Promoting Intimacy and Positive, Healthy, Consenting Adult Sexuality

Street Prostitution in Toronto and other cities


Street prostitution is very different from the legal escorts, massage parlors or strip clubs.

I very strongly discourage ever considering using street prostitutes, not because prostitution is wrong, but because it should not be "in your face" in public areas. It should be private with consenting adults which is legal vs illegal public solicitation for sex.

Even more street prostitution does ruin lives and unlike professional providers, street hookers are often victims - of pimps, abuse or drugs. Street work often exploits and hurts people.'

A great many are only on the streets due to their drug addiction. They simply can't get a job at a legal, legitimate agency or massage place. So often in desperation they go to the streets. Otherwise why would anyone with good sense take the risks of the street and risk arrest?

In my view these are not really consenting adults (even if over 18). They usually not voluntarily being prostitutes but are forced to for drugs or pimps. Their addiction has taken away their ability to make an objective choice or give consent in an informed non pressured way.

For the "John" there is the danger from more likely disease, arrest, and potentially being robbed or violence from a addict prostitute or pimp or just other street people.

Therefore, while I am an outspoken advocate of legal, safe, sexwork by consenting adults, I am totally against street prostitution and agree with its illegal status in Canada as well as most of the world, where private prostitution is totally legal. The U.S. is one of the few nations that outlaws adult private sexwork. Fortunately Canada and most other nations are more mature and are not controlled by the morality police as in the U.S.


Toronto Takes Action Against Public Nuisance Street Hookers
In Canada outcall prostitution 100% legal, but not street hookers
West-end community cheers arrests
Charges against 206 `johns' deter prostitution for now
Police are planning other initiatives in the coming month

Toronto Star May 19, 2004

It was music to John Dorion's ears. The Parkdale activist was thrilled when he heard Monday night about the arrest of 206 men in a "john sweep" through three west-end Toronto neighbourhoods. I'm very pleased with the police and we encourage them to continue until the message hits home," said Dorion, chair of Parkdale Community Watch. "Prostitution has been around forever. This is not about prostitution; it is about people coming into our community and committing crime."

Dorion and the 300-member group, founded in the late 1980s to keep Parkdale safe, have been fighting for years to rid the neighbourhood of the persistent problem of prostitution. "What is happening in Parkdale today is significantly improved over what it was a number of years ago," he said. "But it's time now to take the final steps to get the message out to these men to stop coming into our community.

"We're going to keep on doing this until the message gets out that Parkdale is not the place it was 15 years ago," he said. "It's a very desirable place to live. It's a healthy community with all mixes of incomes. It's a family neighbourhood. If these guys are going to come into our neighbourhood and do this kind of stuff, they're going to pay."

This week's action is just the latest in an ongoing effort by police and community activists to deter men from coming to Parkdale, and neighbourhoods surrounding King St. W. and Strachan Ave., and Bloor St. W. and Lansdowne Ave., in search of sex. In March, 2003, a similar campaign was conducted, resulting in the arrest of about 54 johns in the Parkdale area.

Dorion and his group plan to carry on lobbying for more sweeps and continuing punishment for those who are arrested. Those charged in last year's crackdown were sent to "john school" and had to perform community service within the Parkdale community.

The men arrested earlier this week face a total of 221 criminal charges, including communicating for the purposes of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute and several drug-related offences.

Police are planning other initiatives during the next few months, said Detective Howie Page, head of 14 Division's vice squad, which spearheaded the operation. Just what those initiatives might be he wouldn't say, not wanting to tip off any potential johns.

Residents in Parkdale and near Bloor and Lansdowne have been fighting for years to get rid of johns. Newer neighbourhoods like King and Strachan, which have been gentrified in recent years, are just beginning to experience the problem. "Girls are setting up shop right in front of an outdoor cafe," Page said, referring to Strachan between Queen and King Sts. "Customers don't want to listen to hooker transactions over their dinner plates."

Nor do residents like finding condoms in their backyards and laneways, Dorion said. Unlike many other communities across Greater Toronto, prostitutes in these neighbourhoods don't tend to use motels or hotels to ply their trade. They end up in a garage or a back alley," he said. "It's a very intrusive criminal act. Kids travel in these areas. The remnants of this are left behind for us to clean up."

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