Vancouver sex workers honoured with memorial

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susan davis
Vancouver sex workers honoured with memorial

A crowd of 100 gathered Friday morning outside Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Anglican Church, at the West End intersection of Jervis and Pendrell, to unveil a memorial — a retro lamp post with a red bulb.

The memorial honours sex workers who frequented these streets until the early 1980s, when they were driven away by city hall, police and the provincial government.

“The early 1980s marked the full-fledged anti-prostitution crusade to purge sex workers from the West End,” said Becki Ross, a University of B.C. sociology professor who has specialized in the sex trade. “Davie sex workers built the foundation of what would become this city’s first Gay-bourhood, and yet hookers on Davie have never been honoured as the former fighters for gender, sexual and racial minorities.”

Critics say the displacement of the sex trade, first from their apartments to the streets and alleys, and then out of the West End altogether, forced them into the unsafe conditions that eventually made them easy prey for serial killer Robert Pickton and others.


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susan davis

and it's about time, long have ideological and morality based enforcement actions as promoted by some members here, been the cause of much suffering and death for vancouver sex workers. the police and the city have both acknowledged their role in the devastating impacts of their misguided enforcement actions in the past.

it's sure a long way from the police chief who was quoted as saying "wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire"

it's also a win in our fight against abolitionist assertions and demonstrates how reason is prevailing over hysteria.

take a cruise by and see our memorial which has nothing to do with abolition and is a testament to our resolve to gain full status as candaians.

celebrate sex workers rightss sand the fight for decrim!!!


Sad.  Glad to see people gathering in remembrance.  That reminds me, I need to write the government and opposition members about their plans for fixing Harper's flawed Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.

susan davis

thanks mark, the canadian alliance for sex work law reform are working hard on that front also. here's hoping that reason will prevail at the federal level as well


Thanks so much for this, susan.

Mr. Magoo

That's also a pretty cool memorial.  I like minimalist.


I finally was able to view the video (my NoScript plugin on Firefox sometimes bungles up such things as viewing videos.)  It was a good ceremony.  Glad to see Kwan there (though her statement was kinda meaningless fluff, but still, glad to see her there).

susan davis

the comments in the national post article are workers cause their own murders....and more....

i find it hard to believe people still feel this way about sex workers in canada...i guess i am naiive.....

their full names are posted too, they have no shame in making the comments they do....


Yeah, the article wasn't bad, but the comments are hateful guttersnipe.  Reflective of the misguided laws of our nation (and, well, sadly typical of a lot of social media commentary nowadays, which often is right-wing misogynistic anti-labour we-hate-the-disempowered kick the oppressed nimbyism crap.)

Mr. Magoo

It would be bushels of fun if every negative commenter who's ever gone to a strip bar, called a sex line, paid a sex worker, surfed for porn or bought a copy of Hustler could show up in bright red.

I think we've seen time and time and time again that social conservatives aren't actually underrepresented when it comes to supporting the sex trade.  They just like to pretend they don't until caught, then petition their God for forgiveness.