Category: prostitution

Hooked – Prostitution Documentary

I have shared in the past some of my thoughts on prostitution, but it is a difficult topic because the sex trade comes tangled with so many issues. A friend shared this documentary on facebook, and I believe it is worth the 45 minutes to watch in its entirety. Focused on the sex trade in Windsor, Ontario, the film includes interviews with street prostitutes, a former call girl, and a woman who worked in brothels over several years. The interviews do a great job of humanizing these women who are often written off as trash – yes many of them have drug addictions, but they are also mothers, widows, journalism students. Many of them are irreparably damaged inside and out, but their personhood is still there, and that is so easy to forget when we just think of cliches. Watch the documentary!

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Brooklyn’s Finest

Matt and I watched a movie called Brooklyn’s Finest this weekend, and I was really impacted by one short scene that I’ve now been thinking about for days. The movie tells the stories of 3 Brooklyn cops and the circumstances that lead to them all crossing paths at a spectacularly violent crime scene, and early in the film one of the cops goes to confession. He is a practicing Catholic, but it is clear through the movie that he is really struggling with his faith. He wants to believe, but he is incredibly discouraged and frustrated, and it seems that every solution he tries ends in failure. In the confessional he tells his priest that he has done something bad, but it was to a really bad person. When the priest invites him to pray for forgiveness, this cop snarls, “I don’t want God’s forgiveness, I want his help!”

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Making Prostitution Safer?

Brothels have been legalized in Ontario in the hopes of making prostitution safer for sex workers. There are arguments on both sides, with some celebrating this decision and others warning it will increase demand and therefore danger for sex workers in addition to not helping the majority of prostitutes who work on the street. This ruling won’t take effect for a year in order to give lawmakers time to prepare the legislation brothels will be held to, and it may be appealed in the Supreme Court, but in the meantime arguments are yet again flying back and forth in the papers and online whether these decisions make any sense.

One of the last papers I wrote for my BA was on this topic, just after a number of laws against prostitution were first struck down (on appeal, the law forbidding publicly communicating for the purpose of prostitution was upheld). I was surprised to see women on both sides of the debate arguing passionately, and I wanted my own opinion to be based on more than a knee-jerk reflex. I wasn’t sure what to expect: I was confident that lower-class prostitution would be demonstrably harmful and exploitative, but I also looked for evidence to support exceptions when prostitution is not a last resort fuelled by poverty or drug addiction.

This is the paper. After spending days reading articles and studies and stories, I was emotionally exhausted and convinced that no matter how prostitution is packaged, it’s always dangerous.

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