City Moves to Make Prostitution Safer

Thursday, September 11, 2003

by CBC News BC, WebPosted Sep 11 2003

VANCOUVER - Vancouver city council has decided to make it easier for prostitutes to work out of their homes, approving a bylaw allowing people to operate businesses in their homes in the downtown core.

In a 4-3 decision, council went against staff recommendations and voted to include sex-trade workers in the plan.

LINK: Staff report on changes

Councillor Ellen Woodsworth believes it's important to give prostitutes the option to work out of their homes.

"Having worked in the Downtown Eastside for the past 10 years, I have seen so much violence against people working in the sex trade.

"And many of them are on the streets because they're not able to live and work in their residences."

Councillors Peter Ladner, Sam Sullivan and Fred Bass voted against the change. They all said they were concerned there wasn't enough public consultation.

Sex trade advocate Jamie-Lee Hamilton applauds council's decision, saying it makes life safer for prostitutes.

"We've had a horrendous situation that befell sex workers with the serial predators and the serial killings," she says. "And this council said we can't stand by and allow that to continue endlessly."

Council is expected to give its final approval to the bylaw next month.