Brothel at centre of controversy

There will be an influx of sex tourism during the 2010 Olympics if a proposal to open a legal brothel is approved, said speakers at a conference on transition houses in Vancouver yesterday.

In February, Susan Davis, a sex-trade worker for 22 years, started lobbying for an exemption from federal laws against prostitution, like those granted to InSite, to open a co-op brothel.

But Daisy Kler, with Vancouver Rape Relief And Women’s Shelter, said it would only promote trafficking.

“If (prostitution) becomes legalized, (women) will have no legal recourse. How do you prove rape rather than consent?”

She said the government should instead be addressing the issues that force women into prostitution, such as welfare cuts and the high cost of living.

Libby Davies, Vancouver East MP, said a co-op brothel would keep street prostitutes out of alleys and locked cars.

“I advocate … better programs that help women exit the sex trade … but tonight, tomorrow night, next week, there’s still going to be women out on the street. What do we do to protect them (in the meantime)?”

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