Our problem with prostitution is not simply opposition to the sex trade. While different people have different concerns with the sex trade (medical, moral, spiritual, criminal, etc.), our problem with prostitution is more than a philosophical opposition.

In our area, when street prostitution increased, some customers cruising the area seemingly assumed every woman and even child was "for sale or rent."

Red Light Zone / Licensing Hookers?

Some people say, "Since prostitution is an age-old issue, and we'll never be able to eradicate it, we might as well switch our focus to monitoring, supervising and regulating it with licenses..." That kind of talk is ludicrous!

Could you see yourself walking up to a woman and suggesting that having sex with multiple partners would be a great way for her to support herself?

Would you want prostitution listed in your child's school as a "Career Day" option?

Until City of Winnipeg councillors and agencies can answer these questions affirmatively, we have no business talking about licensing, decriminalizing something that, at it's core, is a social problem. The sexual exploitation of women and children is a social problem.

We can't respond to a persistent social problem by throwing up our hands, in any way legitimizing it, and then satisfying ourselves with the illusion of "controlling" it.

It is naive to think that most hookers in our area will line up to pay fees to government

It is naive to think that licensing will end teen prostitution. Some perverts like 12 - 16 year olds. Since these girls will hopefully not get licensed in the "designated" areas, they will have to market themselves in other areas.

It is naive to think that girls found to be ill will stop prostituting because their license didn't get approved. They will join others

It is naive to think that this will aid enforcement. If we can't enforce the present problem under the present laws, what makes us think we can enforce more lax laws with new precedents for leniency.

It is naive to ignore the fact that legitimizing an unhealthy career will not draw more people on the edges of the issue (who may keep some distance while it is illegitimate) into providing and consuming prostitution.

It is naive to think that strung out prostitutes will leave the areas which are in close proximity to the suppliers of their illegal drugs. At present there is an abundance of prositution in the area of Furby & Ellice. This is linked closely to the presence of two crack houses on Furby and Sherbrook (between Ellice and Portage). The traffic at Toronto and Ellice is linked to the drug house on Toronto. Police and the entire community knows about each of these houses.

Control through legitimization is an illusion! It is the compromise of the gutless! It is the solution of the wishy-washy. It would serve to compound problems faced by our community.

Proper responses

INTERVENTION: Problems faced by many prostitutes range from narcotics addiction, to child & family issues, to education and employment training alternatives. At present, many of the programs to help prostitutes are fragmented with gaps of timing and monetary and housing. We consistently lose people in these gaps. If a prostitute decides to go for treatment for substance abuse, it may be weeks until she gets into a program, and when she finishes it may be weeks until she gets back on public assistance or gets into another program to help her retrieve her kids from CFS or train for a new skill set which can lead to healthier employment. Our first priority should be to get a comprehensive "A-Z" treatment program for the multi-faceted problems faced by prostitutes.

ENFORCEMENT: We need more enforcement (utilizing both criminal and civil legislation) on prostitutes, johns and the drugs dealers. There is nothing more frustrating and disheartening for people in the community than to see the steady flow of prostitutes, johns and drug dealers at key locations in the community. It is extremely frustrating for police (who hear our complaints and receive our information) to experience lack of resources to investigate or lack of support from the courts on these issues! We need support of courts to hold underage prostitutes off the streets long enough give them a realistic introduction to other less destructive alternatives. People who prey on young prostitutes should be listed on the child abuse registry. Other forms of enforcement should be pursued vigorously!

HARM REDUCTION: At present there are several "harm reduction" services in Winnipeg which are doing a good job with people who remain unserved by intervention or enforcement. Harm reduction is a necessary part of our strategy, but it cannot replace serious intervention and enforcement!

We need all three responses pursued vigorously! Groups which serve to form one of the above three responses need to see that they are part of a three-pronged approach with one objective - helping people find the most healthy (for individuals and community) means of employment and living.

We need to be agreed that we are working agressively for the best for individuals and communities - not legitimizing their problems or contenting ourselves with the illusion of control.

To do less is not in the best interest of the City of Winnipeg or its citizens!

New Life Ministries
514 Maryland Str,
Winnipeg, Mb R3G 1M5
Phone: 204-775-4929
Rev. Harry Lehotsky

Our Present Response:

License plates of some possible "johns" will be published to let owners know how their cars are being used

Community patrols will attempt to share our concerns with (and for) prostitutes

Regular communication with police regarding houses used by prostitutes and drug dealers

Compile a list of resources for women open to leaving the sex trade. We will do what we can to improve the effectiveness of existing resources

Find community-friendly means of supporting "harm reduction" approaches for prostitution and drug use
Check out Harry's weekly
newspaper column
in the Sunday
Winnipeg Sun!

You can find some of the past columns at:
Prostitution &
the criminal code