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Permitting Prostitution

Episode #426 | Added June 17, 2011

When an Ontario Superior Court judge struck down Canada's laws surrounding prostitution, she paved the way for any adult to participate in and profit from the sex trade. Legally. The judge in the case made the point that she was ruling in the interests of women's safety. In this episode, we're asking how we can best keep the women and children most often victimized in the sex trade safe.

Question of the Week: Was the Ontario judge who struck down the laws surrounding prostitution right or wrong? Talk to us at

What can you do? Write to our government and let your voice be heard on this issue. Click here to find a sample letter, which you can paste into an email to your MP, Canada's Justice Minister, and the Prime Minister.

Lorna's Wrap

When a country moves to make a historic shift on the world’s oldest oppression – prostitution – Christianity needs to raise its voice. Jesus’ own family tree has a prostitute in it. He demonstrated love for those who were sexually broken. His response was to welcome, heal and warn that the sin should stop. That’s where Christianity picks up the call of Jesus on the harm prostitution causes.

This first level of court ruling gives Canada a chance to do that. We can respond aggressively in public opinion and lawmaking so the buying of sex becomes more difficult and less accepted. Our program today profiled prostitutes who wanted a helping hand out of selling sex. Lawmakers, and individuals like you and I, need to figure out how to offer that help.


NATASHAS : The New Global Sex Trade, by Victor Malarek (2004) Penguin Group
The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade, by Sheila Jeffreys (2009) Routledge.
The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It, by Victor Malarek (2008) Arcade Publishing
Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, by Robert Jensen ( 2007) South End Press

Organizations working to help prostitutes leave the streets:

- Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter:

- The Servants Anonymous Society of Calgary:

- Women’s Sexual Assault Centre (Victoria B.C)

- Avalon Sexual Assault Centre (Halifax, N.S)

- Treve Pour Elles (Montreal)

- Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre

- Lighthouse Community Centre (Toronto)


Benjamin Perrin
Professor, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law
Author, Invisible Chains: Canada's Underground World of Human Trafficking

Natasha Falle
Former prostitute who now works in Toronto's Sex Crime Unit

Janine Benedet
Professor, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law

Trisha Baptie
Former Prostitute
Founder, Honour Consulting


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