By THANE BURNETT, SUN MEDIA
Look down your street. And count. Now do the math.
If Victor Malarek’s numbers are spot on, you may have to reevaluate your neighbors. At least every ninth home.
And if the veteran investigative journalist’s new book crosses
your own doorstep, you may have to do some soul searching, on how the
personal business of those people on your block — or men around you —
may impact a just world.
Malarek’s new book, The Johns: Sex For Sale and the Men Who Buy
It, released Tuesday through Key Porter Books, is a follow-up to The
Natashas, his last angry and pointed expose on the world’s most sordid
trade. His new work argues that too many average guys see sex-for-hire
as “boys being boys.”
But for the women involved, it’s not often a career choice, but a complicated form of economic or very real enslavement.
This time around, Malarek traces the steps of their clients, and
a society which dismisses it all as a victimless crime, and a trade as
old as time.
But the dismal picture Malarek — a senior reporter for CTV’s
current affairs show W-Five– draws is a strong argument for not
letting the commerce of basic instinct, and especially the men who fund
it, off the hook so easily.
“It’s not simply the oldest profession,” says Malarek, over the phone from his home in Toronto. “It’s … oppression.”
Malarek estimates over 10 million women and children – including
here in Canada — are enslaved in the $20 billion international sex
trade industry. And that while the economy is on the skids, the ranks
of sellers and buyers of skin are increasing at an alarming rate.
How do those numbers make their way to your street? Malarek believes one in nine Canadian males frequent prostitutes.
And while we may tell ourselves most of the women are making a
choice, research, says the author, has found upwards of 96 per cent of
the prostitutes would rather be doing something else with their bodies
In The Johns, Malarek traces the lives of the men
who pay for sex — from the lonely to the crippled to the angry. And he
concludes: “Without man, there would be no demand. There would be no
supply. It would not be profitable for pimps and criminals to stay in
this business if never-ending platoons of men weren’t prowling the side
streets in search of purchased sex.”
While we all seem more concerned with terrorism and criminals
in financial towers, Malarek found, on the black market, prostitutes
are the third most profitable commodity, after illegal weapons and
“There’s a lot of people with their heads buried in the sand,”
he explains. “We don’t like to think of these women as real human
It’s the prostitutes who most often get the police and courts
attention, while the Johns, the author fumes: “They get to zip up their
pants and just stroll off.”
Consider, he says, the age of prostitutes gets younger and
younger around the world, while the lines of Johns get longer and
Even the downturn in the economy doesn’t help them ease up.
While overseas sex tourism has reportedly been impacted, Johns have
realized tough times mean they can ask for cut rates on degradation.
“This, for me, is one of the biggest human rights disasters on the planet,” Malarek’s says.
And, judging by his harsh numbers, it likely starts on your street.