Magazine article Herizons

Prostitutes Solicit Ottawa

Magazine article Herizons

Prostitutes Solicit Ottawa

Article excerpt

In her 21 years as a sex worker, Susan Davis, 39, has known countless peers who have died of suicide, murder, AIDS or drug overdoses in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Davis and other local sex workers have banded together to establish Canada's first cooperative brothel and they want Ottawa to grant them an exemption so they can set up a co-op brothel during the 2010 Winter Olympics. They say it will give them a safe place to work as officials polish the city's image forthe Games.

The British Columbia Coalition of Experiential Women is already setting the groundwork to open the co-op brothel. Members have begun scouting for a location and are enlisting the backing of local businesses, police and labour organizations.

Faced with the task of cleaning up the city to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver authorities said they are open to the idea.

"We would be willing to explore anything that ... would be helping the situation of sex trade workers, and make it safer for them and make it better for the community," said Vancouver police spokesperson Howard Chow. He noted one requirement: "It has to be something that is lawful."

Prostitution itself is legal in Canada. However, since most activities associated with it are not-such as soliciting sexual services in a public place, operating a bawdy house and living off the avails of prostitution-the group wants an exemption. Ottawa has already allowed the operation of a safe, supervised injection site in the city, where authorities give amnesty to intravenous drug users. …

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