While libertarians such as US congressman and three-time candidate for the US presidency, Ron Paul, want to legalise prostitution, those who have actually been involved with this sordid trade know just how wretched it is, and why it never should be legalised.
The harm it does to women, men, children, families and societies is far too great.
We are now becoming acutely aware of the evils of human trafficking and sexual slavery, and we must remain vigilant here. New films on this topic, such as Nefarious: Merchants of Souls (a documentary on the global sex trade), and organisations such as Not For Sale, have done much to expose modern slavery in general and the sex trade in particular.
We need to resist the reckless and amoral libertarian spin on this, and see it for what it really is: a great evil which we cannot allow to continue. Two recent articles help make the case against sex trafficking and prostitution, and both deserve careful attention.
The first, by American cultural commentator Albert Mohler, reminds us of what is at stake here.
Says Dr Mohler: “At one point in the sexual revolution, efforts were made to legalise prostitution as a ‘victimless crime’, a term that anyone could recognise as an oxymoron. Most of these efforts went nowhere in the United States and most of Europe, though ‘progressive’ law-enforcement officials often looked the other way and did little to curb the market for illicit sex.
“Then something truly interesting started to happen. Influential forces in society began to notice the scale and magnitude of the market for sex. Law-enforcement officials started to acknowledge the fact that women, along with under-age girls and boys, were being ‘trafficked’ through international networks of gangsters.
“By the end of the last decade, American officials were aware that sex trafficking was taking place in cities large and small. Women, along with boys and girls, were being kidnapped in far parts of the world and on the streets of American cities, to be sold into what could only be considered as sexual slavery.
“Over time, the shadow of international sex trafficking became evident in criminal networks that span the globe. Women and girls answering advertisements for models, maids and child-minders found themselves sold into slavery and transported around the world.
“Wealthy Americans booked vacations to destinations where their sexual appetite of choice, including children, could be easily purchased. As recently as the 2012 Super Bowl, American officials warned that several hundred under-age sex workers might be brought into the host city. These developments make the international sex trafficking networks impossible to deny.” (Albert Mohler’s blog, April 24, 2012).
But even more sobering and important is the testimony of Tania Fiolleau, a former Vancouver prostitute and madam and author of the book, Souled Out! (2nd edition, 2010). She certainly knows what she is talking about, and she makes a very powerful case against the legalisation of prostitution. While she discusses the situation in Canada, her words are most appropriate elsewhere as well.
She says in part: “The average age of entry into prostitution in Canada is 13 to 14 years old. Customers prefer the services of adolescents for their own sick reasons. This preference is partially formed by the perception that younger prostitutes are more clean and less likely to harbour sexually transmissible diseases.
“Young vulnerable teens are unwittingly recruited into prostitution by friends who are already part of the ‘human flesh trade’ or by pimps who target youths who have run away from broken or abusive homes. Young unsuspecting girls are preyed upon by prostitution recruiters at malls or even on Facebook. Teens from broken homes are especially susceptible to a pimp’s offer of shelter, food and emotional support. While young girls are usually tricked into prostitution, it is not uncommon for them to be forced into the practice through brutal beatings.
“A further reason to make prostitution illegal is that it utterly destroys the mental and even physical integrity of the prostituted woman. Approximately 80 per cent of women entering into prostitution have been victims of rape. Prostituted persons, however, are literally raped multiple times daily, as much as 8 to 10 times per day. They are the most raped class of women in human history.
“One study found that prostituted women exhibited many of the same characteristics as soldiers returning traumatised from war. More than 75 per cent of prostitutes surveyed in the study met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The average number of prostitutes suffering PTSD from sex slavery was seen to be 14 per cent higher than the average number of soldiers suffering PTSD after returning from intense combat on the front lines.” (Tania Fiolleau, LifeSiteNews.com, April 2, 2012).
So why not legalise prosititution?
Tania Fiolleau says: “Some people think that legalising brothels will make the prostituted women safer and allow them to lead better lives. This is far from the truth. Many of the women working in brothels have already been abused by human trafficking, enslavement to pimps, or by being controlled by criminal organisations through fear and oppression.
“Whether brothels are legal or not, a prostituted woman will always be the one who loses out in the end. The vast majority of prostituted women that work in brothels eventually end up working on the street.
“This happens once the signs of a woman’s sex slavery start to show on the outside of her body. She becomes too worn out and haggard-looking to appeal to the johns that frequent the brothels. Not being able to keep up with the younger sexier recruits, she is eventually cast out on the street like garbage.
“Many brothel managers will throw out a prostitute when her drug addiction becomes too much for her to handle. Legalising brothels does nothing for the problems faced by street prostitutes as virtually no brothels will hire drug-addicted street-walkers. Research shows that less than 3 per cent of prostituted women ever get out of the sex industry.
“A staggering two-thirds of children born to prostituted women end up imitating their mother’s lifestyle or entering into a life of crime. For the sake of protecting children alone, brothels and prostitution should be made illegal.
“Approximately 80 per cent of all prostitutes murdered are killed by their johns, pimps or through the abuse of drugs. Most prostitute homicides are never resolved and the johns and pimps are never brought to justice.
“By legalising brothels, we are only enabling a serious social problem to fester and grow worse for our future generations and entire nation. Making brothels legal will only act as an incentive for women who are lured by the prospect of easy money. The number of women entering the so-called ‘sex trade’ will climb higher every day.
“Once they enter the trade, it becomes almost impossible to exit. The prostituted woman becomes addicted to the fast money, the comfort provided by the pimp, and to the drugs. The younger ones who lack education hardly stand a chance of ever getting out. I know this first hand as an ex-prostitute who works tirelessly to rescue these poor abused women from their dire situations.
“In a 1998 report of prostituted persons across five countries, 92 per cent of women said they wanted to escape prostitution immediately if they had the resources. Women who sell themselves are often coerced, forced or drugged into it — sometimes even at gunpoint.
“They feel they have no other skills or abilities to succeed in life. The thought of trying to escape is often not a reality when fears of being caught and killed or severely beaten start to kick in. Many times the exploited and demoralised women simply lack the self-confidence or education to think and act for themselves.
“Many of these girls that come on working visas, and then are forced into sex slavery, can’t go to the police for help for fear that their families will be murdered back home. It is very hard to escape the industry, since most girls have no sense of purpose other than what they do. They are ashamed. Without resources or knowing where to go, these women become society’s lost women.”
She concludes: “We don’t need laws permitting brothels. We need laws that instil the fear of long jail sentences and stiff penalties into the pimps and brothel-owners who are making dirty money off vulnerable women and children. Many brothels lure unsuspecting women through advertisements such as: ‘Female-owned and operated. Earn up to US$2,000.00 daily. Fun friendly, safe environment’. This is how I got lured into it. It is all a lie that conceals the horror of the trade in human flesh for sexual exploitation.
“Let us not forget that prostitution includes young girls and boys being sold for sex to paedophiles, something that we rarely hear in the mainstream media.
“In conclusion, it is a tragedy for any young girl or women to enter into the hell of prostitution. They become our nation’s lost women. They become victims of a dark and sinister sex enslavement. Their life is one of agony and horror. Jail-time and social humiliation is too little of a punishment for those who engage in or perpetrate the crime against women that is now to be legally sanctioned in brothels by Justice Susan Himel [a Toronto judge who, in 2010, struck down three criminal code provisions restricting prostitution in the province of Ontario].
“What we need are more organisations to help women exit prostitution. As a society, we need to drastically focus on prevention. We need serious legal deterrents for the johns and pimps. We need to raise awareness on the effects prostitution has on society. We need to get into the high schools and colleges to do preventative work with our nation’s children before it is too late.
“The women of our country are worth it. Our young girls are worth it. The future of our nation — which now stands at a cross road — is worth it. Legalised brothels and prostitution cannot be an option.” (Tania Fiolleau, LifeSiteNews.com, April 2, 2012).
Quite right. Forget what the heartless and amoral libertarians ramble on about. This is about the human rights of women and children. This is about justice for those who often do not have a voice, and are being coerced by those who are more powerful.
If we are concerned about this, we can start by raising awareness. Get hold of the documentary Nefarious and show it to as many people as you can.
For the sake of our women and children, we must act — and we must act now.
Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com
Nefarious: Merchants of Souls (Exodus Cry, 2011), a documentary on the global sex trade (96 minutes).
Not For Sale: End Human Trafficking and Slavery,
R. Albert Mohler, Jr, “The Ugly American — sex trafficking and our national humiliation”, Albert Mohler blog, April 24, 2012.
Tania Fiolleau, “As a former madam and woman who was prostituted, I know why prostitution must be made illegal”, LifeSiteNews.com, April 2, 2012.