(Photo credit: Peter Kim, Red Umbrella March, 2017)
Fueled by male transgressions and the unrelenting harms issuing from the White House by an oppressive US president, the 2018 Women’s March once again boasted an inspiring show of force last weekend. Millions attended marches across North America, defiantly calling out the injustices, oppression, and patriarchal systems underpinning them.
(Photo credit: Vox, Women’s Marches across the US, 2018)
But what was markedly different this year in many cities was the focus on intersectionality and a recognition of the need to centre the most marginalized voices to truly represent the diversity and inclusion this movement seeks to embrace. In Vancouver, a local trans sex worker, Hailey Heartless, underscored the need to include sex workers and the trans community as integral parts of the women’s movement.
(Photo credit: @PaceSociety; Hailey Heartless at Vancouver Women’s March; January 20, 2018)
We could not agree more, and believe that for feminism to truly embody the spirit of empowerment and liberation it must not only include, but also work to amplify the voices of sex workers and those fighting to make the profession safe.
Feminism requires listening to women and empower them to name their experiences on their own terms. It means respecting their views with regard to the policies and positions that have direct bearing on their health and safety. The majority of sex workers, and research, agrees that decriminalization would improve the health outcomes of those in the profession.
At its core, feminism is about supporting women's choices and control over their bodies. If feminism supports women's reproductive choices, and their choice to have sex (or not) with whoever they choose, an exchange of money should have no bearing on this.
Sex workers are experts at negotiating sexual consent, however, their ability to do so is seriously compromised by criminalization of their work and work places. Criminalization of the purchase of sex has led to rushed transactions on the street, as clients fear detection by law enforcement. This limits the ability of sex workers to properly screen clients and therefore increases their vulnerability to violence or exploitation. Criminalization of advertising and communication has also made negotiating with clients and screening more difficult.Read more
For years Pivot Legal Society, Sex Workers United Against Violence and the PACE Society have been fighting for the rights of sex workers. That fight led to intervening in the Bedford case at the Supreme Court of Canada in June of 2013; and on December 20th, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada released their historic decision.
Executive Director Katrina Pacey to step down as leader of BC’s leading human rights legal advocacy organization
For Immediate Release
December 21, 2017
Vancouver, BC – After 17 years of dedication to BC’s leading human rights legal advocacy organization, Pivot Legal Society, Katrina Pacey will be stepping down as the organization’s Executive Director in the new year.
“After almost 17 years, it is hard to believe that I am moving on from Pivot Legal Society, an organization that I adore and believe in so deeply,” says Pacey.
I have spent my entire legal career helping to build and shape Pivot, and I am so proud to see what it has become today. Pivot is a principled, courageous, and impactful organization and I am excited to see where its exceptional staff, board of directors, and new leadership will take it in 2018 and beyond.”
Pacey began her career with Pivot in 2001 in her first few months of law school, when Pivot was a fledgling organization created in response to the health and human rights emergency taking place in the Downtown Eastside. Pacey has worked on all of Pivot’s campaigns since that time, but for more than a decade she was lead counsel on Pivot’s sex workers’ rights campaign.Read more
It is time for Parliament to reform Canada’s laws on sex work.
The Criminal Code provisions introduced by the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) are unconstitutional and should be repealed.
This report, "Evaluating Canada's Sex Work Laws: The Case for Repeal," provides a history of the litigation that struck down previous laws and the approach taken in drafting the PCEPA. It gives an overview of the impacts that the PCEPA is having on sex workers across Canada and why the law is unconstitutional. Finally, it draws from advocacy by sex workers to make key recommendations for creating laws that respect and promote the human rights of sex workers.Read more
New report from Pivot Legal Society finds that legislation introduced two years ago threatens the physical and economic security of sex workers, fails to protect women from violenceRead more
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Fails to Respect Sex Workers’ Rights
This week, Canada is presenting its eighth and ninth periodic reports to the United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).Read more
Yesterday, Amnesty International published its policy supporting decriminalization of sex work to protect sex workers from human rights violations and abuses. The policy sends a clear message to the Canadian government: change this country’s sex work laws to abide by the state obligations Amnesty’s policy lays out.Read more