Oh Canada! or, What Could be Wrong with a Swedish Model?

A "good" Swedish Model

A “good” Swedish Model

Sex workers from all over Canada converged in Toronto on June 14, 2014 to protest against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government’s proposed crackdown on “Johns” and “Pimps.” Just when I get to thinking Canada is a little island of sanity in an insane world, they pull THIS crap. The good news is that it’s not law yet. The bad news is, it could be if Harper’s gang has its way. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decided last December to strike down chief elements of the country’s prostitution laws. The Harper government’s proposed law is their response to this decision.

I won’t beat around the bush (pun intended) on this: Sex work should be legal. Period. There are already laws on the books dealing with real exploitation and underage activity. The proposed law wants to hide behind some alleged concern for the safety and welfare of the sex workers. The truth is, the motivation is Puritanism and prudery, plain and simple.

Demonstration in Toronto

If that were not the case, wouldn’t it make sense to actually ASK sex workers what they thought? It might make sense, but it wouldn’t fit the agenda. The government wants to adopt the so-called “Swedish Model.” And what is this “Swedish Model?” From Wikipedia:

The laws on prostitution in Sweden make it illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them. Pimping, procuring and operating a brothel are also illegal. The criminalisation of the purchase, but not selling, of sex was unique when first enacted in 1999, but since then Norway and Iceland have adopted similar legislation, both in 2009, and France began enacting a similar law in 2013.

The “rationale” behind this can be summed up as follows:

“…it is unreasonable to also criminalize the one who, at least in most cases, is the weaker party who is exploited by others who want to satisfy their own sexual desires”.

So these laws supposedly protect the weak. Right. I believe my readers may KNOW a few actual sex workers, and I leave it to my readers to decide just how “weak” these women are.

There is a lot of very thoughtful commentary and analysis of the proposed Canadian law, and the “Swedish Model” in general. There are some extremely articulate sex-worker rights advocates and they make their case quite well with no help from me.

In a previous post I mentioned Maggie McNeill’s blog, “The Honest Courtesan.” Here is just one of her well thought-out articles.

Here is the case for decriminalization laid out succinctly: 10 Reasons to DecRiminalize sex WoRk

I have written about the subject of just who is against sex-work and why, which can be found here. There is no need for me to go over all of that again.

The last thing I will say on the subject (for now) is that the attempt to adopt the “Swedish Model” in Canada hasn’t succeeded yet and there is considerable opposition to it. For what it’s worth, the opposition has my fullest support, eh?

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