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The freedom to never prostitute oneself
Letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper

février 2008

par Rose Dufour, anthropologue

If you were given the opportunity to demand from the Canadian government the choice and the freedom for anyone to never prostitute herself, what would you do ? The upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver are making this issue relevant as the crowds expected at these Games are whetting the financial appetite of pimps and sexual exploiters of all stripes.

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson recently rejected the prospect of legalizing brothels in Vancouver and Victoria - a welcome decision, but a woefully insufficient one. Are you aware that, in the current Canadian and Quebecois context, there is no policy whatsoever in force to remedy the conditions of entry into prostitution ? Do you know that there is no policy either to support prostituted persons who want to escape ‘the life’ ? And that current practice is limited to passing out condoms and syringes, to allegedly reduce the harms of prostitution ?!

Canada must do more and better. How ? I invite you to read a statement from ex-prostitutes on this Sisyphe Web page and to follow it up by sending our Prime Minister the following letter (which you may modify at your convenience). You can mail it to him (no stamp necessary), or send it by e-mail or by FAX : 612-941-6900.
And please, pass on this message to as many people as you can. Just imagine how effective an avalanche of such letters could prove ! Rose Dufour


Letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper


Mr. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister’s Office
80, rue Wellington
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1A 0A2
FAX : 612-941-6900

Mr. Prime Minister,

Although I rejoice in your government’s recent decision not to legalize brothels in Vancouver and Victoria for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, I demand that Canada immediately do more and better for women in situations of prostitution. No women, no girl, no person is born to become prostituted ! If one can dream of becoming Prime Minister, I can assure you that no one ever dreams of being prostituted ! Prostitution is basically a survival condition, forced on people impoverished by a tattered social security net, given the lack of social housing, of income security and of detoxification facilities, and because of other pressing problems - and urgent remedies - brought to the attention of your government by the House of Commons Standing Justice Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs more than a year ago. Your government has to chosen to ignore their recommendations.

I am demanding that the Canadian government provide substantial help to prostituted women by fulfilling their most pressing needs now. I am also demanding that, contrary to Minister Nicholson’s stated intentions, it stop immediately its harassment of women in situations of prostitution, to focus instead on the real sources of this problem : the procurers/traffickers - who publicly advertise their trade with full impunity, while police forces only badger women on the street - and the buyers of “sexual services” who should be dissuaded by a law, by public education work and by the promise of substantive sanctions, as is being done in Sweden with excellent results and is about to happen in the United Kingdom.

Choosing social justice calls for each of us to defend, protect and support the most threatened and fragile persons in our midst, instead of covering for their exploiters and adding to their marginalization by a selective judicial harassment.
I await your response to these pressing needs and demands.

(PRINT NAME) _____________________________
E-mail of Prime Minister :

On Sisyphe, February 29, 2008

Rose Dufour, anthropologue

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