Monday, February 05, 2007


At What Cost?

Dear readers, it has come to my attention, that approximately two weeks ago, a number of male customers of sex trade workers participated in consultations with a government funded project which is reviewing sex trade and community based public safety issues. This program is run under the auspices of the Vancouver Agreement and a project partner is the Vancouver Police Department.

These users of sex trade workers, or as some people call them 'Johns', received financial compensation for their participation.

Newsworthy about this is whether the public desires their tax dollars being used in a frivolous manner? Also questionable since this issue pertains to ethical research and whether potential 'bad Johns' should be trusted to provide appropriate insight on the sex trade worker safety issue?

A number of other concerns arise which include the following:

No background check was done on these Men, which means without an appropriate pre-screening process--how would the interviewers determine whether these men haven't had past violence issues or situations in their lives? In addition, did this dialogue with the buyers of sex trade services, meet the test of ethical research methodology? Moreover, it seems bizarre that they were paid for providing information. Just to say as the funder did "they were paid to provide encouragement to attend" is problematic.

In essence, a major question is whether the public wishes to have their tax dollars going to men who have often brutalized sex trade workers? Can you imagine consulting with serial rapists or those with sadistic perversions and paying them to consult?

Taking information from 'Johns' just because they are supposedly part of the sex trade issue just doesn't make sense.

The project, Living in Community whose mandate is to collaborate with different groups to find community solutions to the street level sex trade, in my opinion, has made a horrible mistake in consulting with 'Johns'.

While many customers of sex trade workers may be decent non-violent men, whether this collaborative process should involve men who purchase the services of sex trade workers needs much broader public debate.

While some might argue that these men should be part of sex trade discussions, I would be very interested in hearing why they should?

I'm also very interested in hearing the VPD position on this, especially in light of the current Pickton trial and the recent news that the police have plans to impound the automobiles of suspected 'Johns'.

The government funders ie: Politicians need to come clean on this issue since they are the funders.

Jamie Lee Hamilton