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dimanche 7 janvier 2007
What About the Women Who Want to Get Out of the Sex Trade ?
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
For the Industry of Prostitution : A Victory Disguised as a Defeat
Federal Report on Prostitution : The Missing Link
The majority report of the Justice Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws : a direct assault on women’s rights and a gift for organized crime
Prostitution is a Form of Violence, not Commerce
The Subcommittee’s majority report is moving towards normalizing the buying and selling of women
A contradictory, inconsistent and dangerous report
A Report Trivialising Prostitution
Protect victims and criminalize profiteers
Jennifer Allen’s testimony for the Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws, March 30, 2005.
I hear a lot about women who want to be in the sex trade, but my question is what about the women who want to get out ?
I was a sex trade worker for eight and a half years, and Vancouver is just one of the cities I worked in Canada. In the downtown east side the conditions I lived in were similar to brothels that obviously were not legalized. I lived in hostels. I lived in really crappy hotels that weren’t safe at all to live in. What I’d do is I’d go and stand on a street corner. I’d have a guy pick me up and I’d take him there. He’d sign in and then he’d have to pay the person at the desk so he could turn the trick upstairs. We’d come back down, he’d go out, he’d leave, I’d have the money, and that was done. When I was done, I felt really sick, really raw. I’d go into the bathroom and hug myself, because I just felt like I’d sold my soul for a measly $75, or whatever the guy gave me.
As a result of being in the sex trade for eight and a half years, I developed post-traumatic stress. It’s a common disorder among sex trade workers, for which I’m in counselling to this day. But mainly and also as a result, I developed a drug and alcohol habit. What made me change is by standing around and watching all my girlfriends going missing and being murdered. I realized I was next in line. It wasn’t going to be very long before I was next. So I got up and changed my life by going to different programs, and some programs helped and some didn’t.
What I found is that a lot of programs figured that well, you’re a sex trade worker, we’re just going to teach you some life skill programs and then we’re going to teach you how to do some job skills ; and now go get a real job. What about the emotional and mental damage that needs to be dealt with ? As people have said, it’s a complex issue. There should be programs in place so that if a sex trade worker wants to get out of the sex trade at three o’clock or five o’clock in the morning, there should be a place for her to go to. She shouldn’t have to wait until nine o’clock in the morning—regular business hours—for these organizations to open up to go in and say I need help. She should be able to say I need help right now and it is there right now.
As far as legalizing prostitution, I also hear a lot of women saying it’s my body, I’ll do what I want with it. My question is does the predator you’re coming into contact with view it the same way ? I basically ask you guys that, yes, you can legalize it for the women who want it legalized, but what about the women who want to get out of the sex trade ? Make sure there are programs in place to help them too, because it was a hell of a struggle for me to get out of the sex trade, and some women do not make it due mostly to addiction that takes them down.
That’s all I have to say. Thank you for listening to me.
* Jennifer Allen’s testimony for the Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws, March 30, 2005.
On Sisyphe, January 10, 2007.