By Suzanne Fournier
VANCOUVER — Vancouver police officers and staff referred to the missing and murdered women as “hookers” or “whores,” made sexist remarks about female bosses and even disparaged grieving families, but the Vancouver Police Department does not suffer from “systemic bias,” an inquiry heard Tuesday.
Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard, author of a 400-page report critical of the Vancouver police and RCMP handling of the murdered women files, stuck to his guns after eight days of testimony at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
Prostitutes in Argentina are taking an unprecedented step – calling for a charity that represents them to be given full union status. As World Aids Day approaches, Metro speaks to the woman behind the move…
‘I’m not ashamed. I’m truly proud of what I do,’ says Elena Reynaga. ‘Through my work, I created possibilities for my children, opportunities I didn’t have myself. My children went to school, got jobs. I have nothing to be ashamed of.’
Reynaga was a prostitute who spent the 30 years since she turned 19 working in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. She has now left the streets behind to lead Redtrasex (Latin American and Caribbean Sex Workers Network) and Ammar (Female Sex Workers’ Association of Argentina).
BARRIE – Local lawyer Angela McLeod is speaking out after a client got significant jail time for prostitution charges.
By Janis Ramsay Nov 29, 2011 – 6:00 AM
McLeod can’t understand why a nine-month sentence was handed down when the legality of prostitution is under question. In September, a Superior Court judge said there was a problem with the law banning sex trade workers from soliciting clients. Justice Susan Himel struck down the law for safety reasons, but an appeal on the future legality of prostitution hasn’t been resolved. Barrie police Chief Mark Neelin said at the time that officers would continue to monitor the streets for illegal activity. And they’ve kept to that. A sweep was undertaken downtown in late September after residents complained.
UPDATE – Nov 28: Twenty years ago Gerald Hannon described himself as a satisfier of human need, whatever that need may be, in a poetic love letter to sex work.
He read the essay on stage at his retirement party Bone Weary: A Fond Farewell to the Sex Trade at Goodhandy’s Nov 25.
“Prostitution has been the splendid discovery of my middle years,” he says.
Nov 27: As Gerald Hannon cheerily welcomed friends to his retirement party at Goodhandy’s Nov 25, video of a younger Hannon, wearing only a balaclava while masturbating, appeared on a screen behind him.
The backdrop to Hannon’s party, Bone Weary: A Fond Farewell to the Sex Trade, included a video montage of images from Hannon’s life during his years as a sex worker, put together by friend and video artist Peter Kingstone.
“They’re not all of me jerking off,” Hannon grinned. “There’s soft-core videos, art films, gay wrestling. There’s another of me on a pogo stick. I’m fully clothed in that one.”
Gerald Hannon celebrates 25 years in sex work at Goodhandy’s Nov 25.
BY ANDREA HOUSTON – Gerald Hannon almost convinced me to go into sex work.
I recently visited the award-winning Toronto journalist and retiring sex worker at his cozy Maitland Place apartment ahead of his big retirement party at Goodhandy’s tonight (Nov 25), and to research another story. We got talking about why he started selling sex in the first place.
Hannon entered the oldest profession for the oldest reason of all: money. “I had just left The Body Politic after 15 years. You don’t save any money working there, so I was broke.”
At the time, he was living communally in a house with five other men. “I wanted to live on my own. And I decided to be a freelance writer, which, as you know, that takes a while.”
Worried about what to do for income, he spoke to a friend, activist and sex worker Danny Cockerline (great name for a sex worker). “I was whining to him about how I’m going to make it as a journalist.”
Inside Lara Roxx : rating 4 out of 5
BY T’CHA DUNLEVY, GAZETTE FILM CRITIC
Documentary Playing in English with French subtitles at Excentris
Parents guide: nudity, sex, drugs, language.
It’s not a happy story; but first-time director Mia Donovan pulls you in and even offers a glimmer of hope with Inside Lara Roxx, her harrowing documentary on the one-time Montreal sex worker living with HIV.
Shot over a five-year period, the movie – produced by Montreal’s Eye Steel Film – shows Roxx’s turbulent life following her short stint in the L.A. porn industry, which she entered in 2004 at the age of 21. Two months later, she was told she had the disease, which she contracted on-camera after having sex with a man who ended up infecting two other women. The L.A. porn machine came to a halt, and Roxx’s life went into a tailspin.
By Charlie Smith, November 24, 2011
An author and scholar who likes to refer to herself as the “Naked Anthropologist” has compared the current climate against human trafficking to the panic over white slavery in the late 19th century. Laura Agustin, author of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry (Zed Books, 2007), told the Georgia Straight by phone that in the earlier case, there was an uproar over whether Caucasian and Jewish women moving to New York or Buenos Aires, Argentina, were being traded as slaves.
While she won’t use the word “panic” to describe the current situation (“I try to avoid these labels,” she said), Agustin suggested that there is a widespread “rescue movement”, led by governments and the United Nations, which is trying to characterize a range of issues—migrant sex workers, child labourers overseas, and people who pay huge fees to immigrate—as “slavery”. Using this terminology gives a growing “antislavery” movement, largely based in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, the moral justification to launch interdiction programs as part of an international justice movement.
RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, the former calm, professional voice and face of the Missing Women Task Force, said Tuesday she knows her evidence will be “explosive” when she appears at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
Galliford, 44, is slated to testify at the inquiry in January, but says she won’t be testifying for the RCMP, but rather on behalf of the victims.
In an interview, and in a 115-page statement given to the RCMP, Galliford said top Mounties had “enough evidence for a search warrant” of serial killer Robert Pickton’s farm in 1999. From 1999 to 2002 14 women were brutally murdered by Pickton, a fact that haunts Galliford.
By Niresha Velmurugiah——
I recently attended a workshop by Vancouver-based sex worker support and advocacy agency, PACE, on providing health care for sex workers. PACE is a sex-worker driven organization, and the guidelines at the workshop are based on firsthand experiences with service providers. I left the session content with the progressive care for workers in such a marginalized profession. Then my friend remarked, “Isn’t it messed up that treating people with respect has to be such a revolutionary idea?”
The advice from the workshop was a sad reflection on the status quo. Don’t treat sex workers like they’re dirty. Acknowledge the interplay between sex work and drug use, and how intertwined the two often go. Don’t brush off sex work as illegitimate. Don’t talk down to sex workers or treat them like they need saving. Respect the terms sex workers use to describe their profession. The underlying themes of respect and sensitivity to the context of a person’s life are basics of health care provision. There is, however, a discrepancy between theory and practice, because current health care fails sex workers.