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In Defense of sex worker's ads vs. trafficking
12-22-2017, 04:41 AM (This post was last modified: 12-22-2017 04:47 AM by davephx.)
Post: #1
In Defense of sex worker's ads vs. trafficking
In Defense of sex worker's ads vs. trafficking
In Canada, prostitution is legal, since they follow a harm reduction model. If only we followed the same harm reduction decriminalization ruling of the Canadian Supreme Court. However, they still have their religious zealots trying to control folks sex lives.

A Toronto bar has started a war with NOW Magazine which is similar to Backpage which includes sex worker ads. They are spreading signs including on public art reading "NOW Sells Sex Slaves" and writing letters to advertisers that NOW "facilititates human trafficking."

In NOW, Valerie Scott who was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case declaring the prior law against incalls unconstitutional (outcall has always been legal) points out:

Sex workers abhor human trafficking. Human trafficking is not sex work. And NOW does not “facilitate human trafficking.” In fact, quite the opposite. By publishing the ads of sex workers, NOW facilitates our ability to remain safe and independent.

But religious fundamentalists – and some old-school feminists – have formed alliances and been quite successful in redefining all sex work as human trafficking. In their view, all adult women are incapable of making the choice of whom to have sex with if money is involved. And the owner of this bar has joined forces with them. (The bar was the subject of a NOW story in 2015 over transphobic posts on its Twitter and Instagram accounts.)

NOW Magazine has published sex workers’ ads since its founding in 1981. Many sex workers in the GTA, including myself, either used to or continue to run our ads in NOW.

Sex workers generally like to work together in locations we share, or with small agencies for safety and also for each other’s company. Even those of us who prefer to work alone arrange safe call systems with a colleague or a trusted friend. The ability to advertise is important because it allows us to screen clients much more effectively.

NOW Magazine has always stood up for our right to advertise.

In a Charter challenge to bawdy house (incalls) provisions of the old prostitution laws by Terri-Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch and myself in 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled in favour of our right to work out of our own homes on the basis that prostitution laws were forcing sex workers to work in the street and causing catastrophic harm. Laws are not supposed to cause harm.

The Court understood that harm would be vastly decreased by working indoors, together and with proper client-screening techniques.

If NOW stops running our ads, the safety and autonomy of sex workers in the GTA will be compromised.

But I doubt the owner of the bar behind the anti-NOW campaign gives a fig, because his crusade is really all about him. We sincerely believe he does not care one bit about sex workers’ safety. We are fed up with being used as pawns, whether it be to shore up votes in an election or as part of a publicity stunt.

Valerie Scott is a long-time sex worker and sex workers’ rights advocate. She was a plaintiff in the Supreme Court of Canada case that overturned the criminalization of sex work and is a co-founder of Sex Professionals of Canada.

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