Sunday, July 14, 2019

No Murders of Sex Workers in Vancouver for a Decade Under Decriminalization

By Susan Davis

VANCOUVER, BC: Vancouver has seen it's share of violence against sex workers. 

The Case of the Missing Women and it's horrific details put a spotlight on how NIMBYism and lack of concern for the lives and safety of Vancouver sex workers lead ultimately to their torture and murder.

Contributing factors identified through the Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry, the City of Vancouver Task Force and a city wide project known as “Living in Community” showed that there were many actions which could have prevented the disaster and that could prevent it from happening again.

Recent revelations about yet another unfolding disaster in rural communities in British Columbia and murders of sex workers in places where enforcement is high, have reminded us all how enforcement, uninformed actions and stigma can isolate sex workers and make them vulnerable to violence.

In Vancouver, all citizens were impacted by the terrible outcome of targeted enforcement and lack of understanding issues facing sex workers.

No matter a persons perspective on sex work, everyone agrees that the violence and vulnerability caused by the actions of the past are unacceptable.

A culture of change was created by the tragedy and indeed remains the legacy of the women who died.

Increasing understanding of the mistakes of the past and the violent impacts of taking action based on moral or ideological assumptions about sex workers and their lives has changed the way sex work is viewed and monitored in Vancouver.

The Vancouver Police created a “Sex Work Enforcement Guidelines” Policy http://vancouver.ca/police/assets/pdf/reports-policies/sex-enforcement-guidelines.pdf and clearly stated that adult consensual sex work would no longer be a priority.

Instead of blanket targeted actions against all sex industry participants, exploitation would be their only focus and of course investigating crimes against sex workers.

Training about the policy has ensured that police officers know and understand the position of the VPD and what is expected of them in terms of fair and unbiased treatment of sex workers during interactions with police.

The VPD also strengthened the Sex Industry Liaison Officer position, currently held by Linda Malcolm. Linda's role has been critical to increasing the trust between sex workers and police in Vancouver.

She has consistently made herself available when sex workers are in need of help and provides a non judgmental link to the police and reporting those who commit crimes against us.

The City of Vancouver also adopted a policy of non enforcement through their “Sex Work Response Guidelines” http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/sex-work-response-guidelines.pdf which states explicitly that sex work is not a by-law violation.

Training for licensing and inspections staff has ensured that staff understand the spirit of protection in the policy and what is expected of city staff should they have cause to interact with a sex industry worker or businesses.

The net result of all of these things which includes a lot more than described here, has been defacto decriminalization of sex work in the City of Vancouver.

Even before the policies were made official, steps were being taken to change the culture of policing and enforcement against the sex industry in Vancouver. 

Criminalization of sex work has been the largest contributing factor to violence faced by sex workers and needed to change.

“How is it working?” you might ask....

We are happy to report that these actions have made a prolific difference and that not only are crimes against sex workers being reported more often and true exploitation being countered with several exploiters being investigated and prosecuted successfully but that.....

There have been no murders of sex workers as a result of their work in Vancouver since 2009.

We would like to congratulate the Vancouver Police and City of Vancouver Staff for having courage in the face of opposition to these actions from those who feel the sex industry could never be safe and who for moral or ideological reasons promote the “abolition” of the sex trade.

This past decade has proven without a doubt that decriminalization of sex work does make sex workers safer and is truly the only solution to ending exploitation and violence in the sex industry.

As the federal Liberal and NDP parties debate whether to support decriminalization of sex work, it is our hope that Vancouver can be held up as an example of how communities can address these issues in a way which respects all people's rights and safety.

Vancouver is success of decriminalization in a Canadian context. Both sex workers and communities are safer now.

It seems that other police services are also paying attention as the VPD style of "lowest level of enforcement" has been adopted across the entire BC Region by 45 Police services and the E- Division of the RCMP.

It is becoming clear to everyone that there is only one path forward to achieve safety for sex working people.

It is time for reason to prevail. 

It is time to decriminalize sex work in Canada. 

(Please contact us if you are a sex worker or client in BC who is experiencing police harassment under the current Federal Legislation against the newly adopted province-wide guidelines.)

About the Author 

Susan is a 32 year sex working veteran and 16 years sex workers rights advocate. She has worked with government and police towards safer communities for sex working people. 

She has appeared in the media over 400 times and has given evidence or testified to 2 Supreme Court cases, the Commission of Inquiry on missing and murdered women, the City of Vancouver Task Force and the Parliamentary Sub Committee on prostitution.

She continues to work towards safety and equality for sex workers in Canada via complaints to the office of the commissioner of lobbyists and has submitted many briefs to government committees working on these issues.

As an extension of her “flesh trade work," Susan also owns a small meat market with her partner in Vancouver where she continues to work as a sex worker upstairs where she lives.

Calabria Meat Market has been a 7 year passion for Susan and she enjoys supporting small local growers and promoting sustainable food security.


susan.1968@hotmail.com   604-671-2345
 

Monday, June 24, 2019

TNT Update and Guest Post by Hallelujah Annie!

Exciting changes are coming to The Naked Truth!

I can't tell you anything yet, but suffice it to say that you'll definitely be as excited I am!

Please stay engaged and see what  happens over the course of the next  year.

In the meantime, expect a lot more coming out of our blog.

We hope to get between two and four articles out to you each month including updates on what I'm calling TNT Revision #69.

This week, we're bringing to you a neat little piece by Hallelujah Annie telling newbie clients what to expect their first time with a sex worker.

It is also a great refresher for those of you who are old hats at supporting your local SW's!

We love you all and look forward to being a bigger part of your life!

Love Annie Temple and the TNT Crew!



Ask Annie: Your First Time With A Sex Worker?



Guest Post by Hallelujah Annie

I have to say that I am one lucky woman.

I have the honour of being the first sensual massage goddess some of my clients have ever seen.

As you can imagine, many are nervous their first time coming to an appointment.

I would like to set your misgivings at ease.

Newbies...this post is for  you!

And for the rest of you, consider this a refresher! XOXOXO

What to Expect

I can't speak for all sex workers but when you arrive for your sensual massage at my studio, I will buzz you in the front door and you will walk up some stairs to get to my door.

I will welcome you in, ask you to take your shoes off at the door, and show you where the massage will take place.
 

If you haven't already offered, I will ask you to place your donation on the dresser.

Then I will ask you to go to the bathroom and wash your hands really well. (Money is very dirty.)

I will also wash my hands well after handling the donation. xxoxo

If you are coming from work or you haven't showered directly before coming, you may use my shower facilities. :)

Next, you will undress and lie face-down, naked on the bed.

For the first half of the session, I will focus on your back, the backs of your legs and arms, and get you all relaxed and oily.

The second half of the session you will lie on your back.

I will continue to massage you from the front with a happy ending occurring about 15 minutes before the session is over.

This allows you to relax for a few moments while I pamper you with calming caresses and hugs (if you so desire).


Alternatively, you will have enough time to shower before leaving, if you'd like.

At any time during our session, you may tell me your preferences and as long as you are respectful, gentle, and polite, I will do my best.

If at any time you are uncomfortable for any reason, please tell me.

I am non-judgmental and I truly want your experience to be as good as it can be without crossing my personal boundaries.


Cleanliness

Your main job before you arrive or when you arrive is to ensure that you are squeaky clean.

Please don't show up with toilet paper stuck in the crack of your ass.

That tells me you have not showered since your last bowel movement.

The smell of ass wafting up during your massage is not the best way to get me in the mood. ;) 

If you haven't showered directly before coming to see me, please make use of my shower.

I provide shampoo/conditioner, body wash, and fresh, clean towels.

I also provide mouthwash.  


How I Feel About My Clients

I have found that some of you, your first time, are worried about whether I find you attractive or not.

You worry about your body hair or the size of your cock.

Or maybe you worry about whether I consider you "too skinny" or "too chubby."

I can assure you, from the bottom of my heart, your appearance is not important to me at all.

Things I actually care about...

  • Cleanliness
  • Odour
  • How you speak to me (respectfully please)
  • How you touch me (gently please)
  • Whether you're enjoying your massage or not
  • Your likes and dislikes in a sensual massage
  • Whether you are feeling comfortable and relaxed or not
  • How I can ensure you walk out feeling amazing



You see, I am a business woman. 

And YOU are my customer.

You are hiring me to pamper you and make you feel wonderful.

Some of the most pleasurable experiences I've had were with men much, much older than me.

You don't have to be a male model to turn me on.

No matter what you look like... 
 
I will adore you if you are kind, caring, and clean.

More Resources...

Punting for Dummies (Twitter)
Gosh, I love this man! He gives great advice for being a client of sex workers. Follow him if you can!

Trade Secrets: For Our Clients
This resource is a priceless asset for sex workers and clients. Almost everything a sex worker could want you to know is at this link. Please check it out. xoxo

The last thing I want to tell you all is that I have a sexy surprise cumming to my subscribers very soon! 

I want to thank you for subscribing to my feed with a VERY NAUGHTY photo!

Be sure to subscribe if  you haven't yet! It's free!

In the meantime... It's a business doing pleasure with you. XXX


About the Author

Hallelujah Annie is a mature, former exotic dancer who provides discreet, professional sensual massage services in her own space in White Rock, BC. She also writes sexual fantasies for her fans on her blog at www.HallelujahAnnie.com

Monday, February 25, 2019

Sex worker rights groups mark Canada’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day with scathing response to Justice Committee Report: Warns of harms to sex workers

Press Release from the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform

February 22, 2019– To mark February 22nd, Canada’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day, sex worker rights groups across the country are highlighting the harms of anti-human trafficking efforts in response to the report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights released December 2018, Moving Forward in the Fight Against Human Trafficking in Canada. 

The final recommendations from the Committee’s report ignore the evidence provided by sex worker rights groups on the harmful impacts of anti-human trafficking efforts and fail to recognize sex workers as the primary targets of anti-human trafficking initiatives, and therefore as important stakeholders in Canada’s human trafficking response.

While the Committee explicitly states that it “does not take any position regarding the legalization or decriminalization of prostitution or the relationship between the sex industry and human trafficking as this is beyond the scope of this study,” their failure to concretely distinguish between sex work and human trafficking and to position itself on the human rights of sex workers has resulted in a series of recommendations that will lead to human rights violations against sex workers.

Throughout the consultation and across the country, sex worker rights groups and our allies provided clear, consistent data and submissions that demonstrated how anti-human trafficking discourse, policy and policing has caused — and continues to cause — human rights violations against people working in the sex industry.

Sex worker rights groups were also clear to distinguish human trafficking from sex work not only in practice and in the language used to accurately reflect people’s experiences, but in policy recommendations as well.

When sex work is conflated with human trafficking, sex workers and the people they work with are indiscriminately targeted for surveillance and investigation.

Sex workers experience this over-policing as antagonistic and as a result often do not report to or seek out law enforcement if they need to.

Sex workers may experience many types of violence and exploitation, but whether or not this is related to trafficking, none are adequately addressed through current policy and practice.

Sex work-specific criminal and immigration prohibitions are barriers to meaningfully addressing human trafficking.

While sex work and human trafficking are profoundly different, they are conflated in legislation, policy and practice.

Addressing human trafficking thus requires a review of both criminal and immigration laws and the ways in which human trafficking laws are currently being enforced in a way that threatens sex workers’ safety, security and agency.

See our full response and recommendations for a human rights-based approach to human trafficking at: http://sexworklawreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/CASWLR-Human-Trafficking-Response.pdf
Contact our email for further comment: contact@sexworklawreform.com

Monday, January 28, 2019

Introducing Classic Classifieds - Canada’s first and only adult oriented classified ads website


Introducing Classic Classifieds...

Canada’s first and only adult oriented classified ads website.

Category content includes a marketplace to buy, sell, and trade items, property rental listings, restaurants, entertainment and events listings, services as well as the personal aspect connecting adults.

Our goal is to shift the stigmas surrounding the word adult, evolving it to a higher level of social acceptance.

Launch: 

Taboo Naughty but Nice Sex show Feb 8-10 at the Vancouver convention center where the CC team will answer questions and demo the site.

To celebrate CC’s launch, entertainment will be provided by Dj Jenny Jones Feb 8, Dj

MYNXY Feb 9, and Dj AWood Feb 10.

Classic Classifieds will also host a raffle for prizes:

•    1st 65” Samsung 4K smart TV

•    2nd original canvas print featuring DJ MYNXY by Moe Sherwood

•    3rd Photoshoot session with Bruce Dyer.


Drawing for Raffle Prizes: Feb 23 midnight (at the official launch Party)

Official Launch Party: 

False Creek Yacht Club Feb 23. Entertainment provided by Dj Leanne, Dj Patrick Kelly, Dj Fastmolly, Dj Dezyman, along with a Burlesque performance by Chastity Twist.

For more information, press only:

info@classicclassifieds.ca

For more information on Classic Classifieds:

www.classicclassifieds.ca












Please share widely!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes (1981-1987)

By Andy Sorfleet

The 1970s: Dawn of a Modern Movement


In 1977 a Toronto stripper, Margaret Spore (also known as Baba Yaga) founded “Better End All Vicious Erotic Repression” (BEAVER), inspired by San Francisco's “Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics” (COYOTE), founded in 1973. BEAVER membership was mainly strippers and getting prostitutes to join proved difficult. Nonetheless, BEAVER brought sex workers' rights perspectives to the public for the first time in Canada.

COYOTE founder, Margo St. James, speaking at Wages for Housework
protest against violence against women, San Francisco, May 9, 1977.

On February 7, 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Hutt v. The Queen, that in order for conviction of soliciting in a public place, the soliciting must be “pressing and persistent.” The case involved a Vancouver police officer in plain clothes, driving an unmarked vehicle.

Even if the word "solicit" were given the widest possible definition, there was, until the time the automobile door was closed, no demonstration that the intention of the appellant was to make herself available for prostitution. It would be ridiculous and abhorrent to say that every female pedestrian who requests a free ride in an automobile is soliciting.
“Prostitute Bill causes controversy in
Canada” ~ India Today, April 30, 1979
Whether or not a car was a public or private place was not before the court, and so they ruled as if a car was a public place. In the end, Debra Hutt was acquitted on the dictionary definition of “soliciting” — “to accost” or “to confront,” “to importune”:

The appellant did not enter the officer’s car uninvited. The officer returned her smile and he admitted … the reason he immediately returned the smile was to encourage her to solicit him. The appellant’s conversation with the officer demonstrated nothing more than that she was available for prostitution. There was nothing pressing or persistent as was required.

Eager to build alliances, BEAVER joined with some sympathetic feminist lawyers. The lawyers were offended by the name BEAVER, however. In late 1979, BEAVER became the Coalition Against Street Harassment (CASH). CASH brought the public’s attention to the violence prostitutes faced on the street because of hostile laws and attitudes.

The 1980s: Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes


1981

Following the Hutt decision, which made the soliciting law unenforceable, controversy over street prostitution escalated. Street prostitution flourished in Vancouver's West End, and the city was called the "Prostitution Capital of North America" in the media. There were reports of sex workers and pimps coming up from the U.S. Citizen groups started taking things into their own hands. Local West End resident, Gordon Price founded "Concerned Residents of the West End" (CROWE).

Canada's earliest prostitutes' rights group—at least in modern times—was perhaps, Vancouver's Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes (ASP). Sometime in early 1981, local prostitute activist (and mom of two) Sally deQuadros approached Vancouver Rape Relief seeking to educate them about violence against sex workers and find ways to work together to end it. Vancouver Rape Relief was a socialist feminist collective in the early rape-crisis-centre movement founded in 1973. The Rape Relief collective and Sally agreed to form an alliance and Sally joined the collective. A small committee of three people was struck that would become the Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes. This committee would work to educate the feminist collective as a whole on the issue of prostitution.

In response to pressure from CROWE, the City of Vancouver adopted a West End Traffic Plan in August 1981 and began installing concrete traffic diversions and additional street lighting to impede the flow of sex-trade customers. In October of 1981, CROWE organized a day-long conference at the West End Community Centre attended by social planners, police and politicians to address the "prostitution problem." The Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes made their first public appearance at the community conference.

In December 1981, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled (in two Vancouver cases R. v. Whitter and R. v. Galjot) that not only does soliciting mean “pressing and persistent” (Hutt v. The Queen) but, that “pressing and persistent” refers to the practice of repeatedly soliciting the same person.

As a result of this ruling, police forces in major cities stopped enforcing the soliciting law altogether, claiming that their hands had been tied by the Supreme Court. Police, using a community-policing model, advised citizens to form residents’ associations for the purpose of reporting neighbourhood crime which could then be used to pressure politicians and governments to address the street crimes and nuisance associated with street prostitution. Calgary City Council was the first to enact an anti-loitering bylaw to use to target street prostitutes.

1982

By early 1982, Montréal, Niagara Falls and Halifax had followed Calgary's lead, with their own municipal loitering bylaws to address these residents groups' complaints. In April that year, Vancouver City Council passed the "street activities" bylaw that imposed fines from $350 to $2,000 for purchasing, attempting to purchase, selling or attempting to sell, sex. The city collected $28,000 in fines in the first six months.

Sally learned that Margo St. James (founder of COYOTE) was visiting family in nearby Bellingham, Washington. The nascent committee (Sally, Lee and Eileen) drove across the border to meet Margo, and also to meet filmmakers Janis Cole and Holly Dale who were doing research for a film on prostitution in major cities throughout Canada and the United States. (Janis Cole and Holly Dale released their film, "Hookers on Davie" on April 5, 1984.) Margo encouraged Sally to stick with the feminists. The committee's membership was subsequently changed by the collective, and Sally was instead joined by Joni Miller, and Marie Arrington who felt that Margo's tactics glamorized prostitution.

Margo St. James, COYOTE founder.
September 10 1980. Photo: Chronicle/John O'Hara
Sex workers together with lawyers challenged City of Vancouver's anti-prostitution bylaw as unconstitutional. In September 1982, B.C. provincial court judge David Moffett upheld the Vancouver bylaw and cited Alberta's Appeal Court earlier ruling on Calgary's bylaw:
"The buying and selling of a prostitute's services on the streets of Vancouver has been prohibited by an elected body in our democratic society for the sole purpose of remedying a nuisance 'the need to protect citizens who use the streets from the irritation and embarrassment of being unwilling participants in the [sex] market.'"

1983

By 1983, Sally and Marie were going out on street patrol to meet local Vancouver women and began distributing Canada's first "bad trick sheet"—a list of descriptions of assailants and of their cars—which they published in their newsletter called "Whoreganizer." ASP held weekly meetings and encouraged safety measures such as a using buddy system and recording licence plate numbers. With up to 150 prostitutes working in the area at any time, membership in ASP swelled. Working collectively, sex workers remained independent and managed to maintain a "pimp-free" zone.

In January 1983, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled (Westindorp  v. The Queen) that City of Calgary By-Law 9022 was unconstitutional:
The by-law is ultra vires as invading the exclusive federal power in relation to the criminal law. …To remain on a street for the purpose of prostitution or to approach another for that purpose was so patently an attempt to control or punish prostitution as to be beyond question.
 This made any such municipal bylaws—including Vancouver's—all illegal.

Hookers on Davie

Filmmakers Janice Cole and Holly Dale came to Vancouver and worked closely with ASP. After spending two months on Davie Street talking with sex workers, the filmmakers were able to gain their trust and confidence. Sex workers agreed to wear radio microphones and were filmed by a hidden camera in a parked van, while they worked the corner, and openly negotiated with clients. They also spoke candidly about their experiences during breaks at a local restaurant.

CROWE submitted a request for the federal government to amend the Criminal Code. The police claimed they needed the changes to deal with the concentration of street prostitutes in the area. Price, a gay resident of the West End and a spokesperson for CROWE, told Vancouver's gay magazine Angles that:
Street prostitution is incompatible with a residential street. It causes disturbances, restricts people's right to use the street and attracts violence. The social fabric of the neighbourhood is displaced; banks redline the area in terms of potential loans and mortgages.
On April 20, 1983, members of ASP marched along Broadway Street and up to Vancouver City Hall to protest CROWE's request for a new soliciting law. ASP member, Michelle carried a sign which said, "Harcourt is our pimp" (referring to the city's fines, Mike Harcourt was Vancouver's mayor) and made a speech. They handed out leaflets and chanted "Hookers unite! Fight for your rights." (You can view footage of the protest at https://vimeo.com/261959813.)

Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes on Broadway, April 20, 1983.
Film still from Hookers On Davie, by Janis Cole and Holly Dale.

Neighbourhood Residents Incite National Controversy

More anti-prostitution residents' groups came out in support of the Criminal Code amendment including Allied Concerned Residents On Street Solicitation (ACROSS). In June 1983, Vancouverite Barbara Brett of ACROSS told a public meeting on prostitution in Toronto that the prostitutes had been using commercial streets in Vancouver but that a police crackdown drove them into the residential areas. The effect of police actions has been to drive the prostitutes onto the streets.

First Protest, Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes
April 20, 1983. Photo: Macneill, Vancouver Sun
On June 23, 1983, Ottawa Deputy Police Chief Thomas Flanigan, chairman of the law amendments committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), told the Globe and Mail that, without removal or alteration of the “pressing and persistent” restrictions, “our hands are still tied in enforcing the law.” According to Metro Toronto Police Chief Jack Ackroyd: "The CACP have been asking the government since 1978 to do something about a law that is almost, virtually unenforceable.”

The prostitution debate drew a lot of controversy in Parliament. In an attempt to move the debate out of the House of Commons, Liberal Justice Minister Mark MacGuigan appointed a seven-member Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution to tour the country to determine if a consensus could be reached on prostitution law reform. The committee sought public views on three options—criminalization, legalization or decriminalization. Called the "Fraser Commission," the committee was chaired by lawyer, Paul Fraser. ASP prepared a report for the Fraser Commission (submitted January 1984). To quote the Alliance's brief: "We're not criminals, we're poor women trying to earn a living."

Sent by the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres, Marie went to a conference at the Northwest Centre Against Sexual Assault—a U.S. network of rape-crisis centres. There Marie met Kathleen Barry. She brought home Barry's book, Female Sexual Slavery (1979) which opened the large debate about prostitution within the Vancouver Rape Relief collective. Sally and Marie were critical of Barry's analysis that prostitution reduces women to commodities for market exchange and is the foundation of women's oppression, socially-normalized. By 1984, Sally and Marie had quit the Vancouver Rape Relief collective, and took the Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes out on their own.

International Socialist Influences

The now-independent ASP became affiliated with "Wages for Housework." The International Wages for Housework Campaign was founded in Italy, by the International Feminist Collective, part of an emerging Autonomous Marxist movement, Operaismo. The Italian Operaismo (workerist) movement contended that the sphere of capitalism had expanded beyond the factory on to society as a whole, and proposed a guaranteed income or citizen's wage.

Based on the revolutionary principle that women's unpaid housework under capitalism should be remunerated, Wages for Housework also became involved in organizing domestic workers as well as prostitutes. The English Collective of Prostitutes was founded in 1975.* In the U.S., the U.S. Prostitutes Collective (USPROS) in San Francisco was founded in 1982, and "No Bad Women Just Bad Laws" was founded by Ruth Taylor Todasco in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981, with chapters in Boston, Massachusetts, New Haven, Connecticut, and Portland Oregon.

For more insight on Wages for Housework's feminist application of Marxist philosophy, see: The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community (1975) by co-founders Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James. (Selma James was married to C.L.R. James, a Marxist humanist originally from Trinidad, who co-founded the Trotskyist Johnson-Forest Tendency of the Socialist Workers Party.) Italian-American, feminist scholar Silvia Federici, who also co-founded the original group in Italy, created Wages for Housework chapters in the U.S.


Wages for Housework Committee, International Women's Day, NYC, 1977
(Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute / Bettye Lane)

Shame the Johns 

 

1984

On May 25, 1984, CROWE started a "Shame the Johns" campaign. Shame-the-Johns tactics included photographing, writing down licence plate numbers and postering this information on neighbourhood poles and billboards. Their campaign quickly turned into picketing and verbally harassing sex workers. Shame the Johns also provided B.C. Attorney General Brian Smith with 40 affidavits complaining of loitering, littering, fighting, screaming, use of insults or obscenities and public sex.

On June 8, Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes held their own counter demonstration protesting CROWE's harassment.

Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes counter-pickets the
Shame the Johns protest, Friday night, June 8, 1984.

On June 11, 1984, B.C. Attorney General Smith, now armed with CROWE affidavits, filed an application for an injunction that named 30 people as prostitutes and "public nuisances." A week after copies of the application for the injunction appeared on street lamps, a large protest of sex workers and supporters descended on the West End with whistles and noise-makers, proclaiming themselves the thirty-first "public nuisance."

“Demonstrators protesting effort to clear prostitutes
from the West End tied up traffic with a half-hour parade
Friday night. Police described the march as ‘peaceful.’”
 
Vancouver Sun, June 9, 1984

Then on June 19, sex workers peacefully migrated out of the West End's residential area to a nearly deserted ill-lit commercial district east of Granville Street, in the hope of negotiating the withdrawal of the writ for injunction. On June 20, 12 members of ASP presented themselves at the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral in the middle of the afternoon service and began a four-day occupation. They were welcomed by Archbishop Douglas Hambridge, who invited ASP spokeswoman Sally de Quadros to address the congregation and explain the prostitutes' need for protection from police harassment. Residents of the West End had complained of prostitutes patrolling the Georgia Street sidewalk adjacent to the cathedral. Sally deQuadros said she chose the cathedral because of the tradition that churches serve as sanctuaries.

On July 4, 1984, B.C. Justice McEachern granted B.C. Attorney General Smith the injunction (A.G.B.C. v. Couillard), to be served on anyone on the street "apparently" for the purpose of prostitution or any form of "carnal copulation." The "Quiet Zone" injunction gave the B.C. Attorney General Smith leave to extend the order to any part of the City of Vancouver. Police served the injunction to stop soliciting to more than 300 Vancouver sex workers. Those served with the injunction could later be charged with breaking a court order (and if convicted, serve up to two years in jail) if the police saw them so much as "crooking a finger, stopping guys in cars, waving a car down or hitch-hiking."
"If we make any observation of soliciting for companionship, they'll be charged. It doesn't have to be for money." ~ Inspector John Lucy, head of Vancouver's vice squad

In December 1984, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia applied to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for a similar injunction to restrain the public nuisance caused by prostitutes in the City of Halifax. The application was refused on the basis that the province was trying to control by civil procedure a matter that fell within criminal and hence federal jurisdiction. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal also dismissed the application as ultra vires in March 1985 (A.G.N.S. v Beaver 1985).

1985

In March 1985, ASP started the "Hookers' Defense Fund," to pay for appeals, copies of transcripts, etc. and to raise money to help women who had been incarcerated and who needed to send their children to the care of family members.

The federal Liberals lost the election of September 4, 1984. Canada's new Progressive Conservative government was now headed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney when the Liberal's Fraser Commission released its report in April 1985. The Special Committee held 22 public hearings and received 575 submissions. Their report stated that the law at that time was failing to achieve its objective of reducing prostitution, or of even controlling it within manageable limits. “Moreover it operates in a way which victimizes and dehumanizes prostitutes.” It was the first official government report to make a connection between the country’s prostitution laws and violence against prostitutes. The committee also recommended small-scale brothels be considered, and they strongly urged there be more robust social programs, including assistance for women who want to exit the sex industry.

In response to the Fraser Commission's recommendations, the Conservative government introduced Bill C-49 to replace Canada's old soliciting law in October. The law was passed December 28, 1985. The new "communicating law" stated that:
 “Every person who, in a public place or open to public view, stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle, blocks any pedestrian traffic going into or out of any building, stops or attempts to stop any person or in any manner communicates or attempts to communicate with any person for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute, is guilty of an offence punishable on a summary conviction.
Prostitute confronts man with
"Make Mount Pleasant a
Hooker Free Zone" sign.
May 1986.
Peter Battistoni, Vancouver Sun

1986

On Saturday, January 18, 1986, street demonstrations across Canada called for the review and repeal of Bill C-49. ASP organized "wave-ins," to show support for prostitutes with more than 100 supporters. ("Waving" could be considered "communicating" and result in arrest.) There were protests in Toronto, Calgary, Montréal and Ottawa. By February 19, 1986, 117 women and 57 men had been arrested in Vancouver; 180 women and 53 men in Toronto; and 22 women in Calgary.

Expo '86


The 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication (May 2 to October 13) served as extra motivation for amplified policing efforts to expel sex workers from Vancouver's downtown.

In April 1986, B.C. Attorney General Smith—now armed with the new "communicating" law—instructed prosecutors to ask the courts to impose area restrictions on accused prostitutes and clients both as a condition of bail and upon conviction. As a result, more than 300 people sentenced in the province between April and September were subject to area restrictions.

ASP noted increased police violence towards sex workers, and attempts to evade police had driven women out of the West End. According to Arrington, the women no longer have time to decide if a potential customer is a cop, or maybe violent. The women are also no longer able to work in groups, which gives them some safety, but are working alone trying to avoid the police. "I'm doing a lot of crisis calls in the middle of the night," said Arrington.

May 1986 saw residents and sex workers facing off in the streets again as protests erupted in Vancouver neighbourhoods such as Mount Pleasant, Strathcona, Kensington-Cedar Cottage and Grandview-Woodlands.

By September 1986, Sally deQuadros and Marie Arrington had split, and Marie had founded a new organization, "Prostitutes and Other Women for Equal Rights" (POWER) and continued to produce and distribute bad trick sheets.

Sex worker Michele Lee McLean challenged her charge of "communicating for the purpose" under the Canada's constitution, arguing that the law was vague, uncertain, that it limited freedom, was inconsistently worded in the two official languages and attempted to control traffic which is a provincial jurisdiction.

Several lower provincial courts ruled that C-49 infringed on freedom of association and freedom of expression and therefore was of no force (because it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms). Court challenges in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Manitoba led to conflicting interpretations of the new law. The Manitoba government asked the Supreme Court of Canada to consider whether prohibitions on communicating and operating bawdy houses violated constitutional rights for freedom of expression and the right to life, liberty and security. The Supreme Court of Canada finally ruled that the communicating law (s.195.1 of the Criminal Code) was within reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society (R v Skinner, 1990).

Work Safe


In September 1986, ASP published its first safe sex pamphlet, with both English and French, in collaboration with Montréal General Hospital and Health and Welfare Canada.

1987

In April 1987, amendments to B.C.'s Health Act (Bill 34) were introduced by Minister of Health Peter Dueck that enabled Medical Officers of Health to order HIV-positive individuals, whose sexual practices were considered “unsafe,” into “isolation, modified isolation, or complete quarantine.” The legislation was met with well-organized protests at the Vancouver Art Gallery organized by the Vancouver Persons With AIDS Society, the Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes (led by Jamie Lee Hamilton) and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. This would be the last public appearance of ASP. In the end, the bill never passed the legislature.


* CORRECTION: An earlier version stated that the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) was founded by Selma James, and that U.S. Prostitutes Collective (USPROS) was founded by Silvia Federici. These errors have been corrected. For more information on the the ECP and also on USPROS see: Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry edited by Frederique Delacoste, "Part 3 – United We Stand. Divided We Die: Sex Workers Organized." Thank you to the attentive reader who pointed out this out. I apologize for this error. ~A.S.

References






Thursday, December 6, 2018

Keep Your Laws Off Our Bawdies!

Canada set to repeal Acts of Indecency

By Andy Sorfleet 

 

Supper time on Monday, I received a report from my brilliant activist friend (and sex worker) in Ottawa, who was at the House of Commons: I'm here now. Parliament just passed Bill C-75 and repealed Canada’s bawdy-house laws!” There was a moment of disbelief.



On December 3, 2018, the third reading of Bill C-75 passed in the House of Commons (after an amendment from the NDP) repealed Criminal Code section Bawdy House for Purposes of Indecent Acts completely. This historic moment would remove Canada’s last archaic law against prostitution, used to target gay bathhouses in the 1970s and ‘80s resulting in hundreds of arrests.

Toronto Gay Bathhouse Raids Riot, February 6, 1981
Bill C-75 is now on its way to the Senate (where it may be subject to further amendments) before being passed into law. The huge omnibus bill, which aims to modernize the Criminal Code and streamline the court system, has been subject to much criticism from both community activists and pundits alike. Some of these criticisms include:
Second Reading of Bill C-75 back in March 2018 only amended the bawdy-house provisions in the Criminal Code and did not repeal it, which meant that conviction records under the law could not be expunged. Activists prepared a joint statement and asked sex-work organizations to sign on. (Bill C-75: Joint Statement on the repeal of Criminal Code laws used against LGBTQ2S+ people and sex workers)

The Liberal government did not want to fully repeal Canada's bawdy-house laws. It was only due to pressure from the gay and lesbian historians group, a network of queer, trans, sex-worker and HIV groups, and NDP MP for Victoria, Murray Rankin's motion that Bill C-75 was amended to fully repeal sections 210, 211 (transporting to a common bawdy house) and the Bawdy House heading, as well as the Vagrancy Act, from the Criminal Code.

Keeping a Brothel is Still Illegal!


Just to be clear, this does not mean keeping a brothel is now legal in Canada. This has no effect on the new 2014 Criminal Code laws (under section 286) enacted by the Harper government's Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA).

This may not seem like big sex-work news. After all, the Supreme Court of Canada Bedford decision struck down the bawdy-house section on prostitution in 2013, along with the communicating and living on the avails laws. However, PCEPA did NOT repeal the bawdy-house section, which included offences for indecent acts, used against gay bathhouses, swingers, sex clubs etc., and anywhere else more than two persons are present.

 

Sex Worker's Fight Against Bawdy-House Laws


Sex workers' fight against Canada's bawdy-house laws is as old as Canada itself. Following Confederation in 1867, the newly created federal government passed The Vagrancy Act which made the following liable to arrest: “common prostitutes; keepers of bawdy houses and houses of ill-fame; frequenters of such houses; and all persons who support themselves in whole or in part by the avails of prostitution.

A common bawdy house was defined as: “a house, room, set of rooms or place of any kind for purposes of prostitution.” The bawdy-house section was repealed and a new one enacted in 1907 with the same terms but with the addition at the end, of the words “or occupied or resorted to by one or more persons.” In 1917, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code added to the bawdy-house section “or for the practice of acts of indecency.

In 1939, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that single persons using their own premises for prostitution were indeed keeping common bawdy houses. The Supreme Court Justices in the case of The King v. Betty Cohen stated that the Criminal Code section 225, added in 1907, “clearly cover the circumstances in the present case where there was not an isolated act of fornication but a habitual occupation of the room for the purposes of prostitution.

In 1967, the Supreme Court of Canada heard a case where the appellant, Patricia Patterson, was convicted of keeping a common bawdy house. The Supreme Court acquitted her, and had this to say:

There was no evidence in the record that the home had ever been used for the purpose of prostitution or the practice of acts of indecency. It had no such reputation nor was there any evidence of undue traffic to or from the premises.
“NO MORE SHIT!”
Chris Bearchell speaking at a crowd of 1,000 or more.
Toronto, February 6, 1981. Film still courtesy: Nancy Nicol

The arrests were the result of an undercover police sting where the officer propositioned Ms Patterson by telephone, asking her to procure another girl, and to make arrangements for a suitable place to entertain him and three other undercover officers. Money exchanged hands and once the girls had removed some of their clothing, they were arrested. As a result of the Supreme Court aquittal, from then on police had to prove “habitual use.” (Read Patterson v. The Queen.)

Following the gay bathhouse riots in Toronto in 1981, a committee was formed to fight Canada's bawdy-house laws. The Right To Privacy Committee decided to challenge not only the “indecent acts” section of the bawdy-house law, but the bawdy-house law in its entirety, according to an article in The Body Politic by Chris Bearchell, “Making Allies Among Indecent Activists”:

With the bawdy-house laws, police have hit upon a formula that works for gay men, hookers and swingers. And they're using it extensively, quite possibly to create the sense that the law is being enforced impartially. It is affecting hundreds of individuals in dozens of cities. In many of these cases, people were charged with acts of indecency as well as for prostitution-related offences.

In subsequent court challenges in the years that followed however (such as R. v. Skinner, 1990), the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the bawdy-house law, until the prostitution section under bawdy-house law was struck down in 2013 in Canada v. Bedford.

 

Sex Workers Celebrate!


This is cause for a celebration! This historic moment could see the last of Canada’s archaic colonial laws prohibiting prostitution finally removed from the Criminal Code of Canada. Thank you amazing activists who made this happen! A big shout out to the gay and lesbian historians group who spearheaded this win, and to all the other organizations that took part.


Unicorn, entrance to the Peace Tower, Ottawa 2001. Photo: Andy Sorfleet

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Red Umbrella March Celebrates 6th Year with Historic Steam-Era Tour

By Andy Sorfleet

June 9, 2018 marked the sixth year of Vancouver's Red Umbrella March! This year's theme celebrated 130 years of resistance with a history tour through Gastown and the Red Light Districts from Vancouver's steam era, 1888-1915.

DeeJay and Chili Bean (holding SWUAV banner) and Triple-X's Kerry Porth (front left) and Andy Sorfleet (with bullhorn) lead the Red Umbrella March through Gastown. Vancouver, June 9, 2018.  Photo: Elaine Ayres.
 The march began at Victory Square, where organizers were met by the press as well as celebrities from Vancouver's sex industry — porn stars, companions, tantrikas, streetwalkers, dancers and activists — along with their friends and families. The first 50 people who showed up wearing red or with a red umbrella received a free copy of a special souvenir history booklet created for the event which featured archival photographs, a tour map, historic portraits of Vancouver’s Victorian era madams and ladies of evening. The booklet also recounts the origins of the "Red Umbrellas March" which began in Venice in 2001.

Vancouver's First Illuminated Sign!
A result of Vancouver's first liquor bylaw
requiring an light over the door.
The Stag & Pheasant, Water & Abbott St 1888.
City of Vancouver Archives


The first stop was at Cambie and Pender streets, once a "restricted district" called Dupont Street where houses of prostitution were allowed to operate. (Nothing official, of course.) That is until a planned railway station made it imperative that City Council have them moved by police.

The march then headed down to Water Street to the area close to where Birdie Stewart kept Vancouver's first brothel, according to court arrest records from 1886.

On the corner of Water and Abbott streets the steam-era Vancouver tour made note of the arrival of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) spurring City Council's first bylaw in 1886 to license and regulate liquor sales at saloons and hotels. Madams who ran houses nearby were the next target of the WCTU.

The parade of red umbrellas stopped near Chinatown to acknowledge Shanghai Alley and Canton Alley where many ladies were forced to move to after the crackdown on the Dupont restricted district. There were as many as 105 brothels in Chinatown in 1906 (usually single women operating out of a room).

Trilby Thorne
(Arrested April 27th, 1904.)
The re-enacted "Court Parade" then marched to Old City Hall and commemorated the ladies who defiantly marched to pay their house-of-prostitution fines and at the same time advertise their talents to attract that afternoon's customers.

The marchers congregated at Main and Hastings where they held up photos of some of the madams and ladies of the evening along with protest signs. The photographs — enlarged and printed  on placards — were discovered in old mugshot books at the Vancouver Police Museum. From there the marchers commemorated the city’s second "restricted district" on Harris Street, which was obliterated by the construction of the first Georgia Street viaduct in 1913.


Alice Bernard's Place
514 Alexander, built as a brothel
in 1912.
Down Main Street at Alexander Street the final "restricted district" (before it was closed at the start of the Great War in 1914) could be viewed, including two of Vancouver's original brothels — still standing today — Alice Bernard's place at 514 Alexander and Dolly Darlington's at 500 Alexander (now operated as supportive housing by Atira Women's Resource Society).

The last stop on the history tour was at the apex of the overpass into CRAB park. The area below the overpass was once called, "The Rancherie," where Indigenous workers for the Hastings Mill had their cedar dwellings. The Rancherie was condemned by the City health inspector, its residents displaced, and their homes and belongings burned down in the winter of 1894.

Once at CRAB park, the group gathered for the annual photo, enjoyed beverages,  feasted on watermelons and oranges, and celebrated with new friends.

At 6 p.m. some gathered again at the theatre at the Carnegie Centre for the Red Umbrella Movie Night, to watch the award-nominated documentary, No Human Involved, which draws attention to the death from torture and neglect of inmate Marcia Powell in an Arizona prison. Marcia was sent there for the misdemeanor of soliciting. A big thank you to Terence for helping organize the event as part of the UBC Humanities 101 program "Documentaries for Thinkers Series."

6th Annual Vancouver Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity
Saturday, June 9, 2018 at Create Real Accessible Beach (CRAB) beach at Portside Park, Downtown Eastside, Vancouver. Photo: Esther Shannon
The organizers wish to thank the private donors for making this event extra special, along with everyone who took time to celebrate the vibrant history that is sex workers' rights in Vancouver. The parade of solidarity got unprecedented coverage in the Vancouver Sun! (Read "Red Umbrella March celebrates history of Vancouver sex workers," by Harrison Mooney.)

Thank you volunteers for making the event run so smoothly. This year's march was the largest ever, with just over 200 participants at the peak. Thank you again this year to the courteous and professional escorts from Vancouver Police for keeping participants safe while on the road in traffic. Red Umbrella March partners in organizing: Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of B.C., Sex Workers United Against Violence, Pivot Legal Society, PACE Society, B.C. Coalition of Experiential Communities, FIRST (Feminists for Sex Work Decriminalization) and SWAN Society.

 Join us next year, Saturday June 8!

The 7th Annual Vancouver Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity plans to celebrate sex worker activists of the 1980s! Participants will reenact one of Canada's first modern-day prostitutes' protests and march down Davie Street just as the Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes did on June 8, 1984. Be immersed in the spirit and energy of the 1980s! Dress up! Dress down! Have fun! You never know, there might even be a party after. ;^) Want to volunteer and help make the day a big success? Follow us on Twitter @XXXWorkers for details.


Canada's 1st Modern-Day Protest: Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes
Broadway Street Vancouver, April 20, 1983.

Protests followed a B.C. court injunction to move the sex workers out of Vancouver's West End.
Film still from Hookers on Davie (1984)


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How I feel about becoming a sex worker

Guest Post by Hallelujah Annie


I considered doing sensual massage and escorting in the past...many times.

All those times, I was desperate.

It's true. Sex work is an option many of us choose when we're desperate...regardless of our gender.

On more than one occasion, I've gone so far as to set up a website and start grooming customers; learning everything I could from the hos who came before me.

Something or other stopped me each time.
I was not new to the biz. I did other sex industry gigs that didn't involve sexual contact with my customers.

Nude modeling. Stripper. VIP dancer. Private shows in the homes of customers I trusted. Stags. Square jobs too.

But I had fears about doing contact sex work...

First there were the complicated logistics. Where would I work? Out-call is so scary.

I was literally scared at the thought of showing up to random men's homes or hotels. I feared how ashamed my family would be if I got killed doing sex work.

Or what if they didn't hurt me, but they filmed me and released it on the Internet? That shit is eternal.

I obviously couldn't work in my home. Fear of a predator finding out where I live or cops busting me in my home prevented me from even considering it.

I've heard horror stories. Mothers losing their children and even one whose son was arrested because he was over 18 “living off the avails.”

My insecurities played into it. My body had changed enough since my exotic dancer days that I would put my first session off as long as possible.

The truth is, I was not ready to touch men's penises all those times in the past.

By the Grace of God, each time that I almost made the leap, something happened that stopped me.

I got the job I applied for. I got into subsidized housing. My sex worker friends helped me find jobs. SOMETHING saved me last minute.

I never touched a man's penis in all those years for money. Until now.

This time is different...

I am not desperate. 

I am not scared.

I am not insecure about my body. 


This time, I am ready. (I saw my first client last night.)

This time I'm excited to do my part to help heal the world...one penis at a time.

How do I feel about this new career path?


Well, in all honesty, I am relieved as fuck.

I've missed working in the sex industry. It is the place that made me who I am today.

It is the place where I grew up. I became a strong, confident woman alongside incredible, inspiring fellow entertainers.

I am relieved because the square world pays a woman my age shit. The hours suck. The expectations are high.

You're forced to plan your life around their schedule rather than your own (difficult with children).  

And there is no loyalty.

My sex worker friends are fucking loyal.

I am relieved because now, not only will I be able to make ends meet but I will be able to pay debts down, go on holidays, save money, and invest. Doors are opening financially.

I'm relieved because I love helping people. I love that my hands can bring comfort and pleasure to men starved for touch.

I love that my work will mean something.

I'm relieved because I'll be able to drive for my child's field trip and not stress about the four birthday presents I'm buying this month for other people's children.

I'm relieved to feel sexy again. Dressing up. Hair and make-up. Sexy under-pieces. High heels. I feel sexy again!

You know what I don't feel?

I don't feel bad about myself.

I don't feel ashamed.

I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong.

I don't feel pressured into it.

I don't feel exploited. (I'm the one doing the hustling here.)


Honestly...

I feel empowered.


About the Author

Hallelujah Annie is a mature, fit, Caucasian woman. She offers discreet, professional services in her own space in Vancouver BC. She also custom writes sexual fantasies for her fans on her blog at www.HallelujahAnnie.com Pay her to write YOUR fantasy! Follow her on Instagram: @hallelujah.annie and on Twitter @hallelujahannie