Toronto Feminists

Posts Tagged ‘sex workers

Criminalize the Demand – Sweden’s Successful Model of Prostitution

The following is a letter I, Daniela, recently sent to Antonia Zerbisias, Feminist Supreme of the Toronto Star newspaper.  This view of prostitution is my own personal view, and not that of  “Toronto Feminists” 

Dear Antonia,

      Are you aware that the vast majority of women in the sex industry have experienced incest and/or childhood sexual abuse (85%)?  These women and girls come to believe that their purpose in life is to be sexually used by the people around them – because it’s what they know.[1]

  • Using the same criteria developed by scientists who study long-term health in the military, researchers concluded that 2 out of 3 women in the sex industry suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.[2]
  • Ariel Levy also says in this book how the world reinforcing prostitution with women survivors of incest & sexual abuse is comparable to getting shark attack survivors to become lifeguards.
  • Porn actresses re-live their childhood experiences by getting into that industry.  They are looking for attention, pleasing men, and being abused.  And that’s all they know…a lot of these women are re-living what they know how to feel.[3]
  • No prostituted women I know, myself included, wants her daughter to be a prostitute. We know firsthand that it devastates the mind, body, and spirit.[4]

 Antonia, is it ethical for any human being to be bought and sold – or just women?

A former prostituted woman Trisha Baptie stated “Allowing a minority of women in prostitution to argue “choice” on the backs of the majority who are out there, in perfect storm of oppression, neglect, abuse, and human trafficking, is absurd.

Choosing exploitation doesn’t mean you’re not being exploited, and being female does not make you a feminist.[5]

      Did you know that sacred prostitution existed in ancient history – the miracle of birth coming out of a woman had finally been connected to heterosexual intercourse – and so prostitutes in sacred would have sex with men – but it was a spiritual rite.[6]

  • Just because prostitution seems to be the oldest profession, there is a marked distinction between the sacred temple prostitutes of ancient history and today’s drug-addicted and sexually prostitutes!
  • Arguing that prostitution has been around since the beginning of time anyways, so we may as well try to work with it, is not only inaccurate but just settling for less.
  • Pedophilia and murder have always occurred too – should we simply regulate them since we know they’re going to happen anyways?  This is how low “sex worker” advocates have set the bar.

      Nip the problem in the bud with the Swedish model – criminalize the demand, decriminalize the supply

  • In Amsterdam, they have had to significantly reduce their red light district because of the marked increase in organized crime since they legalized prostitution.[7]
  • In Sweden, they have criminalized the demand/buyer and decriminalized the prostituted women/men – their trafficking rates have significantly decreased.[8] 
    • Feeling horny?  Too bad.  She has human rights too.
    • The systemic misogyny of legalizing and regulating prostitution fundamentally shows women and girls, men and boys, that women’s bodies are for sale to men buyers.
    • The male buyers get a governmentally-reinforced sense of entitlement to just masturbate into a woman’s body instead of in his own hand.
    • The Swedish really works!  We can do something constructive and successful about this!

The following are just 4 non-profits that have done the research regarding the harm of legalizing prostitution:


 Human beings are not for sale!


[1] Ariel Levy, Female Chauvinist Pigs:  Women & the Rise of Raunch Culture.  Also

[2] Levy, 181.

[3] Carol Smith former porn actress interviewed in Not For Sale via

[4] Trisha Baptie, former prostituted woman

[5] Jane Riccobono on Natalie Dylan’s auction sale of her virginity.

[6] Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman.  (non-fiction)




Written by torontofeminists

October 4, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Test of a Civilization

I’m a little behind on this story but I came across it today on about a Facebook group set up by Winnipeg residents to share their stories of throwing things at prostitutes on Higgins Street.One group member weakly tried to defend it as “an expression of their anger towards disgusting conditions in the city generally”, these “expressions” apparently take the form of stale tim bits (because fresh ones won’t leave marks), slushies and pennies.  Clearly the people who joined this group don’t consider prostitutes human beings or they wouldn’t have admitted in a public forum to engaging in what amounts to assault.  It also highlights how cavalier many young people are about violence against women and have no issues with attacking the most vulnerable women of all.  Prostitutes being one of, if not the most vulnerable group in society are often targeted by monsters (Jack the Ripper to Robert Picton), isn’t it disturbing that bored and privileged young people think it’s a fun night out to drive by these women and inflict humiliation and PAIN on them?  It’s quite sickening and I’m surprised that people joined this group with their real names but I’m sure they’re regretting it now.

On the bright side, a group lobbying for the removal of this hate-group formed and that organizer said:

I started thinking about what Mahatma Gandhi says, that the test of a civilization is the way, you know, that we treat our most vulnerable members“.  It warms the soul to know that this group vastly outnumbers the original hate-group.


I’m sure something has happened to the group by now but I’m not a member anymore so I can’t check to see if it’s been taken down.  However I thought this is an interesting issue to think about in general. One blogger who wrote on this story mentioned a similar game in Edmonton called ‘spoons’.  I realized it’s very likely something like this goes on in Toronto, I’d like to know if anyone has heard of ‘pranks’ like this growing up in and around our own city. 

Written by outdoorsgrrl

November 12, 2007 at 7:43 pm