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The matter of prostitution in Canada has been discussed for many years. Many experts consider that prostitution is the evidence of people’s behavior, which should be eliminated and forbidden by the law. Canadians feel uneasy due to these behaviors. The state has played the role in the regulation of vice, though this role has considerably varied in the course of time. The state’s changing response to the existence of vices, namely first to repress and more recently to control them, is indicative of its development. Nowadays, the state institutions have become the means to enforce the moral order. However, the enforcement of the restrictive public policies often constitutes the weakest link in effort to suppress the proscribed behaviors. Since the colonial times, prostitution has been prevalent. The corresponding solutions to deal with this issue have ranged from moral persuasion to re-education as well as to repression. Despite the fact that repression has been the most widely option, prostitution has not disappeared. In order to deal with these problems in Canada, different institutions, agencies, and individuals should play an active role in providing initiative strategy.

Attitudes toward Prostitution

Different Concerns of Prostitution

The Toronto Prostitution Offender Diversion Program was successful due to its different aspects. Thus, participants admitted that they should be responsible for illegal actions and the consequences of this activity, including potential health dangers. The program empowers participants to change their attitudes toward prostitution and drug abuse. The research asserts that post-program attitudes did not empower participants to stop this activity in the future (Aggleton, 2006: 103). The program, intended to stop prostitution, did not managed to deal with that issue. Some activists consider that the prohibition of prostitution oppresses women’s and men’s rights. However, they consider prostitution as a separate action between a man and a woman. This attitude to prostitution does not consider the fact that prostitution is not a single action, but is a sexualization of power. To the large extent, prostitution cannot be viewed as a private relationship between two persons. Prostitution is dangerous to the society because it affects morality.

Farley (2012: 48) argued that prostitution perpetrators or buyers pay to a prostitute to get sex. Thus, prostitution is based on the sexuality of the buyer. There are different types of prostitution. The most common one is when men are buying woman. Another type of prostitution is when men are buying teenager girls. The less common forms are when women are buying men or women. The statistics shows that one of twelve men is buying prostitute in Canada (Carstairs, 2006: 39). Prostitution is a form of men’s oppression against women. Thus, a statement that it is the world’s oldest profession is merely the men’s excuse for their violence. All forms of prostitution are based on the perpetrator’s attempt to use somebody’s body for the sexual satisfaction. They assume that they have right to buy other’s person body for money. However, buying one’s body for sexual use is harmful because prostitution encourages individuals to suffer and it is a form of violence.

The Reasons for Becoming Prostitutes

Normally, women become prostitutes for various reasons. For example, financial needs can motivate women to be engaged in such activity. Sex workers, as subjects of study, serve as the objects of a numerous professional interpretations, namely by academics, policy makers, police, health professionals, and the media. In criminological discourse, a personal analysis of prostitutes’ life is usually missing. It occurs because sex workers cannot critically analyze their lives. Many economically marginalized individuals motivate their sex work due to poverty, unemployment, addictions as well as conservative and judgment culture. Prostitutes are often motivated to sell their bodies due to the racial difficulties and economic circumstances. A common statement that the prostitutes are victims of abuse is also true. Many of them are drugs addicted and have no moral norms. Some studies depict prostitutes as those who have miserable choices.

Those who recognize sex workers with miserable moral status tend to view prostitutes as victims (Jeffrey and MacDonald, 2011: 286). Since these images of prostitutes are reinforced to the public, for example, through the media, it is difficult to counter them with other portraits. Being a victim, the prostitute serves as a symbol of everything wrong, e.g. alcohol, drugs, abusive homes, and rebellion. She serves as a symbolic reflection the society, which generally knows its failures, but does not want to be reminded about them. Prostitution is usually observed as exploitation of women. Many prostitutes assume that they were enforced to become prostitutes due to drug abuse. Other sources claim that individuals that were sexually abused in the childhood become prostitutes.

The Power of Sex

The existence of prostitution services encourages women to serve the others, where a woman is almost a slave. She serves the sexual demands of men who are willing to pay for her service. Martel (2014: 145) noted that power over sex is exercised in the same way as any other forms of power. In Canadian law, a prostitute is a legal entity that cannot act because undertake any action which invites, solicits, arranges, or communicates for the purposes of prostitution, must be a subject to legal charge. Many feminist researchers argue that prostitutes are victims (Roth, 2011: 163). Such perceptions of prostitutes are common in many countries as well as in Canada. Due to these perceptions, the criminalization in Canada has increased. Prostitution related problems affect not only the participants, but also the community. This immoral activity spoils children and adolescents. The Internet and the media spread sex propaganda. Thus, a number of the Internet sites sell prostitution services online what should be strictly prohibited by the government.

The research asserts that men use services of prostitutes because they have an easy access to them. The only condition is that they want to have sex with them without any obligations and further relationship (Farley, 2012: 56). Others use their services because they have low self-esteem and cannot find adequate relationship in everyday life. Actually, men are ready to pay money for their convenience. Moreover, many of them use prostitution services to get power over them. For many people sex work of prostitutes is oppressive and exploitative. According to Jeffrey and MacDonald, prostitutes are performers who challenge dominant arrangement of power (Jeffrey and MacDonald, 2011: 301). The scale of the problem is high in Canada. Even such countries as Germany and Netherlands, where prostitution is legal, show the greatest concern about prostitution. Drug abuse that is legal in the Netherland, for example, cannot become a model of behavior in other countries due to cultural, religious, historical, and other differences.

Prostitution Related Problems

Many Canadian authorities claim that prostitution causes many problems. The Canadian government authorities claim that prostitution related social problems have drawn the attention of the Parliament. Many activists who offend prostitution requires more intensified actions against this activity that leads to organized crime, drug trafficking, and other problems. In order to tackle prostitution problems, many activists organize working groups that help the government to deal with these problems. Oftentimes their suggestions are rather helpful. The legal measures provided by the government include such activities as combatting organized crime and strengthening public security. Prostitution causes serious problems to the Canadian society. These include drug trafficking, violent crime, and facilitation of illegal immigration (Carstairs, 2006: 45). The objective of the protecting measures is to provide public order. Nowadays, Canadian society should overcome difficulties related with foreign prostitution and organized pandering.

People who sell sex services should not be allowed to enter Canada from other countries. Experience has shown that illegal immigration from developing countries causes many problems. The main reasons are poverty, low socioeconomic status, a lack of education, and cultural features. The number of refusal to enter the Canadian border for foreign prostitutes has profoundly decreased prostitution related problems. Prostitution is one of the main reasons why the Canadian government reduced the entry of the foreigners into the country. Furthermore, Martel argued that prostitutes are not protected by the law because, in most cases, they are not viewed as victims (Martel, 2014: 134). Prostitutes and drug users are the most vulnerable individuals in the criminal justice. Moreover, prostitution affects individuals and communities. The communities vulnerable to prostitution require from the government to implement corresponding measures in order to stop prostitution and related problems. Legislative responses should be based on intense debate in order to determine possible programs and measures to solve the problems.

The Law and the Prostitution Activity

The world practice has shown that prostitution is legal in some countries such as Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands Turkey, Greece, Austria, and Latvia. Various countries have different approaches to prostitution related activities. It depends on the laws, religion, public opinion, etc. In Canada, prostitution activity is not prohibited because there are no laws that forbid prostitution related activities. However, the laws prohibiting brothels made it difficult for the prostitutes to act legally as they did it before. Thus, for example, people who make profits from prostitution activity are regarded as those who violate the constitutional law. In fact, prostitution in Canada is not free. According to Canadian law, a prostitute is a legal entity that cannot act because to undertake any activity that invites, solicits, arranges, or communicates for the purposes of prostitution, is a subject to legal charge.

Canadian case law demands three elements that constitute the existence of prostitution. They are: 1) the absence of discrimination; 2) payment for sexual services; and 3) provision of sexual services. Many activists consider that prostitution should be legal in Canada as well in other countries in case it is exchanged for money. From this perspective, prostitution is considered as a business. On the other hand, many researchers argue that prostitution is not a business because it is immoral and leads to degradation of an individual (Farley, 2012: 54). Though prostitution in Canada is legal, it has many restrictions, and it is not easy to use sex services. Many scholars define prostitution as trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation. From this perspective, it is hard to recognize that prostitution can be a kind of business that serves to satisfy people’s needs and desires.


Dealing with Prostitution in Canada

Nowadays, dealing with prostitution issues in Canada is a challenging task. Sex work was always legal in this country. However, the modern concern of prostitution as immoral activity leads to most complicated problems such as drug trafficking and crime. Prostitution activity and drug abuse are harmful to the society and its ethic norms. The key components of a strategy aimed at dealing with prostitution in Canada are numerous. First, prostitution activity should be legalized in certain places where men can exchange sexual services for a corresponding payment. These places should be controlled by the government, police, and health care organizations. Since there is a demand for such services, the state should provide them to clients. People have the right for a personal choice. Prostitution services must be offered in special city zones, like in Amsterdam, for example, where people can come and buy what they want.

The main strategies should concern the following issues:

  • To protect people from exploitation, crime, violence, and harm.
  • To eliminate organized criminal activity.
  • To create partnership with other organizations and agencies.
  • To introduce policies that protect people involved in prostitution
  • To provide further research.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that living in a democratic society, the legislation must consider the needs and desires of all groups of people. The introduced restrictions regarding prostitution will not solve the problem. The research asserted that women involved in prostitution activities are uneducated, poor, have low socioeconomic status, faced abuse in their childhood, etc. Thus, the best way to deal with prostitution is to educate women. Educated women have more chances to find good jobs and earn money. Thus, the government should implement educational programs to sex workers in order to protect them from prostitution activity, which is viewed as discrimination by many authorities. In order to achieve consensus regarding the issue of prostitution, the survey should be held among different socioeconomic groups. Street prostitution should be eliminated because it leads to organized crimes. Admittedly, the greatest amount of tasks should be performed by the police.

The Benefits of the Strategy

Hence implicating this strategy into life, the problem of prostitution should be eliminated. Moreover, cultural integration of sex workers and drug users into socioeconomic environment may help the society to cultivate better moral principles among the youth. Oftentimes, teenagers are involved into the prostitution activities without understanding its outcomes in the future. Educators and different stakeholders should help to solve this problem in everyday life. The experience of social workers shows that any strategy that has appropriate techniques and methods will be beneficial. Prostitutes are undesirable individuals for the Canadian society, and they realize this fact. They suffer from ignorance and oppression. Most of them want to live a normal life, but the circumstances force them to be prostitutes and sell their bodies for money. In another words, prostitutes have limited choices in their life.

Once implementing a good strategy, the society could give a chance to prostitutes to work, study, arrange families, and be happy. The government that protects its citizens should not ignore minority groups such as sex workers. This strategy could give better opportunities to women who are sexually exploited and oppressed. The following attempts to change a society and eliminate prostitution activity would provide an opportunity to non-governmental organizations to increase their concern about the problem. It is obvious that sex workers need help. For a long time prostitutes have been forced to survive in the complicated economic environment that does not care about them. The main objective of this strategy is to protect prostitutes from exploitation and harm. On the other hand, eliminating prostitution, the governmental and non-governmental organizations will protect the nation and its future generations from unethical behaviors.

Barriers and Their Solutions

The strategy will have numerous barriers, but it is essential to find the solutions. The strategy to be implemented could be successful in the collaboration of different organizations and stakeholders. It is important to mention that prostitution is victim-centered. Many dealers, such as drugs dealers, are involved in the prostitution activity. Therefore, it is evident that the strategy and its designers will face numerous obstacles and oppression. This is a serious problem that should be solved together with the police, non-governmental organizations, and volunteers. The public opinion could be a powerful tool while eliminating the problem and implementing the strategy. The problem should be tackled in cooperation with the media that has a great influence on the audience. Different complimentary tools, such as advertising, could be also rather helpful.

The complexity in current law could also be problematic because law enforcement is rather confused. According to the study, the barriers of implementing a new strategy could be observed from different directions such as sex-workers, drugs dealers, men who used to exploit women for the sexual services, and others (Benoit and Shaver, 2006: 3). However, working in cooperation with agencies, individuals, volunteers, and other stakeholder will lead to better results. The aims identified by the strategy require working in the partnership with different educational establishments that could identify possible risk among young girls. Normally, the risk group is easy to determine, as they come mostly from immigrant or poor families. Prostitution and drug abuse are interlinked. Therefore, authorities and policymakers understand that eliminating drugs may lead to the elimination of prostitution. However, many people who are addicted to drugs demand its legalization in Canada.

Crimes of Morality

Prostitution is considered as crimes of morality in Canada. The current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, supports the criminalization approach to prostitution. This legalization can decrease the profits of illegal prostitution. Benoit and Shaver (2006: 156) argued that legalization of prostitution would cost cheaper than the fight against them. Making prostitution legal may have essential effects. Firstly, prostitutes will become cleaner and safer for the clients than those that they can find illegally on the streets. Secondly, legalization of prostitution will eliminate profits of illegal dealers. Moreover, legalization of prostitution will educate people how to use the sexual services adequately.

Many authorities argue that prostitution is a crime of morality. As any other crime, prostitution deals with moral abuse. Having a sexual basis, prostitution carries with it physical and psychological harm. Though, prostitution is considered to be a private act, it is widely observed by the society and the public. The west majority of Canadians consider that the prostitution activity destroys morality and negatively effects the young population. Nevertheless, prostitution is a specific feature of society. Though, prostitution in Canada is legal, sex work is considered to be immoral by many Canadians. Oftentimes, prostitution in Canada becomes the subject of discussions and social protests. Unless, there are numerous proponents of prostitution, the Canadian society has to consider different opinions.

The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper supports the criminalization approach to the prostitution activity. Legalization of prostitution can cut the profits of illegal drugs trafficking. Benoit and Shaver (2006: 156) argued that legalization of prostitution will cost cheaper than the fight against it. Making prostitution legal may have essential effects. Firstly, prostitutes will become cleaner and safer for clients than those that they can find illegally on the streets. Secondly, legalization of prostitution will educate people how to use sexual services adequately. Finally, legalization of prostitution will give an opportunity to the state to receive profits from taxes paid for them (Carstairs, 2006: 67). Prohibition of prostitution would not give positive results. Those who stand for high moral standards do not understand the issue in questions from different sides. Thus, this question should be more investigated.


Prostitution in Canada is a matter for discussion for many years. Canadians are still uneasy about prostitution. The Canadian legislation has varied considerably over time. Nowadays, the state institutions have become the means to enforce the moral order. However, the enforcement of restrictive public policies often constitutes the weakest link in efforts to suppress proscribed behaviors. Solutions to deal with the problem have ranged from moral persuasion, to re-education, and to repression. Even though repression has been the most widely option, prostitution has not disappeared. In order to deal with prostitution in Canada, different institutions, agencies, and individuals should play an active role in an initiative strategy.

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