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Prostitution in Canada: Who, what, where, when

Prostitution in Canada: Who, what, where, when


 - Prostitution in Canada: What does it look like?
It may seem like a cliché from a Lifetime special: girl from poor background gets seduced by handsome mysterious stranger; he buys her things and charms her into a life of vice and despair, leaving her with nothing; but according to Eve Lamont, that's exactly how it happens. 

Before filming her 2010 documentary, "The Fallacy," Lamont talked to 75 women in the sex trade, to get a sense of what their lives were really like behind that "Pretty Woman"/ "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" veneer. 

"Prostitution is something that concerns all of society, but it concerns me even more as a woman," she said when asked why she decided to make the movie. "If I thought that life wasn't rosy behind those curtains, I really saw that there was no happy ending in there at all. They opened my eyes not only on the unsustainable reality of prostitution, but also what comes after when they try to get out."

Lamont explains that it is extremely difficult for women who have been involved in prostitution to leave that life behind. This, she explains, is partly because there are limited social services who can help them, but it's also because it's all they know.She says that more than half of the women she talked to had started working when they were still minors. 

"Youth centres are like a bootcamp for the sex industry because women in the sex industry are a commodity and that commodity needs to be very young, preferably minor. So where do we go get them? You want girls who are vulnerable, and what better than young girls in youth protection services?"

The same report by the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Justice and the Subcomittee on Solicitation laws found that most girls' first contact with prostitution was between 14 and 18 years old. It also states that once someone is engaged in sex work, it can take up to 5 to 10 years to get out of it. 

But Lamont points out that kids in youth centres aren't the only ones at risk. "One of the things I learned is that no one is safe. They're not the majority, but there are a lot of girls that come from middle class, even well-off families. You can come from a 'normal' family and have codepency or affectivity issues. Pimps see that and act on that. They try to fill that need."


Anne Cohen
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