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Sex-trade workers win one - for now

As soon as I heard that three prostitution-related laws had been struck down in Ontario Superior Court yesterday, I knew the federal Conservatives would appeal. Why? Because that’s what they do. They stick their indignant little noses into anything that offends their ideological non-sensibilities, whether it has anything to do with them or not. As long as they can claim to be anti-immorality and pro- law-and-order, that’s good enough for them. They don’t care about evidence, experts, reality, shades of grey, or good social policy. Stephen Harper’s personal opinion trumps everything.

This government despises anything that suggests harm reduction. They’re against drugs, therefore they’re against harm reduction and health care for addicts. They’re against prostitution, therefore they’re against anything that protects the lives of sex trade workers. So what if people are overdosing in back alleys and hundreds of women have permanently disappeared while working the streets? So what if Robert Pickton raped, murdered and processed the bodies of fifty or more women in his meat rendering plant while nobody investigated the disappearance of all those sex trade workers? They were mostly just some unsavory and disposable combination of poor, addicted, and Aboriginal.

Sex trade workers have been stigmatized and criminalized by those prostitution laws. Instead of being seen as citizens, worthy of equal protection under the law, they were seen as criminals, and forced to ply their trade in the shadows. They had to constantly take excessive and unnecessary risks because of it. And for what? What purpose did these laws serve?

Yet the Conservatives are appalled that the laws have been struck down in Ontario. And they’re going to appeal it.

“My goodness we would have the nation as the pimp and that’s wrong and we can’t afford that,” said Conservative MP Joy Smith.

I’ve given up trying to understand this government through the application of logic, but how does effectively decriminalizing prostitution turn Canada into a pimp??

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