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Sasha: On the decriminalization of sex work in Ontario

So... that happened.

Alec Baldwin uttered these unforgettable words after emerging from a car crash unscathed in David Mamet's film State And Main.

I must say I feel just about the same way. After bitching (and this would be an appropriate word, because I have been a fucking bitch about this a lot of the time) for the past 16 years about decriminalizing sex work, something wholly unexpected happened on Tuesday afternoon.

Sex work was decriminalized in Ontario.

I was picking up some groceries at Fiesta Farms when I got the news on my BlackBerry. A flurry of emails and texts from colleagues at Maggie's and other sex worker rights organizations (mostly, "WTF? Is this really happening?") proved that, yes, this was really happening.

Does the war against Aboriginal women begin at home?

Events of recent weeks have repeatedly reminded me of some long-standing questions I've had surrounding the obligations of Aboriginal communities to their members, in particular, to their female members.

These reminders have come as a series of three news stories, published separately but seemingly tied together by one underlying theme, one I am loathe to contemplate: that the systemic disregard for the lives and lot of Aboriginal women may now exist not only within the larger Canadian society, but across far too many Aboriginal communities themselves.

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Columnists

Sasha: Dispatch from a sex work conference in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Holy fuck, is it ever hot in Las Vegas in July.

Like you-could-fry-an-egg-between-your-tits hot. But it's a dry heat, as everyone says. It's dry, and for some reason that does make it somewhat more bearable -- on the hair anyway. God, my hair looked good in Vegas.

I'm not going to lie to you -- I did not want to leave Toronto. My life exploded about two hours before I had to be at the airport, and since I'd spent the past year with my life exploded while on planes, in airports and faraway places (I am now an expert at bawling my face off in foreign cities), I was kind of flipping out. Being triggered, as the womenfolk say. But I got on the damn plane. Because, come hell or high lesbian drama, I had to get to a hooker convention in Sin City.

A missing daughter: Jessie Foster's story

Jessie Foster (right) at her 2002 high school graduation with her mother, Glendene Grant. Jessie went missing in Las Vegas in March 2006 and her mother believes she is the victim of human trafficking. Photo courtesy of Glendene Grant.
Jessie Foster (right) at her 2002 high school graduation with her mother, Glendene Grant. Jessie went missing in Las Vegas in March 2006 and her mother believes she is the victim of human trafficking.

Related rabble.ca story:

A missing daughter: Jessie Foster's story

Jessie Foster (right) at her 2002 high school graduation with her mother, Glendene Grant. Jessie went missing in Las Vegas in March 2006 and her mother believes she is the victim of human trafficking. Photo courtesy of Glendene Grant.

This week will be a busy one for Glendene Grant but she describes it as resulting from "a mother's passion for her child." She will appear on radio and TV, give print media interviews, and talk to anyone who will listen.

The Kamloops, B.C., internet technician lost her daughter, Jessie Foster, four years ago, after the 22-year-old disappeared from her home in Las Vegas. Grant has hardly paused in the time since, the trauma of the loss compelling her to reach out in every direction, and across international borders in the effort to locate Foster.

"I absolutely can't stop, but I've had some people ask me why I'm wasting my time. It hurts," Grant said.

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| September 10, 2014
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Image: Flickr/PJStarr
| July 14, 2014
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