Thursday, October 21, 2004


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

October 21,2004

Hi All,

Here is a letter from my group Change the Code to various Ministers. The letter is written in response to a Sex Trade Task Force created by the City of Vancouver. The Task Force has received $200,000.00 fom the Vancouver Agreement. No Sex Trade workers as yet have been part of the discussions or meetings.


Mayor Larry Campbell, Minister Murray Coell, Minister Stephen Owen


I am writing on behalf of Change the Code, a coalition of lawyers, academics, sex workers, and community individuals and organizations that are committed to reforming the Criminal Code of Canada. We understand that the Vancouver Agreement is sponsoring a project that will focus on the street level sex trade in Vancouver. As I understand it, this is an initiative of various Business Improvement Associations and the Association of Vancouver Neighbourhood Houses.

As you are aware, there is considerable support for changes to the Criminal Code of Canada ? changes that will eliminate those sections in the legislation that contribute to the endangerment of the lives of street sex workers. Specifically, I refer to those sections pertaining to communicating for the purpose of prostitution and the bawdyhouse provisions.
We are writing to encourage you to consider legislative reform as one of the elements of this project. Our organization is concerned that your project will focus on enforcement to the detriment of a positive integrated approach that acknowledges the right of sex workers to a safe work environment. Sex workers are engaged in a legal activity and must be afforded the full protection of the law.

A key question we would like answered is, what are the terms of reference for the Task Force? The Change the Code coalition would like to know what Task Force?s direction is.

Our organization wants to ensure that sex workers are central in directing this project. We believe it is important that street and other sex workers are involved, and have a real say in all levels of the project. Further, we believe that those who do should be adequately compensated for their participation.

We support efforts to ensure that the sex trade is integrated into our communities. Although we have been advised that this is the overall goal of your project, we believe that this goal can only be achieved when sex workers are involved on an equal basis with police, business, and community organizations.

We understand that the next meeting of the Task Force is slated for 9am, Wednesday October 27, at Collingwood Neighbourhood House. Might organizers consider changing the venue to a downtown location, and possible the meeting time for later in the day to accommodate the participation of sex workers?

Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to your response shortly! We cn be reached through email

Jamie Lee Hamilton,
Change the Code
(604) 781-3361

c.c. Isobel Donovan, Wendy Au, Counc Peter Ladner, City Manager Judy Rogers