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Queer Ontario to Harper: Back off bawdyhouse provision

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Queer Ontario to Harper: Back off bawdyhouse provision

Queer Ontario is calling on the Harper government to reverse its recently enacted anti-sex-work provision.

Last week, the Conservatives quietly announced that operating a bawdyhouse will now be considered a “serious offence."

In a statement released today, Queer Ontario says the new provision puts sex workers’ lives at risk:

Indeed, this new regulation highlights the government’s misunderstanding of the nature of sex work, which is based largely on the Conservative Party’s staunch moralism regarding sex and sexuality. Not only does the Conservative government fail to recognize the legitimacy of the consensual, self-determined work of sex professionals — not to be confused with the exploitative practices of human trafficking, a true breach of fundamental human rights! — It also flies in the face of growing evidence suggesting that centralized workplaces like bawdy houses are much more beneficial to sex workers than the street or private residences most professionals are forced to seek out as a result of these puritanical laws. That is: bawdy houses, when properly operated, have been proven to provide sex workers with clean, safe, and accessible work environments that make sex work less dangerous for professionals and their clients.

By criminalizing bawdy houses and the people who operate them, the government is only serving to endanger the bodies and lives of our nation’s sex workers, effectively working against a protection of their rights. Rights which should be granted and protected unconditionally, given the fact that the government has no legitimate reason to regulate what consenting adults choose to do with their own bodies in private.

The queer activist group calls on the government to move towards the decriminalization of sex work. 

At a protest on Parliament Hill in 2008, activists call for the decriminalization of sex work.

Last week, NDP MP Libby Davies told Xtra that it’s “outrageous” that the Conservatives changed the bawdyhouse law while Parliament is on summer break. 

"If their intent is to put a tighter grip around bawdyhouses, then that will affect sex workers, and it will affect their safety and their rights,” Davies told Xtra. “We should be very concerned about what they’re up to here.”

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If Toronto queers really
If Toronto queers really wanted to embarrass Harper and his government they should resurrect Roman tradition of Bacchanalia culminating in crowning of Regina Bordello. Toronto could field some very good candidates for this particular title; Madam Justice Carole Curtis sitting at the North York Family Court could be one of them as her claim to that title would be based on a stunt she performed during her university days; in a span of one day she had sex with all members of Concordia University football team. Other good candidate for that title would be Madam Justice Nancy L. Backhouse sitting at the University Ave. Family Court in Downtown Toronto. Her claim to that title would be the fact that she is a wife of Marty Teplisky, prominent Toronto lawyer and very prominent pimp whose escort business is supplying all members of high Toronto society with underage boys and girls for hours of well earned and well deserved fun.
Dean: the bawdy house laws
Dean: the bawdy house laws were not won in 1981 with the bathhouse raids. In fact, many arrests have been made since then, not the least of which were the ones made during the police raids on the Pussy Palace in 2000 and The Warehouse Spa in 2004. Thankfully, two Supreme Court cases from 2005 -- [i]R v. Labaye[/i] and [i]R v. Kouri[/i] -- made it perfectly legal for consenting adults to congregate in a private space (defined in these cases as an otherwise public space that one must pay to enter) for the engagement of consensual sexual acts... How these spaces differ from bawdy houses proper, and what makes them totally acceptable in the eyes of the law, is that the individuals are [i]not[/i] exchanging money for the sex per se, but for the right to enter into the space where this sex is taking place. Though why it suddenly becomes criminal to maintain that space knowing that people are exchanging money for their sex is something I can't quite understand. Hopefully Allan Young's constitutional challenge of the bawdy house laws helps highlight how absolutely moronic this is, leading to its repeal.
Sheesh I thought we already
Sheesh I thought we already fought and WON over the bawdy house laws in 1981. I guess we'll have to win it all over again. What a waste of taxpayers money. Harper et al you are shameful.
Yeah, you tell em Libby and
Yeah, you tell em Libby and you show em Queer Ontario! Yeah, that'll show em whose boss.
Many Canadians resign
Many Canadians resign themselves to believe that the Harper government is somehow restrained from its christian conservative impulses because of it's minority status. Don't let that fool you, they are intent on leaving their footprint, and they'll do it by proroguing parliament, by including socially conservative legislation within budget bills (confidence motions that inevitably pass), and by slipping stuff thru in the summertime when nobody's watching or listening. But what can we do? It's not like the divided opposition is going to force an election over sex workers rights or important census data.
I think what we need to
I think what we need to remember about bawdy houses is that a bawdy house is not most often private residences - and not simply centralized places to work as this article states. a bawdy house is any place that a person engages in sex work more than one time - the most common bawdy house is a sex worker's own home. the idea that an independant sex worker working from their own home is part of 'organized crime' is ridiculous.
Your darn right Libby people
Your darn right Libby people should be concerned about the manner in which this was done. If Harper is so concerned he should have been dealing with the issues that have driven women to be in the field period. His actions are reckless, he's a idiot and in the end he is only going to put people lives at risk.
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