Legal Brothels, Jamie Lee Hamilton, Ellen Woodsworth and me
Last Saturday afternoon, in a open candidate debate in the Carnegie Centre on homelessness, Jamie Lee Hamilton chided me in front of the audience for not adopting Ellen Woodsworth’s opinions on further legalizing prostitution which means legal brothels, presumably in time for the Olympics. As this was done in public and I didn’t get a chance to reply in public then I will reply now.
In the Work Less Party we don’t necessarily agree on this issue. In fact, we don’t agree at all. We don’t have to. If I am elected mayor I will resist firmly and passionately any attempt to open legal brothels in this city. I have duly noted some of the people who support Jamie Lee Hamilton’s bid for the Parks Board, but does this mean these supporters necessarily also support her business interests as a sex trade worker in her bid for legal brothels? I think there should be some clarification on this, especially from Ellen Woodsworth and Adriane Carr. But wait a minute. What about all of the coalition members running in the municipal election which includes Vision, Cope, and the Green Party? And why should the NPA be excluded? Do these members of parties all support legal brothels, presumably in time for the Olympics? I am personally very fond of Adriane Carr and admire some of her work. However, this question is not about fondness or friendship; it is about something fundamental that is chewing away at our society like a dog knawing on a bone. It is lack of respect for women.
When I was serving time in the women’s prison in Burnaby for protesting the proposed clear cutting of the Elaho Valley my daughter Marian was hired by SAVE THE CHILDREN to research the experiences of young aboriginal youth in the sex trade, and fashion these experiences into a book for the government of Canada to ponder. It was published under the title “Sacred Lives”. My daughter’s research showed that the average age of aboriginal children entering the sex trade was fourteen years.
There is something so barbaric about this treatment of children, the fact that “kiddie strolls” still exists in Vancouver, that a prominent section of society thinks that might be okay if prostitution were only made safer. I have heard all the arguments surrounding this issues from the other side, the claims that that those who have a business interest in promoting brothels are not interested in prostituting children, only making things safe for adult women.
It doesn’t work this way. Men who seek prostitutes are particularly fond of young girls, the younger the better. We know that drinkers can find drinking places after hours and so can Johns find the youngest of girls after hours. We know that pimps already regularly patrol the malls and school yards, even elementary school yards looking for the freshest of young girls who can be lured with drugs, a few clothes, good times and once addicted, the girls are usually lost. We need to confront our politicians who support legal brothels and I think aboriginal women, whose daughters are particularly at risk, but all mothers of daughters should lead the way in this questioning. It is not too late. The election is not until Saturday. And oh yes. The government is still pondering “Sacred Lives”. On a dusty shelf somewhere in Ottawa.