I’m fucking heartbroken.
— Nathalie Lefebvre (@Nathalie_Ottawa) June 4, 2014
I still am. I’m fucking heartbroken. Heartbroken the Harper government and Minister of Justice Peter MacKay would so blatantly ignore the unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision in Bedford v. Canada. Heartbroken the lives of so many of my sisters and brothers in the industry will be put in harms way as the government attempts to abolish prostitution in its entirety, and I’m heartbroken by the reaction of my more privileged brothers and sisters in the industry who are telling me we should have left the laws alone and never challenged them in the first place.
The laws were challenged, rightfully so. The laws were creating an environment where the most marginalized of workers could not engage in safety measures that could save their lives (screening, verifying bad date lists, negotiating safer-sex practices, working in pairs and working in well lit areas). This is why the law was challenged. The laws also prevented us from working indoors from a permanent location, and prevented us from hiring security personnel and third parties.
We could not have anticipated a conservative government 8-years-ago, and even with the abilities to predict, we could not have known that our conservative government would slap the Supreme Court of Canada in the face and so disrespectfully disregard their decision.
Sex workers’ human rights advocates have done absolutely nothing wrong. I recognize people are fearful of how this will affect business, but people do not realize that the indoor industry will adapt. In the U.S., sex work is fully criminalized and yet they have a thriving indoor industry with websites like P411, The Erotic Review, and EROS to facilitate screening. We are lucky, we can adapt. Those that will face the brunt of this legislation is not us, it is our sisters who are working on the streets in visible and public locations. They will be prevented from screening, and in that sense, this bill will kill them and create ripe environments for perpetrators of violence. It will make it much more difficult for workers who work for agencies and spas as well, as they will not be able to advertise their services clearly and effectively.
A lot of us need to get our heads out of our asses and see the bigger picture here.
For an in-depth analysis of what the law means for sex workers, see PIVOT’s synopsis by clicking here.