Dana Larsen: BC Should Decriminalize, Unionize Sex Trade to Save Lives

CANNABIS CULTURE – Cannabis activist turned BC NDP Leadership Candidate Dana Larsen today announced that as Premier he would allow sex workers and escorts to unionize and form co-operatives to protect their rights and safety.

“As Premier, I would defund the police enforcement, prosecution and incarceration of offences related to the sex trade in an effort to increase safety for street sex workers.”

“We know from the evidence that only a small minority of sex workers in Canada work on the street, the rest operate in what amounts to a legal environment as ‘escorts,'” Larsen said. “We have a set of laws here that only target the most impoverished, marginalized few percent of sex workers, preventing them from unionizing, hiring security, or otherwise trying to increase their safety.

“In short, I propose we decriminalize sex work so that these men and women can unionize and improve their safety.”

According to research conducted by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the criminalization of acts related to sex work “place sex workers in circumstances where they are vulnerable to high levels of violence and exploitation, as well as potential exposure to HIV.”

Based on this and other evidence, a court in Ontario declared the criminalization of sex work unconstitutional this Fall. A similar challenge in British Columbia was approved this October. Counsel for the British Columbia constitutional challenge is the Pivot Legal Society based in Vancouver, BC.

“The laws against sex workers working from a home, working together or hiring security only result in increased victimization of these vulnerable women. These laws have been declared unconstitutional and should be struck from the books. As Premier, I would ensure that sex workers get off the street and into a safer environment.”

In recent weeks, Larsen has made campaign promises to make the Vancouver SkyTrain free for all passengers and to put warning labels and tax sugar-filled beverages.

Larsen has also promised, if elected, to end the war on marijuana in British Columbia. Since announcing his candidacy in late December, he has received endorsements from marijuana icon Tommy Chong and pot-puffing pro wrestler Rob Van Dam.

Go to VoteDana.ca to find out how you can help Dana Larsen become leader of the BC NDP. Watch videos from Dana’s campaign on YouTube.