By Carly Romano

Bedford Alan Young Prostitution Canadian Law

In my previous post, I presented Alan Young’s opinion on prostitution as advertised by Canadian Lawyer Magazine. As you can see, Young’s comments provide a lot of insight into his prostitution challenge. Based on his view that prostitutes are like meat, and prostitution is not as bad a job as people make it out to be, it can be said that his view comes from ignorance of what prostitution is truly like. Although skilled at oratory and the letter of the law, his grasp of the big picture of prostitution is lacking.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the story of someone who has been there:

I knew somehow, someway I needed to get out because it was killing me. I spent 15 years servicing men and allowing them to use me any way they saw fit. Lets be honest and stop sugar coating this so called “profession” and tell it like it is.

I had clients confess the things they paid me for were things they would never ask their wives to do because they respected her or because she was their “child’s mother” and they would never make her do that. Lets talk about the real truth of some of the crap I experienced as a prostitute. …Many times they (clients) would want to play out rape scenes or ask me to pretend to be a little girl. I remember a grandfather telling me how he had been watching his 13 year granddaughter sun bath and it made him horny!

Men would grab and pull at my breasts tell I cried and I would tell them they were being too rough and they would argue they weren’t. I’ve been put in every sexual position possible and was pounded till I thought I was ripped in two. I’ve had my hair pulled, been spit on, choked and bitten. I experienced all of this because this was what they had paid for. Then there were the clients who would come in on a Friday or Saturday night with a group of buddies and they would all want a piece of me. So it was either I saw one after the other or they would all come in one room and take turns in front of each other. The drunk or stoned clients would want you to party with them and if they could not get off because they were too wasted, it was somehow my fault and then the violence would begin! There is nothing worse than a man who is intoxicated and then gets angry. There were men who came in and claimed to be judges or lawyers and tried to use their power to get more or the school teacher I saw who used to teach me in grade school, my friends fathers and the list goes on.

I have been robbed at gun point, called a slut, had my jaw dislocated, been raped anally, forced to give blow jobs and had my head held down tell I puked! I have been punched, smacked, chocked, spit on, had my hair pulled and even been bitten till I bleed. So this is not a spiritual or religious issue, this is an issue of exploitation and violence against women! Its also a proven fact that psychopaths will first use prostitutes to experiment on before they move into society because prostitutes will not report them and are viewed as disposable people.

-Re-printed with permission from author, Katarina MacLeod, Sex Trade Survivor and Founder of Rising Angels

This is not the story of an empowered woman making free choices and it concerns me that publications (and the media) so freely grasp on to Young’s sensational storytelling and present it as fact without any further research. Canadian Lawyer Magazine does not even pretend to present a position contrary to Young’s. They paint Young as a liberal fighting for sex work “however distasteful to some”. This statement clearly implies that all of his opponents are moralists (a position that Young has openly declared several times) denouncing sex work due to its distasteful nature. I vehemently object to being characterized this way, as morals do not even enter into it. For the record, I personally believe that everyone should be free to make their own choices as long as those choices are based from a place of freedom and not from imposed situations (like childhood sexual abuse). If all women in prostitution were making free choices, then I would have no problem with it whatsoever. However, this is NOT the reality, so I fight against those who are imposing horrible situations onto others. It’s not about judgement and it’s not about moralizing. It’s about human rights. Young argues for the rights of the pimps and the sex buyers. We argue for the rights of the prostituted.

The article goes further to describe his opponents as “religious groups and several feminist scholars” and their witnesses as “a roving band of sex work abolitionists whose overwrought evidence had little application to Canada.” A roving band of abolitionists? What a concept. I like it. We should start “roving” from place to place spreading our “overwrought evidence” in the face of more “empirical evidence”, like that of Young’s. We can wear eye-patches and puffy collared shirts and set sail on the open sea in search of slavery to be eradicated.

The article continues by saying that further background checks into the Crown’s evidence “would expose them as zealots and ideologues”. I suppose that makes me a zealot, and makes Terri-Jean Bedford with her dominatrix gear performing for the camera an unbiased empirical opinion. Interestingly enough, the further probing into Bedford’s Affidavit revealed that she had been sexually abused as a child and beaten by her boyfriend who was her pimp for many years. This poor woman experienced severe abuse and now is fighting for her right to turn around and abuse other women by becoming a madam. The irony is not lost.

It is painfully clear by the language used by Canadian Lawyer Magazine that they view only one valid opinion on this topic and completely disregard all opposing evidence. For a publication read by a group of well-educated scholars, this falls short of every standard lawyers put in place to prevent this sort of grandstanding without basis in fact. Granted, it is possible that Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s readership are mostly sex purchasers and the magazine wishes to pander to their delusions, but I would argue that this only exacerbates the problem of sex purchasers separating their actions from their logic and personal beliefs. It is hypocritical to pursue a profession weighing evidence equitably and then throw this out the window to suit your personal needs.

Prostitution is not a profession. There are no “worse jobs” as it is not a job. Sex purchasers pay prostitutes to give up their human rights. According to our international laws, human rights cannot be bought or sold so why is this even under discussion? It’s time to put an end to this once and for all.