often called escorts, still exist today, but street prostitution is the most visible form of prostitution and receives the most attention. Yet in Canada as elsewhere, street prostitution represents only a small proportion of the sex trade, estimated at ranging from 10% to 33% (Lowman, 1992). Definition of prostitution
What is Prostitution?
Arriving at a workable definition of what is prostitution is very difficult, since not even the government can agree on what exactly constitutes the offence. “Prostitution is the exchange of sexual favours for money or other material goods, devoid of any emotional involvement” (Gomme, 1993, p.12; Garner, 1999, p.1238) The commercial sex industry includes street prostitution, massage brothels, escort services, outcall services, strip clubs, lapdancing, phone sex, adult and child pornography, video and internet pornography, and prostitution tourism. In Canada, it's perfectly legal to exchange money for sex. Although prostitution has never been illegal in Canada (Davies, 1990, p.112; Lowman, 2004, p.148; Maich, 2010 p.9; “Prostitution laws”, 2004, p.9), many of the activities closely related with it are illegal; advertising and soliciting prostitution, communicating for the purposes of prostitution, keeping a common “bawdy house” or brothel, “pimping”, procuring, and living off the gains of prostitution are some examples of the type of activities that are criminalized according to the legal...