BY DOUGLAS QUAN, POSTMEDIA NEWS APRIL 2, 2012
A controversial bill that would allow the city’s police chief to set up permanent prostitution-free zones will be taken up this morning by the D.C. Council. The bill lets police detain and arrest people suspected of engaging in street prostitution. Some of city’s gay activists are planning to fight the measure.
Transgender rights activists say the proposal to establish permanent prostitution free zones in the District is a thinly veiled attempt to drive transgendered women out of neighborhoods, regardless of whether they are sex workers or not. Currently, the Metropolitan Police Department can only set up a temporary zone that lasts 10 days.
Activists made a video this week to raise awareness of the bill and are planning to fight the legislation. Rubi Corrado is one of those activists. “These police officers are going ot have to make a choice, to address and arrest young individuals that are on the street trying to survive, or addressing real criminals, seasoned criminals,” Corrado said.
Yvette Alexander, the Ward 7 Council member who authored the bill, says prostitution is running rampant in some neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.
“We’re thinking either you make a decision, if there are going to be these prostitution free zones, then that’s my cue that I need to get out of the prostitution business,” Alexander said.
Some Council members believe the measure may be unconstitutional because the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down anti-loitering laws.
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.
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
Protest draws attention to recent violence against prostitutes
Ottawa-based sex workers and their allies called for an end to prostitution sweeps Saturday during a protest held on Parliament Hill.
About 50 people participated in the protest, which took place just more than a week after Ottawa police chief Vern White issued an unprecedented public safety warning to women after police investigators discovered a pattern in homicides among city prostitutes.
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.
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.