41f7d077fd52b724d0a3078f1b52ca4cBy Chad Pelley

Yes, there are adult massage parlours in St. John’s … and you should want there to be.

Not so you can get your rocks off, but so that the sex industry – the oldest profession in the world, and the one industry no one will ever successfully eradicate – will remain above ground, not underground.

Forcing male and female sex workers out of legitimate places of business forces them to work alone and in the streets, unprotected and vulnerable. And we’ve all heard about the fates of such sex workers when the stories of local gang rapes caught media attention last fall.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t care about their safety, and leave internet comments on gang-rape articles like, “But can a prostitute really be raped?,” then consider this: wouldn’t you rather your quaint city not have hookers on your precious little streets? The sex trade is real, it’s going to happen here, so it’s best we relegate it to legit, in-house businesses.

Despite the fact that the city has several really shady adult massage parlours,
or flat out underground brothels, Councillor Jonathan Galgay has made it his mission
to target and destroy one very respectable and legit operation on Wood Street.

Kendra’s Red House is a nice, clean house with ample security measures in place.
This provides safety and dignity for its workers, and class and discretion for its many
very normal clients. “Kendra,” as the owner is known, will confirm her clients aren’t
derelict weirdos. They’re normal men and women who are too shy or too busy or
too insecure to find release elsewhere, or they just like the idea of such a service,
done well.  And, newsflash, they don’t do sex or even straight-up “adult massage,”
but something called nuru and body slides.

It’s disheartening that this perspective, to my knowledge, has not been part of the
discussion. The news shouldn’t have just been “This is happening! Jonathan Galgay
Versus Kendra’s Red House!” Rather than saying what is happening , we should
be thinking more critically about why this is happening.

Kendra’s Red House exists because a few sex workers decided to try and add
some class and safety to their industry. And our reaction is what?
Ew, gross, shut it down! Wake up. The sex industry is like that amusement park game
where you whack a groundhog out of one hole, and it pops up in another.
We want the sex trade in a controlled, respectable hole, not out in the streets.

In an ideal world, we would not be shaming and banning
sex trade workers who are trying to make the best of an industry that always
has and always will exist. Because that is, from her own mouth,
exactly what Kendra wanted to do: add some safety and dignity to it all.
If indeed a sex house is disgusting and disruptive, shut it down.
But don’t stereotype and shut them all down, or we’re not fixing a problem,
we’re creating one.