Fifteen groups, including aboriginal organizations, plan to boycott the policy forums next month of the “flawed’ Missing Women Inquiry.
“The commission has lost all credibility among aboriginal, sex work, human rights and women’s organizations that work with and are comprised of the very women most affected by the issues this inquiry is charged with investigating,” the groups stated Tuesday in a letter to Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal.
BY SUZANNE FOURNIER, POSTMEDIA NEWS MARCH 12, 2012
VANCOUVER — The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry will stand down until April 2, in a last-minute bid to get a First Nations rights lawyer to speak to the social issues that have led to dangerous sex work being dominated by aboriginal women.
Yesterday was the culmination of a pretty amazing journey for me. I sat in the front row at the Supreme Court of Canada as the as the federal government tried to persuade the country’s top court that Sheri Kiselbach, a former sex worker with 30 years of experience and Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV), a non-profit organization run by and for street-based sex workers in the Downtown Eastside, do not have standing to challenge the laws related to adult prostitution because they are not directly affected. Among the people sitting with me wereSheri and DJ. DJ is a member of SWUAV and has been involved with Pivot since we first started looking at the issue of sex workers’ safety ten years ago.
As the Missing Women’s Inquiry continues, sex workers and supporters lit candles on the steps of a police detachment yesterday, part of a global day of action.
By David P. Ball
Sex workers and their allies rallied outside the Downtown Eastside (DTES) police station Saturday, calling on Vancouver police to treat women in the neighbourhood with respect, and to put a stop to violence against people in the sex industry.
It’s been 22 years since the Montreal massacre. We talk violence against women, and ways to end it, with survival sex work organizer Jennifer Allan, founder of Jen’s Kitchen. She experienced violence in the survival sex industry first-hand, but today, she supports those in the trade and pushes for change. By David P. Ball.
[Jennifer Allan, founder of Jen’s Kitchen, experienced violence in the survival sex industry first-hand – and today she advocates for those in the trade. Photo: David P. Ball]
Jennifer Allan knows first-hand what it’s like to sell one’s body in order to feed it.
About ten years ago, the 34-year old founder of Jen’s Kitchen – an advocacy, outreach and food relief service for women in Vancouver’s survival sex trade – found herself pacing the streets of Calgary and Vancouver, the pain of hunger in her belly.
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.
For the past decade, I have had the great fortune of working closely with sex workers in the DTES and across the country who are fighting for safety, equality, legal rights and social protections for women and men in the sex industry. When I first began campaigning on this issue, I thought that, as a lawyer, I could make a particular contribution to this movement by bringing test cases that would advance rights and protections for sex workers. I thought that by providing pro bono legal representation, a major access to justice hurdle was overcome. However, what I did not know was that one of the biggest struggles would be for sex workers to simply get their day in court, and that there are many other systemic barriers for sex workers who want to engage the legal system to assert their rights. A long struggle for access to justice for sex workers continues and, in January 2012, Pivot will continue this fight at Canada’s highest court.