Magazine article Herizons

No Green Light for Red Light District

Magazine article Herizons

No Green Light for Red Light District

Article excerpt

(VANCOUVER) Politicians and some feminist groups remain at odds over Vancouver city council's failed attempt to liberalize home-based escort services in the downtown core.

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Last September, the city repealed a bylaw that would have allowed prostitutes in designated areas to arrange dates from their homes as part of a 'work/live' rezoning initiative.

Some sex trade workers' organizations favoured the rezoning. According to Katrina Pacey of Pivot, a non-profit legal society that works with sex trade workers, "if women choose to engage in sex work, they should be allowed to do so in the safest possible way."

Pacey says the zoning reclassification would have provided a legal space for women to communicate for the purposes of prostitution. Under the Criminal Code, it is illegal to solicit sex for money in a public place, and this forces many prostitutes to work in unsafe places like back alleys.

"There would have been one more opportunity for a category of women to work indoors and in a setting that would provide a greater level of safety," says Pacey.

Meanwhile, Suzanne Jay of Vancouver Rape Relief condemned the bylaw as sanctioning red light districts in the city.

"We're talking about buying and selling human beings and pretending that it's a service," she says.

More than 60 prostitutes have disappeared from the city's Downtown Eastside in recent years. Fifteen have been linked to Robert Pickton, on trial for their murders. Alarmed by these developments, Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East, introduced a private member's bill last year to study Canada's solicitation laws for the first time in almost 20 years. …

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