To all the charming fairies who break winter’s greyness with their magic heels. Who brave the cold to bring a bit of warmth and tenderness. Who know how to listen without judging off the beaten track desires. To all who simply need a hug or to have a roll in the hay, and others who wish to get out of their vanilla comfort zone
I still remember this unusual morning as if it was yesterday. On December 20th 2013, the highest court of this country unanimously decided the laws criminalizing sex work had to be changed. The judgment was diamond clear: each of the impugned provisions was violating the Canadian Charter of rights and freedom. For me who had been thinking about entering the courtesan universe, it was off to a good start.
Unfortunately, without much surprise the conservative party, having majority in parliament, offered us a poorly concealed dupery. Since it’s inception in winter 2014, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (C-36) has had devastating effects on sex workers.
In example, while the Bedford judgment considered the interdiction of solicitation as a major obstacle to public health and safety, C-36 basically made the situation worse by introducing a new article that criminalizes anyone who “knowingly advertises an offer to provide sexu
al services”. Since then, newspapers have stopped publishing escort advertisements and many small personal ads websites have closed shop. If some sites still stand tall despite all this, they for the most part have had to change the rules of the game so they can survive. A situation that causes many problems, especially when it comes to communication of the services and limits.
These past years, like many other autonomous workers, we turned to Twitter. A network that was allowing sex workers to promote their services, but also to exchange and weave solid communities. These good times seem over based on the recent shadowban waves, censorship v2.0 that consists of making invisible to the world a few users judged to have impure content.
Let’s not forget the Eros raid, this site was until then considered a sure bet for sex workers and clients alike. If this internationally shining platform was primarily based in the U.S., Eros’s agony will still have impacts on Canadian sex workers.
The day after the last federal elections, while Justin Trudeau had committed to review C-36, we were many to think that finally we would be heard. However, after more than two years of inaction and a rigged consultation, not to count Ottawa’s radio silence, we have to accept the honeymoon is over.
To be sure, we will have to draw from the field of possibilities of our creativity and our legendary resilience to pursue the legal battle against C-36, but we will prevail.
To my colleagues, my friends, my lovers, I wish for us that criminalization of sex work come to an end.
Gabrielle Laliberté, independant courtesan