I want to start by saying that as I sit here listening, I zone out. I'm leaving my body and listening to the argument they are making. I believe this isn't really a debate about our next legislation. This is a debate about where Canada as a society will go next. This is a debate about whether you, if you're a mother, are okay with your daughter coming to you tomorrow and saying she thinks she would like to be a prostitute when she grows up.
I'm having a really hard time listening to the debate using words like “sex work”. This is not work. When I go to work and I get punched in the face, held down, and a gun is held against my head to the point that I have to go the bathroom and lock myself in, hoping that someone will save me, or get beaten—there are women whose jaws have been dislocated—I don't like to call that work. What I do today I call work. I think what you do, that's work. But when you go to work and every day there's a chance of your being exploited, beaten, and taken advantage of, I don't think we should call that work. For our next debate maybe we should change our language, because this is very offensive.
To go back to your question, Mrs. Smith, decriminalizing, this is how I would like to answer that question. Overall I think, because of where I'm coming from, and because of the front-line work that I.... I work with the police on a daily basis. We see the victims of human trafficking, and yes, of course, we see the women who are there of their own will, but they are well over 20 or 25. They have already accepted that this is the choice they have made, but those choices led from some very poor circumstances. They had been victimized before.
I think overall we need to make a stand as a society on where we're going next and what we would like our next generation to accept, where we would like our next generation to go, and what they think would be right for them to do, selling their body or going to university and college.