GROWING VIOLENCE against SURVIVAL SEX WORKERS
GROWING VIOLENCE against SEX WORKERS
Below is a letter I have sent to Councilors Ellen Woodsworth and Tim Stevenson.
I'm awaiting their response.
February 26, 2005
Councilor Tim Stevenson
Councilor Ellen Woodsworth
This is Jamie Lee Hamilton and I am officially writing to you regarding the mistreatment, abuse and violence occuring to drug addicted sex trade workers at the city licensed Venus Porn Theater located on Main street.
This issue of harm directed at the drug addicted girls who frequent the Venus theater was brought to the publics attention six months ago in a featured story of the Vancouver Courier paper. To date, nothing has been done and the women who use the Venus continue to be mistreated and harmed. What is distressing and disturbing is that the gay community who also use the theater for their public sex needs have taken to hurling abuse and making derogatory statements against the women on their gay message board--Squirt.org--which is owned by Pink Triangle Press. In fact, one of the most recent comments attributes drug addicted female sex workers with spreading Aids.
I also draw your attention to the following. The city has undertaken a campaign to close businesses in the Downtown Eastside for selling single cigarettes, stolen make-up and a couple of DVD players. In fact, eight (8) businesses in the Downtown Eastside since January, 2005, have had their business licenses revoked. In all of theses cases, considerable police and city resources were used to gather evidence. Yet it seems the city and police department are turning a blind eye to the goings on at the Venus, even though numbers of complaints have been registered.
It seems that class issues are at play in Vancouver. This is the most probable conclusion since the women at the Venus are drug addicted and engaged in the survival sex trade. While violence at the Venus Theater seems to be accepted and not spoken about, this raises very troubling concerns.
I had really hoped that the city and police had learned from the mistakes of the past involving the missing women's cases a number of years back, however, this seems not to be the case. One can only speculate as to why the city is throwing all its police and city resources into closing businesses which sell single cigarettes, yet can't seem to properly address the growing violence of females at a city licensed porn theater.
It should also be noted Councilors Woodsworth and Stevenson, that the escalating attacks appearing on local gay message boards against those involved in the survival sex trade and at the Venus theater is not acceptable. By not addressing these types of what can best be described as hate issues, one questions whether an escalation of this violence will happen as it did similar to the countless murders and victimization of sex trade workers in the downtown eastside.
This issue of anonymous assaults, victimization and violence needs to be made a number one priority of council and the mayor. Just asking for a report back is not satisfactory. Action needs to be undertaken now to ensure women in the survival sex trade at the Venus Porn theater are kept out of harm's way.
I await your response.
Jamie Lee Hamilton