B.C. NDP leadership hopeful Dana Larsen backs decriminalization of sex work

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      B.C. NDP leadership candidate Dana Larsen has pledged to work toward the decriminalization of sex work if he becomes premier.

      The former B.C. Marijuana Party leader announced in a press release today (February 14) that he would allow sex workers to unionize and form co-operatives.

      "As Premier, I would defund the police enforcement, prosecution and incarceration of offences related to the sex trade in an effort to increase safety for street sex workers," Larsen said in the release.

      “We know from the evidence that only a small minority of sex workers in Canada work on the street, the rest operate in what amounts to a legal environment as 'escorts'. We have a set of laws here that only target the most impoverished, marginalized few percent of sex workers, preventing them from unionizing, hiring security, or otherwise trying to increase their safety."

      Larsen noted that an Ontario court ruled in the fall that Canada's prostitution laws were unconstitutional.

      You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.



      Curious Onlooker

      Feb 14, 2011 at 2:32pm

      Mr Larsen, regarding legalities and other little niceties, could you tell us what relation exists between your Harry Pothead stories and the Harry Potter series of books and movies? How long can a parody be, before it is seen as mere plagiarism? What does Warner Brothers think of your publications? Do you pay any royalties? Also, after what length of time would your political aspirations be seen as a parody? Thanks.

      All 4 Common Sense

      Feb 14, 2011 at 3:52pm

      Curious Onlooker how about asking a question that actually pertains to the article? I applaud Mr. Larsen's for tackling a topic that most would rather brush under the rug. The legalization of prostitution would increase the safety of those in the sex trade as well as those that use that particular service. It would also provide another source of tax revenue. I challenge any further posters to stay on topic and debate the actual article. Not make nonsense statements, or ask pointless questions that have nothing to do with Mr. Larsen's ideals.


      Feb 14, 2011 at 4:22pm

      Okay, so we know you support Sex & Drugs...

      What's your stance on Rock N' Roll?

      Darren T

      Feb 14, 2011 at 5:48pm

      I wonder if Dana Larsen is even aware that the two most notable positions he has taken are in areas over which the provincial government doesn't really have any authority.

      East Van Arts

      Feb 14, 2011 at 6:19pm

      I also look forward to Dana Larsen's position on time travel, the colonization of Mars, and the legalization of dilithium crystals. And we thank him for keeping BC politics on the fringes of Neverland!

      provincial jurisdiction

      Feb 14, 2011 at 8:12pm

      Labour law is provincial jurisdiction, as is the funding of police. So Dana's stance on allowing sex-trade workers to form unions, and to defund the police from enforcement, is all within provincial jurisdiction.

      Vancouver and other cities all license "escorts" and charge them exorbitant business license fees. And then on the other hand, police will enforce laws that force the most impoverished se trade workers onto the street where they become easy victims.


      Feb 14, 2011 at 8:35pm

      I think Mr. Larsen would be more successful in keeping women safe if he built his platform around safeguarding women from the current economic climate for poverty in BC rather than decriminalizing ALL aspects of the sex industry.

      The only effective way to improve safety conditions for women is to use part of the money Dana Larsen intends to draw from law enforcement-related programs to fund women's shelters, affordable housing, affordable child-care, access to free legal support, exiting opportunities and programming etc.

      I personally hope he will also reconsider his position on the full-decriminalization of prostitution and research the Nordic model of prostitution law, first introduced in Sweden in 1999. This system decriminalizes those sold for sex and criminalizes those who buy sex and those who profit from the sale of others - pimps, traffickers, and brothel owners.

      I would encourage those who intend to support Larsen politically to take a look at the pros and cons of prostitution law in countries like New Zealand (fully decriminalization), Germany (legalization), and Sweden (partial decriminalization).

      glen p robbins

      Feb 14, 2011 at 9:53pm

      Yes, it takes courage to tackle subject matter that makes many people uncomfortable - but it is time to have ALL of the conversations - when most in the mainstream don't want to do anything but run out the clock.

      provincial jurisdiction

      Feb 15, 2011 at 2:59am

      Last year, the Ontario Supreme Court ruled that federal laws around prostitution are unconstitutional because they put women's lives at risk.


      Since the federal laws are invalid, this means that the regulation of sex workers and their industry is now up to the provinces.

      Dana is correct that BC should take control and regulate this industry to protect women and encourage safety and public health.


      Feb 15, 2011 at 7:53am

      Well I must say I agree with Dana. This is a topic which needs to be addressed head on. If there is one thing history has taught us is that making prostitution illegal does not stop or curb the sex trade.

      Laws an regulation need to come into place to protect those that choose to join the sex trade.

      Mainstream rather not talk about it, or miss label it.

      Bravo Dana for talking about a topic most politicians are to scared and immature to discuss.