Archive | December 2011

Homewood turn restriction rejected

by Andrea Houston

Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam says she’s surprised so many people in the Homewood Ave neighbourhood rejected a proposed turn restriction, a move that would have attempted to curb sex work in the area.

Of the 1,800 ballots sent out to area residents, Wong-Tam says 200 were returned. Of those, 52 percent were opposed to the turn restriction, while 48 percent supported it.

Wong-Tam has decided not to move forward with the restriction, which would have stopped drivers from turning onto Homewood Ave from Wellesley St E between 11pm and 6am.

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The Awesome Sex Worker Who Loves Disabled Clients

This story makes me smile! If you want to learn more – visit Touching Base or listen to Global Perspective’s “The Too Hard Basket” by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

If there’s one thing that makes some people squirm more than the idea of a functional, happy sex worker it’s the frank discussion of disabled sexuality. And award-winning Australian director Catherine Scott has set out to demystify both in her new documentary, Scarlet Road: A Sex Worker’s Journey.

Going Dutch

An appeal court decision expected early next year could decriminalize prostitution in Canada, putting us on par with the Netherlands. Experts there say it’s the best way to protect women, but officials in Sweden, where they have a zero-tolerance policy, say it would be a big mistake. Claire Tremblay looks at the two approaches to see what Canada can learn

 By Claire Tremblay, Ottawa Citizen December 3, 2011

Det.-Insp. Kajsa Wahlberg, a middle-aged woman with short blond hair, exudes an air of policing officialdom. As Sweden’s National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, the seasoned police inspector has witnessed human trafficking at its worst. From lone pimps exploiting teen girls and seducing them with promises of love, to complex crime syndicates that drag drugged women en masse into anonymous hotel rooms across Europe, Wahlberg has seen it all.

And as the Ontario Court of Appeal considers a case that could see prostitution decriminalized in this country, she has a warning for Canada: Do so at your own peril.

Expect prostitution to skyrocket, she says. Expect drugs, crime and human trafficking to soar.

“If Canada adopts a model of decriminalizing sex buyers, prostitution will explode. It will become like the Netherlands,” says Wahlberg. “The sex buyers will require more and different types of weirdo sex and new varieties and services. It would be a big mistake.”

The court case that so alarms Wahlberg is Bedford v. Canada, the September 2010 Ontario Court of Justice case where sex workers Terri-Jean Bedford, Amy Leibovitch and Valerie Scott took the federal government to court over Canada’s sex laws – and won.

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Sex worker sweeps will continue: police

Luna Allison / Ottawa / Friday, December 02, 2011

Despite recent claims from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) that they’re switching emphasis from sex workers to johns when it comes to street sweeps, local cops arrested five workers in Vanier Nov 25.
It’s the fourth sweep in as many months.
“POWER is certainly critical of the street sweeps happening in Ottawa,” says Frédérique Chabot, a member of Prostitutes of Ottawa-Gatineau Work, Educate & Resist (POWER) and co-author of a recent research report on sex work. “Even the name ‘street sweep’ is problematic in our eyes. The language feeds the construction of sex workers as being disposable and dirty.”
POWER and other advocacy groups question why police are still utilizing this tactic despite a ruling from Ontario’s Supreme Court last September that struck down the laws governing sex work. In her ruling, Justice Susan Himel indicated that these laws contribute to the dangers facing sex workers.

What is a representative sex worker?

What is a representative sex worker?

This is a guest post by Wendy Lyon and was originally posted at Feminist Ire. Wendy Lyon is a bi-continental feminist activist who completed an LLM in International Human Rights Law (Griffith College Dublin) in 2011 with a dissertation on sex workers’ right to health. Her other areas of interest include labour migration, refugee law and reproductive justice.

This is a cliché that anyone who advocates for sex workers’ rights will be familiar with. Faced with a sex worker who defies the abolitionist stereotype of a person physically or economically coerced into prostitution, who thinks their job is ok and isn’t desperate to leave it (but could if s/he wanted to), and who argues that the solution to the negative aspects of sex work is decriminalisation and enforceable rights, the inevitable response is:

You’re not representative. Why should the law be made for you?

This argument is problematic on a number of levels, and deserves a fuller response than I’ve been able to give it when it’s appeared in my comments. So here are my thoughts about it.

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