Archive for the ‘sex work’ Category

Statement by HIV Community Link

Calgary, Alberta June 5th, 2014 – Yesterday Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced a new bill the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act that will reform Canada’s prostitution laws. The Government of Canada’s comprehensive and “made-in-Canada” approach will criminalize the purchase of sex, communicating for the purpose of selling sex, gaining material benefit from sex work, and advertising sexual services.

“At Shift we are reeling with disappointment following the announcement of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act,” says Susan Cress, Executive Director of HIV Community Link which houses the Shift program which provides support services to adults currently and formerly working in the sex industry. “This new legislation does not resolve the problems found by the Court in Bedford to be unconstitutional rather it imposes more danger, more criminalization and fewer safe options for sex workers.”

This bill would make it illegal to communicate sexual services in a public place that is or is next to a place where anyone under the age of 18 could “reasonably be expected to be present.” This will displace sex workers into dangerous and isolated parts of the city where they are more likely to work alone in order to avoid police detection. Sex workers will not be able to screen clients and negotiate the terms of the transaction, resulting in a much greater risk of harm that the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional back in December.

This Canadian approach is an unconstitutional variation that will lead to more violence against sex workers in Canada. At HIV Community Link, we support decriminalization of sex work which has been extremely successful in New Zealand. This model has shown no growth of the sex industry, no increase in the numbers of sex workers and no increase in trafficking. Decriminalization has improved the overall employment conditions and a decrease in violence against sex workers. Improved relationships with police means sex workers are able to report violence and expect and receive police protection.

BBBJ’s: They Don’t Exist in a Vacuum

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One day, while organizing Shift’s condom supply, I took the following photo of all of our beautifully colored flavored condoms: I wanted to post it on our blog because a) The condoms looked so adorable and pretty and b) I love writing about safe sex.  I figured I would include some facts about STI transmission […]

Joining the Conversation

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Prostitution Laws Unconstitutional On December 20, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a landmark unanimous decision (9-0) in the case of Attorney General of Canada v. Terri Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott. Canada’s highest court has ruled that three provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code, s. 210 (keeping […]

December 17th will be the 10th anniversary of The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (lovingly nicknamed Red Umbrella Day).  The red umbrella is a symbol of safety for sex workers and was first used for this purpose at a march in Venice in 2002.  Red Umbrella Day was born in Seattle as […]

Alberta MLA scandal?

Monday, July 29, 2013

An Alberta MLA made headlines recently following his arrest for the solicitation of prostitution during an American business trip.  The arrest has lead to calls for his resignation, a dismissal from his party, and a public shaming in the media. Sex is bought and sold all over the world every day, and most of it […]

Sex Worker Knowledge

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I consider it a daily honor to work with Shift clients. Sex workers have become my favorite group of people, in all their diversity and strength. The idea that I, as a social worker, am the expert helping the deficient client does not tend to apply to my clients. I learn a tremendous amount from them, […]