SEX WORKERS, SUPPORTERS MARCH IN VANCOUVER AHEAD SUPREME ahead of Supreme COURT RULING IN OTTAWA

Saturday, June 8, 2013 - Tiffany Crawford

Sex trade workers and supporters walk along Robson Street during a rally and march June 8, 2013 ahead of a landmark court case next week challenging Canada’s prostitution laws.

Sex trade workers and supporters rallied in Vancouver Saturday, ahead of a landmark court case this week in Ottawa challenging Canada’s prostitution laws.

Wearing crimson hats, feathers, sequin dresses and carrying red umbrellas symbolizing the movement to decriminalize adult sex work, a small group gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery before marching through the streets.

The event was one of several rallies held in major cities across Canada this weekend.

"I’m not a criminal, I’m a Canadian," said Susan Davies, a Vancouver sex trade worker for 27 years, "Keep your laws off my body."

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the case of Terri-Jean Bedford, who wants the court to strike down laws that prohibit operating bawdy houses, making money from prostitution and communicating in public to sell sex. The case also involves former prostitute Valerie Scott and Vancouver sex worker Amy Lebovitch.

The court will determine whether the prostitution laws violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While selling sex is legal in Canada, the law prohibits many of the activities surrounding it. For instance, it is illegal to communicate in public with a potential client for the purpose of prostitution.

The case was first heard in Ontario in 2007 and has been heard by two lower courts. A similar case launched in B.C. in 2007 by former sex worker Sheryl Kiselbach and the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society is still making its way through the court system.

Kiselbach and her lawyer Katrina Pacey of the Pivot Legal Society, will go to Ottawa this week to appear before the hearing. Pacey will act as intervener on behalf of several advocacy groups, including Sex Workers United Against Violence, PACE and Pivot.

At the rally, Pacey said she’s going to let the court know that sex trade workers in B.C. feel very strongly that prostitution laws have deprived them of so many measures that would increase their safety.

She said during the hearing she’ll focus on section 213 of the Criminal Code, which targets street-based sex trade workers because it prohibits communicating in public.

"As we all know (the law) pushes sex trade workers to super dangerous parts of the city, forces them to work in isolation, makes it impossible for them to go to police when they are victimized and makes it very hard, if not impossible to screen clients and take time before they get into vehicles," she said, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a red umbrella.

"We know very well what the result of that has been, which is a legacy and epidemic of missing and murdered women in this community."

Holding a red umbrella, Joyce Arthur, co-founder of FIRST, a Vancouver-based sex worker advocacy organization, said she’s hopeful that the laws will be changed after this week’s hearing.

"I think all the signs are good because all the evidence is there," she said. "The government can’t impose laws that put people in harm’s way so I feel pretty strongly that the judges will throw out the laws."

With a file from Lori Culbert

Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

SEX WORKERS, SUPPORTERS MARCH IN VANCOUVER AHEAD SUPREME ahead of Supreme COURT RULING IN OTTAWA

Saturday, June 8, 2013 - Tiffany Crawford

Sex trade workers and supporters walk along Robson Street during a rally and march June 8, 2013 ahead of a landmark court case next week challenging Canada’s prostitution laws.

Sex trade workers and supporters rallied in Vancouver Saturday, ahead of a landmark court case this week in Ottawa challenging Canada’s prostitution laws.

Wearing crimson hats, feathers, sequin dresses and carrying red umbrellas symbolizing the movement to decriminalize adult sex work, a small group gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery before marching through the streets.

The event was one of several rallies held in major cities across Canada this weekend.

"I’m not a criminal, I’m a Canadian," said Susan Davies, a Vancouver sex trade worker for 27 years, "Keep your laws off my body."

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the case of Terri-Jean Bedford, who wants the court to strike down laws that prohibit operating bawdy houses, making money from prostitution and communicating in public to sell sex. The case also involves former prostitute Valerie Scott and Vancouver sex worker Amy Lebovitch.

The court will determine whether the prostitution laws violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While selling sex is legal in Canada, the law prohibits many of the activities surrounding it. For instance, it is illegal to communicate in public with a potential client for the purpose of prostitution.

The case was first heard in Ontario in 2007 and has been heard by two lower courts. A similar case launched in B.C. in 2007 by former sex worker Sheryl Kiselbach and the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society is still making its way through the court system.

Kiselbach and her lawyer Katrina Pacey of the Pivot Legal Society, will go to Ottawa this week to appear before the hearing. Pacey will act as intervener on behalf of several advocacy groups, including Sex Workers United Against Violence, PACE and Pivot.

At the rally, Pacey said she’s going to let the court know that sex trade workers in B.C. feel very strongly that prostitution laws have deprived them of so many measures that would increase their safety.

She said during the hearing she’ll focus on section 213 of the Criminal Code, which targets street-based sex trade workers because it prohibits communicating in public.

"As we all know (the law) pushes sex trade workers to super dangerous parts of the city, forces them to work in isolation, makes it impossible for them to go to police when they are victimized and makes it very hard, if not impossible to screen clients and take time before they get into vehicles," she said, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a red umbrella.

"We know very well what the result of that has been, which is a legacy and epidemic of missing and murdered women in this community."

Holding a red umbrella, Joyce Arthur, co-founder of FIRST, a Vancouver-based sex worker advocacy organization, said she’s hopeful that the laws will be changed after this week’s hearing.

"I think all the signs are good because all the evidence is there," she said. "The government can’t impose laws that put people in harm’s way so I feel pretty strongly that the judges will throw out the laws."

With a file from Lori Culbert

Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Welcome to Triple-X

Sex workers and their allies, families and friends are asked to come out and support sex workers in their Supreme Court challenge, Bedford v. Canada that will be heard on June 13.

Participants are asked to bring a red umbrella or parasol: the symbol of the global sex workers’ rights movement. You can dress up, wear a sexy costume, or wear red. Media camera crews are expected.

This event has been organized to show public support for Toronto sex workers, Bedford, Lebovitch, and Scott in their courageous fight against Canada’s unjust prostitution laws.

On September 28, 2010, sex workers and allies celebrated Justice Himel’s landmark ruling that would strike down three major Criminal Code of Canada provisions that criminalize prostitution:

Section 210 – Common bawdy house
Section 212(1)(j) – Living on the avails; and
Section 213(1)(c) – Communicating for the purposes of prostitution).

Justice Himel ruled that these laws violate the right to liberty and security that is guaranteed in Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Himel’s decision states that harm done to sex workers through the criminalization of prostitution outweighs any harm done to the community. This decision was appealed by the Attorney General and the case will be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada on June 13, 2013.

Source: http://triple-x.org/

Welcome to Triple-X

Sex workers and their allies, families and friends are asked to come out and support sex workers in their Supreme Court challenge, Bedford v. Canada that will be heard on June 13.

Participants are asked to bring a red umbrella or parasol: the symbol of the global sex workers’ rights movement. You can dress up, wear a sexy costume, or wear red. Media camera crews are expected.

This event has been organized to show public support for Toronto sex workers, Bedford, Lebovitch, and Scott in their courageous fight against Canada’s unjust prostitution laws.

On September 28, 2010, sex workers and allies celebrated Justice Himel’s landmark ruling that would strike down three major Criminal Code of Canada provisions that criminalize prostitution:

Section 210 – Common bawdy house Section 212(1)(j) – Living on the avails; and Section 213(1)(c) – Communicating for the purposes of prostitution).

Justice Himel ruled that these laws violate the right to liberty and security that is guaranteed in Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Himel’s decision states that harm done to sex workers through the criminalization of prostitution outweighs any harm done to the community. This decision was appealed by the Attorney General and the case will be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada on June 13, 2013.

Source: http://triple-x.org/

Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity - Rally at Vancouver Art Gallery Excerpt

From Working TV - Saturday June 08, 2013 Vancouver straight.com/news/389876/christy-clark-chastised-rally-not-showing-compassion-sex-workers

straight.com/news/389816/lawyer-katrina-pacey-takes-weekend-walk-ultimate-legal-test-prostitution

cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/06/08/bc-sex-worker-rally.html firstadvocates.org triple-x.org

NEW ZEALAND’s MODEL OF SEX WORK RESPECTS RIGHTS

'Criminalizing the purchase of sex perpetuates rather than addresses stigma, discrimination and violence against sex workers.'

The Supreme Court of Canada’s looming consideration of the constitutionality of laws governing prostitution has led to vigorous debate about the merits of the “Swedish model” of sex work as a means to address the harms sex workers currently face. This model — underpinned by a philosophy of eradicating the demand for sex work and the view that all prostitution is inherently a form of violence against women — criminalizes the purchase of sex and those who “promote” sex work, including sex workers themselves. Evidence from Sweden, however, reveals that the law perpetuates rather than addresses stigma, discrimination and violence against sex however, reveals that the law perpetuates rather than addresses stigma, discrimination, and violence against the sex worker.

Since its passage, street sex workers in Sweden have reported increased experiences of violence. Regular clients have avoided them for fear of police harassment and arrest, instead turning to the Internet and to indoor venues. In turn, greater competition for clients has driven prices down and forced sex workers to accept clients they would have otherwise refused, including those who insist on unsafe sex practices. When safer sex practices are being negotiated, both clients and sex workers must do so rapidly and often with unclear communication and in more secluded locales, to avoid lingering for fear of arrest. Sex workers who work indoors continue to be criminalized and are unable to work or live with others, including their partners, since it is illegal to share in any income derived from sex work. More broadly, sex workers are unable to access social security benefits that are available to all other workers in legal labour activities. As in Canada, the Swedish model wrests control from sex workers over their working conditions and institutionalizes an adversarial relationship between sex workers and the police.

Since its passage, street sex workers in Sweden have reported increased experiences of violence. Regular clients have avoided them for fear of police harassment and arrest, instead turning to the Internet and to indoor venues. In turn, greater competition for clients has driven prices down and forced sex workers to accept clients they would have otherwise refused, including those who insist on unsafe sex practices. When safer sex practices are being negotiated, both clients and sex workers must do so rapidly and often with unclear communication and in more secluded locales, to avoid lingering for fear of arrest. Sex workers who work indoors continue to be criminalized and are unable to work or live with others, including their partners, since it is illegal to share in any income derived from sex work. More broadly, sex workers are unable to access social security benefits that are available to all other workers in legal labour activities. As in Canada, the Swedish model wrests control from sex workers over their working conditions and institutionalizes an adversarial relationship between sex workers and the police.

Source: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/06/11/new_zealands_model_of_sex_work_respects_rights.html

NEW ZEALAND’s MODEL OF SEX WORK RESPECTS RIGHTS

'Criminalizing the purchase of sex perpetuates rather than addresses stigma, discrimination and violence against sex workers.'

The Supreme Court of Canada’s looming consideration of the constitutionality of laws governing prostitution has led to vigorous debate about the merits of the “Swedish model” of sex work as a means to address the harms sex workers currently face. This model — underpinned by a philosophy of eradicating the demand for sex work and the view that all prostitution is inherently a form of violence against women — criminalizes the purchase of sex and those who “promote” sex work, including sex workers themselves. Evidence from Sweden, however, reveals that the law perpetuates rather than addresses stigma, discrimination and violence against sex however, reveals that the law perpetuates rather than addresses stigma, discrimination, and violence against the sex worker.

Since its passage, street sex workers in Sweden have reported increased experiences of violence. Regular clients have avoided them for fear of police harassment and arrest, instead turning to the Internet and to indoor venues. In turn, greater competition for clients has driven prices down and forced sex workers to accept clients they would have otherwise refused, including those who insist on unsafe sex practices. When safer sex practices are being negotiated, both clients and sex workers must do so rapidly and often with unclear communication and in more secluded locales, to avoid lingering for fear of arrest. Sex workers who work indoors continue to be criminalized and are unable to work or live with others, including their partners, since it is illegal to share in any income derived from sex work. More broadly, sex workers are unable to access social security benefits that are available to all other workers in legal labour activities. As in Canada, the Swedish model wrests control from sex workers over their working conditions and institutionalizes an adversarial relationship between sex workers and the police.

Since its passage, street sex workers in Sweden have reported increased experiences of violence. Regular clients have avoided them for fear of police harassment and arrest, instead turning to the Internet and to indoor venues. In turn, greater competition for clients has driven prices down and forced sex workers to accept clients they would have otherwise refused, including those who insist on unsafe sex practices. When safer sex practices are being negotiated, both clients and sex workers must do so rapidly and often with unclear communication and in more secluded locales, to avoid lingering for fear of arrest. Sex workers who work indoors continue to be criminalized and are unable to work or live with others, including their partners, since it is illegal to share in any income derived from sex work. More broadly, sex workers are unable to access social security benefits that are available to all other workers in legal labour activities. As in Canada, the Swedish model wrests control from sex workers over their working conditions and institutionalizes an adversarial relationship between sex workers and the police.

Source: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/06/11/new_zealands_model_of_sex_work_respects_rights.html

TORONTO SEX WORKER MARCH AHEAD OF THE SUPREME COURT HEARING

Sex workers and their supporters took to the streets in several Canadian cities Saturday to call for the decriminalization of prostitution, days before a Supreme Court hearing on whether laws restricting the sale of sex should be tossed out.

Dozens of demonstrators brandished red umbrellas and chanted “Sex work is real work, decriminalize now” at a Toronto march, saying the laws subject street sex workers to harm by forcing them to make snap decisions about whether a client could turn violent.

"All over Canada today women are demonstrating for their freedom and safety," retired dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford told the crowd in a downtown park, steps away from a stretch of sidewalk where the city’s sex workers often ply their trade.

Bedford is one of three women behind an Ontario challenge of the prostitution laws that, after six years of hearings, rulings and appeals, has landed on the docket of the Supreme Court of Canada.

'This is not just about sex trade workers. This is about every Canadian who enjoys their right to privacy.'
—Terri-Jean Bedford
“This is not just about sex trade workers. This is about every Canadian who enjoys their right to privacy,” Bedford told reporters.

"The government’s coming in through the back door and they’re going to tell you what you can and cannot do in the privacy of your home with another consenting adult — for money or not."

Nearly two dozen intervener groups have been granted status to argue for and against the sex laws on Thursday before the high court judges.

A street sex worker at the Toronto rally who gave her name as “Shalimar” said it’s hypocritical for the government to outlaw the sex trade while sexual activity is otherwise widely tolerated.

"Why are they so morally pushed in on us?" she asked, adding she has been harassed by police in her two years as a prostitute.

Bedford said she hopes the laws will be thrown out and the Criminal Code amended accordingly.

"This is not the beginning of the end, it’s merely the end of the beginning," she said.

Demonstrations planned for 6 cities
Prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, though many of the key activities surrounding it are banned under three sections of the Criminal Code.

In a 2012 ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down the section that forbids brothels, but upheld a ban on communication for the purposes of prostitution, which effectively makes street prostitution illegal. It also dealt with the criminalization of living on the avails of prostitution, making it clear that exploitation of prostitutes should be illegal.

In Montreal, several dozen people gathered downtown in support of the legal challenge.

Sex workers in the city have been under the spotlight recently because of Sunday’s Grand Prix Formula One race. The week leading up to the event is one of the industry’s busiest of the year, leading to dangerous situations for sex workers who are often forced to take on more clients.

Advocates for decriminalization say Montreal police have made it more difficult in recent years for sex workers to do their job safely. They argue police repression has pushed prostitution into more isolated parts of the city and made sex workers more vulnerable to violence.

"People have a lot less time to negotiate with their clients so they are a lot more likely to hop into a car with someone before they get a chance to figure out if this person is safe or not," said Robyn Maynard, an outreach worker with Stella, a sex-trade support and advocacy group.

Michael Hendricks, a 71-year-old Montrealer at the rally, said he wanted to show his support for those involved in the legal challenge.

"We want them to know that we’re there, we’re behind them, and we care."

Demonstrations were planned for six cities on Saturday, including Ottawa, Vancouver and Victoria.

© The Canadian Press, 2013

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/06/08/toronto-sex-march.html

TORONTO SEX WORKER MARCH AHEAD OF THE SUPREME COURT HEARING

Sex workers and their supporters took to the streets in several Canadian cities Saturday to call for the decriminalization of prostitution, days before a Supreme Court hearing on whether laws restricting the sale of sex should be tossed out.

Dozens of demonstrators brandished red umbrellas and chanted “Sex work is real work, decriminalize now” at a Toronto march, saying the laws subject street sex workers to harm by forcing them to make snap decisions about whether a client could turn violent.

"All over Canada today women are demonstrating for their freedom and safety," retired dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford told the crowd in a downtown park, steps away from a stretch of sidewalk where the city’s sex workers often ply their trade.

Bedford is one of three women behind an Ontario challenge of the prostitution laws that, after six years of hearings, rulings and appeals, has landed on the docket of the Supreme Court of Canada.

'This is not just about sex trade workers. This is about every Canadian who enjoys their right to privacy.' —Terri-Jean Bedford “This is not just about sex trade workers. This is about every Canadian who enjoys their right to privacy,” Bedford told reporters.

"The government’s coming in through the back door and they’re going to tell you what you can and cannot do in the privacy of your home with another consenting adult — for money or not."

Nearly two dozen intervener groups have been granted status to argue for and against the sex laws on Thursday before the high court judges.

A street sex worker at the Toronto rally who gave her name as “Shalimar” said it’s hypocritical for the government to outlaw the sex trade while sexual activity is otherwise widely tolerated.

"Why are they so morally pushed in on us?" she asked, adding she has been harassed by police in her two years as a prostitute.

Bedford said she hopes the laws will be thrown out and the Criminal Code amended accordingly.

"This is not the beginning of the end, it’s merely the end of the beginning," she said.

Demonstrations planned for 6 cities Prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, though many of the key activities surrounding it are banned under three sections of the Criminal Code.

In a 2012 ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down the section that forbids brothels, but upheld a ban on communication for the purposes of prostitution, which effectively makes street prostitution illegal. It also dealt with the criminalization of living on the avails of prostitution, making it clear that exploitation of prostitutes should be illegal.

In Montreal, several dozen people gathered downtown in support of the legal challenge.

Sex workers in the city have been under the spotlight recently because of Sunday’s Grand Prix Formula One race. The week leading up to the event is one of the industry’s busiest of the year, leading to dangerous situations for sex workers who are often forced to take on more clients.

Advocates for decriminalization say Montreal police have made it more difficult in recent years for sex workers to do their job safely. They argue police repression has pushed prostitution into more isolated parts of the city and made sex workers more vulnerable to violence.

"People have a lot less time to negotiate with their clients so they are a lot more likely to hop into a car with someone before they get a chance to figure out if this person is safe or not," said Robyn Maynard, an outreach worker with Stella, a sex-trade support and advocacy group.

Michael Hendricks, a 71-year-old Montrealer at the rally, said he wanted to show his support for those involved in the legal challenge.

"We want them to know that we’re there, we’re behind them, and we care."

Demonstrations were planned for six cities on Saturday, including Ottawa, Vancouver and Victoria.

© The Canadian Press, 2013

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/06/08/toronto-sex-march.html

WHY DECRIMINALIZING SEX WORK IS GOOD FOR ALL WOMEN

In a landmark ruling for women, the Ontario (Canada) Superior Court struck down existing laws against prostitution. This is a win for all women–at least in Canada. Decriminalizing sex work is a step toward eradicating “whore stigma,”something that affects all women and not just sex workers.
Canadian sex workers brought forth a constitutional challenge arguing that anti-prostitution laws hurt them more than protect them. The Canadian court ruled that laws criminalizing aspects of prostitution violate principles of fundamental justice and workers’ right to security (PDF). In other words, the harms to sex workers and to communities that result from existing laws outweigh the (perceived) benefits of criminalization.
What is notable about the ruling is that the judge refuted ideological and unscientific arguments that prostitution, taken as a whole, victimizes women. The ruling cited study after study showing that indoor prostitution is less harmful than street work, and that the places and ways in which prostitution can be practiced can lower the risk of violence. Sweeping claims that prostitution harms women are not reflected in the research.
This case repudiates the dominant discourse around sex work today: that the majority of sex workers are coerced, that women are trafficked into the business and that selling sex is inherently violent. In sum, that whores are not capable of critical thought and informed decision-making.
Whore stigma is a particularly gnarly incarnation of misogyny marking women who dare to exercise economic independence or sexual independence. Think of the stereotype of a woman in a mid- or high-power position sleeping her way to the top. Think of prostitution in the media: news stories of women arrested for prostitution, or victims saved from trafficking; the popularity of HBO’s CatHouse: The Series reality show in a legal Nevada brothel; Showtime’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Basically, women exercising power in forms traditionally coded as masculine—with sexual independence, economic aspirations—are a challenge to the traditional gender model.
Whore stigma is one clue that anti-prostitution ideology is about more than just violence against women—it’s specifically about femininity. In this sense, arguments against transactional sex are a defense of both the gender binary and of heterosexuality. This is why men and transgender sex workers are invisible in prostitution debates. This is why changing laws is just the beginning, not the end, of a longtime struggle for basic human rights for sex workers.
Perhaps it is time for the U.S. to start paying attention to our neighbor to the north and other industrialized countries such as Germany and Australia (where prostitution has been legalized) and start questioning the ideological assumptions of our anti-prostitution legislation.
Crystal Jackson and Barbara Brents are co-authors of The State of Sex: Tourism, Sex, and Sin in the New American Heartland. Jackson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Brents is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Source: http://msmagazine.com/blog/2010/11/01/why-decriminalizing-sex-work-is-good-for-all-women/

WHY DECRIMINALIZING SEX WORK IS GOOD FOR ALL WOMEN

In a landmark ruling for women, the Ontario (Canada) Superior Court struck down existing laws against prostitution. This is a win for all women–at least in Canada. Decriminalizing sex work is a step toward eradicating “whore stigma,”something that affects all women and not just sex workers. Canadian sex workers brought forth a constitutional challenge arguing that anti-prostitution laws hurt them more than protect them. The Canadian court ruled that laws criminalizing aspects of prostitution violate principles of fundamental justice and workers’ right to security (PDF). In other words, the harms to sex workers and to communities that result from existing laws outweigh the (perceived) benefits of criminalization. What is notable about the ruling is that the judge refuted ideological and unscientific arguments that prostitution, taken as a whole, victimizes women. The ruling cited study after study showing that indoor prostitution is less harmful than street work, and that the places and ways in which prostitution can be practiced can lower the risk of violence. Sweeping claims that prostitution harms women are not reflected in the research. This case repudiates the dominant discourse around sex work today: that the majority of sex workers are coerced, that women are trafficked into the business and that selling sex is inherently violent. In sum, that whores are not capable of critical thought and informed decision-making. Whore stigma is a particularly gnarly incarnation of misogyny marking women who dare to exercise economic independence or sexual independence. Think of the stereotype of a woman in a mid- or high-power position sleeping her way to the top. Think of prostitution in the media: news stories of women arrested for prostitution, or victims saved from trafficking; the popularity of HBO’s CatHouse: The Series reality show in a legal Nevada brothel; Showtime’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Basically, women exercising power in forms traditionally coded as masculine—with sexual independence, economic aspirations—are a challenge to the traditional gender model. Whore stigma is one clue that anti-prostitution ideology is about more than just violence against women—it’s specifically about femininity. In this sense, arguments against transactional sex are a defense of both the gender binary and of heterosexuality. This is why men and transgender sex workers are invisible in prostitution debates. This is why changing laws is just the beginning, not the end, of a longtime struggle for basic human rights for sex workers. Perhaps it is time for the U.S. to start paying attention to our neighbor to the north and other industrialized countries such as Germany and Australia (where prostitution has been legalized) and start questioning the ideological assumptions of our anti-prostitution legislation. Crystal Jackson and Barbara Brents are co-authors of The State of Sex: Tourism, Sex, and Sin in the New American Heartland. Jackson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Brents is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Source: http://msmagazine.com/blog/2010/11/01/why-decriminalizing-sex-work-is-good-for-all-women/

PIVOT LEGAL SOCIETY 
equality lifts everyone

SEX WORKERS RIGHTS
Under the current laws, sex workers are subject to severe forms of violence and discrimination. Pivot’s commitment to the decriminalization of adult sex work is informed by more than a decade of work with sex workers from the Downtown Eastside, across Canada and around the world. Decriminalization is a necessary step to protecting the safety and rights of sex workers by ensuring that they have full access to legal protections and control over the conditions of their work. In addition to law reform, Pivot is also committed to challenging oppressive social conditions that lead some women and men to get involved in sex work. These social conditions include poverty, homelessness, addiction and colonization. We believe that every sex worker - whether she or he wishes to remain in sex work or move into a different type of work - should be fully supported to do so. All sex workers deserve to have their choices respected and be able to work safely, without fear of violence, discrimination and social stigma.

Current Projects
Decriminalization of sex work in Canada
The Government of Canada is appealing the Ontario Court of Appeal decision overturning  the “bawdy house” provision of the Criminal Code of Canada and the reading down of the “living on the avails” provision of the Code. The plaintiffs are cross-appealing on the issue of the communications provision. We will be asking for leave to intervene in this case which is expected to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2013. The Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV) case, here in Vancouver will be on hold pending the SCC decision in Bedford. Even with a legal victory, there remains a possibility that government may replace the existing laws related to adult prostitution with an equally problematic model, such as the “Nordic Model” which makes it illegal to buy sex. In order to prepare for that possibility, we will be releasing a report in fall 2013 looking at the impacts of criminalizing clients for street-based sex workers.

Regulatory framework for the province and the municipality
Given the Bedford decision in Ontario and the possibility that it could become binding on BC, this is an important time for moving forward on the framework Pivot developed in 2006 for  Beyond Decriminalization, a report that looked at legal and regulatory issues that provincial and municipal governments would have to address in a decriminalized environment. We are currently working with sex workers as part of the City of Vancouver Sex Work Task Force to recommend bylaw amendments to regulate a decriminalized sex industry in Vancouver. In the process, we are gaining a deeper understanding of municipal bylaw regimes in other contexts.

Policing and enforcement
The Vancouver Police Department has adopted a formal policy of prioritizing sex worker safety over enforcement and arrests among street-based workers in the DTES. In 2013, we will be raising awareness among sex workers through a new rights card and will be monitoring compliance with the policy. We will also focus on the recommendation in the final report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry that other municipalities take a similar approach to Vancouver in order to push for similar policies across the province.

Past Victories
Documenting Sex Workers’ Experiences - Pivot has published two of the foundational reports on Canada’s prostitution laws.  In 2004, Pivot released Voices for Dignity: A Call to End the Harms Caused by Canada’s Sex Trade Laws, based on the affidavits of nearly 100 sex workers. The affidavits outline the expert opinions of sex workers and their experiences working within the current legal framework. They highlight the many ways in which Canada’s sex trade laws worsen the already harmful conditions under which sex workers live. In 2006, Pivot worked with sex workers from all segments of the industry to produce Beyond Decriminalization: Sex Work, Human Rights and a New Framework for Law Reform. This report remains one of the only studies to explore the question of how to effectively regulate the Canadian sex industry in a decriminalized environment. Both report were entered into evidence on in the Bedford Constitutional challenge to prostitution laws.

Sex Workers Share their Expertise with Parliament- In 2005, Pivot lawyer Katrina Pacey presented the affidavits collected for Voices for Dignity to the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws. Katrina travelled to Ottawa to present to the Subcommittee, and then set up a private meeting for the Subcommittee with Vancouver sex workers in the Downtown Eastside. No media were invited and sex workers had an opportunity to appear as witnesses before the Subcommittee in a safe and accessible environment.

For more information please visit Pivot’s full site:
http://www.pivotlegal.org/sex_workers_rights

PIVOT LEGAL SOCIETY equality lifts everyone

SEX WORKERS RIGHTS Under the current laws, sex workers are subject to severe forms of violence and discrimination. Pivot’s commitment to the decriminalization of adult sex work is informed by more than a decade of work with sex workers from the Downtown Eastside, across Canada and around the world. Decriminalization is a necessary step to protecting the safety and rights of sex workers by ensuring that they have full access to legal protections and control over the conditions of their work. In addition to law reform, Pivot is also committed to challenging oppressive social conditions that lead some women and men to get involved in sex work. These social conditions include poverty, homelessness, addiction and colonization. We believe that every sex worker - whether she or he wishes to remain in sex work or move into a different type of work - should be fully supported to do so. All sex workers deserve to have their choices respected and be able to work safely, without fear of violence, discrimination and social stigma.

Current Projects Decriminalization of sex work in Canada The Government of Canada is appealing the Ontario Court of Appeal decision overturning the “bawdy house” provision of the Criminal Code of Canada and the reading down of the “living on the avails” provision of the Code. The plaintiffs are cross-appealing on the issue of the communications provision. We will be asking for leave to intervene in this case which is expected to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2013. The Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV) case, here in Vancouver will be on hold pending the SCC decision in Bedford. Even with a legal victory, there remains a possibility that government may replace the existing laws related to adult prostitution with an equally problematic model, such as the “Nordic Model” which makes it illegal to buy sex. In order to prepare for that possibility, we will be releasing a report in fall 2013 looking at the impacts of criminalizing clients for street-based sex workers.

Regulatory framework for the province and the municipality Given the Bedford decision in Ontario and the possibility that it could become binding on BC, this is an important time for moving forward on the framework Pivot developed in 2006 for Beyond Decriminalization, a report that looked at legal and regulatory issues that provincial and municipal governments would have to address in a decriminalized environment. We are currently working with sex workers as part of the City of Vancouver Sex Work Task Force to recommend bylaw amendments to regulate a decriminalized sex industry in Vancouver. In the process, we are gaining a deeper understanding of municipal bylaw regimes in other contexts.

Policing and enforcement The Vancouver Police Department has adopted a formal policy of prioritizing sex worker safety over enforcement and arrests among street-based workers in the DTES. In 2013, we will be raising awareness among sex workers through a new rights card and will be monitoring compliance with the policy. We will also focus on the recommendation in the final report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry that other municipalities take a similar approach to Vancouver in order to push for similar policies across the province.

Past Victories Documenting Sex Workers’ Experiences - Pivot has published two of the foundational reports on Canada’s prostitution laws. In 2004, Pivot released Voices for Dignity: A Call to End the Harms Caused by Canada’s Sex Trade Laws, based on the affidavits of nearly 100 sex workers. The affidavits outline the expert opinions of sex workers and their experiences working within the current legal framework. They highlight the many ways in which Canada’s sex trade laws worsen the already harmful conditions under which sex workers live. In 2006, Pivot worked with sex workers from all segments of the industry to produce Beyond Decriminalization: Sex Work, Human Rights and a New Framework for Law Reform. This report remains one of the only studies to explore the question of how to effectively regulate the Canadian sex industry in a decriminalized environment. Both report were entered into evidence on in the Bedford Constitutional challenge to prostitution laws.

Sex Workers Share their Expertise with Parliament- In 2005, Pivot lawyer Katrina Pacey presented the affidavits collected for Voices for Dignity to the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws. Katrina travelled to Ottawa to present to the Subcommittee, and then set up a private meeting for the Subcommittee with Vancouver sex workers in the Downtown Eastside. No media were invited and sex workers had an opportunity to appear as witnesses before the Subcommittee in a safe and accessible environment.

For more information please visit Pivot’s full site: http://www.pivotlegal.org/sex_workers_rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

RED UMBRELLA MARCH FOR SEX WORK SOLIDARITY
SEX WORKERS, ALLIES, FAMILY AND FRIENDS STAND TOGETHER

Sex workers and their allies, families and friends are asked to come out and support sex workers in their Supreme Court challenge, Bedford v Canada that will be heard on June 13.

This event has been organized to show public support for Bedford, Lebovitch, and Scott in their courageous fight against Canada’s unjust prostitution laws. In March 2012, The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Ontario Superior Court Justice Himel’s 2010 decision that the Criminal Code’s bawdy house provisions are unconstitutional. Justice Himel also struck down Canada’s pimping and communicating laws.

The rally will take place at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Hornby & W. Georgia Sts.) at 2:30 p.m. and the march to Victory Square (Hastings & Cambie Sts.) will begin at 3 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a red umbrella or parasol: the symbol of the global sex workers’ rights movement. You can dress up, wear a sexy costume, or  wear red. Media camera crews are expected.

The march will be followed by a book launch at 5:30 p.m. (Selling Sex: Experience, Advocacy and Research on Sex Work in Canada) and a film screening  at 7 p.m. (Testimonial Cultures:  Visibilité & Sex Work) hosted at Pivot Legal Society (121 Heatley Ave.).

The Red Umbrella March is part of a national day of action, with similar events taking place in cities across Canada, including: Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.
Partners in organizing: Triple-X Workers’ Solidarity Association of B.C., Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence, Pivot Legal Society, Providing Alternatives, Counselling and Education Society, B.C. Coalition of Experiential Communities, FIRST: Feminists Advocating for the Decriminalization of Sex Work.

Visit triple-x.org or our Facebook event page for more details. Speakers will be available before the rally to answer questions from the media. To speak to a Triple-X spokesperson, call 604-488-0710.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, June 4, 2013

RED UMBRELLA MARCH FOR SEX WORK SOLIDARITY SEX WORKERS, ALLIES, FAMILY AND FRIENDS STAND TOGETHER

Sex workers and their allies, families and friends are asked to come out and support sex workers in their Supreme Court challenge, Bedford v Canada that will be heard on June 13.

This event has been organized to show public support for Bedford, Lebovitch, and Scott in their courageous fight against Canada’s unjust prostitution laws. In March 2012, The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld Ontario Superior Court Justice Himel’s 2010 decision that the Criminal Code’s bawdy house provisions are unconstitutional. Justice Himel also struck down Canada’s pimping and communicating laws.

The rally will take place at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Hornby & W. Georgia Sts.) at 2:30 p.m. and the march to Victory Square (Hastings & Cambie Sts.) will begin at 3 p.m. Participants are asked to bring a red umbrella or parasol: the symbol of the global sex workers’ rights movement. You can dress up, wear a sexy costume, or wear red. Media camera crews are expected.

The march will be followed by a book launch at 5:30 p.m. (Selling Sex: Experience, Advocacy and Research on Sex Work in Canada) and a film screening at 7 p.m. (Testimonial Cultures: Visibilité & Sex Work) hosted at Pivot Legal Society (121 Heatley Ave.).

The Red Umbrella March is part of a national day of action, with similar events taking place in cities across Canada, including: Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. Partners in organizing: Triple-X Workers’ Solidarity Association of B.C., Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence, Pivot Legal Society, Providing Alternatives, Counselling and Education Society, B.C. Coalition of Experiential Communities, FIRST: Feminists Advocating for the Decriminalization of Sex Work.

Visit triple-x.org or our Facebook event page for more details. Speakers will be available before the rally to answer questions from the media. To speak to a Triple-X spokesperson, call 604-488-0710.

Monica has been in the Sex Worker community for 25yrs and still going strong. Monica also has worked for 15yrs in community services bringing visability, awareness, tolerance and inclusion to all areas and levels of sex work.

The ‘Red Umbrella’ to me represents Power, Resilience, Awareness, Pride, and Remembrance. These words I identify with myself …
-MONICA

Monica has been in the Sex Worker community for 25yrs and still going strong. Monica also has worked for 15yrs in community services bringing visability, awareness, tolerance and inclusion to all areas and levels of sex work.

The ‘Red Umbrella’ to me represents Power, Resilience, Awareness, Pride, and Remembrance. These words I identify with myself … -MONICA

MEDIA ADVISORY: TERRI-JEAN BEDFORD TO SPEAK AT SEX WORKERS’ NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION Jun 6, 2013 MAGGIE’S: TORONTO SEX WORKERS ACTION PROJECT (communications@maggiestoronto.ca) MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JUNE 8th, 2013: TERRI-JEAN BEDFORD TO SPEAK AT SEX WORKERS’ NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

(Toronto) On June 8th sex workers and allies across Canada will hold actions in 6 cities across Canada in support of repealing prostitution laws currently being challenged in Bedford v. Canada. Terri-Jean Bedford and sex workers and their allies, families and friends will be marching to support sex workers in the Supreme Court challenge that will be heard on June 13. These events have been organized in solidarity with sex workers to show public support for Bedford, Lebovitch, and Scott in their courageous fight against Canada’s unjust prostitution laws.

WHAT: “Sex Workers Will Be Heard!” March and Community Gathering WHY: Sex workers are calling for the decriminalization of prostitution WHERE: March begins at Moss Park (Queen & Sherbourne). Community Gathering at Allan Gardens WHEN: June 8 2013. March begins at 1:30PM. Community Gathering at 3 PM WHO: Terri-Jean Bedford, police reform advocate Jane Doe, community leaders, sex workers and our friends, family and supporters

Prostitution laws threaten the liberty and security of almost every sex worker in all sectors of the indoor and outdoor sex industry. Sex workers and allies call for people who support the removal of all prostitution laws to be visible and vocal in their support for sex workers’ rights at “Sex Workers Will Be Heard!”

The Canadian sex worker rights movement has called for the decriminalization of sex work for more than 30 years. Decriminalization is part of our larger struggle for the recognition and actualization of sex workers’ rights.

for more information: Chanelle Gallant 647-362-8838 or 416-964-0150 www.maggiestoronto.ca