First Public Announcement
The first public announcement about our intention to form a sex workers' solidarity association was made by Andrew Sorfleet (speaking for the Committee to Unite Prostitutes) during his presentation to Vancouver City Council, September 22, 2011. This Council meeting had on its agenda a long-awaited adiminstrative report on the sex trade in Vancouver. Number 37 on the speakers list. (There were 45 presenters in total.)
(Vancouver City Council, September 22, 2011)
At this public meeting, Sorfleet committed to "doing 200 sign-ups for our membership. And, if we can accomplish that, then I believe we have a truly representative organization, which can speak on behalf of sex workers or at least speak on behalf of our own members."
Sorfleet had also written a letter to City Council and the Vancouver Sun.
City Council adopted the report with a unanimous vote. The motion also directed staff to "review license and enforcement policy and report back to Council with recommendations that will enhance prevention, health and safety, mitigate negative neighbourhood impacts, and support responsible business practices."
In addition, the motion directed the Mayor, as Chair of the Vancouver Police Board, "to ensure the Vancouver Police Department focus enforcement efforts to the safety and security of sex workers."
During the discussion before the vote, there was this exchange between Clr. Woodsworth and MarieClare Zak, who presented the report to Council. (Transcript from video.)
Clr. Woodsworth: "
also, and with the Task Force, I'm wondering if we're going to ensure that we're going to have all different types of sex workers whether they're professionals, or survival sex trade workers or in body-rub parlours, and their formal organizations?"
MaryClare Zak, Director of Social Policy: "The one thing we do know, and we have learned that in terms of the Task Force is the importance of community engagement is vitally important. It's also important, vitally important those who have experience the issue or are being effected by the issue now. So we need to look at ways at doing that. We also need to look at ways of involving our aboriginal communities in a way that's respectful. So we're looking at, we need to structure the task force so that's able to meet, you know, in here, the voices of these various constituents."