Sunday, January 16, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Hi All!

Well the line has been drawn in the sand. Mayor Da Vinci known as Larry Campbell appears set to inflict harm on sex trade workers as he sets his sights on what may provide him an election wedge issue in a run up to the 2005 mayoral selection.

In a letter which was privately leaked to this author, Mayor Da Vinci states, " Enforcement often provides the only available mechanism to assist sex trade workers". Mayor Campbell further claims, "All charged sex trade workers are given referrals to either PEERS or PACE, and police often arrange for charges to be stayed if the individual has exited the trade". He goes on further to say, "the police are working closely with John Howard society and others to assist in the development of a Jane School as a diversion and exit strategy in getting them out of the sex trade".

What Mayor Campbell is neglectful of is that Jane school is a concept based on reform school mentality. Historically reform schools have inflicted more harm than good. To suggest that prostitutes-- which he does-- will have improved lives is not any different than the same premise which was used in taking aboriginals away from their families and placing them in residential school. And we all know only how well--in these schools--individuals were treated, victimized and harmed.

Mr Campbell appears absolutely callous in his disregard of human rights for all citizens of this city and country. Again, he needs to be reminded that prostitution is legal in Canada and he has no right to suggest otherwise. To say that sex trade workers will have to attend reform school is a blatant disregard for civil liberties

Moreover, Mayor Da Vinci appears in cahoots with the police when he says, police can arrange for charges to be laid if prostitutes do not do as we tell them. Here again, the Mayor and Police Chief are engaging in what is known as Abuse of Power. The law is quite clear here--prostitutes can only be charged if they are found to be pressing and persistent in their communicating. A judge or court of law are the only ones to determine guilt or innocence. This section of the law--communicating-- has never been tested as the police usually under the direction of past progressive police chiefs, refrained from charging sex trade workers. However, the new police chief, Jamie Graham is quite conservative and Mayor Da Vinci also being a former conservative officer, happily goes along with whatever it is that the Chief believes in.

It appears Chief Graham and Mayor Campbell will be engaging in what is known as selective enforcement and this should cause grave concern for all members of society. To say that prostitutes will be mistreated is an understatement.

Mayor Campbell's plans to fully support Jane School will be met with local, national and international opposition. He can surely expect a rocky ride. He needs to fully understand this is real life. Its not some television series where you can change things nilly willy as you see fit to fit the script..

Mayor Larry Campbell may have been able to fictionalize things while writing for television, but the laws in real life are quite another matter. Neither him nor Police Chief Graham are beyond the laws of the land.

Rounding up sex workers for reform school will be met with resistance Mayor Da Vinci-- this you can bank on-- this is not television drama--its real life!

Jamie Lee Hamilton