A legal advocacy group in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is calling for the legalization of prostitution so that sex workers can gain access to proper health care and other basic rights and services.
The report by the Pivot Legal Society calls for the licensing of sex trade workers plus full health benefits and maternity leave, as well as legal and human rights protection.
The report's co-author, lawyer Katrina Pacey, said that should include "protection from sexual harassment, the right to income assistance or workers' compensation or the right to form a union."
"Sex workers are demanding to be considered a legitimate industry and to participate fully in Canadian society. So that cannot happen until the criminal laws have been repealed," said Pacey.
The report also calls for sex work to be taxed.
Katrina Pacey says decriminalization
would offer sex workers some
rights and protection. (CBC file)
Sex-trade worker Susan Davis, who speaks for PACE Society, a group that counsels sex workers, said she supports taxation, as long she gets the same benefits as other Canadians.
Davis, who started out on the streets of the Downtown Eastside before moving to a massage parlour, also said the legalization of the sex trade would mean more protection for the people involved.
"With education you wouldn't see them making dangerous decisions, like to step out on the street because they don't know where else to go to ply their trade."
The Pivot report is the result of two years of research with 84 sex workers in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
Young sex-trade workers often
end up on the street (CBC file)