To Members of Parliament:

Print a copy of the postcard below and send it to your representative.

"In the discussion surrounding Canada’s prostitution laws, I am concerned about the acceptance of the decriminalization of brothels. Decriminalizing brothels will entrench the exploitation of women in Canada:
  • There is a serious lack of evidence that indoor sex work is safer than street-based. (1)
  • There IS evidence that the sex industry has flourished in countries where brothels have been decriminalized. (2)
  • Decriminalizing brothels has led to increased human trafficking and child exploitation(3)
  • Those involved in survival sex have been further victimized by the decriminalization of brothels. These women do not fit the mold for brothels and are often pushed into the illegal underground, becoming further criminalized and/or lack support services. (4)
  • I believe that legitimizing prostitution in Canada will further the exploitation of ALL women in our society. (5)
I want the Canadian government to

  • Supporting and funding education and employment strategies for marginalized women,
  • Providing more female-specific de-tox beds,
  • Facilitating affordable housing,
  • Funding long-term comprehensive exit programs
  • Implementing preventative education campaigns."



1- the questionable safety of indoor sex work

-A study on trafficking, migration and sexual exploitation in 5 countries demonstrated that “so called "safety policies" in brothels did not protect women from harm. Even where brothels supposedly monitored the "customers" and utilized "bouncers," women stated that they were injured by buyers and, at times, by brothel owners and their friends. Even when someone intervened to control buyers' abuse, women lived in a climate of fear. Although 60 percent of women reported that buyers had sometimes been prevented from abusing them, half of those women answered that, nonetheless, they thought that they might be killed by one of their "customers".”
Janice G. Raymond, "10 Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution", Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International (CATW)

- Women do not escape violence in legal brothels. One example comes "from the classiest brothel in Melbourne, The Daily Planet, which was launched on the Stock Exchange in February 2003. The Daily Planet has alarm buttons in the rooms that women can press to call the bouncer. Unfortunately women only press these once they have been hit. A bouncer at the brothel interviewed in the local paper explains that he runs up and breaks the door open when the bell rings (the locks are flimsy) (Everything But the Girls. The Sunday Age 31/05/98). But the damage has already been done. There is no way to prevent women being hit in the best run brothels and it is, according to the bouncer’s account, not uncommon."
Sheila Jeffreys,
"The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment", Feb.2004 speech, Commission on the Status of Women, United Nations, New York 5/03/03

-“Women in brothels or clubs are not encouraged to complain about violence to pimps/owners. Sometimes, they are fired for these protests, even after being raped. In 2000, a dancer in San Francisco was raped in a private booth at the Mitchell Brothers strip club. When she complained to the owners about the rape, they fired her. ...In 2004, a woman prostituting at a Nevada brothel filed civil lawsuits against a john who assaulted her and against pimp Dennis Hof because he failed to call police and because the panic button in her room was not working (Associated Press, 2004)."
Melissa Farley, " "Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart": Prostitution Harms Women Even if Legalized or Decriminalized," Violence Against Women, Vol. 10 No, October 2004, p 14-16

2 - the sex industry has flourished where brothels have been decrimminalized

-In New South Wales, brothels were decriminalized in 1995. By 1999, the numbers of brothels in Sydney had increased exponentially to 400-500. "There are 24 pages advertising brothels and escort agencies in the Yellow Pages today," says Sydney Madam Catherine O'Malley. "Three years ago there were only two or three."
Phil Mercer,
"Prostitutes gear up for Olympic sex," BBC, 1 February, 2000,

-"No research has demonstrated that legal prostitution decreases illegal (street and brothel) prostitution. Following legalization of prostitution in Victoria, Australia, although the number of legal brothels doubled, the greatest expansion was in illegal prostitution. In 1 year (1999), there was a 300% growth of illegal brothels."
Melissa Farley, " "Bad for the Body, Bad for the Heart": Prostitution Harms Women Even if Legalized or Decriminalized," Violence Against Women, Vol. 10 No, October 2004

"Advocates of legalized prostitution in Germany used the argument that legalizing prostitution would control the expansion of the sex industry. In effect, the exact opposite is happening. ...Germany is the most lucrative prostitution economy in Europe, earning 7.5 billion dollars between 2002-03. Legalization has opened not only the back door but the front door to hundreds of pimps and traffickers, posing as legitimate businessmen, who move thousands of women per year into Germany for prostitution. ...Contrary to claims that legalization and decriminalization would control the expansion of the sex industry, prostitution now accounts for 5% of the Netherlands economy. Over the last decade, as pimping was legalized, and brothels decriminalized in the year 2000, the sex industry increased by 25% in the Netherlands."
Janice G. Raymond,The Consequences of Legal Policy on Prostitution and Trafficking in Women , Budapest, Hungary, May 28, 2004

-“Far from declining as attitudes to sex have relaxed, the trade in women's bodies has grown exponentially... . Those countries with a legal or semi-legal sex trade - Germany, the Netherlands, some Australian states - have some of the biggest problems associated with it. A thriving legal sex trade encourages its illicit counterpart, providing services that legal brothels don't offer." Joan Smith, "Prostitutes are victims, not crminals," The Independent, April 13, 2007,

3 - increased human trafficking and child exploitation

-"Experience in countries with either legalized or regulated prostitution shows that trafficking and sex tourism increase dramatically in those countries.”
(Nordic and Baltic Women’s Organizations in Cooperation)

-“Without equivocation, the investigators can confirm that the presence of pre-existing adult prostitution markets contributes measurably to the creation of secondary sexual markets in which children are sexually exploited. Indeed, in every community we visited in which a substantial adult prostitution markets exists--Chicago, Honolulu, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco--we also found substantial numbers of young people being sexually exploited . . . Despite the advocacy efforts of some groups in the U.S., we find no support for the legalization of prostitution in the U.S., especially given the relationship that we can confirm to exist between adult and juvenile sexual exploitation."
R.J. Estes and N.A. Weiner, " The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Philadelphia," PA: University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Work, Center for the Study of Youth Policy, 2002.

-"The Netherlands is a primary country of destination for victims of human trafficking. ...Estimates of the number of victims vary from 1000 to 7000 on a yearly basis."
van Dijk, Essy. Mensenhandel in Nederland 1997-2000]

-"...worldwide where prostitution is legalised, sexual slavery increases. This is not difficult to understand. Legalisation legitimises prostitution. Despite the fact that most efforts to regulate prostitution come from a desire to limit the industry and protect women within it, the fact is that sex industry entrepreneurs always have more power than the women in it.
Kathleen Maltzhan, "Where to now?", The Brisbane Institute Combating trafficking in women,

-"Traffickers recognize the legal climate in Germany is permissive and makes it easier for them to operate as legitimate businessmen. ...who make billions of euros off the bodies of women and children."
Janice G. Raymond, The Consequences of Legal Policy on Prostitution and Trafficking in Women, Budapest, Hungary, May 28, 2004

4 - further victimizing women in street-based/survival prostitution

-In Australia, "women in street prostitution have experienced increased difficulty in exiting. The normalisation of prostitution leads to lack of support services, as these are often curtailed by brothel owners." Julie Bindel and Liz Kelly, "A Critical Examination of Responses to Prostitution in Four Countries: Victoria, Australia; Ireland; the Netherlands; and Sweden," For the Routes Out Partnership Board, Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University, 2003, p 19

-"I have often doubted since we legalized the brothels, whether we did the right thing," said Femke Halsema, a member of Parliament who advocated the measure. "For me, it was a question of emancipation and liberation for the women. But for now it is working the other way." Suzanne Daley, "New Rights for Dutch Prostitutes but No Gain," New York Times, August 12, 2001.

-"One expressed goal of legalized prostitution advocates is to move prostituted women indoors into brothels and clubs where they would be allegedly less vulnerable than in street prostitution. However, many women are in street prostitution because they want to avoid being controlled and exploited by pimps (transformed in legalized systems into sex businessmen). Other women do not want to register or submit to health checks, as required by law in some countries where prostitution is legalized. Thus, legalization may actually drive some women into street prostitution. "

Janice G. Raymond, The Consequences of Legal Policy on Prostitution and Trafficking in Women, Budapest, Hungary, May 28, 2004

5- furthering the exploitation of ALL women

-“Moreover, it is the task of all forces of society to take into consideration the problematic effects of the commercialization of sexuality of the society’s gender-role images and its negative effects on the goal of an emancipated partnership. It is also a task of society to sensitize, in the framework of a value-oriented discussion, boys and men regarding their responsiblity.” Solidarity With Women in Distress, (SOLWIDI), Germany, April 2007

-“What will be the . . . outcome of struggles against sexual harassment and violence in the home, the workplace, or the street, if men can buy the right to perpetrate these very acts against women in prostitution?”
Jean D'Cunha, Legalizing prostitution: In search of alternatives from a gender and rights perspective. (2003)