Wendy Babcock, RIP

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Wendy Babcock, RIP

Sex worker turned law student dies

Wendy Babcock, a former teenage prostitute and dropout who later went on to attend law school and advocate for the rights of sex-trade workers, died Wednesday. She was 32.


Babcock was found dead in her Toronto home. Details of her death have not been released but police have said they do not suspect foul play.

Babcock became a sex-trade worker at the age of 15 but later turned her focus to advocacy. Charismatic and well-spoken, Babcock became well-known as a relentless, articulate advocate for sex workers.

From 2004 to 2007 she was a key member of Sex Professionals of Canada, an advocacy group promoting the rights of sex workers and the decriminalization of Canada's prostitution laws.

In 2009 she began to pursue a law degree at Osgoode Hall law school. Her hope was to use her degree to change laws affecting sex-trade workers.


Issues Pages: 
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

RIP Wendy

Wendy had, by all accounts, a horrible childhood. She was abused by her parents, lived in a group home, became a ward of Children’s Aid Society, aged out of care, dropped out of high school, became a child sex trade worker (her client list included a very well-known current Toronto politician, lawyers, doctors, police officers etc). She had a child as a teen who was taken away and whom she never stopped fighting for. Her friend and roommate Lien Pham was murdered in October 2003.

She also had an incredible life. She became an activist for the rights of sex workers. She won the first Public Health Champion award from the City of Toronto in 2008 for her activist worker including “co-initiating a partnership with the Toronto Police Services to ensure that sex workers can report incidents of assault without fear of persecution or prosecution, and being a member of the advisory group to the Special Victims Unit.”

She earned a diploma from George Brown College’s program for counselling and advocacy for assaulted women and children. She worked at Street Health for a number of years as a harm reduction worker. She helped found numerous groups including the Bad Date Coalition, the Safer Stroll Project, Sherbourne Health Bus Sex Workers Stop, Regent Park Community Health Centre’s Sex Worker Drop In, and self defense training for sex workers.



This is tragic news unfortunately overcoming trauma is difficult work that many don't survive.

Freedom 55

This is very sad news. She left quite a legacy.

susan davis susan davis's picture


In memory of Wendy

The BC Coalition of Experiential Communities and our allies would like to extend our most heart felt  condolences to our brothers and sister in solidarity in Ontario and to the family and friends of our friend Wendy Babcock.

Some of us had the priviledge of knowing her personally and experienced the light and energy she brought to everything  she did. Her passion for challenging the systematic failings that ultimately destroyed her life was unparalled and when she was admitted to Osgood i remember feeling deep respect  for her for having the strength to lift  herself on such an amazing level.

When i met her for the first time at the XXX Forum hosted by Stella in Montreal, i was immediately struck by her personality and ability to bring people together. I remember meeting her outside the University of Quebec at Montreal and her showing me a new tattoo she had purchased to commerate the conference. It was a black triangle. Simple and plain. I asked her what it represented and she explained to me that during the 2nd world war when jews were forced into ghettos and concentration camps so were the migrant roma people, those with disabilities and of course, sex workers.

The sex workers were marked with a half of a star of david- a triangle and a number on their fore arms. She had chosen her son's birth date as her number and wore the half star of david to honor the ancient culture and pain to which she,  we... now belonged. She Showed me that what was happening to her, happening to me was part of something bigger, that i was part of something bigger

She fought tirelessly as so many sex working mothers have to be reunited with her son. I am not a mother and can only imagine the desperation of being a parent who survived foster care and now had lost a child to the same broken system.

 Even though great distances seperate us from each other, please know that sex workers in BC appreciate all of the hard work being done by amazing groups like Stella, Maggie's, SPOC, Power and the Bad Date Coalition. You have laid the foundation and continue to cut the trail for our movement and we hope you know that you have our deepest gratitude and respect.

We will be hosting a gathering in Vancouver to celebrate Wendy's life at the Ivan Hoe Pub on the edge of Vancouver's Downtown East Side in what we hope will become a national day to remember why we are all invested in this work, how hard this work is and the emotional price we all pay.

We will all raise our glasses in a moment of silence to honor her passing as is the tradition in the east end. Our thoughts will be with you all.

With love and respect,

Susan Davis

On behalf of the Bc Coalition of Experiential Communities, the West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals and the Naked Truth Cooperative On Line Community.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks for that, Susan. A sad loss indeed.