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The right to choose to be a prostitute upheld in Canada -their harm reduction model
08-03-2018, 06:49 PM
Post: #1
The right to choose to be a prostitute upheld in Canada -their harm reduction model
The right to choose to be a prostitute upheld in Canada -their harm reduction model

A bit unusual case from London Ontario. A 20-year old women with intellectual disabilities police said was imprisoned by a human trafficker (Dykes) and forced to have sex out of hotels. The victim’s disabilities highlighted the vulnerability of many trafficking victims, police said. Her rescue, police noted, showed how well anti-trafficking efforts were working.

(Dave notes in Canada they follow the harm reduction model and only go after "real" sex trafficking not pretend victims as in the U.S., that are consenting adults)

But the court turned the story upside down and acquitted the accused "trafficker" on all charges.

The decision takes up 25 printed pages and details the complicated relationship between the complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban and is identified as C.S., and the accused.

The Crown alleged that Dykes forced C.S. into prostitution and controlled her with threats and by taking her disability payments, cell phone and bank card.

A London police officer, posing as a client, responded to a Backpage.com ad and met C.S. at a London hotel. He asked her if she wanted police protection, the Crown alleged. C.S. said no, that she was not being trafficked. But the officer was concerned that C.S., because of an apparent disability, was not fully aware of her situation.

The next day, the officer went back to the hotel and told C.S. to wait by a police cruiser. She waited for 30 minutes while police investigated in the hotel room. When police came back, C.S. admitted she was being forced into prostitution, the Crown alleged.

But the trial heard that a Peel police officer had taken a different view of C.S., when he’d met her a month earlier. He testified that while investigating a tip about an underage sex worker he came across C.S. at a Mississauga hotel.

Although C.S. seemed naive, she showed a level of independence by confirming where she was living, using her own debit card in front of him, and spoke well of the other two women, the Peel officer testified. That officer did not consider her a victim of trafficking, but a woman who chose prostitution.

Other testimony and evidence showed C.S. could look after herself, bought her children toys and clothes, maintained a bank account, paid her share of the rent, cooked, maintained a cell phone, and kept up with friends on Facebook and texts and in person.

C.S. has a disability putting her intelligence at the level of a child aged eight to 11, but is not a child in terms of life experience and accomplishments, (Judge) Mitchell ruled. “There is no evidence to support a finding that the complainant was incapable of providing her voluntary agreement to work as a prostitute,” Mitchell said.

“Evidence at the trial painted a picture of an impressionable, but not vulnerable nor dependent, young woman striving for and attaining independence and choosing, of her own free will and cognizant of the risks of the trade, to work as a prostitute to earn money for herself, and, to a lesser degree, to support her children.” The Crown’s case relied mainly on the testimony of C.S., but her testimony was confusing, inconsistent, and not credible, Mitchell ruled.

Mitchell noted that two police officers in different jurisdictions heard the same statements from C.S. but came to different conclusions.

“C.S. was adamant (with the London officer) that she had no interest in being rescued. Their discussion was lengthy and despite (his) efforts, C.S. remained steadfast,” Mitchell said in her ruling.

“Her story only changed after she was met for the second time at the hotel by police, directed . . . to stand by the police vehicle which she did for 30 minutes, cautioned again about the risks of prostitution. “I believe she feared she might find herself in trouble with the law if she did not agree she was the victim,” Mitchell said.

Police should be considering intellectual disabilities, as well as mental illness and cultural background, in assessing whether someone is being trafficked, says Bonnie Brayton, executive director of the DisAbled Women’s Network Canada (DAWN), who was not involved in the case.

Not only do the traffickers gain financially through prostitution, they can also gain access to the social assistance payments received. But Brayton notes as well that people with disabilities have rights, including the right to choose and make their own decisions.

Women with disabilities make up a large proportion of women in the sex worker world, but there is a huge difference of choice between prostitution and trafficking, Brayton says. She wonders if London police and the Crown provided enough support for C.S. to learn all of her story, and help her through the court process.

There’s no doubt this case is “messy and confusing,” AnnaLise Trudell, manager of education and training at Anova — a London anti-violence agency and shelter — says after reading the decision. In that mess, however, are several key points about what she calls “the pressure of the rescue business.” Armed with millions of government dollars, police forces across Canada have ramped up efforts to free women, especially underage girls, from traffickers who confine, control and ship them from motel to motel for prostitution.

“How can one officer decide it was consent and another officer decide it wasn’t?” Trudell says. “It is not to say one officer was right or wrong. It is complicated.” Trudell knows the London officer involved and says he’s excellent at his job. But she questions if police are the best people to be talking to sex workers and potential trafficking victims, who often distrust police. “Is a police officer the right person who is leading that conversation? I see a police officer and I see help. But that is not everybody’s perception.” No matter how good an officer may be, their identity as an officer may pressure a woman to react one way or another, Trudell says.

Windsor has a program that puts social workers on the front lines with officers, in order to connect with sex workers. “They are mostly women who have the conversation.”

London used to have family consultants who would do that role, but that program was slashed several years ago, Trudell says. There’s a line between trafficking and sex work that police have to assess, sometimes with difficulty, she says. “That line is consent. This case comes down to, is she consenting?”

“We have heard a few horror stories and yes there is an additional vulnerability,” Trudell says. “But just because someone has an intellectual disability doesn’t mean she can’t give consent.” Many women and men can be in vulnerable positions, through poverty or emotional distress or differences in age, and can still give consent, Trudell says. The main focus for the human trafficking unit is to help victims, and make them aware of the help available, London police Const. Sandasha Bough says.

“These are challenging investigations due to the nature of the vulnerability of victims and the fear they often have of the trafficker. However, when there is sufficient evidence and reasonable grounds are obtained, the London police service will file charges.”

Much more details and how Dykes was in prison for almost 3 years awaiting trial and in 2018 found innocent of all trafficking charges since the "victim" was a consenting adult at https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/lfp-...-grey-area

As I often "preach" Canada follows the harm reduction model laid out by the Supreme Court of Canada when it affirmed lower court's decision that consenting adult prostitution is legal. Under prior law incalls, communicating and brothels were illegal but outcalls were always legal. These prior restrictions violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (aka the Constitution) since it violated the security of the person provision under the Charter. In other words, illegal prostitution increases harm so it is now legal.

Notwithstanding conservative passed C36 against customers which is not enforced by most police agencies and is expected to eventually also be ruled unconstitutional.

Consenting adult prostitutes enjoy the harm reduction model and do not fear the police as in the U.S. where our laws greatly increase harm to both customers and sex workers.

There are huge forums where thousands share reviews, ads, and in depth discussions, bad client warnings etc., for the protection of all – the opposite of the latest laws in the U.S. I have over 2300 post for example on terb.cc, the Toronto escort forum I have been active on for over 15 years and extensive trip reports on my sexworktoronto.com site.

I just wish I had the same freedom to enjoy consenting adult companions in the U.S., as I do in Canada. I am considering the FKK clubs of Germany for my next sexwork exploration, probably Frankfurt as I am following many reviews on forums.

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