Thursday, March 27, 2014

Open Letter Calling for Decriminalization of Sex Work in Canada and Opposition to Criminalizing the Purchasing of Sex

Open Letter PDF English / French
Press Release PDF English / French

March 27, 2014

Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada,
Mr. Thomas Mulcair, MP, Leader of the Official Opposition, the New Democratic Party of Canada,
Mr. Justin Trudeau, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada,
Mr. Jean-François Fortin, MP, Interim Leader of the Bloc Québécois,
Ms. Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada,

Dear Sirs
 and Madam,

Re: Evidence-Based Call for Decriminalization of Sex Work in Canada and Opposition to Criminalizing the Purchasing of Sex  

We, the undersigned, are profoundly concerned that the Government of Canada is considering the introduction of new legislation to criminalize the purchasing of sex. The proposed legislation is not scientifically grounded and evidence strongly suggests that it would recreate the same social and health-related harms of current criminalization. We join other sex worker, research, and legal experts across the country and urge the Government of Canada to follow the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision and support decriminalization of sex work as a critical evidence-based approach to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers.

A large body of scientific evidence from Canada,[1] Sweden and Norway (where clients and third parties are criminalized), and globally[2] clearly demonstrates that criminal laws targeting the sex industry have overwhelmingly negative social, health, and human rights consequences to sex workers, including increased violence and abuse, stigma, HIV and inability to access critical social, health and legal protections. These harms disproportionately impact marginalized sex workers including female, Indigenous and street-involved sex workers, who face the highest rates of violence and murder in our country. In contrast, in New Zealand, since the passage of a law to decriminalize sex work in 2003, research and the government’s own evaluation have documented marked improvements in sex workers’ safety, health, and human rights.[3]

Therefore, we call on the Government of Canada to join with global leaders, community, researchers and legal experts in rejecting criminalization regimes, including those that criminalize the purchase of sexual services, and instead support the decriminalization of sex work in Canada as scientifically-grounded and necessary to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers. Below, we briefly outline our key concerns.

1. Criminalization of any aspect of sex work undermines access to critical safety, health and legal protections: The science is unequivocal that where sex work operates within a criminalized and policed environment –whether targeting sex workers, their working conditions, or the people they work with, for, or hire (clients, managers, bodyguards, or other third parties)– sex workers are placed in an adversarial relationship with police and are unable to access critical social, health and legal protections. Both peer review research and the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Report have shown that within criminalization environments, stigma and discrimination of sex workers are major barriers for sex workers to reporting violence and abuse to authorities and accessing other critical health and social supports both in Canada and globally [4] In the official evaluation of the ban on purchasing sex in Sweden, sex workers clearly reported that the law increased police scrutiny, stigma and discrimination, and deterred reporting to police.[5] In contrast, the New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act (2003) placed the human rights and occupational health and safety of sex workers as the central goal of their law reform; and government’s own evaluation showed sex workers were significantly more likely to report abuse to authorities following decriminalization.[6]

2. Enforcement prohibiting communication in public spaces between sex workers and their clients directly elevates risks for violence, abuse and other health and social harms. Since the Communication Law was enacted in 1985 to reduce “public nuisance”, the number of sex workers who have gone missing and been murdered in Canadian cities has escalated dramatically, with disproportionate numbers of Indigenous women. Evidence has consistently shown that in order for sex workers and their clients to avoid police detection, sex workers have to work alone, in isolated areas and rush into vehicles before they have the opportunity to screen prospective clients or negotiate the terms of transactions, severely limiting their ability to avoid dangerous clients or refuse unwanted services (e.g. unprotected sex).[7] The Supreme Court of Canada identified client screening as one of the most vital tools available to sex workers to protect their safety and health.[8] In Sweden and Norway where laws criminalize the purchasing of sex, research has shown that enforcement targeting clients still forces sex workers to operate in clandestine locations to avoid police, increases their insecurity,[9] and places them at continued and increased risk for violence, abuse and other health-related harms, including HIV infection.[10] A report commissioned by City of Oslo in Norway (2012) found that the rate of strangulation and threat with a deadly weapon of sex workers had increased substantially in the three years since the implementation of the criminalization of clients.[11]

3. Criminalization of any aspect of sex work hinders sex worker’s ability to establish safer workspaces, to work collectively, and engage third parties who can increase their safety. Both the Supreme Court of Canada and the two lower courts in Bedford clearly highlighted access to indoor spaces as a critical safety measure, based on two decades of evidence from local and international sex workers, academics, and legal experts.[12]  In Canada, an evaluation of safer indoor work spaces in 2012 within supportive low-income housing in Vancouver demonstrated that when sex workers have opportunities to move off-street, they can increase their control over their working conditions and are able to adopt safety and security measures that protect their health, safety and overall well-being.[13]  Safer indoor spaces also provide a critical connection with social, health, and legal supports, including accessing police protections in cases of violence or abuse. However, in a law enforcement environment where clients remain targets for arrest, criminalization would continue to prevent sex workers from bringing clients indoors to safer indoor spaces; thereby reproducing the same harms as the current criminalized model. By contrast, in New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia, where sex work is fully decriminalized, sex workers have access to safer indoor work spaces and have increased control over the conditions of their work.[14]

4. Criminalizing the purchasing of sex does not reduce or eliminate prostitution. Following the ban on purchasing of sex, a number of evaluations of the criminalized regime from Sweden have found no evidence that the overall number of sex workers was reduced.[15] Of note, public health researchers in New Zealand have repeatedly estimated the size of the sex industry in 5 locations, and compared with 1999 (prior to decriminalization), the data show no increase in overall numbers of sex workers.[16] 

5. Criminalizing any aspect of sex work undermines efforts to address human trafficking. The conflation of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation with sex work (the exchange of sex for money among consenting adults) undermines efforts to address these critical human rights issues. In the US and increasingly in Canada, funds intended for use to address human trafficking have been misused on anti-prostitution enforcement efforts. In two separate governmental evaluations of the Swedish criminalization regime, police reported that it creates an obstacle to prosecuting “traffickers and coercive pimps”.[17] Furthermore, scientific evidence and the experience of anti-trafficking organizations suggest that criminalizing the purchase of sex renders it more difficult to assist individuals in situations of coercion and abuse.[18]

Canadian researchers and academics call for evidence-based policies that are consistent with safety, health and human rights for sex workers and communities.

We are calling on the federal government to demonstrate leadership when addressing these challenging issues by promoting evidence-based laws and policies that protect the safety, health and human rights of sex workers. We encourage Canada to adopt the decriminalization of sex work recommendations of the World Health Organization, UNFPA, UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work, and the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.[19] We invite you to work together with sex workers, researchers and legal experts to develop evidence-based policy approaches that promote the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers.

We look forward to your response.
CC: Members of Parliament of Canada
Signed,
  1. Gillian Abel, PhD | University of Otago | Christchurch, NZ
  2. Barry Adam, PhD | University of Windsor | Windsor, ON
  3. Anu Aggarwal, PhD
  4. Laura Agustin, PhD | The Naked Anthropologist
  5. Aziza Ahmed, MA, JD | Northeastern University School of Law | Boston, MA
  6. Michel Alary, MD, PhD | Université Laval | Québec, QC
  7. Sarah Allan, LLB/JD | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  8. Paul Amar, PhD | University of California | Santa Barbara, CA
  9. Solanna Anderson, MA | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  10. Elena Argento, MPH | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  11. Robert Argue, PhD | Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University | Sudbury, ON
  12. Chris Atchison, MA | University of Victoria | Vancouver, BC
  13. Cheryl Auger, MA, PhD (c) | Political Science Department, University of Toronto | Toronto, ON
  14. Jacenta Bahri, MA
  15. Brook Baker, JD | Northeastern University School of Law | Boston, MA
  16. Natasha Bakht, LLM | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  17. Gillian Balfour, PhD | Trent University | Peterborough, ON
  18. Nandinee Bandyopadhyay, MA
  19. Stefan Baral, MD | Centre for Public Health and Human Rights | Toronto, ON
  20. Julie Bates, MSc | Urban Realists Planning & Occupational Health & Safety Consultants | Sydney, AU
  21. Katharine Bausch, MA | Trent University | Toronto, ON
  22. Ahmed Bayoumi, MD, FRCPC | Toronto, ON
  23. Calum Bennachie, PhD | New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective | Wellington, NZ
  24. Darcie Bennett, PhD | Pivot Legal Society | Vancouver, BC
  25. Cecilia Benoit, PhD | University of Victoria | Victoria, BC
  26. Benjamin Berger, JSD | Osgoode Hall Law School | Toronto, ON
  27. Rachel Berger, PhD | Concordia University | Montreal, QC
  28. Elizabeth Bernstein, PhD | Barnard College | New York, NY
  29. Manjima Bhattacharjya, PhD | Mumbai, Maharashtra
  30. Steven Bittle, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  31. Gary Bloch, MD | University of Toronto | Toronto, ON
  32. John Boan, PhD | University of Regina | Regina, SK
  33. Mandy Bonisteel, RN, OMC | George Brown College | Toronto, ON
  34. Colin Bonnycastle, MSW | University of Manitoba | Thompson, ON
  35. Suzanne Bouclin, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  36. Pierre Boulos, PhD | University of Windsor | Windsor, ON
  37. Raven Bowen, MA | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  38. Jason Boyd, PhD | Ryerson University | Toronto, ON
  39. Mark Boyd, MD | University of New South Wales | Sydney, AU
  40. Neil Boyd, LLM | Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  41. Borce Bozhinov, MD | STAR-STAR | Skopje, Macedonia
  42. Ella Bradley, BSW | University of Windsor | Chatham, ON
  43. Suzanne Brissette, MD | Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal | Montreal, QC
  44. Deborah Brock, PhD | Associate Professor, York University | Toronto, ON
  45. Chris Bruckert, PhD | Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  46. Zabrina Brumme, PhD | Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  47. Laurence Brunet, MSc | McGill University | Montreal, QC
  48. Chloe Brushwood Rose, PhD | Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, York University | Toronto, ON
  49. Licia Brussa, PhD | TAMPEP International Foundation | Amsterdam, Netherlands
  50. Katherine Burress, RN | Casey House | Toronto, ON
  51. Karen Busby, JD, LLM | Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba | Winnipeg, MB
  52. Denton Callander, PhD | University of New South Wales | Sydney, AU
  53. Kenneth Camargo, MD, PhD | Rio de Janeiro State University | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  54. Thais Camargo, MSc
  55. Deanna Campbell, MA, JD (c) | Vancouver, BC
  56. Anna Carastathis, PhD | California State University Los Angeles | Los Angeles, CA
  57. John Carlsleym MD, CM, MSc, CCFP, FRCPC | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  58. Sarah Carlsley, MSc | Toronto, ON
  59. Marie-Eve Carrier-Moisan, PhD | Carleton University | Ottawa, ON
  60. Patrizia Carrieri, PhD | INSERM | Marseille, France
  61. Claire Carter, PhD | University of Regina | Regina, SK
  62. Connie Carter, PhD | Canadian Drug Policy Coalition | Victoria, BC
  63. Sheila Cavanagh, PhD | York University | Toronto, ON
  64. Helen Cerigo, MSc | Toronto, ON
  65. Yao Chi Hang, MA | Chinese University of Hong Kong | Hong Kong, China
  66. Alexandra Choby, PhD | University of Alberta | Edmonton, AB
  67. Sandra Ko Hon Chu, LLM | Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network | Toronto, ON
  68. Alison Clancey, MSW | Vancouver, BC
  69. Deborah Clipperton, MA, CP | York University | Toronto, ON
  70. Claudia Coeli, MD, PhD | Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  71. Marisa Collins, MD, MDSc, CCFP, FCFP | Pemberton, BC
  72. Jason Congdon, MSc | School of Communication, Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  73. Sandra Connely, MSc | Niagara Falls, ON
  74. Bruno Cornellier, PhD | University of Winnipeg | Winnipeg, MB
  75. Sonia Correa, MSc | Abai/ SPW | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  76. Patrice Corriveau, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  77. Anna-Louise Crago, PhD (c) | Trudeau Scholar, University of Toronto | Toronto, ON
  78. Marion Crook, PhD | Gibsons, BC
  79. Joanne Csete, PhD, MPH | Columbia University | London, UK
  80. Anne Dagenais Guertin, MD | Gatineau, QC
  81. Isolde Daiski, Ed.D | Toronto, ON
  82. Darcy Dalgaard, M.Ed | Victoria, BC
  83. Amber Dean, PhD | McMaster University | Hamilton, ON
  84. Kathleen Deering, PhD | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  85. Sonja Dolinsek, MA | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Berlin, Germany
  86. Basil Donovan, MD | Sydney Hospital | Sydney, AU
  87. Liza Doyle, MPH | University of New South Wales | Sydney, AU
  88. Putu Duff, MSc, PhD (c) | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  89. Richard Elliot, LLM | Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network | Toronto, ON
  90. Deanna England, MA, BA (Hons.) | University of Winnipeg | Winnipeg, MB
  91. Danya Fast, PhD | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  92. Maritza Felices-Luna, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  93. Shawna Ferris, PhD | University of Manitoba | Winnipeg, MB
  94. Thomas Fleming, PhD | Professor of Criminology | Wilfred Laurier University | Toronto, ON
  95. Anna Forbes, MSS | Kensington, MD
  96. Juliana Francis, MSc | Movimiento de Mujeres Feministas | Managua, Nicaragua
  97. Margot Francis, PhD | Brock University | Toronto, ON
  98. Jennifer Fraser, PhD | Ryerson University | Toronto, ON
  99. May Friendman, PhD | Ryerson University | Toronto, ON
  100. Caspar Friesen, BSc, MD | University of British Columbia | Victoria, BC
  101. Robert Gaucher, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  102. Mary Gavan, PhD | Vancouver, BC
  103. Leah George, MD, MSc | Calgary, AB
  104. Andree Germain, MSW | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  105. Mark Gilbert, MD, MHSc | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  106. Fiona Gold, RN | BC Centre for Disease Control | Vancouver, BC
  107. Shira Goldenberg, PhD | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  108. Tonantzin Goncalves, PhD | UNISINOS | Porto Alegra, Brazil
  109. Todd Gordon, PhD | Society, Culture and Environment, Laurier University Brantford | Toronto, ON
  110. Kelly Gorkoff, PhD | University of Winnipeg | Winnipeg, MB
  111. Andrew Gray, MD | McGill University | Montreal, QC
  112. Devon Grayson, MLIS | Vancouver, BC
  113. Pauline Greenhill, PhD | University of Winnipeg | Winnipeg, MB
  114. Silvia Guillemi, MD | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  115. Gordon Guyatt, MD, MSc | McMaster University | Dundas, ON
  116. Devon Haag, MSc | Vancouver, BC
  117. Thomas Haig, PhD | Université du Québec à Montréal | Montreal, QC
  118. Helga Hallgrimsdottir, PhD | University of Victoria | Victoria, BC
  119. Julie Ham, MSW, PhD (c) | Monash University, Melbourne AU
  120. Stacey Hannem, PhD | Department of Criminology, Wilfred Laurier University | Branford, ON
  121. Ross Harvey, FMP | Mission, BC
  122. Ashley Heaslip, MD
  123. Robert Heynen, PhD | Department of Communications Studies, York University | Toronto, ON
  124. Heidi Hoefinger, PhD | John Jay College, City University of New York | New York, NY
  125. Robert Hogg, PhD | Simon Fraser University / BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  126. Kirby Huminuik, PhD (c) | Vancouver, BC
  127. Sarah Hunt, PhD | Camosun College | Victoria, BC
  128. Mary Ives, RN, MHS | Fraser Health Authority | Chilliwack, BC
  129. Shahnaz Islamova, MSc | Tais Plus NGO | Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  130. Mikael Jansson, PhD | University of Victoria | Victoria, BC
  131. Leslie Jeffrey, PhD | University of New Brunswick St. John | Saint John, NB
  132. Bryan Jones, PhD | Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  133. Darlene Juschka, PhD | University of Regina | Regina, SK
  134. Angela Kaida, PhD | Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  135. Lara Karaian, PhD | Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University | Pakenham, ON
  136. Mohammad Karamouzian, MSc | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  137. Lisa Kelly, JD, JSD (c) | Harvard Law School | Vancouver, BC
  138. Kamala Kempadoo, PhD | Professor, York University | Toronto, ON
  139. Perry Kendall, MD | Victoria, BC
  140. Lisa Kerr, JD, LLM, JSD (c) | New York University | Vancouver, BC
  141. Thomas Kerr, PhD | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS/ University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  142. Ummni Khan, JD, MA, LLM, SJD | Carleton University | Ottawa, ON
  143. Julie Kille, BScN, RN | Vancouver, BC
  144. Alexandra King, MD | Vancouver, BC
  145. Malcolm King, PhD | Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  146. Gary Kinsman, PhD | Department of Sociology, Laurentian University | Sudbury, ON
  147. Mieke Koehoorn, PhD | Vancouver, BC
  148. Steven Kohm, PhD | University of Winnipeg | Winnipeg, MB
  149. Kat Kolar, PhD (c) | University of Toronto | Toronto, ON
  150. Rodney Knight, MSc, PhD (c) | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  151. Andrea Krusi, MSc | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  152. Marc Lafrance, PhD | Concordia University | Montreal, QC
  153. Tammy Landau, PhD | Ryerson University | Toronto, ON
  154. Jeffrey Langer, MA | Laurentian University | Sudbury, ON
  155. Rosanna Langer, PhD | Laurentian University | Sudbury, ON
  156. Jennifer Lavoie, PhD | Wilfred Laurier University | Brantford, ON
  157. Stephanie Law, MJ | McGill University | Montreal, QC
  158. Tuulia Law, MA | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  159. Robert Leckey, PhD | McGill University | Montreal, QC
  160. Cory Legassic, MA | Dawson College | Montreal, QC
  161. Lucie Lemonde, PhD | Université du Québec à Montréal | Montreal, QC
  162. Annalee Lepp, PhD| Chair, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Victoria/ Director, GAATW Canada | Victoria, BC
  163. Jacqueline Lewis, PhD | University of Windsor | Windsor, ON
  164. Katherine Lippel, LLL, LLM | Canada Research Chair on Occupaional Health and Safety Law | Montreal, QC
  165. Abby Lippman, PhD | McGill University | Montreal, QC
  166. Mona Loufty, MD, FRCPC, MPH | Women’s College Research Institute; Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto | Toronto, ON
  167. John Lowman, PhD | Simon Fraser University | West Vancouver, BC
  168. Tara Lyons, PhD | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  169. Gayle MacDonald, PhD | St. Thomas University | Fredericton, NB
  170. Josephine MacIntosh, PhD | University of Victoria | Victoria, BC
  171. Shoshana Magnet, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  172. Janet Maher, PhD | Toronto, ON
  173. Lisa Maher, PhD | Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity/ University of New South Wales | Sydney, AU
  174. Kristina Mahnicheva, MD | Tais Plus NGO | Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  175. Olga Marques, PhD | University of Ontario Institute of Technology | Oshawa, ON
  176. Stephanie Marsan, MD | Université de Montréal | Montreal, QC
  177. Brandon Marshall, PhD | Brown University | Providence, RI
  178. Jessica Martin, MA | York University | Toronto, ON
  179. Corinne Mason, PhD | Brandon University | Brandon, MB
  180. Bradley Mathers, MBChB, MD | Sydney, AU
  181. Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale, PhD | University of Windsor | Windsor, ON
  182. Jennifer Matthews, MSc | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  183. Sergio Maulen, MD | Buenos Aires, Argentina
  184. Ruth McCarrell, RN | Providence Health Care | North Vancouver, BC
  185. Bill McCarthy, PhD | Professor, Department Chair, Department of Sociology, University of California Davis | Davis, CA
  186. William McCready, MD | Thunder Bay, ON
  187. Drew McDowell, MA, PhD (c) | University of Calgary | Calgary, AB
  188. Nicole McFadyen, PhD (c) | Toronto, ON
  189. Helen Meekosha, MA | University of New South Wales | Sydney, AU
  190. Nengeh Maria Mensah, PhD | Professeure, École de travail social, Université du Québec à Montréal | Montreal, QC
  191. Emily van der Meulen, PhD | Department of Criminology, Ryerson University | Toronto, ON
  192. Erin Michalak, PhD | Vancouver, BC
  193. Esther Miedema, PhD | Amsterdam, Netherlands
  194. Robin Milhausen, PhD | University of Guelph | Guelph, ON
  195. Cari Miller, PhD | Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  196. M-J Milloy, PhD | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  197. Julio Montaner, MD, FRCPC | Professor, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Director, BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS; Past President, International AIDS Society | Vancouver, BC
  198. Melissa Munn, PhD | Coldstream, BC
  199. Michelle Munro, MSc | Agrteam Canada | Ottawa, ON
  200. Laura Murray, MHS | Columbia University | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  201. Viviane Namaste, PhD | Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University | Montreal, QC
  202. Vrinda Narain, DCL | McGill University | Montreal, QC
  203. Ariel Nesbitt, MPH | Oak Tree Clinic Research | Vancouver, BC
  204. Ruth Neustifter, PhD, RMFT | University of Guelph | Guelph, ON
  205. Zoe Newman, PhD | Toronto, ON
  206. Trent Newmeyer, PhD | Brock University | Toronto, ON
  207. N. Nicole Nussbaum, LLB | London, ON
  208. Nadia O’Brien, MPH | Université de Montréal | Montreal, QC
  209. Tamara O’Doherty, MA, JD | Simon Fraser University | Langley, BC
  210. Marcia Oliver, PhD | Wilfred Laurier University | Toronto, ON
  211. Maggie O’Neill, PhD | Professor, Durham University | Durham, UK
  212. Treena Orchard, PhD | University of Western Ontario | London, ON
  213. Michelle Owen, PhD
  214. Katrina Pacey, LLB, MA | Pivot Legal Society | Vancouver, BC
  215. Charles-Maxime Panaccio, SJD | Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  216. Colette Parent, PhD | Université d'Ottawa | Gatineau, QC
  217. San Patten, MSc | Mount Allison University | Halifax, NS
  218. Kathryn Payne, MA | George Brown College | Toronto, ON
  219. Monika Penner, M.Ed | Edmonton, AB
  220. Isabelle Perreault, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  221. Heather Peters, PhD | Quesnel, BC
  222. Justin Piché PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  223. Phillip Pilon, MA | York University | Toronto, ON
  224. Catherine Pirkle, PhD | Université Laval | Québec, QC
  225. Nancy Pollak, MALS | Langara College | Vancouver, BC
  226. Susan Price, RSW
  227. Rebecca Raby, PhD | Brock University | St. Catharines, ON
  228. Momin Rahman, PhD | Department of Sociology, Trent University | Peterborough, ON
  229. Genevieve Rail, PhD | Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University | Montreal, QC
  230. Rajive Rajan, MD
  231. Frances Ravensbergen, PhD | QC
  232. Cheryl Reed-Elder, PhD
  233. Alexandra Regier, MA | Vancouver, BC
  234. William Reimer, PhD | Concordia University | Laval, QC
  235. Dan Reist, MTh | University of Victoria | Mission, BC
  236. Jamie Reschny, PhD (c) | University of Northern British Columbia | Prince George, BC
  237. Lindsey Richardson, D.Phil | BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  238. Megan Rivers-Moore, PhD | Carleton University | Ottawa, ON
  239. Dominique Robert, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  240. Pascale Robitaille, MA | Monteal, QC
  241. Annika W. Rodriguez, M.Phil | International Community Health| Oslo, Norway
  242. Becki Ross, PhD | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  243. Eric Roth, PhD | University of Victoria | Victoria, BC
  244. Sean Rourke, PhD | University of Toronto | Toronto, ON
  245. Perrine Roux, PhD | INSERM | Marseille, France
  246. Melanie Rusch, PhD | Island Health | Victoria, BC
  247. Trish Salah, PhD | Assistant Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Winnipeg | Winnipeg, MB
  248. Anne Salomon, PhD | Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  249. Joan Sangster, PhD | Trent University | Peterborough, ON
  250. Ginetta Salvalaggio, MD, MSc
  251. Alejandra Sarda-Chandiramani, MD | Mama Cash | Buenos Aires, Argentina
  252. Cristine Sardina, MSJ | Desiree Alliance | Tucson, AZ
  253. Michael Schwandt, MD, MPH | University of Saskatchewan | Saskatoon, SK
  254. Jamie Scott, MD, PhD | Simon Fraser University | Port Moody, BC
  255. Javier Segura del Pozo, MD | Madrid City Council | Madrid, Spain
  256. Kate Shannon, PhD, MPH | Associate Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Director, Gender and Sexual Health Initiative, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS | Vancouver, BC
  257. Frances Shaver, PhD | Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University | Montreal, QC
  258. Alexis Shotwell, PhD | Carleton University | Ottawa, ON
  259. Jean Shoveller, PhD | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  260. Eric Shragge, PhD | Concordia University (retired) | Montreal, QC
  261. Jacob Siegel, MPH | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  262. Reed Siemieniuk, MD | Medical Reform Group | Toronto, ON
  263. Joel Simpson, PMP, LLM | Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) | Georgetown, Guyana
  264. Paul Simpson, PhD | Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity/ University of New South Wales | Sydney, AU
  265. Bruno Spire, MD, PhD | INSERM & AIDES | Marseille, France
  266. Malcolm Steinberg, MD | Simon Fraser University | Vancouver, BC
  267. Kyle Stevens, MD | Kelly Ave Medical Cllinic | Summerland, BC
  268. Steffanie Strathdee, PhD | Carlsbad, CA
  269. Marie-Eve Sylvestre, PhD | Faculté de droit, Université d'Ottawa| Ottawa, ON
  270. Alison Symington, LLM | Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network | Toronto, ON
  271. Jason T., MSc | Toronto, ON
  272. Marliss Taylor, RN | Streetworks | Tofield, AB
  273. Sophie Thériault, PhD | Faculté de droit - Université d'Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  274. Athena Thiessen, MFA | Winnipeg, MB
  275. Gerald Thomas, PhD | Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia | Summerland, BC
  276. Heidi Thomas, RN, BScN | H’ulh-etun Health Society | Duncan, BC
  277. Sarah Thompson, PhD | Department of Criminology, Ryerson University | Toronto, ON
  278. Kimberly Thomson, MA | University of British Columbia | Vancouver, BC
  279. Ryan Thoreson, D.Phil | Yale Law School | New Haven, CT
  280. Jim Thorsteinson, MD | North Vancouver, BC
  281. Meaghan Thumath, RN, MPH | University of British Columbia School of Nursing | Vancouver, BC
  282. Louise Toupin, PhD | Université du Québec à Montréal | Montreal, QC
  283. Steven Tufts, PhD | Toronto, ON
  284. Laura Track, LLB | Vancouver, BC
  285. Francine Tremblay, PhD | Concordia University | Deux-Montagnes, QC
  286. Kathryn Trevenen, PhD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  287. Mark Tyndall, MD | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON
  288. Mariana Valverde, PhD | University of Toronto | Toronto, ON
  289. Kim Varma, PhD | Ryerson University | Toronto, ON
  290. Tamara Vukov, PhD | Université de Montréal | Montreal, QC
  291. Stephanie Wahab, PhD | Best Practices Policy Project | Portland, OR
  292. Pamela Walker, PhD | Carleton University | Ottawa, ON
  293. Kai Wang, MD | Toronto, ON
  294. Grant Wardell-Johnson, BEc, LLB, CTA | Sydney, AU
  295. Thomas Waugh, PhD | Program in Sexuality, Concordia University | Montreal, QC
  296. Kevin Wilson, BA (Hons.), MSc. (c) | Dalhousie University | Halifax, NS
  297. Yasmin Winsor, MScN | BC Centre for Disease Control | Vancouver, BC
  298. Teresa Whitaker, PhD | Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland | Dublin, Ireland
  299. Melissa Autumn White, PhD | UBC Okanagan | Kelowna, BC
  300. Stephen Whittle, LLB, MA, PhD | Manchester Metropolitan University | Stockport, England
  301. Robert Winston, MD, FRCPC, FACP | BC Cancer Agency | Surrey, BC
  302. Peter Woods | Emeritus Mayor | Patron Local Government New South Wales | Sydney, AU
  303. Kristopher Woofter, PhD (c) | Concordia University/ Dawson College | Montreal, QC
  304. Sean Yaphe, MPH | McGill University | Montreal, QC
  305. Alan Young, LLM | Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School | Toronto, ON
  306. Kate Zinszer, MSc | Montreal, QC

Sunday, March 16, 2014

9th Annual Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards

Good for Her is thrilled to present the 9th Annual Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards. The Feminist Porn Awards honor pornographers whose groundbreaking work offers a fresh perspective on the sexual expression of women and everyone who finds themselves under-represented in mainstream pornography.
The 2014  nomination list is now available. Please click here to see it.

Tickets are now available for purchase on-line  for Public.Provocative.Porn. The Year's Best in Feminist Film (Thursday April 3rd) and for The Good for Her 9th Annual Feminist Porn Awards. (Friday April 4th)

Registration for the Feminist Porn Conference is now open. The conference takes place April 5-6, 2014 at the University of Toronto. Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, will give the opening keynote April 5th. Professor Duggan is a historian, journalist, and activist who has published widely on feminist and queer sexual politics. Director,performer, and artist Courtney Trouble will be giving the closing keynote on April 6th.

In order to be considered for a Feminist Porn Award, submissions must meet at least 1 of the following criteria:
1)     The work depicts genuine pleasure, agency and desire.  These movies may also include a focus on connection, communication and collaboration between the performers and/or between the performers and filmmakers.
 
2)     The work expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film, challenges stereotypes and presents a vision that sets the content apart from most mainstream pornography.  This may include depicting a diversity of desires, types of people, bodies, sexual practices, and/or an anti-racist or anti-oppression framework throughout the production.

Categories for awards may include, but are not limited to: Canadian Content, Lesbian/Dyke, Diverse Cast/Representation, Smutty Schoolteacher, Kink/Fetish, Romance, Straight, Trans, and Website.
The Feminist Porn Awards will be held on Friday April 4th, with a special screening of nominated films on Thursday April 3th 2014 in Toronto, Ontario.

Good For Her is entering their ninth year as producers of the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards, the largest and longest running celebration of feminist porn in the world.  Since 1997, Good For Her has been creating a nurturing environment where everyone can feel comfortable learning about sex and pleasure. Good For Her provides quality sex toys, erotic and educational books as well as DVDs and workshops that empower and celebrate the diversity of everyone’s sexuality.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sex worker gets $25,000 over harassment

Hey Naked Truthers,

I don't usually post articles because you would be inundated by them. But this article must be shared. New Zealand decriminalized sex work in 2003. Eleven years later, for the first time in history, a sex worker in New Zealand has been awarded a high-end settlement for sexual harassment by the brothel manager where she works.

This is a huge victory for sex workers worldwide. Thank you, New Zealand for continuing to represent a beacon of hope for other countries around the world. Only in a decriminalized environment will human rights for sex workers be upheld. DECRIMINALIZE CANADA NOW.

Love Annie xo

MICHELLE DUFF
Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014









Catherine Healy
IMPORTANT VICTORY: Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.

A prostitute has won a landmark sexual harassment case against a Wellington brothel owner.

In what is understood to be a world first, the Human Rights Review Tribunal awarded the young woman $25,000 in damages for emotional harm as a result of sexual harassment.

Aaron Montgomery, who no longer owns The Kensington Inn in Victoria St, was described as a bully who enjoyed controlling and humiliating women and tried to pressure workers into having sex with him.

Over a three-month period, the older man belittled and frightened the 22-year-old woman until she felt unsafe and on edge, became depressed and turned to alcohol, the tribunal's decision said.

His overtures included telling her he could do what he liked with the girls who worked for him, and threatening to take her out of her comfort zone.

He told her weekends were his play time, that he took other workers out the back for sex and that most girls would do anything for him.

The tribunal ruled it was unacceptable for an employer to use sexual language in a way that was offensive to the employee in any workplace.

"Context is everything. Even in a brothel, language with a sexual dimension can be used inappropriately in suggestive, oppressive, or abusive circumstances," the findings said.

"Sex workers are as much entitled to protection from sexual harassment as those working in other occupations. The fact that a person is a sex worker is not a licence for sexual harassment - especially by the manager or employer at the brothel."

Mr Montgomery did not return calls yesterday.

New Zealand Prostitutes Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said the decision showed New Zealand was a world leader in sex workers' human rights, thanks to the Prostitution Reform Act 2003.

"It's one up for decriminalisation, it's a significant ruling because it could never have happened when sex work was illegal. It indicates the massive change [the industry] has gone through."

Ms Healy was in contact with all brothel owners in Wellington apart from Mr Montgomery.

The young woman had come to her, distressed and upset, before quitting her job because of the harassment in June 2010.

The findings describe how Mr Montgomery contrived to get the woman alone, where he asked questions about her genital grooming and sexual preferences.

She became so depressed and upset in the demeaning and hostile work environment her regular clients became worried about her.

Another former employee told the tribunal he was "really sleazy" and would pick off vulnerable employees to have sex with him.
 
While Mr Montgomery denied asking some of the questions and said others were for business reasons, the tribunal disagreed, saying he had a "misplaced confidence in his abilities as a man of the world".

Mr Montgomery did not have to ask her questions multiple times or in a suggestive manner.

Sex-related information had been gathered when she got the job, and was kept on a card at reception.
The Kensington is under new ownership.

Employment lawyer Susan Hornsby-Geluk said the $25,000 in damages was "right at the top end of the scale" for decisions made in either the Human Rights Tribunal or the Employment Relations Authority.

"It's great someone has taken this case and it has had a positive outcome, as that will raise expectations in that industry."

- © Fairfax NZ News

Monday, March 3, 2014

Interesting Videos regarding the SCC Decision and How You Can Help

Hello Naked Truthers!

For those who are interested in learning more about the Bedford decision, I am posting the following links.
 If you would like to take action, here are ways you can help:

1. Meet with your Member of Parliament. To figure out who your MP is, you can go here: http://bit.ly/1cuJOxO

Then email and/or phone their constituency office in your community and request a meeting. As a constituent, they should agree to meet with you (although there is no guarantee). The House of Commons is on a break from March 10 to March 21 so that is a good time to try to get a meeting with them because they don’t have to be in Ottawa.

It is important that we try to meet with as many MPs as possible so that they know that people in their riding care about this issue, and so that we can educate them on the importance of decriminalization. If you want some help with info sheets and other materials you could take to a meeting, we will have a list put together shortly that we will circulate, but you can also take a look at the links below to generate some key messages for your meetings. 

If you do meet with your MP, please let us know so we can feed that information into the national strategy. 

2. Mobilize your community to fill out the federal government’s online consultation questions before March 17, 2014. Talk to your family and friends or send an email out to your contacts or your organizations membership. A number of organizations have posted guidelines on their website, so here is a few that you could share:

3. Engage the media. Writing letters to the editor when you see something about sex work in the media is really important. Also, writing comments on online news sites and on Facebook/Twitter is great too. Press releases about sex workers’ rights issues would be fantastic. The more the better!
 
Love Annie xoxo

Monday, February 17, 2014

Government of Canada Launches On-Line Consultations to Seek Views on Criminal Code Prostitution-Related Offences

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cons/curr-cours/proscons-conspros/index.html#2014_02_17

This survey will only take five minutes or less.

This survey is worded in a way to try and get people to support criminalization of sex work in some form. Before you respond, please take these thoughts into consideration:

  • We do not need more laws to deal with exploitation. We already have all the laws we need. We have laws for kidnapping, trafficking, assault, financial exploitation, youth sexual exploitation, etc. Therefore, a law to regulate who earns money from sex worker employees is not necessary. Having good managers and safe work spaces depends on not criminalizing business owners. Also, sex between consenting adults is not regulated so why should there be exceptions or limitations in any of the contexts suggested? Please respond to this with full decriminalization in mind. We do not need more laws.
  • Dear Dancers and others who are not "sex workers" or "prostitutes." Remember the "buying sex is not a sport" people who picketed outside the strip clubs a few years back? They are the ones trying to criminalize prostitution. I know dancers are not prostitutes but many of us did nude modeling, webcam, adult film, and private parties on the side. The same people who are trying to criminalize prostitutes' clients are the ones who want to close down the strip clubs. They are in good with the Conservatives. We need lots of people to respond to this consultation saying no, we don't support criminalization of sellers, buyers, or business owners (those who profit from others being "prostituted" are the words they use in this consultation). I hope some of you will respond. It only took me five minutes. Adult consensual sex should not be regulated whether money is exchanged or not. If they succeed, they will go after the rest of the industry next. Even dance clubs in Sweden (nordic model) are illegal and underground because of the laws that criminalize the customers.
  • Consider the term "prostituted women." It has been used against all women in sex industry including dancers, models etc. It ignores that men and trans people are also sex workers. And it was created to demean us. Sex worker exclusionary feminists created that term and our government uses it! Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
 To summarize:
  • Decriminalization is the best option.
  • We do not need new laws because we already have laws to protect us from exploitation.
  • Paying customers are not the enemy. They are paying customers!
  • Business owners who hire and run sex industry businesses are not exploitative pimps. They are business owners. We already have laws to protect us from exploitative business owners.
  • The Conservative government wants to regulate sex!. They want to say who can or can't have sex by taking away the option to pay for it. They are great at taking the rights of their citizens away. Don't fall for their propaganda!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Annual Women’s Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women


WHAT: Press Conference for 23rd Annual Women’s Memorial March
WHEN: Friday Feb 14th at 9:00 am
WHERE: Carnegie classroom, 3rd floor, Main and Hastings

MEDIA PROTOCOL: Please note there will be NO MEDIA in Carnegie Theatre during the family remembrance between 11am to noon. Media may record the march at noon, except NO recording of ceremonies during the march.

February 4, 2014 VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories- The February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memory of all women from the Downtown Eastside who have died due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence in any form. Now in its 23rd year, the march brings courage and commitment to remember and honour murdered and missing women, and to end the violence that vulnerable women in the DTES face on a daily basis.

The February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March is hosting a press conference at 9 am in the Carnegie Center’s 3rd floor classroom at 9 am. The march begins at noon on Main and Hastings.

“We are here to honour and remember the women, and we are here because we are failing to protect women from poverty and systemic exploitation, abuse and violence. We are here in sorrow and in anger because the violence continues each and every day and the list of missing and murdered women gets longer every year,” says Marlene George, Memorial March Committee organizer.

March organizer Mona Woodward agrees. “Why is it such an uphill battle to get justice for missing and murdered women and their families and communities? We are calling for a national and international public inquiry led by family and community members. We need political will at all levels of government to address these tragedies as well as ongoing gendered violence, poverty, and racism.”

Marches will also be held in at least 10 other cities including Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Kelowna. Full list here: http://womensmemorialmarch.wordpress.com/national/

In Vancouver, friends and family members led by Indigenous women move through the DTES and stop at sites where women died or were last seen to offer prayers, medicines, and roses in remembrance.

Website: http://womensmemorialmarch.wordpress.com/

Fundraiser - Dine Out at Graze Restaurant

Dine at Graze Restaurant on February 19th, and they will donate 20% of all dinner sales to WISH Drop-In Centre Society.

All you have to do is make a reservation to dine with us on this date, referencing WISH, and enjoy a fabulous meal!

To make your reservation please call: 604-620-8822

Whether or not you can join us, if you support this cause please consider sharing this event, and inviting your friends. This is an opportunity to raise funds and awareness.

***The mission of WISH is to improve the health, safety and well-being of women who are involved in Vancouver's street-based sex trade. WISH operates an overnight drop-in centre, an on-site clinic, a learning centre and a hot meal program. Aboriginal cultural programming and supported-employment opportunities are also offered and overnight street outreach is provided through the Mobile Access Project. WISH is a caring, non-judgmental space for women who live in extreme poverty and experience social isolation and chronic trauma.***

Thank you so much for all of your support!