In response to the CBC’s “As Grand Prix approaches, Montreal hotels vigilant about sexual exploitation” (June 6th, 2017)

Published Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Alexandra Yiannoutsos

July 10th, 2017

 

Grand Prix weekend in Montreal is coming up with many people visiting the city to engage in the festivities. Hotels around the city are gearing up to handle the influx of visitors, but the excitement of the weekend is curbed by apprehension about sexual exploitation. Hotel staff are concerned they do not have the resources or knowledge to assess questionable situations such as “young girl[s] accompanied by much older [men]”. Some pro-sex work lobbyists argue that police intervention puts prostituted women at risk, claiming that “sex work” is not inherently violent. However, the imbalance of power between overwhelmingly female prostitutes and male customers makes women vulnerable to abuse. We wonder whether it is even possible to distinguish between consensual and non-consensual relations, because the consent of prostituted women is so highly compromised by poverty, racism, and sexism. Moreover, we found it surprising that women’s groups holding alternative positions, such as La Concertation des luttes contre l'exploitation sexuelle (CLES) were not included in this article, given the topic of women’s equality is at forefront of this discussion. We applaud the hotel staff and police that seem to be taking some responsibility for protecting women’s lives, recognizing the laws that protect women from sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence.