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Prostitution in Canada: Who, what, where, when

The three fallacies


©James Woodson - The three fallacies
©James Woodson
When asked why she chose to name her film "The Fallacy, Lamont explained that it's a word that stood out from the start.

"Everyone has an opinion about prostitiution but a lot of people don't actually know that much about it," she said. 

The movie revolves around three fallacies that Lamont believes have pervaded society.

The first is that prostitution is a choice, made freely by women who seek sexual emancipation. "Most of these women don't really know what's in store for them, she said."

Lamont would know. When she was 19, she got a job as a waitress in a strip club because it seemed like an easy way to make money. After two weeks, she quit. "I had no idea what I was getting myself into," she confessed. 

In the Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Art Hanger, M.P. in 2006, the committee came to the conclusion that prosititution was inherently violent and that we couldn't see consent as being a black and white issue. Rather, it's a choice made for lack of choice. 

The second fallacy Lamont wanted to expose is the idea that prostitution leads to money and success. According to her, this is a myth created by the industry to reel in young women, already made vulnerable by a society desensitized bypornography. 

"I've spoken to women who went and called up an agency or a strip club to go work there. They go 'of their own accord' because it's presented as an lucrative option," Lamont said. "But the vast majority of these women don't know what they're in for. They all plan on it being a temporary fix. Most of the time, they will continue for a long time, won't see any way of getting out of it, and in a lot of cases, will end up poorer than they were in the first place."

The third misrepresentation, according to Lamont, is the idea that legalizing brothels will solve everything. "It's an illusion to think that all it takes to erase the suffering, humiliation and degradation,is to recognize prostitution as a legitimate occupation," she said. 

One of the reasons she thinks legalization wouldn't change much is because she worries about what it will mean for sex workers on the streets. Under the law as it is being debated, solicitation would remain illegal, which would continue to criminalize women who are not accepted into agencies and brothels. 

In fact, the 2006 report by the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Justice and the Subcomittee on Solicitation Laws found that 90% of prostitution related incidents were classified under Section 213 - solicitation. 

"We need a policy that targets the complete eradication of prostitution, the criminalization of clients, and that puts in place social and economic alternatives for these women, " Lamont asserted.


Anne Cohen
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