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lundi 11 avril 2005
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
The World March of Women is a global feminist action network committed to fighting poverty and violence against women. We represent over 5300 women’s groups located in 163 countries and territories. These groups are concerned about escalating poverty, especially its feminization, and the omnipresence of violence against women in every region of the world. We struggle every day to change this situation.
We address the issue of prostitution and the expansion of the sex industry from the perspective of sexual exploitation, the subjugation of the poorest women, racism and the international division of labour.
We remind you of these two statistics about the situation of women planet-wide ; they should guide the sub-committee in its deliberations :
according to official UNDP data, almost half the world’s population lives in conditions of extreme poverty : less than US$1 per day. Of this number, 70% are women.
according to the World Bank, violence against women equals cancer as a cause of death and disability in women of reproductive age.
We could put it more strongly still and say that women are much more likely than men to die of malnutrition and lack of health care-especially reproductive health care ; and more likely to die at men’s hands, usually men they know, whether they are prostituted or not.
Why ? Because we still live in a world where the lives of women and girls are valued less. We live in a political, social, economic and cultural system that is based on unequal, gender-based based treatment of its citizenry. The patriarchal system, here and elsewhere, persists and resists every attempt women make to change it. We have made gains and continue to advance but many obstacles still stand in our way. The task is indeed an enormous one and the system is as old as the "oldest occupation in the world."
The institutions of the patriarchy
The patriarchal system is rooted in four institutions that simultaneously perpetuate and increase its strength : marriage, maternity, heterosexuality and prostitution-four institutions whose purpose is to control women’s bodies and their sexuality. As feminists we have succeeded in shaking up these institutions, with one exception : the institution of prostitution. It must be stressed that this is true of Western countries in particular ; it is hardly true for the great majority of women around the world.
Marriage in Canada and Québec is no longer viewed as the only career plan for young women. Now there are even new types of union that are breaking with tradition. In many other countries, however, girls are forced into marriage (especially in Africa) ; and women are burned alive on their husband’s death (Asia).
The right to decide on the number of children we wish to bear, end an unwanted pregnancy, or simply not to have children, was won after long hard struggle by women in this part of the world. Although we must fiercely guard this right, it does represent a step forward. It is not a choice that the majority of women in the world can make. Witness the pressure exerted by the Vatican, supported by the United States, a world superpower, to deny women’s right to bear the children they desire and to control their reproductive lives ; the forced sterilization of Aboriginal women in Latin America ; or the criminalization of abortion in many countries, including countries in the North like Portugal and Ireland.
The institution of compulsory heterosexuality was also shaken although these gains are among the most fragile. For a woman, the right to love who we choose still requires the most arduous struggle. Bringing homosexuality out of the closet, especially freeing it of its stigma as a mental illness or sign of abnormality, allowed numerous women to make different life choices. These choices are unimaginable in many countries where non-heterosexuality is repressed, even penalized by death.
The institution of prostitution, meanwhile, has prospered. The sex industry, pornography, and sexist advertising have seen to that. In this market-driven era, selling women’s bodies-in the virtual or the real world-is an extremely lucrative activity, and in fact, is ever more lucrative. The traffic in women and girls, mostly for the purposes of prostitution, is rising. Despite the obvious links between this traffic and prostitution, there is strong resistance to the notion of attacking these links, especially attacking the demand.
It is useful to remember that defying any of these institutions means exposing oneself to repression and violence. In fact, violence against women could be defined as the ultimate tool of repression when women refuse to be at the service of men.
Why decriminalizing prostitution is not the answer to violence against prostituted women
Because the main goal of violence against women is the control of the Other by denigration, terror, blows, torture and death. Women in prostitution are more vulnerable to this violence because the men who buy women believe they have paid for the right to do what they like to them. Even if women try to establish limits, men believe they can legitimately disregard them because they have bought control.
If we truly want to address the issue of violence against prostituted women, then, we must tackle inequality between women and men in a much broader way. We must above all challenge the demand, i.e., the fact that men want to purchase sexual services, and make the necessary links with the maintenance of women’s inferior status. Remember, too, that the institution of prostitution concerns all women. Under patriarchy, the man/buyer does not wonder if the woman wants to be a prostitute. He prostitutes her.
Since this sub-committee was created in response to the violence perpetrated on prostituted women in Vancouver over the years, it is useful to recall that numerous times during the investigation the women themselves reported details to the Vancouver police that could have led to arrests of the murderers and a reduction of the numbers of victims. Law or no law, women victims of violence, especially women in prostitution, are not believed when they report violent incidents.
The consequences of total deciminalization in Canada
Canada boasts a strong international reputation for fighting violence against women. It was the first country to accord refugee status to women fleeing violence. It was one of the first countries to define rape within marriage as a crime. We have developed practices and adopted legislation which are the envy of many across the world. The Canadian government is a signatory of the Palermo Protocol on the sex trafficking of women and children.
We believe it would be a mistake for Canada to decriminalize prostitution as a means of countering the violence committed against prostituted women. This would send the wrong message and would diminish Canada’s credibility on the issue. There are no reliable data we know of that show that violence against prostituted women has decreased in countries that have decriminalized or legalized prostitution. On the contrary, the trafficker networks enjoy much more latitude to sexually exploit the legions of women and girls who are desperately trying to improve their quality of life .
Why is it that since the sex industry was legalized in the Netherlands most of the women in the windows come from countries in the South ? This is why we believe that connections must be made between prostitution/sex trafficking and the subjugation of poor women, racism and the international division of labour. In fact, when we observe the movement of the traffic in humans (especially sex trafficking) it is quickly apparent that the traffic moves from East to West, South to North, following the route of poor countries’ debt repayments to rich countries. With dread, we observe institutions like the World Trade Organization propose to a country like Thailand that sex tourism revenues be counted in its gross domestic product. And, in Germany, not long ago, an unemployed woman was obliged to take a job in the sex industry.
We are nevertheless of the opinion that current Canadian law is not adequate to fight the pimp networks and the institution of prostitution. We are aware that women-especially women in the street-are doubly penalized by the stigmatization/marginalization of which they are victims, police repression, and, of course, the potential violence of male buyers. We denounce the treatment of Aboriginal women who are ignored by the system and left in a condition of extreme vulnerability. We are above all aware that it is time to stop trying to control women in prostitution and start addressing this issue from another perspective, that of the demand and the industry.
This is why we recommend the following priorities to the Canadian government :
totally decriminalize prostituted and trafficked women (including the possibility of according them refugee or immigrant status, where applicable) ;
begin a process to adopt framework legislation focussing on the demand and attacking pimping networks. This legislation should provide for massive public information campaigns and education programs for boys and girls in the schools concerning the causes and consequences of prostitution ; it should link gender equality policies with the struggle against pimping and sexual exploitation of others ; and review the sections of the Criminal Code and the Immigration Act that facilitate the expansion of the sex industry and sex trafficking in Canada ;
take the needed measures to eliminate poverty in Canada with specific programs to combat women’s poverty ;
respond favourably to the demands of Aboriginal women to recognize their Aboriginal status in their communities and give them the tools they need to assume leadership ;
evaluate the impact of the sex industry on equality between women and men in Canada.
Text of a presentation made by Diane Matte, Coordinator of the International Secretariat of the
Online on Sisyphe April 11th, 2005.