Report a john
See prostitution happening along 118th Ave in Edmonton, Alberta? Report the license plate number and the police will take it from there. Long known for being one of the largest strolls in Edmonton, 118th Ave has seen its share of social ills. In an effort to clean up the community, local businesses, community organizations and concerned citizens have taken action: report the demand for sex. If the johns are told on, the demand for sex on the strip will go down.

Consider the program a success. Sort of.

What if the car is being driven by a family member of the person standing on the corner? What if it's a social worker trying to convince that person to come home? Wouldn't a tag like this be great when applying for a passport?

We need to consider some other factors here as well. Street-side prostitution is not what it used to be even 10 years ago. Like other arenas in life, it has advanced with technology. To pimp, all you really need is an unassuming larger vehicle, a laptop, digital camera, and cell phone. You are portable, accessible and more anonymous. The people you see working the streets are barely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. But the stereotypical 'working girl' on the corner still is very much a reality.

Global Edmonton reported this morning that working girls are not really leaving the trade, but rather moving into the shadows of the residential areas bordering 118th Ave. The problem really has not been dealth with. Rather is now operates across from your house or school instead of the gas station or pawn shop.

In this writer's opinion, the deeper you push prostitution into the darkness, the greater the chances for trafficking to occur. They are two distinct issues, but they are inextricably linked. To try and remove prostitution from the picture of trafficking would be a erroneous indeed. Trafficking occurs whether on the strip or in a house regardless, but give it more places to hide and it will flourish.

Some would say this legitimatizes the argument for the legalization of prostitution. Nothing could be further from the truth. To legalize an already violent and offensive action would invite destruction. Am I speaking morally? In a sense. By offensive, I mean women (even women who claim the sell their bodies for sex voluntarily and for enjoyment) are once again made the subject of men's demands. Steps towards equality are flattened. Furthermore, legalization upholds the cycle of slavery. Choice and status are only available to a select elite in countries where the selling of sex is legal, and would stand to reason it would be so in Canada as well. A few women choose to sell sex, thus all women ought to be proud to do so — oppression deeply embedded in a darkened pschye.

If violence and trafficking are increasing in the innocuous shadows of suburbia, then light must follow. Legalization is an act of violence and capitalism at its worst.

We need not be afraid that sex is being sold in homes next to ours. Saddened, yes; but not afraid. True love casts out all fear. And if true love operates wherever we are, it does not matter the venue of prostitution. The darkness will be exposed. Those demanding sex will see that purchasing flesh is not a victimless crime. Just ask the wives and children of a john how precisely victimless it really is. Or ask a woman who has exited the trade about how truly victimless it truly is.

Having said all that… when a john is reported, be courageous enough to expand your thinking. Jail, while indeed punitive, is not always the answer. Not all johns are the creepy predators you see on TV, or greasy XXX video store owners with mommy issues. Many are men and women who just haven't taken the time to think about the destruction they are causing, and the fear they are perpetuating. Some even think they are doing society a justice by treating their objects of sex well. Jail, here, would be like grounding a child from TV after he didn't wear his bicycle helmet. It doesn't add up.

But that's for another post.

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