The Prisim: Canadian sex workers in London

SEPTEMBER 7, 2014 01:10 0 COMMENTS

Sexo y violencia      tabú 12On 22nd September a conference will take place to discuss this topic, due to the many changes and rules that threaten their profession.


The event, organised by the UK Collective of Prostitutes (UKCP), will feature a number of speakers from Canada – presently in London – who will speak about their experiences and the constant struggle that they face to defend their constitutional rights.

Prostitución en el Reino Unido2In particular they will explain the procedure that led them to winning their case at the Supreme Court.

In December of last year, the Supreme Court of Canada annulled the laws relating to prostitution and granted one year to Parliament in order to pass new legislation.

“Parliament has the power to regulate the damage caused, but not at the cost of the health, security and life of a prostitute”, wrote the president of the Supreme Court Beverley McLachlin when the annulment was ruled.

In recent years in the United Kingdom, prostitution has been an issue full of controversy and debate, involving many varying points of view.

This is also why, whilst the buying and selling of sex in Great Britain is legal, its practice, ‘pimping’ and the ownership of brothels are illegal.

Prostitución en el Reino Unido3The parliamentary investigation proposes to follow the laws of countries like Norway or Switzerland where buying sex is a criminal act. As a result, sex workers have raised their voices against this potential project.

In London, there have been many protests taking place around Soho, where the business of prostitution is evident.

Those working in the industry have seen how, over the years, one of the most touristic zones has been changing and incorporating cinemas, restaurants and leisure hotels. This has provoked the displacement of the profession and the closure of many ‘hostess bars’.

Thus, the next UKCP meeting is centred on the strategies and steps to follow in order to change this new situation and to fight for the recognition of prostitutes’ rights.

Prostitución en el Reino Unido6The talks will be given by Amy Lebovitch, a sex worker and executive director of SPOC – Sex Professionals of Canada; Jenn Clamen, a member of Stella, l’Amie de Maimie and the Montreal organisation of sex workers, who is also the coordinator of the Canadian Alliance for the Reform of the Law of Sex Work; Cari Mitchell of theEnglish Collective of Prostitutes, which has been organising against the proposals to penalise clients in the UK; and Valerie Scott, Amy Lebovitch & Terri Jean Bedford, the petitioners in the Supreme Court of Canada in December 2013.

Date: 22 September. Time: from 19:00 to 21:00. Location: Women’s Centre Crossroads, 25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX. For more information:

(Translated by Eleanor Gooch)