BY DOUGLAS QUAN, POSTMEDIA NEWS APRIL 2, 2012
After deliberating for nine months, a five-judge panel of the court is faced with the task of deciding whether or not to decriminalize three anti-prostitution provisions on the basis that they actually endanger prostitutes rather than adding to their safety.The decision under appeal struck down the laws governing pimping, keeping a brothel and communicating for the purposes of prostitution.
Greg MacDougall interviews sex workers rights advocates at the 2011 Women’s World conference. Interview with Chris Bruckert, Frédérique Chabot and Tuulia Law — of POWER, Students for Sex Worker Rights, and Sex Professionals of Canada. At Women’s Worlds 2011 conference in Ottawa, July 7. http://womensworlds.ca
by Melissa Martin
THE spotlight swings around and the debate, once hushed, grows loud: What happens to sex work in Canada now?
There’s only one thing everyone knows for sure. “The public does not want to see any more bodies in pig farms,” said Nikki Thomas, executive director of the Sex Professionals of Canada. No more Picktons and no more exploitative pimps. But how best to stop the violence?
This is where the dialogue, even in exclusively feminist circles, suddenly diverges. Split into passionate but incompatible paths it goes: abolitionists on one side and the sex-worker rights advocates on the other.
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
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.
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.
Back from a brief vacation with a long post that will probably annoy some people, but is the result of a long-standing annoyance…
By now I am getting extremely annoyed with a certain discourse around sex work that has become popular amongst some sectors of the North American (and occasionally European) left. Originally a discourse that was limited to lifestyle [and predominantly male] anarchists, as well as a few hippy sex fetishists, the political assertion that sex work is liberating, and that the liberating potential of sex work should be treated as part of a radically progressive politics, is now being embraced by the broader left-wing population and gaining the support of so-called feminists, socialists and communists who should know better. Indeed, the unqualified pro-prostitution position is being treated by some as a litmus test for numerous radical commitments as it is now attached to, and turned into a falsely essential component of, feminism, queer and trans liberation, and other anti-oppressive political positions.