Time for a Sexy Party: Naughty Canada Coalition Advocates Red Light District

6 Jul

Thanks to the lovely long weekend afforded Canadians, I had a fair bit of time on my hands over the last few days, so I spent it wandering around Toronto. It’s relaxing and it gets me out of the dark, oppressive hovel I live in, so I figured it was worth braving the smog. But when I was walking down Queen Street this caught my eye:

Being the Prince of the Internet that I am, I was surprised I hadn’t heard anything about such an initiative, and I was given to wonder where they got their statistics from (I assumed immediately it was from the Bureau of Pulling Stats Out Of My Ass, actually), but it got me thinking which side of the debate I’d fall on.

As most of you are likely aware at this point, my personal politics fall somewhere left of centre, often quite far to the left in fact. But for whatever reason I’ve not really spent a lot of time developing an opinion on the implications of red-light districts no matter what country they’re in. Maybe it’s because I’m not remotely the type to take advantage of the sorts of services offered there, but it’s just never registered on my radar until now, so I started thinking about it.

Generally speaking, the question the Naughty Canada Coalition is asking is “do you think it’s a good idea to have a red-light district in Canada” and astoundingly, my answer would be “yeah, with a few provisos.” I mean, at the end of the day the sex trade exists, and there’s no getting around it no matter what your personal politics might dictate from a moral standpoint. It’s the oldest trade in the book, and there will always, always be people willing to shell out some hard-earned cash in exchange for some momentary physical entertainment. If you take that into consideration, then it follows you might as well put regulations in place to ensure everybody is having as good a time as possible, as safely as possible. It’s supply and demand, folks, and if it’s going to happen anyway we might as well profit from it. So that’s two provisos in one: taxation and mandatory health screening. And following on the safety route, it’d be a hell of a lot easier for the government to weed out sociopathic pig farmers from the John pool. Good ideas all around.

But it begs the question: where do you put it? NCC is suggesting Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, and on paper all three of those cities make sense. Vancouver already has a burgeoning sex trade, so it would really just be a matter of tidying it up and making it all nice and legal. Toronto is a huge tourist destination and we’ve got an established multicultural and gay-friendly community here, so we get points for variety. And Montreal is French (enough said). But it leads me to wonder how many left-leaners will suddenly develop a serious case of conservatism when the Canadian red-light ends up in their backyard. How many Torontonians, or Montrealers, or indeed Vancouverites will be genuinely comfortable with people trolling for some lovin’ right outside their doors.

Personally it wouldn’t bother me, but not a lot of things do bother me (and if you actually believe that last statement, welcome to the blog because obviously you’ve never read it before).

So I open the debate to you, dear readers – especially those of you living in these particular cities. What are your thoughts on Sexy Street coming to your home town? Will you sample the wares and line up along side the so-called Naughty Canada Coalition or start brandishing signs with incendiary rhetoric incorrectly spelled?

Leave your responses in the comment section, because it’s been a while since I’ve had a good old-fashioned hate mail spree and I’m itching for some feedback.

12 Responses to “Time for a Sexy Party: Naughty Canada Coalition Advocates Red Light District”

  1. van der sweet July 6, 2010 at 8:48 AM #

    Certainly not a hard idea to swallow.

  2. Faye July 6, 2010 at 8:51 AM #

    if a red light district opens in canada does that mean that sex trade is legalized? atleast in that area of said city? i wonder what some of the prostitution activism groups would have to say about a monitored red light district.

  3. melissa July 6, 2010 at 9:03 AM #

    Actually, pictured does look like a good idea. Efficient greywater recycling. Ideas are magical :)

  4. Alex James July 6, 2010 at 9:04 AM #

    @Melissa: I suppose if it works, then it could be considered a good idea. I just have visions of me dropping my laundry in the toilet while trying to load/unload. Perhaps it’s not the *idea* that isn’t good…

  5. Kristine July 6, 2010 at 10:34 AM #

    I live in Calgary and I certainly would not mind having a red-light-district in my town.
    It makes all the sense in the world.
    Prostitution is going to happen anyways, it is better for everyone if it can be regulated; and legalized.
    The women can be HIV tested, condoms can be made mandatory. It cuts out the pimps and it can be done much more safely.

    The super left-wing part of me must mention the fact that if it is regulated then we can place a tax on it.
    Everybody wins!

  6. Dwayne July 6, 2010 at 8:58 PM #

    If you’re looking for a negative reply from me, you won’t have one. Prostitution is one of the world’s longest professions, alongside with hunting and gathering. The first thing that came to mind was “Insite”, Canada’s first safe injection site. This facility remains under scrutiny in spite of the proof that it decreases the incidence of HIV. With legal prostitution, there would be a precedent to have a society of people also under the same guard. I vote for ‘red light districts’…I can no longer tolerate the ambiguities of society. I entirely respect the profession and only want for the people involved to live a decent, respectful, safe life…as it should be.

  7. Alex James July 6, 2010 at 9:01 PM #

    @Dwayne: All I can say is “you’re right, you’re right – you’re bloody well right.” Thanks as always for your readership.

  8. Shannon July 7, 2010 at 1:36 PM #

    All for red light district. Keeps the women safer, pimps out of the equation, johns safer and familes safer. And if they are taxed more money for the economy. Keeps the women in one place and not all over the city. Less wasted police time as well. Can’t really see a downside. (unless it’s located between a school and a church).

  9. Shannon July 7, 2010 at 1:39 PM #

    Just another quick thought: would a red light district include an age restriction like a strip bar?

  10. Toronto Guy July 8, 2010 at 5:23 PM #

    What’s wrong with escort service? Where the prostitute is called to an address…that would also be safe for the prostitutes as a their whereabouts would be known…this method could also be regulated and companies could be licensed to provide these services…giving the Gov’t the ability to monitor their activity, and enforce mandatory testing for STDs…this accomplishes the all the goals of the red-light district without the need for the scar on the city!

  11. Shayla July 10, 2010 at 10:38 AM #

    I’m in favour. As you said, prostitution isn’t going anywhere, and legalizing prostitution would help sex workers stay safe and disease free, as well as helping to remove the stigma. Not to mention, I think sex work has an important place in society. You know those stories that pop up in the media from time to time about men who go to like a women’s gym and shoot a bunch of women because they feel like womankind is rejecting them and they haven’t gotten laid in months? I always think, “This entire problem could have been avoided if he’d just gotten a hooker.”

    Plus, jerks and people with outrageously strange fetishes need lovin’ too. They just might need to pay for it.


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