Vancouver's Proposed Legal Brothels

In June 2007, Vancouver's Living In Community issued a report that was formulated over the course of 2 years. Action 21 of their action plan called for:

Action 21: Support the call from sex workers for the development and implementation of a multistakeholder cooperative to provide safe indoor workspaces, a code of conduct, education, and training for the most vulnerable sex workers.

Lead organizations: British Columbia Coalition of Experiential Women/Communities, with support from community and government organizations, including the Vancity Community Foundation, the Vancouver Agreement, and the Vancouver Police Department.

A safe place to work is needed immediately for the most vulnerable survival sex worker populations, who continue to work in isolated, dark and dangerous locations. Supporting sex workers to transition to less harmful conditions and non-exploitative environments, particularly from on-street to off-street locations, will reduce harm to them, increase their human rights, and keep neighbourhoods cleaner and safer.

The British Columbia Coalition of Experiential Women and Communities (BCCEW/C) is a consortium of sex worker activists who work to eliminate the oppressive systems and forces that create harm for individuals in the sex industry. BCCEW/C has been working in partnership with community organizations and sex workers themselves to explore the creation of Vancouver’s first sex worker cooperative: a massage parlour. Health and safety guidelines and a code of conduct for workers and for operating the establishment would help to ensure there would be no exploitation, safety would be maximized, and that the business was run in a way that was supportive of the health and safety of the entire community.

In Vancouver, there is a safe injection site called Insite, where drug users can legally inject drugs in the interest of harm reduction. These proposed cooperative brothels are seeking legal exemptions such as the ones under which Insite operates. There has been massive media attention on the proposed legal brothels and a degree of support from law enforcement and various levels of government.

For more information, see the Vancouver Sun "Coalition pushes for legal brothel" Nov. 12 2007

And a published Response to Vancouver Sun article Nov. 15 2007