Sex worker protest planned in response to Bill C-36
Sex workers and those who support them will gather on the front lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (June 14) to express their displeasure with the Conservative government's legislated attack on their livelihoods.
The Red Umbrella March is being held to demonstrate public support for sex workers fighting Bill C-36. If the bill becomes law, it will criminalize even discussing the purchase of sexual services, including over the telephone or on the Internet.
The Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of B.C. has claimed that the legislation is unconstitutional because it will force sex workers underground, where they will be more vulnerable to predators.
Justice Minister Peter MacKay introduced Bill C-36 earlier this month in response to the Supreme Court of Canada striking down three prostitution-related laws: those against communicating in public for the sale of sex, living off the avails of prostitution, and operating a common bawdyhouse. In the ruling, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, the court found that these laws violated sex workers' constitutional rights to freedom of expression and to life, liberty, and security of the person.
At the Red Umbrella March, there will be speakers in front of the art gallery. From there, demonstrators will walk through the Downtown Eastside, where serial killer Robert Pickton searched for his victims.
The red umbrella is the international symbol for the sex workers' rights movement.