How can we protect prostitutes?

Kim Capri
Vancouver NPA city councillor

“It requires the investment by many partners provincially, federally, and at the local government level. The big piece that’s missing in a huge way are detox beds. We need to have a lot more addiction services and detox and treatment for women in the Downtown Eastside. There’s a dire shortage there”¦. If you’re somebody who’s living with an addiction, the window of change and the opportunity is very limited.”

Louisa Russell
Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

“Prostituted women tell us on our rape-crisis line that it’s a common occurrence for them to be raped and beaten”¦.it’s common for prostituted women to still not get adequate and effective police response. There’s a lot of talk about different strategies to reduce the harm, but I think that changing the law won’t be enough. If the normalization of prostitution is to be reversed, we have to”¦make the buying and selling of women unacceptable in our culture.”

Libby Davies
NDP member of Parliament, Vancouver East

“If the Conservative government refuses to change the law, then at least there has to be a safe house for women where they can have support programs. There is this proposal to set up a cooperative that the women will operate themselves. If the federal government and the police and the provincial government allow that to happen without coming down on them in terms of enforcement, it would be like Insite. It will allow”¦a safer space for women.”

Laurie Geschke
President, Real Women of Canada

“Criminalizing prostitutes themselves does not give them protection. We need to make a real serious offence out of what johns and pimps do. They’re the ones who are the criminals. There should be some kind of mandatory sentencing, and there’s no option when you’re caught trying to buy a woman; you’re the one who’s at fault, and you need to pay big-time. Pimps should be punished even more than the johns.”