Sex worker Val Scott isn’t very happy these days. On Friday November 13th she tells @issue host Kevin O’Keefe that Canadian law makes prostitution a dangerous profession and perpetuates violence against women. Scott, executive director of Sex Professionals of Canada, along with sex workers Terri-Jean Bedford and Amy Lebovitch are fighting in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to strike down Canada’s laws around prostitution.
Currently it’s not illegal to sell sex. But Canadian law makes it impossible for someone to safely be a prostitute according to Scott. The Criminal Code prohibits communication for the purpose of prostitution. It also prohibits keeping a common bawdy house and living off money made through prostitution.
But decriminalization will only lead to the abuse of more women and an increase in illegal drugs and sexually transmitted diseases according to Gwen Landolt who appears in the show. Landolt is an attorney and co-founder of the conservative group REAL women of Canada. REAL women are intervening in the case. Major Brian Venables from the Salvation Army is also a guest on the show. The Salvation Army has launched a controversial ad campaign in Vancouver against prostitution. Venables argues that decriminalization will increase the human trafficking of women from developing countries to Canada to work as prostitutes.
In a final plea for support, Scott asks viewers to speak up for prostitutes when they become the butt of jokes. “One of the best things people can do is defend us. At your work place or wherever you are, if you hear a gratuitous insult about prostitutes or sex workers stand up”. This episode of @issue airs on Friday November 13th at 8PM & 11PM ET/PT. It repeats on Sunday November 15th at 9PM ET/PT.
Following the premiere of @issue on November 13th, ichannel will air the documentary, Xaviera Hollander: The Happy Hooker at 9PM and midnight ET/PT. In 1971 Hollander shocked the world when she published The Happy Hooker. The book went on to sell more than 16 million copies worldwide. Her biography on ichannel goes beyond sex to Hollander’s early years in a Japanese prison camp to finally settling down in Amsterdam to run a successful theatre company.