Vancouver Women Want Mayor to Explain What Creating a Red Light District will Mean for Women

Wednesday, July 28 2010
Vancouver Women Want Mayor to Explain What Creating a Red Light District will Mean for Women


Mayor Larry Campbell recently stated that he is pro-red light district. Now women's equality seeking groups and anti-violence groups want to know what a red light district will mean for women.


"Mayor Campbell owes women some answers. Vancouver Rape Relief has been dealing with violence against women for 30 years. We're seriously concerned because we know that women in other places in the world have suffered as a direct result of red light districts being established." Says 0Lee Lakeman, who helps run Vancouver Rape Relief, a rape crisis centre and shelter for battered women. "So far all we've heard is murky references, no details, no real information. So far it has not been possible for most citizens to make an informed decision."


Dr. Janice Raymond, Professor Emerita of Medical Ethics at the University of Massachusetts and the Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) agrees. "The creation of red light districts in European and Asian countries has actually opened up the floodgates to increased prostitution, more exploitation and increased trafficking of women. It's a very serious thing for any civic leader to propose such a solution without discussing the drawbacks for women."


Cherry Kingsley is the Executive Director of the International Centre to Combat Exploitation of Children. She says, "There has to be a lot more support for women to exit prostitution. Most women would rather not get into it in the first place and it's a mistake to keep creating the conditions that allow people to call prostitution a 'choice' for women and kids. It's a mistake to say that prostitution is an acceptable way to deal with poverty. We have to get real about what constitutes choice for women."


Vancouver Rape Relief provided some information and initiate discussion about red light districts and prostitution at a public forum on October 10. Scheduled panelists were Ms. Lakeman, Dr. Raymond and Ms. Kingsley. Other speakers included Terri Brown, President of the Native Women's Association of Canada, and Lorina Serafico of the Committee for Domestic Workers' and Caregivers Rights. The panel moderator was Shelagh Day of the Poverty and Human Rights Project.

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