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More than condoms and sandwiches : a feminist investigation of the contradictory promises of harm reduction… Graham, Erin Joan 2014

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MORE THAN CONDOMS AND SANDWICHES:  A FEMINIST INVESTIGATION OF THE CONTRADICTORY PROMISES OF HARM REDUCTION APPROACHES TO PROSTITUTION  by Erin Joan Graham  B.A., University of Lethbridge, 1986 M.A., University of British Columbia, 2007  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   Doctor of Philosophy in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Educational Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  August 2014  © Erin Joan Graham, 2014  ii Abstract	   This research explores the experiences and perspectives of women providing front-line service in organizations and agencies, both feminist and mainstream, whose mandate includes support for women experiencing violence, particularly women in prostitution. There is significant research into the experiences of women in prostitution, however, little is known about the experiences and perspectives of front-line workers employed in paid and unpaid positions in the social service industry who are providing support to women in prostitution. Their views of prostitution and the policy frameworks that inform their work are the focus of this inquiry drawing attention, in particular, to how policies framed as harm reduction shape what kinds of support women in prostitution are offered. Harm reduction is an approach initially used to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the use of illicit drugs. Since the 2003 opening of Insite, North America’s first supervised injection facility (SIF), tactics called harm reduction have been applied to other social problems, including street-level prostitution. This study argues for an approach that goes beyond mere reduction of harm, and explicates and extends a feminist response to male violence in pursuit of good old-fashioned women’s liberation.  Data for this inquiry included in-depth interviews with 16 women providing front line services. This study also examined key governmental reports on prostitution and recent court challenges regarding the legality of prostitution, including the 1985 Fraser Report on Pornography and Prostitution in Canada, the 2006 Federal report called The Challenge of Change: A Study of Canada’s Criminal Prostitution Laws, and affidavits gathered by Pivot Legal Society in 2003 from women engaged in prostitution in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.  Using a methodology informed by Dorothy Smith’s sociology for women and critical  iii discourse analysis, the contemporary and historical contexts of Vancouver’s response to social inequality as it is expressed in public discourse about prostitution and harm reduction was examined. Smith’s approach also informs analysis of the study participants’ perspectives. This work challenges the de-politicizing and pathologizing discourses of harm reduction ideology in Vancouver, and provides a forum for women on the front-lines to offer alternatives that may move us to harm elimination.  iv Preface	   This research has been approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (H10-02229).    v Table	  of	  Contents	   Abstract	  ......................................................................................................................................	  ii	  Preface	  .......................................................................................................................................	  iv	  Table	  of	  Contents	  .....................................................................................................................	  v	  List	  of	  Tables	  ............................................................................................................................	  ix	  Acknowledgments	  ...................................................................................................................	  x	  Dedication	  ...............................................................................................................................	  xii	  Chapter	  One:	  This	  Story	  Begins	  in	  the	  Middle	  ................................................................	  1	  The	  Problem	  .......................................................................................................................................	  1	  Research	  Questions	  and	  Aims	  .......................................................................................................	  2	  Three	  Broad	  Analyses	  of	  Prostitution	  ........................................................................................	  6	  Research	  Problem	  and	  Perspective	  .........................................................................................	  13	  Conceptual	  and	  Methodological	  Framework	  ........................................................................	  17	  Key	  Thinkers	  ..................................................................................................................................................	  19	  Words	  About	  Wording	  ..................................................................................................................	  21	  Locating	  the	  Researcher	  ..............................................................................................................	  25	  Significance	  of	  this	  Study	  .............................................................................................................	  27	  Summary	  and	  What	  Lies	  Ahead	  .................................................................................................	  28	  Chapter	  Two:	  Prostitution	  in	  Vancouver	  and	  Harm	  Reduction	  ............................	  30	  Part	  1	  -­‐-­‐	  A	  Brief	  History	  of	  Prostitution	  in	  Vancouver	  and	  Canada	  ...............................	  31	  Part	  2.	  Prostitution	  in	  Canada	  over	  Two	  Decades:	  Comparing	  the	  Fraser	  Report	   vi with	  The	  Challenge	  of	  Change	  ...................................................................................................................	  46	  Part	  3.	  	  Harm	  Reduction	  in	  Vancouver:	  Health,	  History,	  Politics.	  ..................................	  61	  Part	  4.	  Neoliberal	  Shifts	  at	  Home	  and	  Abroad	  ......................................................................	  71	  Summary	  ...........................................................................................................................................	  78	  Chapter	  Three:	  Conceptual	  Framework	  ........................................................................	  80	  Key	  Concepts	  ....................................................................................................................................	  81	  Evidence-­‐Based	  Practice	  versus	  Dalectical-­‐Materialist	  Praxis	  ......................................	  83	  Hannah	  Arendt:	  Public	  and	  Private;	  Freedom	  and	  Responsibility	  ...............................	  84	  Identity—Competing	  Notions	  of	  Formation	  and	  Implications	  .......................................	  89	  Bourdieu—Habitus,	  Reproduction,	  Symbolic	  Violence	  and	  Misrecognition	  .............	  92	  Bourdieu’s	  Limitations	  .................................................................................................................	  98	  Simone	  de	  Beauvoir	  and	  the	  Second	  Wave	  ............................................................................	  99	  Nancy	  Fraser	  and	  Claims	  for	  Justice	  ......................................................................................	  104	  Summary	  .........................................................................................................................................	  110	  Chapter	  Four:	  Methodology	  ............................................................................................	  112	  A	  Sociology	  for	  Women	  ..............................................................................................................	  112	  Research	  Design	  ...........................................................................................................................	  116	  Other	  Sources	  of	  Data—Pivot	  Affidavits	  ...............................................................................	  125	  Data	  Analysis	  .................................................................................................................................	  125	  Social	  Science	  that	  Matters:	  Construction	  of	  Quality	  .......................................................	  128	  Limitations	  and	  Delimitations	  .................................................................................................	  131	  Summary	  .........................................................................................................................................	  132	  Chapter	  Five:	  Pathways	  and	  Motivations	  ...................................................................	  134	  Making	  a	  Difference	  ....................................................................................................................	  134	   vii Women	  of	  the	  Diaspora	  ..............................................................................................................	  140	  Broadening	  Shared	  Horizons	  ...................................................................................................	  147	  Yearning	  for	  Connection	  ............................................................................................................	  150	  Developing	  Relations	  of	  Solidarity	  .........................................................................................	  152	  Summary	  and	  Discussion	  ..........................................................................................................	  157	  Chapter	  Six:	  Voices	  of	  Experience⎯Power	  and	  Work	  ..........................................	  162	  Perceptions	  of	  Prostitution	  ......................................................................................................	  162	  Rewriting	  the	  Script:	  Rightlessness	  and	  Appearance	  ......................................................	  166	  Incest	  and	  Victim	  Narratives	  ....................................................................................................	  168	  The	  Gravitational	  Pull	  of	  Prostitution	  ...................................................................................	  172	  Positional	  Suffering	  and	  Maxwell’s	  Demon	  .........................................................................	  174	  Misrecognition	  and	  Representation	  ......................................................................................	  181	  Expectations	  and	  the	  Victim	  as	  Avenger	  ..............................................................................	  186	  Harm	  Reduction	  and	  the	  “Hierarchy	  of	  Pain”	  .....................................................................	  189	  The	  Limits	  of	  “Barrier-­‐free”	  Service	  ......................................................................................	  200	  Summary	  and	  Discussion	  ..........................................................................................................	  203	  Chapter	  Seven:	  Pivot	  Affidavits	  .....................................................................................	  205	  Constitutional	  Challenges	  .........................................................................................................	  206	  Pivot’s	  Sex	  Work	  Project	  ............................................................................................................	  208	  The	  Process	  of	  Gathering	  Affidavits	  .......................................................................................	  209	  Stories	  of	  Despair	  and	  Resilience	  ...........................................................................................	  211	  Symbolic	  Violence/Male	  Violence	  ..........................................................................................	  212	  Relations	  with	  Police	  ..................................................................................................................	  218	  Affiants’	  Views	  of	  the	  Law	  ..........................................................................................................	  222	   viii A	  Public	  Health	  Problem	  ............................................................................................................	  230	  Misrecognition	  and	  the	  “Expert	  Witnesses”	  ........................................................................	  233	  Choice	  and	  Agency	  .......................................................................................................................	  237	  Summary	  and	  Discussion	  ..........................................................................................................	  246	  Chapter	  Eight:	  Reflecting	  Back	  and	  Moving	  Forward	  ............................................	  250	  My	  Route	  to	  the	  Research	  Problem	  ........................................................................................	  251	  Research	  Questions	  Revisited	  .................................................................................................	  253	  Findings	  and	  theoretical	  insights	  ...........................................................................................	  254	  Prostitution	  is	  the	  Oldest	  Oppression	  ...................................................................................	  258	  Limitations	  .....................................................................................................................................	  260	  Implications	  for	  Future	  Research	  ...........................................................................................	  261	  Implications	  for	  Practice	  and	  Policy	  ......................................................................................	  263	  The	  Debate	  Continues	  .................................................................................................................	  266	  Final	  Reflections	  ...........................................................................................................................	  268	  References	  ............................................................................................................................	  272	  Appendices	  ...........................................................................................................................	  295	  Appendix	  A:	  Recruitment	  and	  Consent	  Letter	  to	  Participants	  ......................................	  295	  Appendix	  B:	  Study	  flyer	  ..............................................................................................................	  298	  Appendix	  C:	  Harm	  Reduction	  and	  Prostitution	  Interview	  Schedule	  ..........................	  300	  Appendix	  D:	  Table	  Two	  Pivot	  Affiant	  Demographic	  .........................................................	  302	  	  	  List	  of	  Tables	  	  Table	  1:	  Interview	  participants	  demographic	  …………………………………………122	  Table	  2:	  Criteria	  for	  quality	  interview	  analysis	  ……………………………………….129	  	   x Acknowledgments	   Graduate school is a team sport. Which seems like a contradiction, given all the time we spend alone, beavering away at developing proposals, figuring out questions, reading reading reading, writing writing writing, thinking thinking thinking. There is no way I could have finished this dissertation, or enjoy the life I have without A LOT of help. Thank you to my patient, talented and brilliant committee—Shauna Butterwick who gracefully navigated all those fine lines between encouraging and pushing; thought with me, gave direction, room to move and boundaries, sent jobs and opportunities my way, and (apparently) never wavered in her belief that I could get this done; Janine Benedet, who explained the legal stuff (and so much else) in accessible language with dry wit and impeccable timing, and who also provided the title; and Jo-Anne Dillabough, who has always encouraged me, and consistently linked theory to theory to practice in a creative thoughtful way.  Sixteen women agreed to talk to me about their lives, their work, their vision for the future—I am grateful to you for trusting me with your histories, memories and ideas. I hope I have represented you accurately. Each of you influenced my learning and inspired me. I hope I have done justice to your contribution, and that together we are part of the bridge from women’s oppression to women’s liberation.  There are so many people who walk beside me, my loving family (the one I was born to and the one I chose), my political allies, my stalwart friends, including my buddies in the ivory tower and my PhD cohort (cooking together since 2007) and all of the Beautiful People who are trudging with me on the road of happy destiny—and to my mentors and comrades, in particular Annie Wise, the feminists of the Second Wave, and Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s  xi Shelter, all of whom have both saved and improved my life and have not ever given up the fight for our shared liberation. Kathleen Piovesan read several drafts of Chapter Seven, and gave generously of her time and intelligent analysis to help me hone and nuance my arguments. Darlene Rigo read some early work and offered encouraging and insightful suggestions. Kelly Johnston transcribed half of the interviews, and only reluctantly agreed to let me pay for dinner, Jen Bodmer transcribed the other half at a bargain rate AND helped me excavate my apartment. Maren Elfert graciously edited a late draft with speed and exacting attention to detail.  And more: my brother Shawn Graham, steady, responsible, creative and kind, Nora Randall, dear friend, provider of marching music and head of the finance committee; Polly Bak, artist, T’ai Chi and comfort food master; Trish LaNauze, wise and patient mentor; Kim Seary, forever friend and artistic collaborator, Shiho Mihami, who helped me ‘herd hamsters’ for a few terms; Louise Thauvette, my sister and haven; Deborah Knapp, from high school to now, far away and in my heart, my loyal long time pal and ally Danielle Cormier. Also Suzanne Hunt, a loving and tenacious sister, Andrea Stumpf, Isabeau Iqbal, Tara Gibb, Terry Middleton, Nora Timmerman, Maryam Nabavi, Gen Creighton, Ee-Seul Yoon, “comps coach” Sarah Mills, Hanae Tsukada, Stephanie Skourtes, Michelle Miller, Trisha Baptie, Jude Walker, Alison Walker, Stephanie Goodwin, Linh Tran, Wendy Graham, my uncle Tom Morgan, Marilyn Morgan, The Vikings of Roskilde University Adult Education Summer School 2010, and so many others, if I could name you all, this would be as long as the dissertation— And Hilla Kerner, my favourite Tzabra —I am grateful for our time together, and for what I’ve learned from and because of you—because of us.  xii Dedication	   To the Women’s Liberation Movement, especially the current and former collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, and all the radical feminists who never give up.  To Dr. Lee Lakeman, visionary feminist leader, with admiration and gratitude.  For my mother, Edith Graham, who always believes in me, and is still there to say, “Breathe deep and relax, Erin”, before I even know that I’m not doing either, and my late father, John Graham, who would be really happy about this. I miss you, Dad.   1 Chapter	  One:	  This	  Story	  Begins	  in	  the	  Middle	   The Problem Prostitution in Canada is again on the radar of public awareness. Every few years, concern for or about “public women” emerges in the media and public discourse. Vancouver, BC is a flashpoint for this concern, especially in light of such high-profile cases as that of the “missing and murdered women” of the Downtown Eastside, the trial and conviction of Robert (Willie) Pickton for the murders of many of these women, and the resultant Missing Women Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Wally Oppal. The purpose of this dissertation is to critically examine the harm reduction approach currently informing provision of services to women in prostitution in order to reveal the ideology behind this policy framework and how it informs the understanding of social problems related to violence against women. Harm reduction is examined in more detail later both in this chapter and in chapter two. Briefly, harm reduction refers to an approach initially developed to reduce the harmful outcomes of drug addictions without requiring the cessation of drug use. The study involved a review of the history of harm reduction and of prostitution in Vancouver, as well as an examination of constitutional challenges and changes with respect to prostitution. Additionally, interviews were conducted with women who work in front-line women’s services and feminist activism revealing how their practice has been affected by harm reduction policy, or informed by a harm reduction orientation. The contributions of feminist front-line activists, organizers and service providers, whom I regard as social change agents and knowledge producers, can help to illuminate the discursive and practical strategies many of these women employ to counter the harm reduction framework presently found in social services, medical  2 interventions, or legalization initiatives. We can surely go beyond slender offerings of condoms and sandwiches to women in prostitution. I hope this project can contribute at least a spark of will and vision to do this. Research Questions and Aims An overarching goal of this study is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the essential contradictions between harm reduction and feminism (particularly for this project in regard to prostitution). Though not all women who work in women-serving or human services organizations are feminists, it was feminists who founded many of those services as part of the women’s liberation movement. These services were part of a political response to what feminists understood was a political problem. A central catalyst for the initial founding of rape crisis centres and transition houses was the model of the consciousness-raising group, wherein women told each other the truth about their lives (Hanisch, 1970). From the time of the first such anti-violence interventions, however, there was an equal and opposite reaction in the form of increasing pressure to abandon an agenda of feminist, pro-woman activism in favour of depoliticized social services delivery (Schecter, 1982; Lehrner & Allen, 2009).   Harm reduction, while initially seeming to hold some promise for the humane treatment of people who were suffering, appears now to be a de-politicizing force. Never explicitly revolutionary, it has become a reformist measure, and often an end in itself —a social services strategy which undermines an activist agenda. Given the above standpoint, my research questions are: 1.  In what ways do front-line workers understand and interact with harm reduction policies, popular apprehensions of the meanings of harm reduction, and the promotions of harm reduction by state bodies to which their workplaces may  3 be accountable?  a) How did women find their way to working in these organizations, and in what ways did their path to that work affect their practices and analysis? b) What are their experiences of government influences on their workplace policies and practices, particularly their views on the relation between harm reduction and devolution of federal funding to women’s services and equality-seeking organizations? c) What are their views on how harm reduction impacts women in prostitution? 2. How can these understandings and negotiations contribute to feminist action, service provision and the relationships between public discourse and feminist praxis?   Harm Reduction  In order to situate this study, here I briefly describe a definition of harm reduction, and specific policy in use in Vancouver. I provide additional detail about the history of the ascendance of harm reduction policy in the next chapter. Harm reduction was a term initially identified and developed by medical professionals as a set of strategies along the continuum of addiction treatment1.  According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (n.d.), “harm reduction is any policy or program designed to reduce drug-related harm without requiring the cessation of drug use” (para 2).                                                  1 See for example the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website background paper on harm reduction at:  http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/about_camh/influencing_public_policy/public_policy_submissions/harm_reduction/Pages/harmreductionbackground.aspx  4 Some harm reduction strategies for drug users include access to clean needles for injection drug use, methadone maintenance programs, health care providers giving instruction to drug users on “vein care”, and low-barrier or barrier-free2 drop-in centres and shelters. Harm reduction, as described in Vancouver’s Four Pillars Drug Policy, was meant to “reduce risk of harm to communities and drug users” (MacPherson, 2001, p. 60). These harms include public disorder, nuisance and litter, as well as morbidity and mortality. Since 2003, when Vancouver’s safe injection site for users of intravenous drugs opened, there have been a number of studies3 conducted that claim Vancouver’s harm reduction strategy is a success in terms of reducing public disorder and preventing overdose deaths at the site itself (for example, see Wood et al., 2007; Small et al., 2006). This research indicates that harm reduction as a medical intervention has achieved its aims. Indeed, harm reduction seems so successful that in the last dozen years, strategies labeled harm reduction have been taken up in other areas of social services, most notably in agencies that serve women.  It is the application of harm reduction principles to front-line work with women in prostitution with which this study is concerned. On the face of it, harm reduction appears to be a set of practices that meet addicts4 (the initial targets of this approach) “with dignity and respect”, (MacPherson, 2001). However, it does not seek to get to the roots of harmful practices, to understand and ameliorate the sources of addiction. The aim of harm reduction is not to make deeper social transformations to achieve social inclusion or equality.                                                  2 Low barrier and barrier free refer to resources that people can access whether or not they are sober or under the influence of drugs.  3 A number of these studies have come from the BC Center of Excellence on HIV/AIDS research http://cfenet.ubc.ca/ accessed July 18, 2014.  4 Most especially, people who are targets of harm reduction policies use injection drugs in urban areas of poverty and pathology (such as the DTES). As I describe later, one can discern a distinctly classist character to harm reduction interventions.   5 Harm reduction is now considered a useful approach to problems related to prostitution. Most harm reduction interventions and reforms aim to scrutinize and ‘reform’ activities of women in prostitution.  I describe these measures later in this study. Harm reduction measures taken toward women in prostitution were initially meant to address HIV transmission and morbidity related to drug use, but now law reform, access to shelter and other ‘non-medical’ interventions are defined as harm reduction as well. In Canada, proponents of the total decriminalization of prostitution promote harm reduction for women engaged in street-level prostitution and consider legalization to be part of harm reduction. As noted, harm reduction has been taken up by social and medical service agencies, and in this study I address some of the effects of this promotion and women’s engagement with harm reduction.  I argue here that, framed as services for women in prostitution, feminist anti-violence theory and action and harm reduction theory and practice are contradictory and oppositional approaches. Harm reduction was and is a concern of feminist anti-violence organizing, in that transition house workers and rape crisis centre workers will meet women (including prostituted women) where they are, help them assess their situations and plan for immediate safety and eventual escape or resistance against a violent man or men. This type of harm reduction is incremental and aims to eliminate the harms women experience from men’s violence.  However, as framed by institutions of governance such as social services and medicine, harm reduction has become central to the establishment of state control of women in prostitution5 (particularly street prostitution).   In the next section, I outline the positions taken up in the current debate about how to                                                 5 Again, the targets of harm reduction in relation to prostitution are those women engaged in street-level prostitution; women who are clearly impoverished, and often also addicted.    6 respond to prostitution and then introduce the theoretical framework, methodology, my background experiences, and my standpoint as a researcher. Three Broad Analyses of Prostitution   There are three main approaches to the issue of prostitution: abolition, decriminalization (and regulation6), and criminalization and prohibition. In the fractured feminist movement, these three positions are evident in the (often vitriolic) debate about how best to act in solidarity with women in prostitution. These three frameworks can be found worldwide in various legislative approaches. For example, in 1999 Sweden introduced legislation that criminalized the purchase of sex, but decriminalized the sale of sex. The Swedes built other aspects into this legislation including comprehensive supports to women who wished to leave prostitution. In 2003, New Zealand decriminalized all aspects of prostitution, and introduced regulations in terms of licensing and taxation. In Canada, two recent court cases have challenged the constitutionality of Canada’s prostitution laws. In 2010, Judge Susan Himel ruled in favour of the applicants in one of these cases, brought to the Ontario Supreme Court by a legal team headed by Alan Young of Osgood Hall Law School. In Bedford v. Canada, (2010 ONSC 4264), she found sections 210, 212(1)(j) and 213(1)(c) of the Criminal Code are inconsistent with Section 77 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter) and declared them to be of no force or effect. The case was appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 20128 and then to the Supreme Court of                                                 6 Though promoters of decriminalization do not explicitly call for regulation of prostitution and pimping, one of the Pivot Legal Society’s reports on prostitution and decriminalization, Beyond Decriminalization: Sex Work, Human Rights, and a New Framework for Law Reform (2006), includes many recommendations to reform existing laws in order to specifically regulate aspects of prostitution.  7 Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-15.html accessed July 25, 2014). 8 This court upheld most of Himel J.’s decision, but found that section 213, the communicating law, did not violate the Charter rights of prostitutes and that the living on the avails law could be retained so long as the  7 Canada, 2013. On December 20, 2013, the panel of nine Supreme Court Justices ruled unanimously that the impugned sections did violate Section 7 of the Charter and were invalid (Canada v. Bedford, 2013). The Justices then suspended this declaration of invalidity and gave the Federal government one year to craft new legislation.  These legislative actions, including the Ontario case, and reactions to them, bring to the fore conflicting ideologies and rhetoric that infuses the very workings of feminism as it relates to prostitution. Below I summarize the three approaches and their ideological positions and also reflect on some shared perspectives.  Abolition: The goal of the radical feminist approach is the abolition of prostitution, a position that argues that prostitution is not inevitable or natural. In this analysis, prostitution is “the oldest oppression” rather than “the oldest profession”—and does not exist in societies in which women and men are equal9. Abolitionists do not believe that the majority of women in prostitution have freely chosen prostitution to make a living, and define it as a practice that men impose upon women, and, like slavery, must not be tolerated (Audet, 2009; Raymond, 2013). Prostitution, in this framework, is an exploitative, degrading, and deeply gendered (MacKinnon, 2010, p. 506) and racialized practice (Pierce, 2009, p. 10; Razack, 1998).   Sherene Razack (1998) argues, “the regulation of female bodies in prostitution is as central to white supremacy and capitalism as it is to patriarchy” (p. 339), and this regulation certainly has been and remains central to the colonization of Indigenous women. Alexandra Pierce, in her 2009 study of Indigenous women in prostitution in Minnesota, wrote:                                                                                                                                                        prosecution proved that there was exploitation of the prostitute by the person profiting (Canada v. Bedford, ONCA March 26, 2012).  9 Indigenous languages of the Gikts’an and Wet’suewet’en, Navajo and Okanagan Nations do not have a word for ‘prostitution’ – the concept was unthinkable prior to European contact (personal communication, members of The Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN), March, 2009)..   8 Native women experience sexual assault, prostitution, and sex trafficking as a continuation of the colonization process, in which Native women’s sacred selves were routinely exploited for the gratification of a person who claimed the right to do so while ignoring or invalidating the impact on the woman herself. (p. 5) Using Indigenous women in prostitution is a common practice of colonizers, and this exploitation manifests in both domestic and international trafficking. Women will leave their impoverished homelands, whether they are the over-crowded reservations in the Canadian North or the colonized, heavily mined, and now storm-ravaged cities and towns of the Philippines, and seek ways to better their lot in a “promised land”. It is no coincidence that in countries where prostitution is legalized or decriminalized, the proportion of women of colour in prostitution has increased (Cauduro, et al., 2009; Farley et al., 2004).  First Sweden in 1999, followed by Finland in 2006 (a modified version, wherein purchase of sex from trafficked or under-age persons is criminalized), Iceland in 2007, and Norway in 2009, adopted an abolitionist legal framework called “The Nordic Model” of prostitution law. The Nordic model decriminalizes the selling of sex and criminalizes those who purchase it. Sex sellers, almost always women, but also men and transsexuals in prostitution, are provided with comprehensive ‘exit’ services, including safe housing, addiction treatment if needed, livable income, and educational or job training opportunities. An essential component of the Nordic model is the development and delivery of comprehensive educational programs directed toward law enforcement, social service providers, and the public10 (Ekberg, 2004, p.                                                 10 Ekberg notes that police in Sweden initially believed the law would be difficult to enforce, but provision to police of education and training programs to increase competence and knowledge of prostitution and trafficking in human beings was effective to dispel these reservations. One year after the beginning of this training program, arrests increased by 300% (Ekberg, 2004, p. 1195).  9 1195). Other countries, including Scotland, Bulgaria, and South Korea have adopted aspects of this model.  Decriminalization: The ‘harm reduction’ approach to prostitution promotes a decriminalization and regulation scheme. The analysis of proponents of harm reduction tends to be informed by the work of such thinkers as Foucault, Derrida, and others generally regarded as post-structuralist and post-modern theorists (Phoenix, 1999; Ross, 2010; Brewis & Linstead, 2000). Acknowledging that women in prostitution give contradictory yet truthful accounts of their lives in prostitution (Phoenix, 1999), promoters of decriminalization advance arguments for prostituted women to maintain involvement in prostitution such that aspects they value11 are enhanced, while advising that regulations be implemented to ameliorate the more degrading and harmful features12. This approach, then, is inclined to frame prostitution as a service, the women thereby employed as health professionals and educators (Sanders, 2006); or as a form of labour that affords women autonomy over their working hours and better income than they could earn doing “straight” jobs and/or an expression of women’s sexuality (Ross, 2010; Weitzer, 2010; Brewis & Linstead, 2000).   A number of these authors and others who promote decriminalization, including the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW), argue that stigmatization is one of the more harmful phenomenon associated with prostitution. Radical feminist abolitionists are viewed as contributing to this harmful stigma (Weitzer, 2005, 2010; Lowman, 2011, as are                                                 11 In prostitution, unless under the control of a pimp, those engaged in prostitution say they enjoy the ability to choose the hours they work, they can make more money, tax-free, and in a shorter time than at the kind of low-level service jobs for which their education and experience usually qualifies them, and there is often a sense of both excitement and belonging afforded by the “outlaw” lifestyle (Brents & Hausbeck, 2001; Phoenix, 1999; Høigård  & Finstad, 1992). 12 These harms include physical assault (up to and including murder), rape, theft or refusal of the john to pay, diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV, and criminalization.   10 religious conservatives and others whom anthropologist Laura Agustin (2013) refers to as “the rescue industry”. A decriminalization approach argues that if prostitution was legitimated as a form of labour, and women who sold sex would be able to freely migrate to work (as many other workers must do in the globalized economy13), they would no longer need to hide or take chances without supports such as the presence of workplace security guards, health care and other benefits.  Making a distinction between “survival sex work” and “sex work” as a job, decriminalization proponents argue for a regulated, legitimized framework where neither the seller nor the buyer are criminalized. Such schemes are meant to reduce stigma for the prostituted people and institute working conditions that ensure safety. Nevertheless, they also argue that unemployed women in jurisdictions with legal prostitution should not be denied benefits if they refuse to engage in prostitution, indicating some recognition that prostitution is not like other work (Pivot, 2006, p. 31). Countries that have adopted a decriminalized or legalized framework include Germany, parts of Holland, New Zealand and parts of the United States and Australia.  Regulation: The third approach is one usually associated with the (particularly Christian) religious right. Proponents of this approach would seek to criminalize all aspects of prostitution. Such a view, which certainly complicates the arguments for radical feminists, is foregrounded by a moral argument for a law-and-order approach: “The [impugned] laws are a reflection of society’s views, soundly rooted in interfaith morality, which is that prostitution is an act that offends the conscience of ordinary Canadian citizens” (Christian Legal Fellowship et al., 2013,                                                 13 Agustin and other promoters of prostitution argue that while women and children are trafficked for sexual exploitation, a significant number of “women who sell sex” cross borders for the purpose of selling sex, and are not trafficked (Agustin, 2013; Scambler, 2007).  11 para. 2).  Feminist abolitionists will agree that prostitution “perpetuates a fundamentally offensive and abusive gender imbalance” (Christian Legal Fellowship et al., 2013, para. 5). Similarly, they may agree with the view of the Federal Conservative party when, in The Challenge of Change (2006), they dissented from the other federal political parties, stating: “the commodification and invasive exploitation of a woman’s body…violates the dignity of women and undermines efforts to build a society in which all members are respected equally, regardless of gender” (Hanger & Maloney, 2006, p. 90). However, these arguments are rooted in a patriarchal Christian ideal which often defines women, (particularly those women classed and racialized as middle- or upper-class and white), as defenders of men’s morality, even as they must be protected by men. This view does not depend upon an analysis that considers the current state of women’s substantive inequality with men, and they cannot reconcile an abolitionist argument with other claims rooted in women’s autonomy and equality (right to abortion, for example, or to lesbianism).   Shared Beliefs: Critics of the abolitionist position often conflate the radical feminist abolition argument with a conservative, usually religious argument for across-the-board criminalization.  In Chapter 2 I will address this criticism in more depth. At this juncture, I will suggest that those who argue for a harm reduction and decriminalizing approach may in fact share more views in common with the conservative and religious right than they will admit. In advancing the argument that women in prostitution operate with agency within often constrained circumstances, proponents of total decriminalization demonstrate a somewhat cynical and essentialist view of human sexuality. Instead of addressing the agency of men who purchase sexual access, and questioning the power imbalances operating within the institution of  12 prostitution, harm reduction proponents call for women in prostitution to consider themselves ‘professionals’ who make choices that must be respected. In a parallel analysis, conservatives who would criminalize both the purchaser and the prostituted argue that such an approach would punish the perpetrator (the pimp and the john) and protect the victim (the prostituted woman). In the case of both those who argue for harm reduction and those who argue for criminalization, the central argument is that the best that can be hoped for, for those engaged in prostitution, is some form of regulation or protection from the worst harms meted out to them by men who buy sex. There is a sense of hopelessness in both the decriminalization stance and the criminalization stances on prostitution.  An example of parallel arguments from these seemingly opposing sides centres on the discomfort or nuisance presented by street-level or public prostitution.  The Christian Legal Fellowship et al. (2013) argued to the Supreme Court of Canada in the most recent (and final) appeal in the case of Bedford v. Canada: “[The Intervenors] seek to ensure that prostitution is not a legitimate business…It may still exist, but nobody should be obliged to be confronted or exposed to it” (para. 6). The appellants in Bedford argued that prostitution is an occupation at risk”, but quotes several affiants who state that they were safer when they were prostituting indoors (Factum of Appellants, Bedford, Scott & Lebovitch. Bedford v. Canada, 2013, para. 25-35). Not safe, mind you, but safer14. When practiced indoors, their factum states, prostitution is less of a nuisance to the public (Factum of Appellants on cross-appeal, Bedford v. Canada, June, 2013, para. 8, 9), which seems to agree with the factum of the Christian Legal Fellowship. The Christian Legal Fellowship also argued in their factum that if prostitution laws are                                                 14 Women who have exited prostitution, and who experienced prostitution in a wide range of venues including hotels, brothels, cars, parks, the street, or apartments say they were no safer inside. I know many women personally who have told me this (also see Jeffreys, 2009; Rachel Moran in Murphy, 2013; Raymond, 2013).   13 struck down, “it will send a signal to the vulnerable in society, particularly youth, that as a last resort, they can always make a living by selling their bodies” (para. 7). It appears that they accurately depict the argument of Bedford and others who argue for harm reduction measures in regard to prostitution.  Bedford, Scott and Lebovitch state in their case that decriminalizing prostitution will enable those with limited options to make a living legally without fear of criminal sanction or stigma. The relevant question the courts should address, they assert, is not whether the woman in prostitution has chosen a “dangerous profession”, rather, “the relevant question for constitutional analysis is whether the sex worker's legal choice has been constrained and limited by state action (legislation) in a manner which affects her right to liberty and security” (Factum of Appellants on cross-appeal, Bedford v. Canada, June, 2013, p. 4, para 11). The appellants argue therefore that prostitution is one of a number of choices to which women might have access, and the main limitations imposed upon women who choose prostitution are those state actions that criminalize her. Left unspoken but implied by both those who argue for complete decriminalization and those who argue for increased criminalization, is that no matter what legal or regulatory framework emerges, options for women in prostitution, or at risk of prostitution cannot be expanded.  Through this discussion of the different positions that fuel the debates regarding which might be the best approach to prostitution, I have sketched the political landscape within which this study is located. In the next section, I discuss my position and view of the problem.  Research Problem and Perspective  When I began my doctoral work, my intention was to engage in an ethnographic case study of one women’s organization as a site of political organizing, activism and education about feminist anti-violence politics. Initially, my goal for this research was twofold: In the first place,  14 I wanted to simply record the history of feminist anti-violence work since the 1970s by way of stories of women working within one of the oldest, continuously collectively organized, rape crisis centres in Canada. Canadian feminists have a rich and proud history of activism and organizing over the course of now five decades of the women’s liberation movement. Secondly, I wished to extend the critique of harm reduction I had begun in my MA thesis (Graham, 2007), and examine how harm reduction has been applied and promoted as an appropriate response to prostitution. I merged these broad interests and eventually focused my investigation on the (often conflicted) relationship between front-line feminist activism, social services provision, and harm reduction policies and practices in relation to prostitution. As my research proceeded, tactics and policies called harm reduction which include legal challenges that aim to decriminalize prostitution (including decriminalizing buying sex, “living off the avails” of prostitution, and aspects of procuring for the purposes of prostitution) gathered steam in Canada. In response to these developments, and as my questions and thinking became more sophisticated, my focus broadened from the work of one anti-violence organization to interrogating the ways in which a wider array of women in front-line work understood and engaged with harm reduction polices in relation to their work with women in prostitution. Eventually, I decided to politicize this investigation further by using the research data I gathered to address the parallels and contradictions between harm reduction and feminist anti-violence work, including the fundamental disjunctures facing practitioners as they meet the women with whom they work, and help them to navigate “the system”. I began to see that, although all of the interviewees practiced some form of harm reduction, for most of them, their analysis of formal, or institutional harm reduction policy was a critical one.  As noted, my standpoint is that feminist anti-violence theory and action and harm  15 reduction theory and practice are deeply contradictory concepts. Harm reduction actually emerged as part of feminist anti-violence interventions, but it has been appropriated by law enforcement, medicalization and social services to assert state control of women in prostitution (particularly street prostitution).   Medical professionals or public health researchers have conducted a significant body of recent local research about harm reduction approaches to women in prostitution. Topics of investigation include: conducting HIV research with “indoor sex workers” (Remple, Johnston, Patrick, Thyndall, & Jolly, 2007); environmental and structural barriers to condom use negotiation (Shannon et al., 2009a); and negotiating safety in indoor prostitution (Krüsi et al., 2012). For example, Krüsi et al. described as ‘harm reduction’ the practice of allowing men into women’s residences in order to buy sex during ‘guest hours’.  Agency staff members provide some protection by registering “clients” as they come in (Krüsi et al, 2012, p. 1155).  On the other hand, there is comparatively little research that addresses the experience, analysis and practices of women who provide services to women in prostitution and other women escaping violence (Lakeman, 2005; Pence, 2001; Lehrner & Allen, 2009; Beres, Crow, & Gotell, 2009). There is almost none that specifically discusses the experiences these workers have of harm reduction approaches to prostitution. Why Front Line Workers? The “jumping off” point of my research is my own work and activist experience, informed and extended through the experiences and understanding of women who provide front-line anti-violence interventions, advocacy, support and health care to women. The agents who develop policy for social and medical services to women in prostitution are, in general, not the same people who implement these policies. In the debate about what to do  16 about Vancouver’s sex industry, the voices of “experiential women15” are sought by activists, politicians, bureaucrats and journalists (Pivot, 2004; 2006; Hanger & Maloney, 2006). I sought the voices of another group of experiential women—those women who work in rape crisis centres, drop-in and resource centres for women, transition houses or health care centres. These are women who regularly provide support services, advocacy and organizing opportunities to women living in poverty, and women escaping violence, including prostitution. Their experiences of providing these interventions, and of collaborating with colleagues and allies to improve the chances of women in prostitution offer a layer of analysis and understanding to what we know about the conditions of women’s lives, and in turn can point to expanding horizons of opportunities for women.  Women who work in front-line services are often in a position of implementing policies created by someone else, either government or funding bodies concerned with establishing professional standards which have the effect of reinforcing hegemonic power structures. In order to understand the political intentions and effects of social policies about women on women’s lives and opportunities, it is important that the thought and praxis developed by these front-line workers and activists is present in public discourse. Therefore it is helpful to explore disjunctures between the institutionalization of harm reduction and the actual practices and attendant analysis of women who provide anti-violence interventions, advocacy, health care, and other services to women.  I have described what I mean by “front-line” in practice, but it is important at this point to note that this is also a politicized term that first came into use in the 1970s as feminists founded                                                 15 “Experiential women” are women who are or have been engaged in prostitution or another aspect of the sex industry.   17 rape crisis centres and transition houses for battered women. The term “front-line” locates the work within a political frame of women’s activism against male violence, which is crucial to maintaining women in positions of subordination to men. In the decades between the heady activism of the 1970s and the neoliberal atomizing of social movements in the early 21st century, the term ‘front-line’ has been depoliticized and taken up to describe the work, not only of feminists or activists in social change movements, but that of social workers, medical practitioners and providers of charity.  Some of the women who participated in my study did not claim to be feminists, or activists. Though they regarded their work as important and necessary including being respectful of and compassionate for the women to whom they provided support, they did not engage in systemic advocacy or activism in that sense. Nevertheless, it is in the spirit of resistance and in acknowledgment of the foundational work of the women who opened their homes and phone lines to women escaping male violence, and strategized together a vibrant feminist movement, that I use the term “front-line worker”. Conceptual and Methodological Framework Fundamentally, my theoretical framework is built upon a radical feminist politic which derives from front-line anti-violence and anti-poverty work and activism. For a fuller elaboration of this study’s conceptual framework see chapter three. Radical feminism is a branch of feminism which proposes that male domination of women is the root of oppression, from which stem other oppressions (class, race). That is to say, “the middle class [and White] studied from the same book as the men”16, and these systems of domination intertwine and uphold each other. All other conditions being equal, men in every political category dominate women who share their racialized and classed circumstances, with white, middle-and-upper class men at the                                                 16 Bonnie Agnew, front-line anti-violence worker and feminist activist, personal communication, 1993.  18 pinnacle of dominion.  Radical feminism began to emerge in the 1960s and 1970s in North America as women formed “consciousness-raising” groups in which they told each other about their lives. The phrase “the personal is political” became one of the foundational insights of the mid-late-twentieth century feminist movement (Hanisch, 1970). Through these discussions, women realized together that their individual problems were more often structural and based upon patriarchy (the normalized and structurally reinforced dominance of men as a class over women as a class). They rejected the idea that such groups were therapy, and instead used them to inform and plan feminist political actions – including rape crisis lines and transition houses. Though some academic researchers identify “male violence” rather than the more commonly used euphemism, “domestic violence”, and develop a gendered analysis of men’s violence against women and its effects, they often name the anti-violence sector of the women’s liberation movement “the battered women’s movement” (Dobash & Dobash, 1992), or the “domestic violence movement” (Lehrner & Allen, 2009). This separation of anti-violence activism and services from other feminist political work feeds into circulating populist ideals (and influences the analysis and practices of women who work in transition houses and women’s services) that this work is social service and therapeutic rather than political action (Beris, Crow & Gotell, 2009; Lehrner & Allen, 2009).  The notion of praxis is central to feminist organizing and anti-violence work, as well as a fundamental component of the political and sociological thought of the theorists to whom I have turned to make meaning of my research. Paulo Freire called praxis “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it” (Freire, 1970, p. 33). I first learned the term when I was working in a feminist rape crisis centre. The women who trained me and beside whom I worked  19 described it as follows: When we do the work [of crisis intervention] with women who call us, the practice informs the theory, which in turn improves the practice.  Early second-wave feminists built feminist theory from the stories women told of their experiences, and then put those theories into practice by advocating, demonstrating, organizing and educating themselves in a continual dialectical process of learning, acting, reflecting, revising, theorizing, and acting some more.  Key Thinkers I rely primarily upon the thinking of Pierre Bourdieu and Hannah Arendt to analyze the research data and answer the key questions raised in this work. Both Bourdieu and Arendt offer concepts that provide me with a bigger picture and wide landscape for understanding the data collected in this study. They also help to open the space to consider in tandem conflicting or contradictory ideas (such as, for example, harm reduction and abolition). Of course radical feminist scholars and activists such as Andrea Dworkin (1998), Catherine MacKinnon (1993, 2010) and Sheila Jeffreys (1997, 2009) inform much of my own worldview and practice, and the legacy of ‘Second Wave’ feminists who revived the robust movement for women’s liberation continues to provide inspiration. Although the tide is out (the so-called ‘Third Wave’ is actually more like an undertow), I have no doubt we will rise again. I turn as well to contemporary scholars such as Nancy Fraser (1987, 2003), Beverley Skeggs (1997), Seyla Benhabib (1993),  and Susan Bickford (1996), each of whom gracefully applies the original and imaginative ideas of Arendt and/or Bourdieu to contemporary political and sociological issues.  Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, positional suffering and cultural or political capital and the reproduction thereof (Bourdieu, 1984, 1999, 2000) have provided the necessary concepts to examine the structures of society which shape us and our relations to each other and  20 to institutions and social constructs. This is particularly so in relation to power relations and the state. The agent engaged in practice knows the world…too well, without objectifying distance, takes it for granted, precisely because he [sic] is caught up in it, bound up within it; he [sic] inhabits it like a garment…he [sic] feels at home in the world because the world is also in him [sic], in the form of the habitus. (Bourdieu, 2000, p. 216)  Hannah Arendt’s work contributes to this study important insights about political action “in the public space of appearance” and the nature and problematics of the concept of freedom (Arendt, 1954, 1958/1998). Her writing on the rise of totalitarianism, the state creation of “superfluous people” (Arendt, 1948/1994), and her concerns about responsibility and judgment (2003) are particularly trenchant in discussing the conditions of women’s lives and women’s resistance in the contemporary moment.  Dorothy Smith’s (1987, 2005) ground breaking explorations of women’s lived experience and feminist discourse has informed the conceptualization as well as the methodological approach for this study. Smith draws attention to the particular ways in which women negotiate with “relations of ruling” and also describes how women’s discourses are erased or suffocated, even as they emerge (Smith, 1987). Feminist discourse, she writes, has been inexorably “integrated and quietly suffocated within the institutions”17. Much of my research data came from women doing work that is at once feminist (work that women take up and that interrogates the structures of power that shape and constrain opportunities and expectations of and for women) and feminine (that is, gendered and socially imposed as ‘natural’ dispositions of females—“women’s work”) in both paid and volunteer work. Research participants, and women                                                 17 Teresa D. Lauretis (1986), quoted in Smith (1987, p. 220).  21 like them, have historically engaged in negotiation or struggle with the “relations of ruling” as represented by government-funded and produced discourses about women. Women’s work of providing physical and emotional support which seeks to alleviate suffering is a by-product of feminist anti-violence work, though it has, I argue, eclipsed the initial goals of women’s liberation. Front-line feminist work, on the other hand, while often incorporating aspects of support, necessarily includes developing collaborative systems of women’s self-organizing while at the same time seeking to reform or replace male-dominated or patriarchal structures and systems.   Smith refers to policy documents, reports, and “action plans” as “boss texts” which reveal the dominant discourses of the time, and show at least some of the effects of policy, discourse, and the political climate and actions of the times in which they were produced. This study assumes that most women in front-line service work are acting in relation to the constraints or guidance of the boss texts of their workplaces, some of which they create together in collaboration with colleagues, others which are introduced or imposed in response to outside forces acting upon their organizations.  Smith, Arendt and Bourdieu together show how individuals are caught up in webs of relations and structures of domination that are not of their own making. Taken together, and with a strong supporting cast, these thinkers provide a window of understanding into the dilemmas related to how individuals, acting in concert within these complex webs of relation, both accommodate and resist the conforming influences of the taken for granted social arrangements of power in contemporary times. Words About Wording Prostituted Women? Sex Workers? Throughout this dissertation, unless directly  22 quoting another source, I use the terms “women in prostitution” or “prostituted women”. The terms presently in common usage among some service providers and media, that is, “sex work” and “sex worker”, are meant to reduce stigma and frame prostitution as a form of labour. The primary function of such terms, however, serves to de-stigmatize the sex industry and exploiters of women, rather than the women themselves (Bindel & Adkins, 2008, p. 6). The terminology of sexwork/er hides systemic inequalities between women and men. “Prostitution” (though by no means an adequate term), names something that men demand of women—it is a form of exploitation and coercion, and a reflection of a patriarchal version of women’s sexuality. So to use the phrase, “prostituted woman” indicates that it is a condition of her life that is not of her choosing—though there are those who claim that “sex work” is a choice, even when at best it is a decision made under duress. I made the same criticism of this language in my Master’s thesis, an investigation and analysis of Vancouver’s drug policy (Graham, 2007). In her paper, Nothing less than Heroic, Betsy Alkenbrack (2007) confronts my criticism:  I think Graham is making a very good point on one hand, but missing the point on the other. It is not university-based academics or social service workers who chose to call the women at WISH sex trade workers, but the women themselves. While I fully agree that their lives are full of contradictions, inequality and danger, they deserve to be able to name their own work. Using the word “prostitute” will not improve the situation and it doesn’t seem respectful – and respect is a foundation of both good Harm Reduction and good literacy work. (p. 31) The problem of naming or categorizing others is one that faces frontline workers and researchers (Alcoff,1991) The words we use and the meanings we ascribe to the people with whom we work, who participate in our research or whom we serve, and how we frame our  23 research and practices, have effects upon our relationships with the people, the problem and the frame we use. As Alcoff argues, who is speaking matters, as well as the words spoken: “a speaker's location … has an epistemically significant impact on that speaker's claims” (Alcoff, 1991, p. 7). In eschewing the use of the terminology “sex worker”, I do not then propose the label “prostitute” as a better concept, as Alkenbrack here assumes. I along with other abolitionists agree that using the word ‘prostitute’ as a categorizing term is problematic. I use the somewhat unwieldy term “women in prostitution” or “prostituted woman” to interrupt how prostitution has been assigned as a singular identity marker of women. Prostitution is, rather, an institution or system constructed and reinforced by other systems of domination. It is an institution that men have developed, and one that reproduces the longstanding colonial position of men’s political and social domination over women.  Alkenbrack said that respect is a foundation of harm reduction. Implied in her paper is the notion that if front-line workers are to demonstrate respect for women in prostitution, we should use the words women in prostitution use to describe themselves. Though some women in prostitution refer to themselves as “sex workers”, I argue here that to follow this example is in fact to demonstrate a failure to listen. Bickford (1996) extends Arendt’s concept of political equality and respect to encompass the embodied and messy process of listening and “the exercise of common sense” (Bickford, 1996, p. 88).  “Common sense”, writes Bickford, “allows me not merely to see from another’s location, but to evaluate my own judgments through considering the judgments of others, and then to make a decision that I can live with” (Bickford, 1996, p. 88). Both listening and speaking constitute action, or doing. When speaking about prostitution, then, to say “sex workers” instead of “prostituted women” hides the perpetrators and profiteers of prostitution, blames the victim  24 for her own exploitation and indicates a lack of the kind of common sense evaluation and consideration of judgments that Bickford describes.   Speaking of “Choice”: Much of harm reduction and pro-decriminalization discourse about prostitution concerns the idea of choice: the choices women make, often “under constrained circumstances” and the importance of respecting the agency of the women making these choices (Pivot, 2004, p. 6). Choice is certainly an important component of feminist analysis and activism—feminists have agitated for more than a century for women to have choices in terms of educational opportunities, paid work, and (perhaps most politically contentious), reproductive capacities – the choices of whether and when to bear children. Women must, feminists argue, have bodily autonomy, including freedom to choose our lovers as well as how many babies we do or do not have. Radical feminists, however, go further than making a case for women’s ability to choose; this perspective calls for larger structural and societal transformation such that the options facing women in their act of choosing all contribute to respect for and fundamental freedom of women.  In regard to prostitution, the concept of choice becomes more complicated. Choice is a noun—it describes a thing composed of other things or materials, which we could call opportunities or conditions. When men demand sexual access to women’s bodies in exchange for money, shelter, drugs, or other goods, the woman’s choices are more constrained than the choices made by the men. Of course women in prostitution make choices, but the key point here is that those who seek to act in solidarity with women in prostitution must consider the material conditions within which women make these decisions.  I often encountered the words ‘choice’ and ‘agency’ in research articles, conversations and interviews. “Autonomy” may be a more accurate term to use in regard to capacity to choose.   25 Autonomy is the capacity of the rational being to make independent and un-coerced choice—self-governance (Mautner, 2000, p. 53). Autonomy is also used to refer to the self-governance of communities or nations. One may argue whether there is, for individual actors, such a thing as truly unfettered autonomy. Indeed, if a condition of absolute autonomy is an absence of constraint, then there can be no such thing. We are guided by our base physical needs, and shaped by social/political structures to which we are born and within which we are continually in negotiation. Autonomy, as well, is contradictory to a positive notion of freedom or the freedom to be connected to others (e.g., Hannah Arendt’s notion of inter-esse18) in ways that are supportive. Positive freedom of this sort is comprised of relations between actors, in the interests of each other’s well-being and contributions to the good of the whole. Negative freedom is referred to as such because it is free of interference or pressure from without (Mautner, 2000: 41819). Chapter three further explores the concepts of autonomy, will, action, and freedom, using the work of Hannah Arendt, Pierre Bourdieu, and Nancy Fraser, among others.  Locating the Researcher During the years between my undergraduate degree and my PhD,  I had quite a few jobs: treeplanter, roofer’s helper, short-order cook, waitress, general dogsbody—then I landed in Vancouver and found the feminists. From the late 1980s, I worked (paid and volunteer) at a rape crisis center and transition houses. I was an active feminist, contributing labour, time, ideas and money to anti-violence work, including activism, though primarily my paid employment was in the field of mental health as a drop-in centre staff member, outreach worker and advocate. I arrived at graduate school with over 15 years experience working in front line services.                                                 18 “The reality of the world is its “being common”, its being between, literally, its interest (inter esse) for all those who, through their common sense, hold it in common” (Kohn, 2000, p 125). 19 Isaiah Berlin described negative liberty as “freedom from”, and positive liberty as “freedom to” in his    26 I wanted to step back from that work and try to figure out “the big picture”, to learn about methods and theories that could make sense of what I had experienced, and then to find a way to improve those practices. In most of my work places it felt like we were doing little more than stomping out fires and slapping on Band-Aids. We knew we were in a system that depended on classes of people dominating other classes, but we couldn’t figure out a way out.  In both my feminist anti-violence work and “psychosocial rehabiliation” work, the learning curve was steep and the opportunities were many. Many women taught me, and we worked together, debated, made a million mistakes and tried to keep together a shared vision of women’s liberation. There were always a few women who were my colleagues in the feminist work who had also engaged in prostitution. Often, they came to the rape crisis centre to work already politicized by their experiences in prostitution. Others became politicized through providing support and opportunities to other women, and thereby developed a political analysis of prostitution as a form of male violence. My own analysis was formed in this way, from working with, beside and on behalf of many women who have been involved in the prostitution industry20.  I am a feminist abolitionist. This standpoint is reflected in my thesis, and was integrated into the research design, archival investigations and interviews. I consulted other feminist standpoint theorists, most notably Dorothy Smith, as I further explain in the methodology chapter, and derive much of my theoretical views from colleagues and mentors such as the women I interviewed, among others. Certainly my political stance and lived experience                                                 20 I use the term “prostitution industry” here and “sex industry” elsewhere because it is an industry that commodifies and markets women’s bodies in response to men’s demand for sexual access to women’s bodies. Industries also shape and create demand for commodities for consumption, as the sex industry does to women. This terminology includes other aspects of the commodification of women’s bodies such as pornographic movies and images, “exotic dancing”, massage, or women bought as escorts or for a “girlfriend experience” (GFE).    27 influenced my analysis and writing, as they do any researcher. This is not to say that I did not ask for, listen to, or consider other viewpoints or ways of considering these issues in the course of this research. My experience as a local activist and front-line worker may have worked equally in my favour and as well as against me as I sought participants. I describe these tensions more fully in subsequent chapters.  Significance of this Study  I offer this investigation about the troubled relationship between feminist anti-violence activism and harm reduction practices at a time when harm reduction ideology gains ascendance in social policy responses to women’s inequality, and at a crucial moment in the Canadian feminist movement. Feminists around the world are now debating and deciding how best to stand in solidarity and in collaboration with women in prostitution and other aspects of the sex industry (Gangoli & Westmarland, 2006; Audet, 2009; Graham, Gullion, & Piovesan, 2012). Within a feminist context of resistance against violence against women, this study offers an alternative way to historicize the anti-violence arm of the women’s liberation movement, and to promote the theoretical frameworks developed by these women through their work of providing day-to-day front-line support, intervention and resistance against male violence.  I know that many people believe that prostitution is “the oldest profession”, and use this position in an attempt to reduce stigma against and improve safety for prostituted women without considering whether and how to decrease or end this practice. Most front-line workers, including proponents of harm reduction, want to provide the best service possible to women in difficult circumstances, and often they do good work. My ultimate aim for this project is to describe a broader horizon of expectations for women in general, and women in prostitution in particular, and to develop and strengthen potential alliances. Harm reduction approaches to street- 28 entrenched drug users, and to women in (mostly, again, street-level) prostitution, may have potential as part of a constellation of services, opportunities and approaches. Women who provide services, including the women who agreed to be interviewed for this project, are in an excellent position to offer education and recommendations for action. Though not all of the women who participated in this study would call themselves radical feminists, the work they do is historically located in feminism—the origins of these services were developed as a result of front-line feminist work. So far, it does not appear that their contributions are often recognized or taken up in social policy. My hope for this project is to contribute to the leadership of feminist anti-violence activists and workers to gain recognition and have influence in the public sphere in the interest of achieving women’s substantive equality including an end to prostitution. Summary and What Lies Ahead This introductory chapter outlined the problem, research questions, some background to the different political positions with respect to women in prostitution, my theoretical and methodological approach and provided clarification about my standpoint as a researcher. Chapter Two is a ‘map of the terrain’ of the last thirty years of harm reduction and prostitution research and discourse in Vancouver and includes a review of research literature as well as an historical tracing of the shifting geography of prostitution analysis, social services, and political reactions and interventions. It offers definitions and descriptions of harm reduction, prostitution, and legal, medical and social service research, as well as activist engagements regarding prostitution. Chapter Three outlines my conceptual framework, providing a detailed account of the contributions of the thought of Pierre Bourdieu, Hannah Arendt, Nancy Fraser, and Dorothy Smith which contributed to the analysis of the research data. These thinkers, and others, bring important concepts which were invaluable in “making meaning” of the rich, complex stories  29 which emerged from the research. Chapter Four describes the methodology I used and discusses the meaning and conditions of voice, listening, choice, freedom, and autonomy and some of the ethical dilemmas I encountered throughout the research process.  Data from interviews with sixteen women who worked in front-line women’s services and/or feminist organizations provide a main source of information and point of departure for my analysis developed in Chapters Five and Six. In Chapter Seven, I engage in an alternative reading of 90 affidavits gathered by Pivot Legal Society from prostituted people in Vancouver. Pivot Legal Society gathered these affidavits in 2003-2004 for use as evidence in their Charter challenge case. Together, the interviews and affidavits form a kind of conversation between women inhabiting different locations in the same space. These chapters serve as a comparative study of the influences and structures within which women live, and reveal both convergent and divergent themes in the lives of women who could be allies and comrades. These parallel stories, I suggest, also show the forces that keep women apart from each other, and hide our shared interests. These examples of women’s experiences in relation to the patriarchal state, and each other, are supplemented with information from government reports, policy documents and other archival materials. Finally, in Chapter Eight I provide a summary of this study and offer ideas for further research and possible alternatives to the impasse in which we find ourselves in this noisy and painful debate about prostitution.     30 Chapter	  Two:	  Prostitution	  in	  Vancouver	  and	  Harm	  Reduction	  	  The	  key	  purpose	  of	  this	  chapter	  is	  to	  provide	  a	  context	  within	  which	  to	  interpret	  the	  narratives	  from	  women	  providing	  front-­‐line	  services	  to	  women	  in	  prostitution	  and	  the	  affidavits	  of	  women	  involved	  in	  prostitution	  gathered	  by	  Pivot	  Legal	  Society	  in	  their	  challenge	  to	  the	  constitutionality	  of	  prostitution	  laws.	  There	  are	  four	  main	  sections	  in	  this	  chapter.	  The	  first	  part	  provides	  an	  historical	  overview	  of	  prostitution	  activities	  in	  Vancouver	  	  including	  key	  prostitution-­‐related	  legislative	  reforms	  and	  the	  appearance	  of	  “prostitutes	  rights”	  and	  women’s	  advocacy	  groups,	  alongside	  an	  analysis	  of	  ‘stigma	  discourse’	  as	  this	  is	  articulated	  in	  current	  research.	  	  In	  the	  second	  part	  of	  this	  chapter,	  I	  provide	  a	  comparative	  analysis	  of	  two	  Government-­‐sponsored	  research	  reports	  on	  prostitution:	  that	  had	  significant	  impact	  on	  laws	  and	  provision	  of	  services.	  Those	  two	  reports	  are	  the	  Fraser	  Commission	  Report	  on	  Pornography	  and	  Prostitution	  in	  Canada	  (1985)	  and	  the	  Special	  Subcommittee	  of	  the	  Standing	  Committee	  on	  Human	  Rights	  report	  on	  Canada’s	  Prostitution	  Laws,	  The	  Challenge	  of	  Change	  (2006).	  These	  documents	  illustrate	  shifts	  in	  Canadian	  governance,	  public	  discourse	  and	  policy	  about	  prostitution	  and	  women	  in	  prostitution.	  I	  give	  attention	  to	  them	  as	  they	  signal	  significant	  moments	  in	  the	  history	  of	  prostitution	  and	  related	  policies	  and	  laws.	  Furthermore,	  these	  reforms	  also	  illustrate	  an	  important	  period	  in	  the	  history	  of	  feminism,	  anti-­‐poverty	  action,	  and	  political	  shifts	  toward	  neo-­‐liberalism	  in	  Vancouver	  and	  Canada.	  	  	  In	  the	  third	  section,	  I	  	  turn	  my	  attention	  to	  the	  emergence	  of	  harm	  reduction	  as	  a	  key	  policy	  informing	  social	  and	  health	  services	  including	  services	  provided	  to	  women	  in	  prostitution.	  In	  this	  section	  I	  also	  discuss	  harm-­‐reduction	  research	  into	  the	  matter	  of	   31 prostitution	  from	  the	  fields	  of	  medicine,	  law,	  feminist	  theory,	  and	  cultural	  theory.	  In	  the	  fourth	  and	  final	  part	  of	  this	  chapter	  I	  locate	  this	  discussion	  of	  prostitution	  and	  related	  services	  and	  legislation	  within	  a	  broader	  neo-­‐liberal	  framework.	  Part	  1	  -­‐-­‐	  A	  Brief	  History	  of	  Prostitution	  in	  Vancouver	  and	  Canada	  In	  what	  follows	  I	  begin	  with	  an	  overview	  of	  the	  history	  of	  prostitution	  in	  Vancouver	  from	  its	  incorporation	  as	  a	  city	  in	  1886	  to	  the	  contemporary	  moment.	  For	  the	  purpose	  of	  this	  chapter,	  I	  have	  organized	  this	  review	  into	  different	  sections,	  recognizing,	  of	  course,	  that	  the	  ongoing	  debate	  and	  discussion	  about	  prostitution	  is	  not	  so	  easily	  divided,	  and	  that	  community	  related	  initiatives	  and	  legislative	  reforms	  are	  intricately	  intertwined..	  In	  the	  section	  entitled	  “Public	  Women	  in	  the	  Colonial	  City”,	  I	  sketch	  an	  early	  history	  of	  prostitution	  in	  Vancouver.	  After	  this	  historical	  mapping,	  I	  turn	  my	  attention	  to	  the	  emergence	  from	  second-­‐wave	  feminist	  anti-­‐violence	  organizations	  of	  so-­‐called	  “prostitutes’	  rights”	  groups,	  exploring	  some	  of	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  these	  and	  other	  women’s	  groups	  influenced	  and	  were	  influenced	  by	  social	  and	  political	  forces	  up	  to	  the	  present	  time.	  	  1.1	  Public	  Women	  in	  the	  Colonial	  City:	  Vancouver	  was	  born	  as	  a	  colonial	  outpost	  of	  the	  British	  Empire	  in	  the	  1880s.	  The	  original	  inhabitants	  of	  the	  land,	  several	  branches	  of	  Coast	  Salish	  peoples,	  never	  ceded	  the	  land	  to	  Europeans.	  Vancouver	  is	  a	  settlement	  built	  on	  illegally	  occupied	  territories.	  It	  was	  a	  brash	  idea	  of	  the	  colonial	  city,	  shaped	  by	  class	  divisions	  based	  on	  race,	  economic	  class	  and	  sex	  that	  fueled	  structures	  of	  domination	  and	  social	  dislocation,	  both	  reinforced	  by	  and	  reproducing	  prostitution	  and	  addiction	  (Alexander,	  2008;	  Farley,	  Lynne	  &	  Cotton,	  2005).	  These	  divisions	  essentially	  remain	  intact	  in	  present	  day	  Vancouver,	  BC	  (Farley	  et	  al.,	  2004.	  	  The	  Downtown	  Eastside	  of	  Vancouver	  (DTES)	  is	  notorious	  nationwide	  for	  its	  active	   32 drug	  culture,	  public	  prostitution	  and	  devastating	  poverty.	  Throughout	  the	  life	  of	  the	  city,	  it	  has	  been	  an	  epicentre	  of	  prostitution.	  There	  were	  very	  few	  women	  in	  early	  Vancouver,	  and	  trafficking	  of	  women	  and	  girls	  for	  sex	  from	  China,	  Japan	  and	  Korea	  was	  (and	  remains)	  a	  common	  practice	  of	  settlers	  from	  Europe	  and	  Asia	  (Keller,	  1986).	  Dupont	  Street,	  now	  the	  section	  of	  Pender	  Street	  between	  Cambie	  and	  Main	  in	  the	  Downtown	  Eastside,	  became	  the	  de-­‐facto	  “red	  light	  district”	  (Keller,	  1986)	  soon	  after	  Vancouver	  was	  rebuilt	  after	  the	  devastating	  June	  13,	  1886	  fire.	  	  	  At	  the	  time,	  the	  city	  was	  not	  prosperous,	  and	  the	  fire	  might	  have	  been	  the	  ruin	  of	  it	  but	  for	  the	  manipulations	  of	  the	  city	  administrators	  of	  the	  time.	  According	  to	  Betty	  Keller’s	  book,	  On	  the	  shady	  side:	  Vancouver	  1886-­‐1914,	  the	  first	  known	  brothel-­‐owner	  in	  Vancouver	  was	  Birdie	  Stewart	  (Keller,	  1986,	  p.	  26).	  When	  the	  city	  fathers	  went	  about	  the	  business	  of	  financing	  the	  rebuilding	  of	  the	  city,	  it	  was	  to	  Birdie	  and	  the	  other	  women	  in	  prostitution	  they	  turned	  “Every	  time	  the	  city	  got	  into	  a	  financial	  bind…the	  council	  remembered	  that	  it	  was	  possible	  to	  resolve	  that	  crisis…by	  rounding	  up	  the	  ladies	  and	  fining	  them	  for	  their	  trespasses”.	  As	  the	  women	  were	  marched	  to	  the	  courthouse,	  they	  set	  up	  dates	  with	  a	  variety	  of	  men,	  in	  order	  to	  pay	  the	  fines	  they	  were	  about	  to	  incur	  (p.	  29).	  In	  Vancouver’s	  early	  years,	  laws	  governing	  prostitution	  were	  local	  city	  bylaws	  rather	  than	  territorial	  or	  federal	  legislation	  (Vancouver	  Archives,	  City	  by-­‐laws,	  1886).	  As	  the	  city’s	  fortunes	  warranted,	  the	  architects	  of	  these	  bylaws	  set	  both	  the	  description	  and	  penalties	  of	  crime.	  In	  essence,	  the	  city	  became	  a	  pimp,	  benefiting	  from	  the	  avails	  of	  prostitution.	  .	  1.2	  City	  By-­‐Laws:	  Jumping	  forward	  to	  current	  day,	  laws	  governing	  prostitution	  are	  within	  federal	  jurisdiction,	  but	  by-­‐laws	  determining	  property	  and	  business	  zoning	  and	  licensing	  fees	  are	  under	  municipal	  jurisdiction.	  It	  is	  through	  these	  by-­‐laws	  that	  the	  city	  still	   33 derives	  money	  from	  prostitution	  related	  activities.	  Indoor	  prostitution	  generally	  takes	  place	  in	  what	  are	  known	  as	  health	  enhancement	  centres,	  which	  pay	  a	  yearly	  business	  license	  fee	  of	  $248.	  “Health	  enhancement	  centre”	  is	  a	  euphemism	  for	  brothel,	  but	  because	  the	  term	  also	  applies	  to	  legitimate	  physiotherapy	  or	  massage	  services,	  they	  operate	  with	  impunity,	  unlike	  the	  slightly	  less	  euphemistically	  titled	  “body	  rub	  parlours”	  which	  pay	  a	  fee	  of	  $9,888	  per	  annum	  (as	  of	  2013)21.	  	  This	  fee	  is	  meant	  to	  act	  as	  a	  deterrent	  “but	  of	  course	  most	  brothel	  owners	  and	  operators	  opt	  for	  the	  ‘health	  enhancement	  centre’	  option”	  (Bula,	  2012,	  Sept	  6,	  para.	  8).	  	  Print	  media	  also	  reap	  financial	  reward	  from	  off-­‐street	  prostitution.	  A	  survey	  by	  the	  Asian	  Women’s	  Coalition	  Ending	  Prostitution	  (AWCEP)	  in	  the	  fall	  of	  2008	  of	  advertisements	  in	  three	  local	  Vancouver	  free	  newspapers	  revealed	  that	  the	  combined	  income	  of	  the	  Georgia	  Straight,	  the	  West	  Ender	  and	  the	  Vancouver	  Courier	  from	  ads	  for	  escort	  services,	  massage	  centres	  and	  “adult	  entertainment”	  services	  was	  $75,000	  a	  month22.	  Many	  of	  the	  women	  in	  the	  massage	  parlours	  and	  health	  enhancement	  centres,	  as	  well	  as	  the	  women	  on	  the	  back	  pages	  of	  the	  newspapers,	  are	  trafficked	  from	  Asia	  and	  Eastern	  Europe.	  The	  women	  prostituted	  on	  the	  streets,	  on	  the	  other	  hand,	  are	  disproportionately	  Aboriginal	  women,	  many	  from	  impoverished	  reserves	  (Perrin,	  2010,	  p.	  92-­‐98).	  Vancouver	  is	  no	  longer	  using	  fines	  derived	  from	  prostitution	  to	  shore	  up	  faltering	                                                  21 City of Vancouver (2013). Licence Bylaw no. 4450, Schedule A, p. ii. Retrieved from http://former.vancouver.ca/bylaws/4450c.PDF 22 Statistics compiled by members of ACWEP as part of “Flesh Mapping: Vancouver markets pacific women”, an artful political conversation between women of the pacific rim. This statistic was featured in an installation at the Gallery Gachet as part of the Flesh Mapping Project, which took place in Vancouver during the 16 days of action on violence against women, November 25-December 10, 2008. See http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/learn/resources/flesh-mapping-vancouver-markets-pacific-women-2008-inside-look-process    34 budgets.	  However	  through	  licensing	  costs,	  the	  City	  of	  Vancouver—and	  these	  newspapers—continues	  to	  profit	  from	  prostitution.	  	   In	  the	  next	  sub-­‐section,	  I	  outline	  the	  different	  prostitute-­‐related	  groups	  that	  formed	  since	  the	  1980s,	  and	  evidence	  of	  discursive	  and	  political	  shifts	  from	  their	  mandates	  and	  activities.	  	  	   1.3	  Prostitutes	  Rights	  Groups	  from	  the	  late	  20th	  to	  the	  21st	  Century: In Vancouver, at least since the 1980s, women in prostitution organized to provide peer support, safety strategies, and encouragement to each other to exit prostitution. They worked in (sometimes tense) collaboration with feminist anti-violence groups, and sought also to provide opportunities to women in prostitution to organize with other women. The following section briefly describes some of these Vancouver groups and their activities from the early 1980s to the early 2010s.  ASP and POWER: The 1980s saw the development of grassroots initiatives of feminist and prostitutes rights groups which can be understood as the beginnings of what we now know as harm reduction. Sally De Quadros and Marie Arrington organized a prostitutes’ rights group named The Alliance for the Safety of Prostitutes (ASP) when they were collective members of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter (lee et al., 1987). Initially the aim of ASP was to both assist women in prostitution and to help them get out (Fraser, 1985, p. 363).  In the early 1980s, the founders of ASP met Margo St. James who founded a prostitute’s rights groups in the US which she named Call Off Your Tired Old Ethics—COYOTE. They maintained contact and shared ideas and tactics.  DeQuadros and Arrington found St. James “fresh, energetic and brave, but Sally [DeQuadros] and Marie [Arrington] gradually rejected her tactic of ‘glamorizing’ prostitution” (lee et al., 1987, p. 16). In 1984, Sally and Marie left  35 Vancouver Rape Relief in order to focus on their work with ASP, and by 1986 changed their name to Prostitutes and Other Women for Equal Rights (POWER). When still with Rape Relief, they began the practice of walking “the stroll” a few nights a week to meet women in prostitution. This was the beginning of the “bad trick sheets”, and as they met with women and offered condoms, sandwiches and talking about the bad trick sheets, they also worked to engage with them in political organizing and activism with other feminist groups23 (lee et al., 1987, p. 16).  PACE:	  In	  1994	  Paige	  Latin	  and	  other	  women	  frmerly	  engaged	  in	  prostitution	  founded	  Prostitution	  Alternatives,	  Counseling	  and	  Education	  (PACE)	  with	  the	  goal	  to	  “help	  women	  escape	  from—and	  avoid	  getting	  into—prostitution”	  (Durning,	  Dolan	  &	  Crowther,	  1997,	  para	  15).	  To	  this	  end,	  PACE	  made	  presentations	  to	  schools,	  non-­‐profit	  organizations,	  youth	  detention	  centres,	  universities	  and	  civic	  groups,	  and	  ran	  a	  successful	  program	  called	  “PACE2”,	  a	  six-­‐month	  program	  that	  provided	  prostituted	  women	  opportunity	  to	  finish	  high	  school,	  learn	  basic	  computer	  skills,	  build	  their	  resumes	  and	  gain	  practical	  employment	  experience	  through	  practicum	  placements24.	  Before	  a	  decade	  had	  turned,	  the	  founding	  members	  were	  gone,	  and	  PACE’s	  mission	  statement	  read:	  	  “By,	  with	  and	  for	  sex	  workers—PACE	  Society	  promotes	  safer	  working	  conditions	  by	  reducing	  harm	  and	  isolation	  through	  education	  and	  support”	  (PACE	  Society,	  n.d.).	  By	  2011,	  PACE’s	  name	  was	  changed	  from	  “Prostitution	  Alternatives	  Counseling	  and	  Education”	  to	  “Providing	  Alternatives,	                                                  23 When I was a collective member of a feminist anti-violence organization in the late 1980s-early 1990s, we were still regularly in contact with these women, and received from them the bad trick sheets.  24 This program was in operation during the late 1990s when I was working at a drop-in centre in East Vancouver. A number of women did their practicum placements at my workplace, and went on to further education and employment. Funding for this initiative was cut in about 2000. There is no reference to this part of PACE’s history on the current website.   36 Counseling	  and	  Education”	  and	  the	  stated	  mandate	  of	  the	  organization	  had	  changed	  to	  “PACE	  is	  a	  sex	  worker	  led	  and	  driven	  organization	  offering	  low-­‐barrier	  programming,	  support	  and	  safe	  respite	  for	  survival	  sex	  workers	  in	  Vancouver	  BC	  Canada”	  (PACE	  Society,	  2014).	  	  PEERS:	  The	  shift	  in	  focus	  from	  helping	  women	  in	  prostitution	  to	  exit,	  to	  providing	  “low-­‐barrier	  services”	  and	  harm	  reduction	  is	  not	  unique	  to	  PACE.	  Prostitution	  Empowerment	  Education	  Support	  Society	  (PEERS)	  began	  in	  Victoria	  BC	  in	  1994,	  when	  “a	  couple	  of	  women	  from	  the	  trade	  got	  together	  and	  decided	  to	  start	  a	  group	  for	  others	  who	  had	  exited	  or	  wanted	  to	  exit	  the	  sex	  trade”	  (Rabinovitch	  &	  Lewis,	  2001).	  In	  2002,	  PEERS	  established	  a	  drop-­‐in	  centre	  in	  the	  DTES.	  At	  present,	  PEERS	  “is	  dedicated	  to	  the	  empowerment,	  education	  and	  support	  of	  sex	  workers…working	  to	  improve	  their	  safety	  and	  working	  conditions,	  assisting	  those	  who	  desire	  to	  leave	  the	  sex	  industry,	  increasing	  public	  understanding…and	  promoting	  the	  experiential	  voice”	  (PEERS,	  n.d.	  25).	  	  Most	  women	  who	  came	  to	  PEERS,	  regardless	  of	  their	  intentions	  in	  the	  beginning,	  left	  prostitution	  because	  they	  found	  peer	  support	  and	  self-­‐confidence	  because	  of	  their	  involvement	  with	  this	  organization	  (Rabinovitch	  &	  Lewis,	  2001,	  p.	  15).	  PEERS	  stayed	  closer	  to	  their	  founders	  original	  aim	  to	  provide	  women	  in	  prostitution	  with	  the	  support	  and	  means	  to	  exit	  prostitution	  than	  did	  PACE.	  Nevertheless,	  PEERS	  has	  maintained	  that	  decriminalizing	  all	  aspects	  of	  prostitution⎯including	  pimping	  and	  buying	  sex⎯will	  make	  “sex	  work”	  safer	  (PEERS,	  n.d.).	  	                                                  25 The PEERS website—www.peers.bc.ca is no longer available, and that address redirects to http://safersexwork.ca. However, some content from the old website can be found through The Wayback Machine at http://web.archive.org/web/20130317094204/http://www.peers.bc.ca/. The safersexwork.ca site does not have the content or links previously housed at the peers website.  37 Until	  the	  fall	  of	  2013,	  one	  of	  their	  most	  popular	  programs	  was	  “Elements”26,	  an	  employment	  alternatives	  program	  for	  people	  engaged	  in	  prostitution	  (much	  like	  PACE2	  had	  been	  in	  Vancouver).	  Due	  to	  a	  series	  of	  funding	  cuts	  and	  government	  restructuring	  of	  BC	  social	  services,	  this	  program,	  as	  well	  as	  the	  PEERS	  drop-­‐in	  centre	  closed.	  They	  maintain	  a	  night-­‐time	  outreach	  program,	  and	  are	  looking	  for	  other	  funding	  sources	  in	  order	  to	  re-­‐open	  (www.peers.bc.ca/home	  accessed	  November	  25,	  2013).	  PEERS	  in	  Vancouver	  was	  defunded	  due	  to	  the	  same	  social	  services	  restructuring,	  and	  closed	  in	  2011.	  	  WISH	  Drop-­‐in	  for	  Women:	  Women’s	  Information	  Safe	  House	  (WISH)	  first	  opened	  in	  1987,	  with	  roots	  in	  St.	  Michael’s	  Anglican	  Church’s	  street	  ministry	  for	  youth27.	  The	  initial	  aim	  of	  WISH	  was	  to	  provide	  a	  safe	  place	  for	  women	  in	  prostitution	  to	  connect	  with	  each	  other	  and	  to	  have	  a	  meal	  and	  a	  bit	  of	  comfort	  in	  the	  evenings.	  Initially	  funded	  by	  short-­‐term	  municipal	  grants	  and	  donations,	  WISH	  has	  become	  a	  service	  project	  supported	  by	  ministries	  of	  all	  three	  levels	  of	  government	  (Federal,	  Provincial	  and	  Municipal)	  and	  individual	  donations.	  A	  great	  proportion	  of	  their	  funding	  comes	  from	  Vancouver	  Coastal	  Health.	  Many	  of	  the	  services	  and	  programs	  provided	  by	  WISH,	  including	  the	  bad	  trick	  sheets,	  and	  the	  Mobile	  Access	  Project	  (MAP28)	  van,	  are	  now	  projects	  of	  social	  services	  and	  Vancouver	  Coastal	  Health	  (WISH,	  2008-­‐2009;	  2010-­‐2011).	  	  Presently,	  WISH	  provides	  many	  services	  and	  supports	  to	  women	  in	  prostitution	  –	  including	  literacy	  programs	  and	  other	  educational	  opportunities;	  meals	  and	  cooking	  classes;	  and	  the	  MAP	  van.	  These	  services	  are	  important	  and	  useful	  –	  and	  the	  women	                                                  26 Originally www.peers.bc.ca/home; now http://safersexwork.ca/ 27 wish.org/about 28 The MAP van operates from 10 pm to 8 am in the DTES and other nearby neighbourhoods. It is staffed by a nurse and an “experiential woman” who distribute “harm reduction” supplies, and some material supports such as food and blankets to women in the streets (WISH 2010-2011).  38 providing	  them	  have	  concern	  and	  respect	  for	  the	  women	  who	  access	  them.	  	  While	  WISH	  claims	  to	  take	  no	  public	  position	  in	  the	  public	  debate	  about	  whether	  to	  decriminalize	  or	  take	  steps	  to	  abolish	  prostitution,	  volunteers	  and	  staff	  of	  the	  centre	  are	  advised	  to	  not	  discuss	  exiting	  with	  the	  women	  who	  use	  the	  service29.	  	  To	  be	  sure,	  given	  the	  closure	  of	  PEERS	  and	  the	  steady	  dismantling	  of	  PACE,	  combined	  with	  ongoing	  cuts	  to	  other	  services	  for	  women,	  the	  already	  slender	  options	  to	  help	  women	  exit,	  or	  even	  imagine	  leaving	  prostitution,	  are	  becoming	  more	  scarce.	  It	  seems	  cruel	  to	  suggest	  to	  women	  in	  prostitution	  that	  prostitution	  is	  a	  form	  of	  violence	  or	  to	  tell	  them	  they	  deserve	  real,	  better	  alternatives,	  when	  those	  alternatives	  do	  not	  exist	  (or	  do	  not	  exist	  anymore).	  However,	  as	  much	  of	  the	  current	  research	  indicates,	  both	  women	  who	  have	  exited	  prostitution	  and	  women	  currently	  in	  prostitution	  have	  an	  analysis	  of	  the	  conditions	  of	  their	  lives,	  and	  say	  that	  prostitution	  is	  not	  something	  they	  would	  have	  chosen	  for	  themselves,	  given	  other	  options	  (see	  for	  example	  Raymond,	  2013;	  Bindel	  et	  al.,	  2012;	  Rabinovitch	  &	  Lewis,	  2001;	  Farley	  et	  al.,	  2003).	  Nor	  is	  it	  something	  they	  want	  for	  other	  women,	  and	  certainly	  not	  for	  their	  daughters	  or	  nieces30.	  	  Given	  the	  evidence	  from	  these	  women’s	  own	  stories,	  therefore,	  the	  persistence	  of	  service	  providers	  and	  activists	  promotion	  of	  harm	  reduction	  and	  decriminalization	  over	  exiting	  programs	  indicates	  a	  lack	  of	  solidarity	  or	  compassion	  for	  women	  in	  prostitution.	  	  Kate	  Gibson,	  the	  executive	  director	  of	  WISH,	  while	  expressing	  her	  regard	  for	  the	  women	  her	  agency	  serves,	  speaks	  about	  prostitution	  with	  a	  kind	  of	  hopelessness	  and	                                                  29 Personal communication, September, 2008, with former staff member of WISH. 30 Alexis Kennedy, university of Nevada, speaking of her research in the spring of 2009 at the University Women’s Club in Vancouver.   39 cynicism.	  “There	  is	  no	  way	  that	  some	  of	  these	  women	  will	  leave	  sex	  work”	  she	  asserted	  during	  a	  public	  forum	  in	  May	  of	  201231.	  At	  the	  same	  meeting,	  she	  argued	  against	  a	  Nordic	  model	  of	  law,	  saying	  that	  Canada	  does	  not	  have	  adequate	  social	  programs	  to	  support	  comprehensive	  exiting	  programs,	  and	  besides,	  criminalizing	  johns	  would	  place	  women	  in	  more	  danger.	  The	  best	  that	  can	  be	  done,	  she	  said,	  is	  to	  reduce	  stigma	  and	  offer	  some	  material	  comforts	  to	  women	  on	  the	  streets.	  	  Though	  WISH	  claims	  to	  take	  no	  position	  on	  decriminalizing	  prostitution,	  such	  statements	  indicate	  that	  the	  leadership	  of	  WISH,	  if	  not	  the	  staff	  and	  volunteers,	  are	  settling	  for	  a	  version	  of	  “lesser	  evil”.	  The	  bad	  trick	  sheets,	  condoms	  and	  safety	  tips	  initially	  developed	  by	  women	  in	  street	  prostitution	  are	  now	  in	  the	  hands	  of	  the	  caregivers	  and	  professionals.	  Initially	  tools	  of	  mutual	  aid	  or	  peer	  support	  among	  women	  who	  are	  engaged	  in	  street	  prostitution,	  they	  are	  now	  techniques	  of	  governance,	  essentially	  making	  women	  accountable	  for	  the	  actions	  of	  men.	  Women	  who	  receive	  these	  bad	  trick	  sheets	  and	  lists	  of	  resources	  are	  then	  expected	  to	  make	  use	  of	  them;	  to	  recognize	  the	  “bad	  guy”	  from	  the	  description;	  to	  call	  the	  clinic	  or	  rape	  crisis	  line	  when	  they	  are	  attacked.	  This	  is	  consistent	  with	  state	  and	  media	  responses	  to	  other	  forms	  of	  male	  violence	  against	  women	  –	  women	  are	  advised	  to	  dress	  conservatively,	  travel	  in	  pairs	  or	  not	  go	  out	  at	  night,	  to	  carry	  noise	  makers	  or	  learn	  self-­‐defense	  techniques.	  	  The	  onus	  to	  prevent	  attack	  is	  on	  the	  victims	  of	  men’s	  violence,	  not	  on	  the	  men	  who	  perpetrate	  the	  attacks.	  	  1.4	  Low-­‐Barrier	  For	  Whom?	  Several	  agencies	  which	  provide	  services	  in	  the	  DTES	                                                  31 SAFE in Collingwood. Sex Work Awareness For Everyone held a public forum about sex work in Collingwood, sponsored by Living in Community and the Vancouver Police Department. May 5, 2012. Kate Gibson was one of the speakers.   40 describe	  their	  services	  and	  shelters	  as	  “low-­‐or-­‐no-­‐barrier”.	  	  The	  internal	  structures	  of	  women-­‐serving	  organizations	  in	  Vancouver	  have	  shifted	  considerably	  as	  the	  state	  has	  undergone	  a	  period	  of	  sustained	  retrenchment.	  As	  I	  described	  briefly	  in	  my	  discussion	  of	  prostitutes’	  rights	  groups,	  the	  initial	  aim	  of	  these	  groups	  to	  provide	  peer	  support,	  some	  comfort,	  and	  opportunities	  to	  organize	  with	  others,	  gave	  way	  to	  services,	  programs	  and	  harm	  reduction.	  There	  are	  now,	  in	  Vancouver,	  a	  proliferation	  of	  “low-­‐barrier”	  services	  and	  shelters	  (mostly	  in	  the	  DTES).	  “Low-­‐barrier”	  means	  that	  the	  residents	  can	  invite	  johns	  into	  their	  rooms,	  and/or	  they	  can	  be	  in	  the	  drop-­‐in	  or	  shelter	  while	  they	  are	  under	  the	  influence	  of	  drugs	  or	  alcohol	  (some	  have	  a	  restriction	  that	  residents	  or	  members	  may	  not	  use	  drugs	  or	  alcohol	  on	  the	  premises,	  others	  allow	  some	  use	  on	  site).	  	  	  The	  current	  discourse	  of	  decriminalization	  and	  harm	  reduction	  argues	  that	  women	  in	  prostitution	  will	  be	  safer	  if	  they	  are	  allowed	  to	  prostitute	  off-­‐street,	  in	  brothels	  or	  safe	  houses	  and	  when	  men	  who	  buy	  sex	  will	  not	  face	  criminal	  sanctions	  (Pivot,	  2004;	  2006;	  O'Doherty,	  2011;	  Living	  in	  Community,	  2007;	  Remple	  et	  al.,	  2007).	  Agencies	  in	  Vancouver	  which	  operate	  “low-­‐barrier”	  shelters	  and	  harm	  reduction	  services	  include	  Atira	  Housing	  for	  Women	  and	  the	  Portland	  Hotel	  Society	  (PHS).	  	  There	  has	  been	  a	  flurry	  of	  research	  by	  medical	  professionals	  in	  Vancouver	  which	  conclude	  that	  harm	  reduction	  measures	  such	  as	  moving	  prostitution	  indoors	  increases	  women’s	  safety	  and	  meets	  their	  approval	  (Shannon	  et	  al.,	  2009;	  Krüsi	  et	  al.,	  2012).	  	  Shortly	  after	  Atira	  Resource	  Society	  for	  Women	  (Atira)	  opened	  a	  low	  barrier	  residence	  for	  women	  “in	  the	  sex	  trade”,	  one	  study	  “investigated	  the	  effects	  on	  women’s	  sense	  of	  safety	  when	  they	  lived	  in	  low-­‐barrier,	  harm	  reduction−focused	  housing	  for	  women”	  (Krüsi	  et.	  al.	  2012,	  p.	  1154).	  The	  study	  argued	  that:	  	   41 Despite	  the	  lack	  of	  formal	  legal	  and	  policy	  support	  for	  indoor	  sex	  work	  venues	  in	  Canada,	  the	  environmental-­‐structural	  supports	  afforded	  by	  these	  unsanctioned	  indoor	  sex	  work	  environments,	  including	  surveillance	  cameras	  and	  support	  from	  staff	  or	  police	  in	  removing	  violent	  clients,	  were	  linked	  to	  improved	  police	  relationships	  and	  facilitated	  the	  institution	  of	  informal	  peer-­‐safety	  mechanisms.	  (p.	  1154)	  Proponents	  of	  full	  decriminalization	  assert	  that	  criminalizing	  men	  who	  buy	  sex	  will	  further	  jeopardize	  women	  in	  prostitution	  by	  driving	  prostitution	  “underground”	  (Shaver,	  February	  2005).	  Others,	  however,	  describe	  a	  different	  view:	  There	  is	  no	  evidence	  that	  prostitution	  has	  ‘gone	  underground’	  in	  the	  decade	  the	  law	  has	  been	  in	  place.	  Men	  who	  buy	  sex	  will	  not	  do	  so	  if	  it	  is	  inconvenient	  and	  if	  they	  will	  be	  arrested.	  They’ll	  stop	  on	  the	  way	  home	  for	  a	  blowjob,	  but	  they	  won’t	  cross	  the	  border	  into	  Denmark	  if	  they	  can’t	  buy	  a	  woman	  nearer32.	  	  Much	  of	  the	  evidence	  suggests	  that	  although	  women	  who	  reside	  in	  these	  low-­‐barrier	  shelters	  are	  grateful	  for	  the	  increased	  surveillance,	  they	  still	  lived	  in	  fear,	  and	  did	  not	  trust	  the	  men	  who	  bought	  them:	  “I	  prefer	  the	  date	  in	  my	  place	  for	  safety	  reasons,	  you	  know.	  ‘Cause	  there’s	  cameras	  on	  each	  floor,	  they’re	  not	  allowed	  in	  unless	  they	  have	  ID,	  their	  name	  is	  written	  down,	  and,	  people	  have	  seen	  you	  with	  the	  guy,	  so	  he	  knows	  that	  he	  can’t	  go	  and	  try	  to	  do	  something	  to	  me	  and	  get	  away	  with	  it.”	  (Participant	  29)	  (p.	  1156).	  	  Though	  the	  harms	  of	  men’s	  violence	  may	  be	  reduced	  by	  increased	  surveillance	  within	  brothels,	  women	                                                  32 Gunilla Ekberg, former special advisor to the Swedish Government, on March 8, 2012 at the Vancouver Public Library.  42 still	  experience	  fear,	  uncertainty,	  and	  a	  resultant	  degree	  of	  trauma.	  	  The	  women	  in	  the	  Krüsi’s	  study	  of	  the	  Atira	  housing	  project	  were	  marginalized	  not	  only	  by	  sexism,	  but	  also	  by	  poverty,	  racism	  (30	  of	  39	  study	  participants	  were	  Aboriginal),	  and	  often	  trauma-­‐related	  mental	  and	  physical	  disabilities,	  including	  active	  addiction.	  The	  threat	  posed	  by	  men	  who	  buy	  sex	  was	  downplayed	  by	  the	  researchers’	  focus	  on	  tactics	  of	  governance	  and	  surveillance	  imposed	  by	  the	  shelter	  as	  the	  means	  of	  reducing	  harm.	  Both	  recipients	  and	  providers	  of	  the	  services	  are	  expected	  to	  adjust	  and	  regulate	  their	  behaviour	  in	  relation	  to	  men	  who	  buy	  them	  for	  sex.	  Women	  are	  expected	  to	  familiarize	  themselves	  with	  the	  information	  on	  the	  ‘bad	  trick’	  or	  ‘bad	  date’	  lists	  posted	  at	  the	  entrance	  of	  the	  building,	  for	  example.	  And	  women	  are	  allowed	  to	  bring	  johns	  into	  the	  building	  during	  visiting	  hours.	  Therefore,	  women	  staffing	  the	  residence	  are	  in	  the	  position	  of	  acting	  as	  guards	  or	  bouncers,	  requiring	  men	  to	  register,	  (at	  one	  hotel	  men	  must	  surrender	  their	  identification	  for	  the	  duration	  of	  their	  visit),	  and	  monitoring	  the	  security	  cameras	  (Krusi,	  et	  al,	  2012,	  p.	  1156).	  In	  the	  event	  that	  a	  man	  becomes	  violent	  or	  threatening,	  the	  staff	  must	  ask	  him	  to	  leave	  or	  call	  the	  police.	  While	  women	  reported	  they	  judged	  they	  were	  safer	  in	  such	  living	  conditions,	  it	  remains	  true	  that	  women	  are	  still	  in	  the	  position	  of	  monitoring	  their	  behaviour	  and	  maintaining	  vigilance	  against	  potential	  attack.	  In	  other	  words,	  these	  low-­‐or-­‐minimal-­‐barrier	  shelters	  and	  services	  still	  require	  women	  to	  adhere	  to	  a	  regime	  of	  self	  governance	  to	  become	  ‘ideal	  residents’,	  and	  effectively	  reduce	  barriers	  to	  men’s	  access	  to	  paid	  sex.	  	  1.5 Prostitution as a public health concern.	  Other	  studies	  about	  women	  involved	  in	  street-­‐level	  prostitution	  that	  recommend	  harm	  reduction	  focus	  on	  indicators	  of	  physical	  health,	  such	  as	  rates	  of	  HIV	  infection.	  These	  mention	  “violence”	  as	  a	  phenomenon	  rather	   43 than	  naming	  the	  perpetrators	  of	  specific	  incidents	  of	  assault,	  threats	  or	  theft.	  Rather	  than	  finding	  problematic	  the	  demands	  and	  behaviours	  of	  men	  who	  buy	  sex,	  a	  study	  by	  Shannon	  et	  al.	  (2009)	  determined	  it	  is	  the	  “failings	  of	  legislation	  that	  criminalizes	  sex	  work	  on	  the	  health	  and	  safety	  of	  sex	  workers”	  (p.	  664).	  While	  Shannon	  et	  al’s	  study	  does	  call	  for	  active	  criminalization	  of	  harassment	  and	  abuse	  by	  clients	  and	  third	  parties,	  they	  do	  not	  find	  prostitution,	  or	  men’s	  demand	  for	  paid	  sex	  problematic.	  	  Though	  Shannon’s	  study	  focuses	  on	  some	  of	  the	  health	  risks	  of	  prostitution	  and	  argue	  that	  prostitution	  laws	  and	  law	  enforcement	  practices	  may	  exacerbate	  these	  risks:	  “our	  findings	  offer	  important	  empirical	  evidence	  to	  suggest	  that	  the	  current	  sex-­‐work	  laws	  and	  enforcement-­‐based	  policies	  may	  be	  directly	  increasing	  women’s	  sexual	  HIV	  risk”	  (p.	  664),	  the	  researchers	  do	  not	  address	  trauma-­‐related	  mental	  health	  concerns	  which	  may	  be	  present	  because	  of	  the	  conditions	  with	  which	  women	  in	  prostitution	  operate.	  	  Indications	  of	  the	  trauma	  and	  fear	  with	  which	  prostituted	  women	  live,	  and	  the	  damage	  thereby	  caused	  are	  addressed	  in	  other	  studies,	  however.	  Brents	  and	  Hausbeck	  (2001	  &	  2005)	  noted	  that	  women	  prostituted	  in	  Nevada	  brothels,	  though	  they	  found	  the	  presence	  of	  cameras	  and	  bouncers	  somewhat	  relieving,	  nevertheless	  reported	  high	  levels	  of	  fear	  (Brents	  &	  Hausbeck,	  2001,	  2005).	  Norwegian	  criminologists	  Cecelia	  Høigård	  and	  Liv	  Finstad	  published	  one	  of	  the	  early	  studies	  of	  prostitution	  in	  1992.	  Their	  book,	  Backstreets:	  Prostitution,	  money	  and	  love,	  was	  their	  attempt	  to	  gain	  “an	  understanding	  of	  the	  content	  of	  prostitution”	  in	  Oslo,	  Norway	  (p.	  8).	  	  To	  their	  surprise,	  they	  found:	  The	  women’s	  reactions	  to	  prostitution	  have	  many	  similarities	  with	  the	  reactions	  of	  women	  who	  are	  survivors	  of	  incest	  and	  rape.	  […]	  Information	  about	  such	  types	  of	  emotional	  reactions	  to	  these	  forms	  of	  sexual	  assault	  has	  attained	  the	  status	  of	   44 established	  facts.	  This	  is	  not	  true	  of	  prostitution	  research.	  This	  is	  new	  knowledge.	  …This	  is	  the	  most	  important	  discovery	  we’ve	  made	  in	  our	  research	  [emphasis	  added]…The	  idea	  that	  prostitution	  constitutes	  a	  gross	  form	  of	  violence	  was	  not	  even	  a	  vague	  impression	  before	  we	  began	  our	  research	  (p.	  115-­‐116).	  	  Hom	  and	  Woods	  (2013)	  conducted	  a	  qualitative	  research	  study	  with	  front-­‐line	  workers	  which	  re-­‐confirmed	  Høigård	  and	  Finstad’s	  findings,	  but	  from	  the	  point	  of	  view	  of	  front-­‐line	  mental	  health	  professionals	  working	  with	  women	  trafficked	  into	  prostitution.	  “The	  findings	  from	  this	  study	  highlight	  the	  pervasiveness	  of	  PTSD,	  depression,	  and	  shame	  in	  women	  who	  have	  been	  commercially	  sexually	  exploited”	  (p.	  80).	  	  Other	  research	  indicates	  that	  women	  count	  on	  the	  support	  and	  solidarity	  of	  peers	  in	  order	  to	  find	  their	  way	  out	  of	  prostitution,	  as	  well	  as	  to	  achieve	  a	  measure	  of	  safety	  while	  trapped	  within	  it	  (Hedin	  &	  Månsson	  2003;	  Rabinovitch	  &	  Lewis,	  2001).	  My	  research	  also	  confirmed	  the	  importance	  of	  mutual	  aid	  and	  peer	  support	  for	  women	  to	  leave	  prostitution,	  as	  well	  as	  to	  the	  well-­‐being	  and	  efficacy	  of	  women	  in	  front-­‐line	  work.	  	  1.6   Affects of and challenges to stigma discourse: Numerous studies of women currently involved in prostitution report that “the stigmatisation of sex work is the main problem [emphasis added] interviewees experienced while working in the sex industry and this impacted negatively on both their private and professional lives” (Mai, 2009, Executive Summary, para. 4). Researchers who advocate for decriminalizing prostitution-related activities claim that this stigma is the main reason that women in prostitution do not go to the police or social service agencies for assistance when johns or pimps have further victimized them (Pivot, 2004; 2006; Shaver, February 7, 2005; Lowman, 2012). Brents and Hausbeck (2001), as well, focus more on the stigma that is imposed by legislative frameworks, and very little harms to women from johns  45 (including assault, harassment and theft as well as transmission of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections): “In general, legalized prostitution across the world is not an expression of society’s  acceptance of prostitution but functions to isolate, stigmatize, and render prostitutes invisible” (p. 310).  Again,	  more	  than	  twenty	  years	  after	  Høigård	  and	  Finstad	  concluded	  that	  prostitution	  itself	  “constitutes	  a	  gross	  form	  of	  violence”	  (Høigård	  &	  Finstad,	  1992,	  p.	  116),	  studies	  such	  as	  Krüsi’s	  (2012),	  though	  recording	  women’s	  experiences	  of	  trauma	  from	  prostitution,	  recommended	  only	  what	  their	  research	  participants	  said	  they	  wanted:	  	  Our	  study	  documented	  that	  being	  able	  to	  conduct	  sexual	  transactions	  in	  safer	  indoor	  environments	  bolstered	  solidarity	  among	  women	  and	  allowed	  for	  informal	  peer	  support	  mechanisms,	  which	  are	  more	  difficult	  to	  advance	  in	  heavily	  policed	  and	  stigmatized	  street	  level	  sex	  and	  drug	  markets.	  (Krüsi	  et	  al.,	  2011,	  p.	  1158)	  This	  persistent	  focus	  on	  stigmatization	  of	  prostituted	  women	  ignores	  the	  fact	  that	  stigma	  is	  a	  significant	  problem	  for	  women	  in	  general,	  (though	  more	  so	  for	  women	  in	  prostitution).	  The	  shame	  and	  degradation	  imposed	  upon	  prostituted	  women,	  through	  social	  sanctions	  and	  regulatory	  frameworks,	  certainly	  reinforce	  their	  marginalization.	  This	  stigma,	  however,	  is	  neither	  the	  main	  problem	  faced	  by	  prostituted	  people,	  nor	  a	  discrete	  problem	  of	  only	  women	  in	  prostitution.	  Effects	  of	  past	  trauma,	  poverty	  and	  the	  degrading	  and	  constant	  effects	  of	  systemic	  racism	  and	  sexism	  underlie	  and	  fuel	  stigmatization.	  The	  social	  censure	  women	  in	  prostitution	  endure	  is	  an	  extension	  of	  the	  pressure	  upon	  all	  women	  to	  live	  up	  to	  various	  versions	  of	  “ideal”	  femininity.	  Women	  in	  prostitution,	  then,	  in	  addition	  to	  dealing	  with	  the	  “normal”	  strain	  of	  “being	  woman”	  in	  patriarchy,	  also	  endure	  sustained	  trauma	  of	  having	  to	  engage	  in	  sexual	  acts	  at	  the	  behest	  of	  men	  (whether	  or	  not	   46 individual	  men	  are	  additionally	  abusive).	  Then	  they	  must	  suppress	  this	  trauma	  in	  order	  to	  continue	  in	  prostitution	  (Farley,	  2006;	  Høigård	  &	  Finstad,	  1992;	  Brents	  &	  Hausbeck,	  2001).	  	  	  Many	  women	  in	  prostitution	  express	  their	  feelings	  about	  prostitution	  in	  their	  attitudes	  toward	  johns.	  In	  my	  experience	  as	  a	  front-­‐line	  worker,	  and	  evident	  in	  studies	  using	  interview	  data	  from	  women	  in	  prostitution,	  their	  disdain	  for	  men	  is	  palpable.	  I	  suggest	  they	  may	  express	  this	  disdain	  as	  a	  way	  of	  suppressing	  the	  trauma	  they	  endure.	  Stigma,	  they	  may	  think,	  can	  go	  both	  ways.	  The	  women	  Hoigard	  and	  Finstad	  (1992)	  interviewed	  often	  had	  opinions	  of	  men	  very	  like	  those	  held	  by	  Vancouver	  women	  in	  prostitution:	  “Make	  sure	  you	  say,”	  said	  “Jane”,	  a	  Norwegian	  prostitute	  to	  Cecelia	  Høigård,	  “that	  lots	  of	  women	  are	  prostitutes	  because	  they’ve	  lost	  respect	  for	  men”	  (p.	  19).	  More	  than	  two	  decades	  later,	  this	  is	  consistent	  with	  more	  recent	  observations	  of	  my	  interview	  participants	  (and	  from	  other	  research	  data)	  of	  women’s	  attitudes	  toward	  abusive	  men.	  Women	  spoke	  the	  same	  way	  about	  men	  who	  used	  them	  in	  prostitution,	  and	  of	  men	  (husbands,	  fathers,	  boyfriends)	  who	  abused	  or	  exploited	  them,	  that	  is,	  with	  a	  poignant	  mixture	  of	  pity,	  disdain	  and	  fear	  (Graham,	  2006).	  	  	   Part	  2.	  Prostitution	  in	  Canada	  over	  Two	  Decades:	  Comparing	  the	  Fraser	  Report	  with	  The	  Challenge	  of	  Change	  	  In	  this	  section	  I	  focus	  on	  the	  1986	  Fraser	  Commission	  report	  on	  pornography	  and	  prostitution	  in	  Canada	  and	  the	  2006	  report	  by	  the	  Standing	  Committee	  on	  Justice	  and	  Human	  Rights,	  The	  Challenge	  of	  Change	  which	  investigated	  Canada’s	  prostitution	  laws.	  I	  describe	  each	  report	  separately,	  and	  then	  highlight	  particular	  features	  for	  contrast.	  The	  Fraser	  report,	  for	  example,	  was	  commissioned	  by	  the	  Ministry	  of	  Justice	  under	  a	  majority	  Liberal	  federal	  government.	  The	  Challenge	  of	  Change,	  on	  the	  other	  hand,	  was	  produced	  by	  a	   47 Special	  Subcommittee	  on	  Solicitation	  Laws	  of	  the	  Standing	  Committee	  on	  Justice	  and	  Human	  Rights	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  1).	  The	  scope	  of	  the	  latter	  report,	  therefore,	  was	  much	  narrower,	  as	  were	  the	  resources	  assigned	  to	  the	  Special	  Subcommittee,	  than	  those	  of	  Fraser.	  Each	  report	  reflects	  the	  political	  climate	  of	  the	  time	  in	  which	  it	  was	  produced,	  and	  in	  the	  following	  accounts,	  I	  compare	  some	  specific	  features	  that	  show	  some	  of	  these	  differences.	  These	  features	  include	  the	  structure	  and	  relative	  strength	  of	  Canada’s	  social	  services,	  (particularly	  as	  these	  structures	  pertain	  to	  women’s	  poverty	  and	  other	  markers	  of	  inequality),	  the	  analysis	  and	  influence	  of	  different	  women’s	  groups	  and	  women-­‐serving	  organizations,	  and	  the	  discourse	  of	  choice	  and	  agency	  evident	  in	  each	  report.	  Both	  reports	  made	  recommendations	  for	  future	  action,	  and	  again,	  the	  Fraser	  Report	  is	  much	  more	  comprehensive	  than	  Challenge	  of	  Change	  in	  the	  range	  and	  detail	  of	  recommendations,	  and	  unlike	  Challenge,	  included	  draft	  legislation.	  	  2.1	  The	  Fraser	  Report,	  1985.	  In	  1983,	  the	  Canadian	  government	  struck	  a	  committee	  on	  pornography	  and	  prostitution,	  chaired	  by	  Paul	  Fraser,	  to	  report	  to	  the	  Minister	  of	  Justice	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  5).	  	  Over	  the	  next	  two	  years,	  the	  committee	  conducted	  research,	  accepted	  submissions	  and	  met	  with	  many	  individuals	  and	  groups	  across	  Canada	  as	  it	  researched	  problems	  related	  to	  pornography	  and	  prostitution.	  They	  held	  public	  hearings,	  publicized	  in	  advance,	  in	  22	  centres	  across	  the	  country.	  The	  final	  product	  was	  over	  700	  pages	  long	  in	  two	  volumes	  and	  contained	  108	  recommendations,	  each	  recommendation	  including	  draft	  legislation.	  It	  remains	  the	  most	  comprehensive	  study	  of	  these	  issues,	  and	  played	  a	  major	  role	  in	  how	  Canadian	  governments	  and	  agencies	  responded	  to	  prostitution.	  	  The	  Fraser	  report	  stated	  that	  the	  most	  egregious	  harms	  of	  prostitution	  come	  from	   48 men	  who	  purchase	  sex:	  “Customers	  are	  the	  primary	  source	  of	  sexual	  violence	  against	  prostitutes”	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  388).	  The	  report	  stated	  that	  improving	  women’s	  status	  and	  eliminating	  economic	  disparity	  would	  “decrease	  the	  likelihood	  of	  prostitution	  being	  seen	  as	  the	  only	  viable	  career”	  (p.	  526).	  The	  report	  recommended	  that	  “governments	  in	  Canada	  strengthen	  their	  moral	  and	  financial	  commitment	  to	  the	  removal	  of	  social	  inequalities	  between	  men	  and	  women”	  (Robertson,	  2003,	  section	  3).	  Other	  recommendations	  were	  that	  Canada	  either	  directly	  or	  indirectly	  provide	  funding	  for	  “community	  groups	  involved	  in	  the	  care	  and	  welfare	  of	  both	  practicing	  and	  reformed	  prostitutes,	  so	  that	  adequate	  social,	  health,	  employment,	  educational	  and	  counseling	  services	  are	  available	  to	  them”	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  530).	  Further	  to	  these,	  the	  committee	  made	  twelve	  recommendations	  specific	  to	  prostitution,	  including	  the	  addition	  of	  preventative	  educational	  curriculum	  in	  high	  schools	  as	  well	  as	  broad	  reforms	  to	  social	  services	  to	  youth	  and	  children	  (p.	  665-­‐668),	  wide-­‐spread	  welfare	  reform	  to	  address	  women’s	  poverty	  (p.	  527),	  more	  restrictions	  on	  street	  prostitution	  to	  reduce	  nuisance,	  and	  attendant	  relaxation	  of	  bawdy	  house	  laws	  in	  order	  to	  allow	  women	  to	  set	  up	  independent	  brothels	  and	  so	  stay	  off	  the	  streets	  (p.	  538).	  	  The	  Committee	  argued	  that	  the	  current	  laws	  were	  unevenly	  applied,	  and	  made	  the	  observation	  that	  street	  prostitutes	  “are	  more	  likely	  to	  be	  arrested	  and	  convicted	  of	  prostitution-­‐related	  crimes	  than	  any	  other	  category	  of	  person	  involved	  in	  the	  business”,	  whereas	  pimps	  and	  customers	  were	  least	  likely	  to	  be	  charged	  (p.	  390).	  Twenty-­‐one	  years	  later,	  the	  Special	  Subcommittee	  on	  Canada’s	  Prostitution	  Laws	  reported	  in	  The	  Challenge	  of	  Change	  they	  found	  the	  laws	  were	  still	  unevenly	  applied,	  and	  the	  primary	  targets	  of	  law	  enforcement	  still	  those	  women	  prostituted	  from	  the	  streets	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	   49 86).	  	  	   Fraser	  described	  four	  basic	  categories	  into	  which	  the	  received	  briefs	  and	  representations	  from	  Canadian	  organizations	  and	  individuals	  fell	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  514).	  Placed	  on	  a	  continuum,	  at	  one	  end	  was	  the	  further	  criminalization	  of	  all	  prostitution-­‐related	  activities	  and	  at	  the	  other	  end,	  complete	  decriminalization	  of	  prostitution.	  The	  latter	  representations	  advocated	  reliance	  on	  other	  categories	  of	  the	  criminal	  code	  to	  deal	  with	  exploitation	  and	  other	  forms	  of	  criminal	  activities.	  A	  third	  view	  recommended	  that	  prostitution-­‐related	  activities	  be	  legalized	  and	  subjected	  to	  regulatory	  schemes	  including	  taxation	  and	  labour	  standards.	  “Furthermore,”	  the	  committee	  wrote,	  “…there	  was	  a	  conscious	  blending	  of	  the	  criminalization	  and	  decriminalization	  options	  which	  represents	  an	  additional	  [fourth]	  category”	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  514).	  	  The	  fourth	  category	  can	  be	  understood	  as	  an	  early	  version	  of	  what	  is	  now	  known	  as	  “The	  Nordic	  Model”.	  In	  a	  submission	  to	  the	  Fraser	  Committee,	  Professor	  Constance	  Backhouse	  and	  a	  team	  of	  female	  law	  students	  of	  the	  University	  of	  Western	  Ontario	  argued,	  “prostitution	  should	  not	  be	  accepted	  without	  question.	  The	  law	  should	  attempt	  to	  deal	  with	  the	  root	  cause,	  which	  is	  the	  demand	  by	  men	  for	  sexual	  services”	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  362)33.	  	  At	  the	  time	  of	  the	  Fraser	  Commission,	  the	  independent	  women’s	  movement	  was	  active	  and	  influential	  across	  Canada.	  At	  the	  time,	  equality-­‐seeking	  women’s	  groups	  had	  considerably	  more	  influence	  on	  public	  policy,	  much	  of	  it	  through	  broad	  coalitions	  such	  as	                                                  33 It is this demand that Sweden addressed in 1999 with prostitution legislation which has since become known as The Nordic Model, to which I referred in Chapter one. This legislation is comprised of four aspects: decriminalization of the sale of sex; criminalization of the purchase of sex; comprehensive services to assist women to exit prostitution, (including welfare, housing, educational opportunities and drug and alcohol treatment options); and widespread public education about prostitution and prostitution-related harms.    50 the	  National	  Action	  Committee	  on	  the	  Status	  of	  Women	  and	  the	  Canadian	  Association	  of	  Sexual	  Assault	  Centres.	  The	  high	  activity	  of	  this	  movement	  is	  reflected	  in	  the	  breadth	  and	  depth	  of	  submissions	  contained	  in	  the	  final	  report,	  and	  in	  the	  language	  and	  recommendations	  the	  Commission	  used.	  Fraser	  strongly	  recommended	  the	  Canadian	  government	  bolster	  social	  programs	  and	  educational	  initiatives	  to	  improve	  the	  conditions	  of	  women,	  and	  work	  towards	  economic	  and	  social	  equality	  between	  women	  and	  men	  in	  Canada.	  He	  observed	  that	  in	  relation	  to	  equality	  ,	  “…it	  is	  highly	  unlikely	  that	  significant	  results	  are	  going	  to	  be	  achieved	  overnight”	  (p.	  529),	  Fraser’s	  commission	  argued	  that	  agencies	  which	  provide	  support	  to	  prostituted	  people	  be	  reinforced	  and	  supported	  with	  government	  funded	  research,	  education	  and	  material	  resources	  (p.	  529).	  	  Some	  of	  these	  recommendations	  were	  carried	  out,	  but	  as	  I	  describe	  in	  the	  section	  “The	  Waning	  Social	  Contract”,	  the	  social	  welfare	  state	  has	  been	  dismantled	  over	  time.	  2.1.1 The implementation of Section 213 of the Canadian Criminal Code.	  Because	  street	  prostitution	  was	  widely	  regarded	  as	  a	  public	  nuisance,	  and	  (to	  a	  lesser	  extent)	  out	  of	  concern	  for	  those	  engaged	  in	  prostitution,	  Fraser	  recommended	  section	  171(1)(a)	  of	  the	  Criminal	  Code	  (public	  nuisance)	  be	  amended	  to	  include	  the	  use	  of	  sexually	  offensive	  language	  (p.	  541)	  as	  an	  offence.	  This	  recommendation	  “represents	  a	  response	  to	  the	  feeling	  of	  anger	  and	  frustration	  which	  many	  women	  who	  live	  in	  or	  travel	  through	  areas	  affected	  by	  street	  prostitution	  feel	  at	  the	  verbal	  abuse	  to	  which	  they	  are	  subjected	  by	  prospective	  customers	  of	  prostitutes”	  (p.	  541).	  This	  eventually	  became	  Section	  213	  of	  the	  criminal	  code,	  the	  “communicating	  law”	  which	  rendered	  any	  communication	  in	  a	  public	  place	  “for	  the	   51 purpose	  of	  engaging	  in	  prostitution,	  or	  of	  obtaining	  the	  sexual	  services	  of	  a	  prostitute34”.	  On	  December	  28,	  1986,	  the	  Canadian	  Parliament	  passed	  Bill	  C-­‐49,	  which	  had	  been	  introduced	  by	  the	  Minister	  of	  Justice	  that	  fall.	  This	  bill,	  a	  precursor	  to	  Section	  213,	  was	  controversial.	  Some	  citizens’	  groups,	  city	  governments,	  and	  law	  enforcement	  officials	  enthusiastically	  welcomed	  it	  (Robertson,	  2003,	  section	  2D).	  Others,	  including	  feminist	  groups,	  found	  it	  problematic,	  warning	  that	  it	  could	  potentially	  increase	  the	  power	  of	  pimps,	  give	  too	  much	  discretion	  to	  police	  and	  law	  enforcement,	  and	  serve	  merely	  to	  move	  prostitution-­‐related	  problems	  elsewhere	  (Robertson,	  2003,	  section	  2D).	  	  The	  Communication	  Law,	  Section	  213	  of	  the	  Criminal	  Code,	  was	  implemented	  in	  January	  1986	  by	  the	  newly	  elected	  Conservative	  federal	  government	  (Robertson,	  2003,	  section	  3A).	  The	  implementation	  and	  enforcement	  of	  this	  law	  since	  that	  time	  indicates	  that	  Fraser’s	  analysis	  and	  recommendation	  was	  misinterpreted.	  The	  recommendation	  from	  the	  Fraser	  report	  for	  some	  form	  of	  communicating	  law	  came	  about	  because	  a	  significant	  number	  of	  women	  and	  women’s	  groups	  (including	  women	  in	  prostitution)	  stated	  their	  concerns	  about	  the	  harassing	  behaviour	  of	  johns.	  It	  seems	  that	  the	  initial	  intention	  of	  the	  recommendation	  as	  to	  interfere	  with	  men	  ‘trolling’	  for	  paid	  sex	  (Fraser,	  1985).	  	  However,	  since	  its	  inception,	  law	  enforcement	  has	  applied	  Section	  213	  disproportionately	  against	  prostituted	  women	  and	  only	  sporadically	  against	  johns.	  	  Feminists	  could	  see	  this	  coming.	  Shortly	  after	  Bill	  C-­‐49	  was	  tabled,	  	  feminist	  groups	  including	  prostitutes	  rights	  groups	  staged	  a	  “wave-­‐in”	  on	  two	  corners	  of	  Downtown	                                                  34 Section 213, and Bill C-49 before it, made illegal the acts of a person who, in a public place, or in any place open to public view and for the purposes of engaging in prostitution or obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute: stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle; impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic to or from a public place; stops or attempts to stop any person or in any manner communicates or attempts to communicate with any person (Robertson, 2003, section 2D).   52 Vancouver.	  The	  organizers	  demanded	  the	  review	  and	  repeal	  of	  Bill	  C-­‐49.	  They	  noted	  that	  prostituted	  women	  experienced	  	  additional	  harassment	  by	  police	  since	  the	  introduction	  of	  the	  bill,	  while	  johns	  and	  pimps	  were	  not	  facing	  negative	  sanctions	  (lee,	  regina,	  joni,	  &	  lyn,	  1987,	  19).	  At	  the	  time	  of	  the	  Fraser	  committee’s	  research,	  there	  was	  a	  great	  deal	  of	  conflict	  and	  tension	  about	  prostitution	  activities	  in	  the	  West	  End	  neighbourhood	  of	  Vancouver.	  	  It	  was	  (and	  is)	  the	  most	  densely	  populated	  residential	  area	  of	  Vancouver,	  and	  at	  the	  time	  heavily	  frequented	  by	  johns,	  pimps,	  and	  prostitutes	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  346).	  Gordon	  Price,	  a	  Vancouver	  city	  councilor,	  started	  a	  “citizen’s	  action	  group”	  in	  the	  early	  1980s	  called	  Concerned	  Residents	  of	  the	  West	  End	  (CROWE),	  which	  launched	  a	  campaign	  to	  drive	  the	  prostitutes	  from	  the	  brightly-­‐lit,	  well-­‐frequented	  West	  End	  north	  east	  toward	  the	  light	  industrial	  area	  of	  the	  city	  (Price,	  1981)	  	  .	  CROWE	  argued	  that	  “legitimate	  residents”	  of	  the	  West	  End	  were	  not	  safe	  because	  of	  the	  activities	  and	  disturbance	  related	  to	  prostitution.	  These	  disturbances	  included	  those	  caused	  by	  behaviours	  of	  the	  johns,	  who	  would	  drive	  slowly	  down	  the	  streets,	  tying	  up	  traffic	  and	  harassing	  all	  of	  the	  women	  in	  the	  neighbourhood	  (Price,	  1981).	  It	  was,	  however,	  the	  women	  and	  not	  the	  pimps	  and	  johns,	  who	  were	  blamed	  for	  the	  nuisance	  and	  fears	  of	  the	  residence,	  and	  it	  was	  the	  women	  who	  were	  run	  out	  of	  the	  neighbourhood.	  In	  1984,	  the	  Attorney	  General	  of	  BC	  passed	  an	  injunction	  banning	  prostitutes	  from	  the	  West	  End,	  and	  declared	  30	  prostituted	  people	  “public	  nuisances”,	  publishing	  their	  names	  in	  the	  newspaper,	  and	  posting	  their	  names	  on	  lamp	  posts	  in	  the	  West	  End	  (lee	  et	  al.,	  1987,	  p.	  17).	  Vancouver	  Rape	  Relief	  and	  Women’s	  Shelter	  (VRRWS)	  and	  The	  Alliance	  for	  the	  Safety	  of	  Prostitutes	  (ASP)	  declared	  themselves	  “Public	  Nuisance	  #31”	  and	  marched	  in	  protest,	  gathering	  the	  support	  of	  women	  in	   53 prostitution	  and	  bystanders	  in	  the	  neighbourhood	  (p.	  17).	  	  At	  this	  time,	  also,	  residents	  of	  the	  West	  End	  and	  Mount	  Pleasant	  neighbourhoods	  organized	  “Shame	  the	  Johns”	  campaigns.	  Although	  they	  claimed	  to	  target	  “the	  men	  who	  buy	  our	  children”,	  these	  campaigns	  did	  not	  result	  in	  negative	  sanctions	  against	  men	  who	  bought	  women	  or	  children,	  but	  instead	  harassed	  and	  punished	  the	  women	  in	  prostitution	  (p.	  16).	  	  	  These	  injunctions	  and	  legislative	  reforms	  corresponded	  to	  the	  preparation	  for	  and	  opening	  of	  the	  1986	  World’s	  Fair	  in	  Vancouver—Expo	  ’86—an	  event	  that	  precipitated	  a	  municipal	  initiative	  to	  “clean	  up”	  the	  city.	  	  All	  of	  these	  actions	  targeted	  the	  women	  rather	  than	  the	  buyers	  and	  effectively	  moved	  women—not	  out	  of	  prostitution,	  but	  merely	  into	  the	  more	  isolated	  light	  industrial	  area	  of	  East	  Vancouver,	  far	  from	  the	  densely	  populated	  West	  End.	  It	  was	  clear	  to	  feminists	  and	  to	  women	  in	  prostitution	  that	  these	  injunctions	  and	  other	  actions	  would	  result	  in	  more	  dangerous	  circumstances	  for	  women	  (p.	  18-­‐19).	  Other	  researchers	  have	  used	  the	  rise	  in	  the	  disappearances	  and	  murders	  of	  prostituted	  women	  since	  that	  time	  as	  arguments	  for	  decriminalizing	  prostitution	  (Lowman,	  2004,	  p.	  147),	  and	  continue	  to	  do	  so.	  Feminist	  anti-­‐violence	  activists,	  however,	  while	  acknowledging	  that	  women	  in	  street-­‐level	  prostitution	  are	  in	  great	  danger,	  argue	  that	  no	  matter	  where	  prostitution	  occurs,	  it	  is	  the	  actions	  of	  the	  men	  buying	  sex	  that	  poses	  the	  danger	  (Overall,	  1992;	  Audet,	  2009;	  Jeffreys,	  2009).	  	  From	  the	  late	  1980s,	  there	  was	  more	  documentation	  of	  women	  disappearing	  from	  the	  Downtown	  Eastside	  of	  Vancouver.	  In	  the	  late	  1990s	  women’s	  groups,	  Aboriginal	  organizations	  and	  social	  service	  agencies	  began	  to	  put	  pressure	  on	  the	  police	  to	  take	  seriously	  and	  investigate	  these	  troubling	  cases	  of	  over	  60	  vanished	  women.	  Not	  all	  of	  these	   54 women	  were	  involved	  in	  prostitution,	  but	  most	  of	  them	  had	  at	  some	  point	  turned	  a	  trick.	  The	  majority	  of	  these	  women	  were	  Aboriginal.	  They	  were	  confined	  and	  murdered,	  after	  the	  Fraser	  report,	  with	  all	  its	  recommendations	  and	  draft	  legislation	  was	  released,	  and	  the	  plight	  of	  these	  women	  eventually	  lead	  to	  another	  cross-­‐Canada	  government-­‐sponsored	  report	  on	  prostitution	  and	  prostitution	  laws.	  The	  next	  section	  discusses	  that	  report.	  	  2.2	  The	  Challenge	  of	  Change:	  In	  2002,	  Willie	  Pickton,	  (a	  man	  well-­‐known	  among	  prostituted	  women	  in	  the	  DTES)	  was	  arrested	  and	  charged	  with	  the	  murder	  of	  26	  of	  approximately	  70	  women	  who	  had	  gone	  missing	  since	  the	  mid	  1980s.	  As	  it	  was	  twenty	  years	  before,	  the	  debate	  about	  what	  to	  do	  about	  prostitution	  heated	  up	  in	  Vancouver.	  Once	  again,	  the	  argument	  for	  moving	  women	  indoors	  hinged	  on	  safety.	  This	  time,	  however,	  (perhaps	  out	  of	  remorse	  for	  the	  deaths	  and	  disappearances	  of	  so	  many	  women),	  policy	  makers	  and	  “community	  members”	  claimed	  that	  the	  safety	  of	  “sex	  workers”	  should	  be	  the	  most	  important	  consideration,	  as	  well	  as	  reducing	  nuisance,	  litter	  of	  discarded	  condoms	  and	  needles,	  and	  public	  disorder35	  (Living	  in	  Community,	  2007,	  p.	  19).	  The	  Canadian	  federal	  government,	  in	  response	  to	  a	  motion	  brought	  forward	  in	  2003	  by	  NDP	  MP	  Libby	  Davies,	  proposed	  “to	  review	  the	  solicitation	  laws	  in	  order	  to	  improve	  the	  safety	  of	  sex-­‐trade	  workers	  and	  communities	  overall,	  and	  to	  recommend	  changes	  that	  will	  reduce	  the	  exploitation	  of	  and	  violence	  against	  sex-­‐trade	  workers”	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  2).	  A	  Subcommittee	  on	  Solicitation	  Laws	  of	  the	  Standing	  Committee	  on	  Justice	  and	  Human	  Rights	  (hereinafter	  referred	  to	  as	  “the	  subcommittee”)	  was	  struck,	  and	  began	  conducting	  research	  in	  2003,	  releasing	  the	  final	  report	  in	  December	  of	  2006.	  	                                                  35 Living in Community’s 2007 self-titled report recommends enforcement of “no-go zones” around schools and parks (LIC, 2007, p 19).   55 Challenge	  was	  narrower	  in	  scope	  than	  the	  Fraser	  report,	  resources	  were	  fewer	  and	  the	  result	  was	  much	  less	  comprehensive.	  The	  subcommittee	  was	  comprised	  of	  representatives	  from	  each	  Federal	  party,	  the	  Conservatives	  and	  Liberals	  with	  two,	  and	  the	  Bloc	  Quebecois	  and	  the	  New	  Democrats	  with	  one	  each.	  Active	  for	  two	  years	  (the	  final	  report	  was	  delayed	  in	  2005	  when	  Parliament	  dissolved),	  they	  heard	  from	  almost	  300	  witnesses	  in	  seven	  cities	  across	  the	  country	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  2),	  a	  much-­‐diminished	  sample	  from	  that	  of	  the	  Fraser	  Committee’s	  research	  two	  decades	  earlier.	  	  	   Even	  as	  the	  resources	  allotted	  to	  the	  subcommittee	  were	  more	  limited,	  the	  resources	  and	  infrastructure	  available	  to	  women’s	  groups	  to	  prepare	  submissions	  were	  diminished.	  The	  governments	  in	  the	  intervening	  decades	  had	  implemented	  several	  changes	  to	  tax	  transfer	  payments	  and	  social	  program	  funding	  schemes	  with	  the	  result	  that	  Canada’s	  social	  safety	  net,	  including	  funding	  for	  welfare,	  education	  and	  training,	  housing	  subsidies,	  and	  health	  care	  had	  been	  significantly	  eroded	  (Day	  &	  Brodsky,	  2002;	  2007).	  Women-­‐serving	  organizations	  provided	  more	  services	  with	  fewer	  resources,	  and	  engaged	  in	  much	  less	  advocacy,	  certainly	  less	  systemic	  advocacy.	  The	  reduction	  in	  advocacy	  over	  twenty	  years	  was	  a	  result	  of	  funding	  requirements	  which	  imposed	  criteria	  for	  staff	  and	  agency	  mandate,	  and	  an	  emphasis	  on	  service	  provision	  over	  advocacy	  or	  political	  organizing	  (Bonisteel	  &	  Green,	  2005).	  	  The	  constrained	  mandate	  of	  the	  subcommittee	  indicated	  not	  only	  a	  truncated	  definition	  of	  state	  responsibility	  and	  influence	  in	  public	  life,	  but	  also	  that	  public	  discourse	  shifted	  away	  from	  a	  feminist-­‐influenced	  understanding	  of	  prostitution.	  While	  the	  Fraser	  report	  described,	  with	  quotes	  from	  submissions,	  the	  material	  conditions	  that	  shaped	  women’s	  entry	  and	  engagement	  in	  prostitution,	  the	  Subcommittee	  report	  was	  more	   56 abstract.	  For	  example,	  the	  Fraser	  report	  concluded	  that	  women	  entered	  prostitution	  because	  of	  poverty,	  and	  because	  they	  were	  conditioned	  to	  “believe	  that	  their	  bodies	  are	  their	  only	  valued	  asset”	  (Fraser,	  1985,	  p.	  351).	  The	  Subcommittee	  report	  also	  related	  that	  poverty	  was	  still	  a	  significant	  contributor	  to	  women	  entering	  prostitution:	  “many	  witnesses	  agreed	  that	  a	  significant	  number	  of	  women	  are	  forced	  into	  prostitution	  by	  economic	  hardship”	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  10).	  Yet	  childhood	  sexual	  assault,	  social	  conditioning,	  and	  women’s	  oppression	  and	  inequality	  to	  men	  were	  minimally	  featured	  in	  Hanger	  and	  Maloney’s	  report	  of	  the	  subcommittee’s	  research.	  	  Perhaps	  the	  most	  striking	  difference	  between	  the	  two	  reports	  is	  the	  discussion	  of	  the	  “choice”	  of	  women	  to	  engage	  in	  prostitution	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  8).	  The	  second	  chapter	  of	  Challenge,	  “A	  profile	  of	  prostitution	  in	  Canada”	  (pp.	  5-­‐28),	  includes	  research	  and	  witness	  submissions	  that	  describe	  aspects	  of	  prostitution	  in	  Canada,	  and	  discusses	  firstly	  the	  question	  of	  consent.	  John	  Lowman,	  a	  criminologist	  whose	  testimony	  features	  throughout	  the	  report,	  suggests	  that	  most	  prostitution	  is	  an	  exchange	  “where	  both	  adults	  are	  consenting,	  albeit	  in	  a	  way	  that	  is	  shaped	  by	  their	  gender,	  occupation,	  ethnicity,	  socio-­‐economic	  status	  and	  cultural	  values”	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  6,	  citing	  Lowman).	  	  In	  his	  submission	  to	  the	  subcommittee,	  Lowman	  acknowledged	  that	  “consent”	  is	  shaped	  by	  the	  actor’s	  social	  locations	  and	  life	  conditions.	  However	  his	  submission	  to	  the	  Subcommittee	  did	  not	  describe	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  consent	  is	  shaped,	  or	  the	  coercive	  forces	  constraining	  the	  possibilities	  for	  consent,	  nor	  does	  he	  acknowledge	  gendered	  power	  inequities	  in	  prostitution.	  	  In	  more	  recent	  writing,	  this	  failure	  to	  acknowledge	  inequities	  has	  become	  a	  passionate	  defense	  of	  prostituted	  women’s	  “agency”	  and	  a	  misrepresentation	  of	  feminist	  recognition	  of	  power	  imbalances	  and	  demand-­‐focused	  proposals.	  He	  claims	  the	   57 feminist	  abolition	  position	  infantilizes	  and	  ignores	  women	  in	  prostitution:	  	  	  By	  denying	  their	  agency,	  demand	  side	  prohibition36	  effectively	  places	  sex	  workers	  in	  the	  same	  category	  as	  children	  and	  the	  mentally	  ill,	  i.e.	  persons	  who	  are	  unable	  to	  give	  consent.	  It	  creates	  a	  double	  jeopardy.	  Already	  denounced	  by	  society	  at	  large,	  sex	  workers	  who	  refuse	  to	  embrace	  the	  victim	  paradigm	  are	  cast	  out	  [by	  feminist	  anti-­‐violence	  services].	  Rape	  relief	  will	  not	  be	  extended	  to	  them.	  	  (Lowman,	  2011,	  November	  6).	  On	  the	  contrary,	  I	  argue	  that	  “the	  double	  jeopardy”	  here	  is	  not	  that	  women	  in	  prostitution	  who	  refuse	  “the	  victim	  paradigm”	  are	  then	  denied	  the	  support	  of	  feminist	  anti-­‐violence	  services.	  Instead	  it	  is	  that,	  when	  these	  women	  take	  up	  prostitution	  in	  the	  absence	  of	  other	  ways	  to	  earn	  money,	  they	  are	  encouraged,	  even	  pressured,	  to	  frame	  their	  experience	  as	  free	  choice,	  an	  economic	  transaction,	  an	  expression	  of	  their	  agency.	  If	  they	  have	  unpleasant	  feelings	  or	  experiences	  about	  their	  “choice”,	  Lowman’s	  version	  of	  harm	  reduction	  ideology	  urges	  them	  to	  supplant	  those	  memories	  and	  feelings	  and	  accept	  their	  lot.	  The	  pro-­‐prostitution	  advocates	  then	  disguise	  their	  abandonment	  of	  prostituted	  women	  as	  valorizing	  their	  choices.	  	  	  Challenge	  later	  features	  a	  section	  “The	  concept	  of	  choice”	  which	  offers	  an	  argument	  from	  Quebec	  writer	  and	  researcher	  Yolande	  Geadah	  who	  asserted,	  “We	  have	  to	  stop	  seeing	  it	  as	  an	  individual	  choice	  with	  no	  consequences.	  In	  fact,	  it	  is	  a	  choice	  that	  has	  terrible	                                                  36 The use by Lowman (and others) of the term “prohibition” in reference to demand-focused feminist abolition arguments also obscures the intention and analysis of these arguments. “Prohibition refers to restricting access, distribution and consumption of a substance. “Abolition”, on the other hand, refers to dismantling structures of oppression and inequality as a way to abolish inhumane and degrading practices such as slavery, prostitution, and human trafficking (Graham, 2012).   58 consequences…”	  (Geadah,	  quoted	  in	  Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  8).	  This	  statement	  serves	  as	  an	  echo,	  however	  faint,	  of	  the	  submission	  to	  the	  Fraser	  commission	  two	  decades	  earlier	  by	  Dr.	  Backhouse	  and	  her	  University	  of	  Windsor	  students.	  	  Challenge	  named	  prostitution	  “a	  dangerous	  activity”	  and	  found	  that	  “…in	  more	  than	  85%	  of	  the	  cases,	  the	  people	  who	  committed	  the	  homicides	  [of	  prostituted	  persons]	  were	  clients”	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.18).	  In	  the	  twenty-­‐years	  between	  reports,	  it	  appears	  that	  little	  had	  changed.	  Women	  were	  still	  in	  danger	  mainly	  from	  the	  men	  who	  bought	  them;	  but	  unlike	  one	  of	  the	  conclusions	  reached	  by	  Fraser,	  Challenge	  did	  not	  conclude	  that	  women’s	  oppression	  and	  inequality	  were	  the	  most	  important	  (or	  even	  among	  the	  most	  important)	  issues	  to	  understand	  prostitution.	  A	  significant	  shift	  in	  the	  discourse	  in	  Challenge	  was	  that	  prostitution	  was	  characterized	  as	  primarily	  a	  health	  issue:	  “above	  all	  else,	  prostitution	  is	  a	  public	  health	  issue,	  more	  than	  a	  law	  enforcement	  issue”	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  89).	  A	  result	  of	  this	  categorical	  shift	  was	  that	  the	  report	  made	  no	  legal	  or	  social	  reform	  recommendations	  to	  alleviate	  the	  socio-­‐economic	  concerns	  underlying	  prostitution	  (Taylor,	  2010,	  p.	  56).	  Both	  Fraser	  and	  the	  Subcommittee	  found	  that	  concern	  for	  women	  in	  prostitution	  was	  high	  among	  those	  groups	  and	  individuals	  who	  offered	  submissions.	  The	  overt	  hostility	  demonstrated	  in	  the	  mid-­‐1980s	  by	  Vancouver	  neighbourhood	  groups	  such	  as	  CROWE	  and	  the	  “Shame	  the	  Johns”	  campaigns	  had	  much	  diminished	  by	  the	  mid-­‐2000s.	  By	  2006,	  possibly	  because	  of	  the	  high-­‐profile	  Pickton	  trial	  and	  increased	  public	  awareness	  of	  the	  troubling	  disappearances	  and	  murders	  of	  women,	  especially	  Indigenous	  women,	  from	  areas	  known	  as	  sites	  of	  procurement	  of	  prostituted	  women,	  this	  hostility	  appeared	  to	  have	  shifted	  to	  more	  compassionate	  concern.	  In	  urban	  areas	  particularly	  marked	  by	  prostitution,	   59 however,	  the	  concerns	  of	  business	  owners	  and	  residents	  still	  seemed	  to	  be	  less	  for	  the	  women	  than	  for	  the	  economic	  impact,	  stigma,	  litter	  and	  other	  nuisance	  harms	  associated	  with	  the	  sex	  industry	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  29;	  Living	  in	  Community,	  2007,	  p.	  17-­‐19).	  In	  1985,	  Fraser	  (1985)	  wrote:	  	  Canadian	  judges	  seem	  inclined	  to	  require	  a	  strong	  reason,	  such	  as	  involvement	  in	  other	  forms	  of	  criminal	  activity	  or	  the	  creation	  of	  a	  discernable	  public	  nuisance,	  for	  convicting	  prostitutes	  of	  criminal	  offenses.	  Whether	  this	  will	  translate	  into	  acceptance	  of	  the	  argument	  that	  prostitutes	  are,	  or	  can	  be,	  discriminated	  against	  as	  a	  group,	  remains	  to	  be	  seen.	  (p.	  461)	   	  	   By	  2006,	  a	  further	  shift	  was	  evident.	  ‘Prostitutes’	  were	  considered	  a	  distinct	  group,	  and	  referred	  to	  as	  “sex-­‐workers”,	  thereby	  referring	  them	  as	  separate	  from	  the	  political	  category	  “woman”.	  	  The	  new	  class	  of	  sex-­‐worker	  were	  understood	  to	  face	  discrimination,	  not	  because	  they	  are	  women,	  but	  specifically	  because	  they	  sell	  sex:	  “First	  of	  all,	  the	  Subcommittee	  agrees	  that	  violence,	  discrimination	  and	  intimidation	  against	  individuals	  selling	  sexual	  services	  must	  never	  be	  tolerated”	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  85).	  	  This	  statement,	  while	  not	  directly	  contradicting	  Fraser’s	  conclusions,	  serves	  to	  reinforce	  an	  idea	  that	  people	  selling	  sexual	  services	  constitute	  a	  distinct	  group,	  separate	  from	  women	  as	  a	  political	  class.	  The	  2006	  subcommittee’s	  conclusions	  represent	  a	  significant	  shift	  away	  from	  Fraser’s,	  or	  a	  radical	  feminist	  analysis	  that	  the	  practice	  of	  prostitution	  itself	  constitutes	  discrimination	  and	  oppression	  of	  women,	  and	  that	  it	  is	  as	  much	  a	  gendered	  practice	  as	  it	  is	  classed	  and	  racialized.	  	  	  In	  both	  reports	  there	  is	  a	  message	  that	  prostitution	  is	  inevitable,	  although	  Fraser’s	  report	  addressed	  the	  vulnerability	  of	  impoverished	  and	  racialized	  women	  to	  involvement	   60 in	  prostitution,	  and	  provided	  recommendations	  to	  relieve	  this	  vulnerability.	  Challenge,	  on	  the	  other	  hand,	  described	  prostitution	  as	  primarily	  a	  public	  health	  issue,	  and	  while	  the	  authors	  agreed	  that	  women	  living	  in	  poverty	  and	  racialized	  women	  are	  more	  likely	  to	  be	  criminalized,	  they	  did	  not	  seem	  to	  consider	  prostitution	  itself	  as	  indicative	  of	  women’s	  political	  and	  social	  inequality.	  	  	  Christine	  Overall	  (1992)	  engaged	  with	  arguments	  about	  what	  is	  (or	  is	  not)	  wrong	  with	  prostitution,	  and	  found	  that	  an	  argument	  to	  decriminalize	  and	  regulate	  prostitution	  as	  “sex	  work”	  amounts	  to	  essentializing:	  	  Prostitution	  is	  called	  "the	  oldest	  profession”,	  suggesting	  that	  women	  have	  always	  done	  it,	  will	  always	  do	  it,	  and	  will	  choose	  to	  do	  it,	  even	  if	  a	  full	  range	  of	  other	  options	  is	  made	  available.	  The	  implication	  is	  that	  there	  is	  something	  inherent	  in	  women	  and	  independent	  of	  sexist	  cultural	  conditions	  that	  makes	  us	  want	  to	  sell	  sexual	  services	  to	  men.	  (p.	  719)	  	   She	  went	  on	  to	  argue:	  Prostitution	  epitomizes	  men's	  dominance:	  it	  is	  a	  practice	  that	  is	  constructed	  by	  and	  reinforces	  male	  supremacy,	  which	  both	  creates	  and	  legitimizes	  the	  "needs"	  that	  prostitution	  appears	  to	  satisfy	  as	  well	  as	  it	  perpetuates	  the	  systems	  and	  practices	  that	  permit	  sex	  work	  to	  flourish	  under	  capitalism.	  What	  is	  bad	  about	  prostitution,	  then,	  does	  not	  just	  reside	  in	  the	  sexual	  exchanges	  themselves,	  or	  in	  the	  circumstances	  in	  which	  they	  take	  place,	  but	  in	  capitalist	  patriarchy	  itself.	  (p.	  724)	  	   To	  return	  to	  Challenge,	  the	  commission	  ultimately	  provided	  very	  little	  challenge	  to	  the	  status	  quo.	  However,	  the	  report	  did	  illustrate	  that	  little	  had	  changed	  in	  the	  conditions	  of	   61 the	  lives	  of	  women	  in	  prostitution.	  For	  the	  most	  part,	  Challenge	  framed	  prostitution	  as	  within	  the	  remit	  of	  human	  rights	  discourse,	  detached	  from	  a	  structural	  analysis	  of	  women’s	  inequality.	  The	  majority	  view	  of	  the	  subcommittee	  was	  that,	  while	  rife	  with	  risks	  to	  the	  prostituted,	  prostitution	  is	  nevertheless	  a	  form	  of	  labour.	  The	  risks	  of	  violence	  and	  incidences	  of	  exploitation	  and	  trafficking,	  the	  majority	  proposed,	  could	  be	  (but	  were	  not)	  mitigated	  through	  general	  application	  of	  laws	  already	  in	  force.	  They	  were	  “unable	  to	  find	  an	  answer	  as	  to	  why	  [these	  laws]	  are	  rarely	  used	  to	  address	  such	  crimes”	  (Hanger	  &	  Maloney,	  2006,	  p.	  92),	  and	  in	  the	  end	  called	  for	  more	  research	  and	  discussion	  before	  changes	  could	  be	  made	  to	  the	  laws.	  The	  next	  section	  describe	  a	  brief	  history	  of	  harm	  reduction	  in	  Vancouver,	  and	  then	  how	  harm	  reduction	  has	  come	  to	  be	  applied	  to	  prostitution-­‐related	  problems.	  	  Part	  3.	  	  Harm	  Reduction	  in	  Vancouver:	  Health,	  History,	  Politics.	  Harm	  reduction,	  originally	  a	  set	  of	  policy	  and	  medical	  approaches	  problems	  related	  to	  drug	  addiction,	  is	  lately	  increasingly	  applied	  to	  prostitution-­‐related	  problems.	  Vancouver	  officially	  adopted	  a	  harm	  reduction	  approach	  in	  2000	  with	  the	  implementation	  of	  a	  new	  municipal	  drug	  policy	  called	  A	  Framework	  for	  Action	  (MacPherson,	  2001).	  I	  describe	  Vancouver’s	  practice	  of	  harm	  reduction	  earlier	  in	  this	  dissertation	  in	  regard	  to	  addiction,	  and	  engaged	  in	  a	  comprehensive	  critique	  in	  earlier	  work	  (Graham,	  2007).	  	  	  Among	  the	  dramatic	  changes	  in	  Canada’s	  social	  and	  political	  infrastructure	  was	  the	  devolution	  of	  Federal	  support	  for	  social	  programs	  and	  welfare.	  In	  the	  contemporary	  moment,	  the	  language	  in	  the	  public	  discourse	  about	  prostitution,	  particularly	  in	  the	  DTES,	  frames	  prostitution	  not	  as	  a	  political	  or	  feminist	  issue,	  but	  as	  a	  public	  health	  problem.	  This	  framing	  is	  partly	  due	  to	  the	  relatively	  high	  incidence	  of	  drug	  addiction	  and	  sexually	   62 transmitted	  diseases,	  (including	  HIV+)	  among	  women	  in	  prostitution	  compared	  to	  non-­‐prostitute	  women	  (Shannon	  et	  al.,	  2009,	  p.	  659).	  Political	  inequality	  of	  women	  to	  men	  is	  subsumed	  by	  the	  focus	  on	  health	  problems	  that	  harm	  reduction	  was	  developed	  to	  address,	  notably	  morbidity,	  mortality	  and	  social	  disorder	  (MacPherson,	  2001).	  Thus,	  a	  focus	  on	  harm	  reduction	  is	  a	  reactive	  stance	  that	  offers	  some	  relief	  to	  individuals	  in	  the	  moment,	  but	  does	  not	  account	  for	  a	  longer-­‐term	  goal	  of	  harm	  elimination.	  	  Vancouver	  has	  become	  a	  sort	  of	  petri	  dish	  for	  liberalized	  schemes	  of	  governance	  of	  the	  marginalized.	  Harm	  Reduction	  policy	  first	  emerged	  in	  the	  late	  1980s	  and	  early	  1990s	  in	  Europe	  and	  the	  Netherlands	  as	  a	  medical	  response	  to	  the	  disorder,	  disease	  and	  the	  degradation	  of	  urban	  public	  spaces	  (particularly	  in	  urban	  concentrations	  of	  poverty)	  which	  were	  related	  to	  the	  use	  of	  illicit	  drugs,	  specifically	  heroin	  (Baker,	  Anderson,	  deVlaming,	  Hickey,	  &	  Ross,	  1997;	  Inciardi	  &	  Harrison,	  2000).	  In	  Vancouver,	  the	  first	  interventions	  were	  the	  introduction	  of	  methadone	  as	  a	  replacement	  for	  heroin,	  initiated	  in	  1959	  by	  Doctor	  Robert	  Halliday,	  and	  a	  needle	  exchange	  service	  initiated	  by	  John	  Turvey	  and	  the	  DTES	  Youth	  Activity	  Society	  in	  the	  late	  1980s.	  In	  1997,	  the	  City	  of	  Vancouver	  declared	  the	  DTES	  a	  “state	  of	  emergency”	  because	  of	  an	  alarming	  spike	  in	  HIV+	  status	  and	  overdose	  deaths	  in	  the	  area.	  The	  Vancouver	  Area	  Network	  of	  Drug	  Users	  (VANDU)	  formed	  and	  took	  action	  to	  draw	  public	  attention	  to	  the	  poverty	  and	  stigma	  which	  contributed	  to	  their	  social	  dislocation	  and	  consequent	  use	  of	  illicit	  drugs37	  (MacPherson,	  2001).	  	  The	  signing	  of	  the	  Vancouver	  Agreement	  in	  2000	  gave	  rise	  to	  the	  city’s	  Four	  Pillars	  Drug	  Policy38,	  which	                                                  37 Personal communication, Donald MacPherson, former Vancouver City Drug Policy Coordinator, Spring 2001. 38 “The Four Pillars” of Vancouver’s Drug policy are: Prevention and Education, Treatment, Law  63 focused	  first	  on	  the	  DTES,	  and	  set	  the	  policy	  scene	  for	  the	  establishment	  of	  Insite,	  which	  now	  supervises	  up	  to	  800	  injections	  a	  day.	  	  There	  are,	  broadly,	  two	  versions	  of	  harm	  reduction:	  the	  Dutch	  model	  and	  the	  Merseyside	  Model39.	  The	  Dutch	  Model,	  the	  one	  closest	  to	  Vancouver’s	  version	  of	  harm	  reduction,	  contends	  that	  drug	  use	  is	  inevitable;	  drug	  use	  itself	  is	  not	  harmful,	  but	  some	  activities	  and	  effects	  of	  drug	  use	  can	  be;	  and	  harm	  reduction	  is	  a	  set	  of	  strategies	  meant	  to	  reduce	  harmful	  or	  risky	  practices.	  Abstinence	  is	  not	  necessarily	  a	  goal	  of	  this	  model	  of	  harm	  reduction	  (MacPherson,	  2001,	  p.	  58).	  The	  Merseyside	  model,	  on	  the	  other	  hand,	  holds	  that	  drug	  use	  itself	  is	  harmful	  and	  utilizes	  harm	  reduction	  strategies	  as	  steps	  along	  a	  continuum	  toward	  eventual	  abstinence	  (O’Hare,	  2007,	  p.	  142).	  As	  in	  the	  Dutch	  model,	  Vancouver’s	  goals	  are	  to	  reduce	  public	  disorder,	  including	  public	  use	  of	  illicit	  drugs,	  and	  to	  reduce	  morbidity	  and	  mortality	  as	  a	  result	  of	  the	  use	  of	  illicit	  drugs.	  Abstinence	  is	  not	  necessarily	  a	  goal	  of	  Vancouver’s	  drug	  policies	  (MacPherson,	  2001,	  p.	  61).	  	  To	  these	  ends,	  then,	  interventions	  provided	  by	  medical	  bodies	  and	  social	  services	  agencies	  claimed	  to	  reduce	  harm	  caused	  by	  “the	  use	  and	  abuse	  of	  illicit	  narcotic	  drug	  use	  [sic]”	  (Baker	  et	  al.,	  1997),	  not	  the	  social	  and	  political	  causes	  of	  drug	  addiction.	  Like	  the	  western	  medical	  system	  upon	  which	  this	  approach	  is	  based,	  these	  techniques	  of	  harm	  reduction	  treat	  the	  immediate	  symptoms	  or	  consequences	  of	  addictive	  behaviours.	  These	  symptoms	  or	  consequences	  are	  named	  as:	  public	  disorder	  including	  litter	  of	  dirty	  needles	                                                                                                                                                         Enforcement and Harm Reduction. Aspects of this policy were enacted from 2001 (MacPherson, 2001).  I engaged in an extensive critique of this policy in my MA thesis (Graham, 2007). 39 Merseyside is a county in the Northwest of England, and includes the city of Liverpool. In the early 1990s, the local medical and law enforcement bodies, in response to increasing and devastating intravenous drug use, implemented a constellation of harm reduction interventions (www.addictioninfo.org/articles/256/1/Harm-Reduction-History-and-Definitions/Page1.Html).  64 and	  wrappers,	  property	  damage,	  theft,	  and	  public	  drug	  use;	  spread	  of	  blood-­‐borne	  illness	  and	  disease;	  and	  overdose	  deaths	  (MacPherson,	  2001,	  p.	  53-­‐54).	  	  In	  the	  spring	  of	  2003,	  members	  of	  the	  Vancouver	  Area	  Network	  of	  Drug	  Users,	  (VANDU)	  and	  neighbourhood	  allies	  opened	  an	  “illegal”	  injection	  site	  staffed	  voluntarily	  by	  VANDU	  members	  and	  a	  public	  health	  nurse.	  	  The	  municipal	  government	  of	  Mayor	  Larry	  Campbell	  (former	  City	  Coroner)	  and	  the	  Vancouver	  Police	  Department	  tolerated	  this	  temporary	  site	  for	  a	  few	  months,	  primarily	  because	  Insite	  was	  due	  to	  open	  in	  the	  fall	  of	  that	  year.	  The	  media	  of	  the	  time	  asserted	  that	  public	  opinion	  was	  strongly	  in	  favour	  of	  the	  establishment	  of	  a	  safe	  fix	  site	  for	  addicts.	  The	  supervised	  injection	  facility	  called	  “Insite”,	  was	  initially	  a	  four-­‐year	  research	  project	  funded	  through	  Vancouver	  Coastal	  Health.	  The	  site	  ,	  has	  renewed	  an	  exemption	  from	  Section	  56	  of	  the	  Controlled	  Substances	  Act40	  and	  remains	  open	  as	  a	  health	  and	  research	  facility	  despite	  many	  attempts	  by	  the	  Federal	  Conservative	  government	  to	  force	  its	  closure.	  Research	  coming	  from	  Insite	  indicates	  that	  it	  has	  achieved	  some	  success	  in	  reducing	  morbidity	  and	  mortality,	  as	  well	  as	  decreasing	  public	  disorder	  (Kerr,	  Small,	  &	  Wood,	  2005;	  Small,	  Palepu,	  &	  Tyndall,	  2006;	  Wood,	  Mark,	  Zhang,	  Montaner,	  &	  Kerr,	  2007;	  Strathdee	  &	  Pollini,	  2007).	  This	  and	  some	  other	  state	  sanctioned	  harm	  reduction	  strategies	  seem	  to	  have	  also	  achieved	  some	  reduction	  of	  evidence	  of	  problematic	  public	  drug	  use.	  	  The	  popularity	  of	  harm	  reduction	  approaches	  in	  relation	  to	  drug	  users	  has	  sparked	  an	  interest	  in	  applying	  some	  of	  these	  tactics	  to	  work	  with	  prostituted	  women,	  and	  particularly	  those	  women	  involved	  in	  street-­‐level	                                                  40 Section 56 of the Controlled Substances act prohibits activities pertaining to controlled substances (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/substancontrol/exemptions/index-eng.php July 20, 2014). Medical researchers may apply for an exemption for research purposes.   65 prostitution.	  	  Initially	  these	  women	  were	  targeted	  for	  harm	  reduction	  interventions	  because	  of	  problems	  related	  to	  their	  drug	  use	  (Boyd,	  2004,	  2008;	  Shannon,	  2009).	  Clean	  needles	  and	  condoms	  remain	  an	  essential	  component	  of	  harm	  reduction	  supplies	  to	  women.	  In	  1991,	  Susan	  Boyd	  of	  Simon	  Fraser	  University,	  along	  with	  service	  providers	  and	  women	  who	  lived	  in	  the	  DTES,	  founded	  “Drug	  and	  Alcohol	  Meeting	  Support”	  (DAMS)	  for	  women.	  This	  grassroots	  initiative	  was	  an	  early	  version	  of	  harm	  reduction,	  chiefly	  organized	  and	  operated	  by	  the	  women	  it	  was	  founded	  to	  serve—namely	  women,	  including	  new	  mothers,	  living	  with	  addictions	  (Boyd,	  2008).	  DAMS	  initially	  operated	  as	  a	  volunteer-­‐run	  initiative,	  providing	  meeting	  support	  and	  social	  connections	  for	  women.	  They	  struggled	  to	  obtain	  funding,	  and	  for	  a	  while	  had	  some	  help	  from	  the	  YWCA.	  By	  and	  by	  they	  partnered	  with	  Atira	  Housing	  for	  Women,	  and	  are	  presently	  funded	  by	  Vancouver	  Coastal	  Health	  Authority	  and	  operated	  out	  of	  the	  Three	  Bridges	  Community	  Health	  Centre.	  	  From	  the	  late	  1990s	  through	  the	  2000s,	  the	  drug	  of	  choice	  among	  drug	  users	  in	  the	  DTES	  shifted	  from	  heroin	  to	  crack	  cocaine	  and	  crystal	  methamphetamine41.	  The	  term	  “crack	  whore”	  became	  an	  oft-­‐heard	  pejorative	  in	  the	  service	  agencies	  and	  on	  the	  streets	  of	  the	  DTES.	  The	  proliferation	  of	  cheap	  potent	  stimulant	  drugs	  coupled	  with	  the	  rapid	  unraveling	  of	  Canada’s	  social	  safety	  net	  under	  a	  neoliberal	  regime	  created	  increasingly	  depraved	  conditions	  for	  the	  most	  marginalized	  citizens,	  particularly	  women42.	  	  	  	  Harm	  reduction	  seems	  to	  be	  the	  connective	  tissue	  between	  public	  health	                                                  41 Personal communication with former street nurse, January 2008; personal communication with long-time mental health advocate in DTES drop-in centre, November 2011. 42 Personal communication with former facilitator or women’s programs for VANDU, Nov. 2009; also, I have had recent conversations with a number of people who are residents or employees in the DTES, and they see this.  66 considerations	  of	  and	  approaches	  toward	  prostitution	  and	  law	  enforcement	  and	  legal	  considerations	  and	  approaches.	  Harm	  reduction	  is	  now	  part	  of	  the	  taken-­‐for-­‐granted	  discourse	  and	  action	  regarding	  drug	  use.	  	  Some	  activists	  and	  researchers	  still	  frame	  harm	  reduction	  as	  a	  form	  of	  systemic	  advocacy	  (for	  example,	  Osborn	  &	  Small,	  2006),	  even	  though	  it	  is	  now	  firmly	  located	  and	  promoted	  by	  hegemonic	  institutions	  of	  power,	  particularly	  medicine	  and	  social	  services.	  	  There	  has	  been	  some	  criticism	  of	  both	  Insite	  and	  the	  ideology	  of	  harm	  reduction.	  Harm	  reduction	  has	  been	  analyzed	  as	  a	  form	  of	  social	  control	  and	  governmentality	  (Roe,	  2005;	  Graham,	  2007).	  Other	  researchers	  argue	  that	  harm	  reduction	  practices	  function	  essentially	  to	  “purify	  public	  spaces	  of	  drug	  users”	  (Fischer,	  Turnbull,	  Poland,	  &	  Haydon,	  2004)	  and	  to	  contain	  their	  potential	  rebellion	  within	  a	  pathologized	  space	  of	  dependence	  (Roe,	  2005).	  I	  have	  also	  argued	  that	  harm	  reduction	  participates	  in	  the	  reproduction	  of	  cultural	  and	  political	  structures	  of	  inequality	  (Graham,	  2007),	  and	  by	  claiming	  to	  be	  “non-­‐ideological”	  (Erickson,	  Riley,	  Cheung,	  &	  O’Hare,	  1997;	  BC	  Centre	  for	  Excellence	  in	  HIV/AIDS,	  2004),	  harm	  reduction	  in	  fact	  promotes	  hegemonic	  demonizing	  (or	  at	  least	  patronizing)	  discourse	  about	  drug	  users	  and	  prostituted	  people.	  	  Specifically,	  one	  feature	  of	  my	  critique	  of	  harm	  reduction	  is	  that	  expectations	  of	  changing	  behaviours	  are	  placed	  on	  those	  who	  are	  most	  at	  risk	  of	  harm,	  rather	  than	  those	  who	  stand	  to	  profit	  materially	  from	  addiction	  or	  prostitution,	  namely,	  the	  dealers,	  johns,	  and	  traffickers.	  A	  parallel	  harm	  reduction	  approach	  to	  women	  in	  prostitution	  as	  to	  users	  of	  illicit	  drugs,	  would	  target	  the	  user	  (or	  the	  john).	  It	  would	  be	  he	  who	  would	  be	  expected	  to	  reduce	  his	  use	  of	  women;	  alter	  the	  manner	  in	  which	  he	  used	  women;	  consent	  to	  state	  or	  medical	  professional	  surveillance	  of	  his	  use	  of	  women;	  and	  accept	  alternatives	  to	  use	  in	   67 place	  of	  women.	  People	  who	  use	  illicit	  drugs	  in	  public	  are	  expected	  to	  do	  all	  these	  things	  under	  a	  harm	  reduction	  regime.	  	  Of	  course,	  in	  the	  case	  of	  prostitution,	  it	  is	  the	  “commodity”,	  or	  the	  woman	  purchased	  for	  sex	  that	  is	  harmed,	  not	  the	  purchaser	  of	  the	  commodity	  Again,	  harm	  reduction	  demands	  that	  both	  the	  addict	  and	  the	  prostitute,	  those	  in	  danger	  or	  facing	  harm	  must	  change	  their	  behaviour,	  govern	  themselves,	  and	  submit	  to	  regimes	  of	  surveillance	  in	  order	  to	  benefit	  from	  harm	  reduction.	  In	  neither	  case	  are	  those	  who	  profit	  from,	  enforce	  or	  enable	  addiction	  or	  engagement	  in	  prostitution	  targeted	  or	  affected	  by	  harm	  reduction.	  	  	  3.1	  Harm	  Reduction	  and	  Health	  Research:	  Harm	  reduction	  is	  a	  model	  of	  intervention	  developed	  by	  medical	  professionals.	  It	  was	  always	  meant	  to	  curb	  mortality	  and	  morbidity,	  first	  from	  use	  of	  injection	  drugs,	  and	  now	  also	  from	  prostitution-­‐related	  activities.	  Concerns	  about	  women’s	  health	  makes	  certain	  sense	  when	  thinking	  about	  harm	  reduction	  when	  applied	  to	  women	  in	  prostitution,	  as	  there	  are	  a	  number	  of	  illnesses	  and	  damages	  which	  occur	  as	  a	  result	  of	  activities	  involved	  in	  acts	  of	  prostitution.	  Melissa	  Farley’s	  research	  (2003a	  &	  b;	  2004;	  2005)	  reveals	  widespread	  incidence	  of	  post-­‐traumatic	  stress	  disorder	  (PTSD)	  among	  people	  engaged	  in	  prostitution.	  Her	  findings	  are	  reinforced	  by	  Jannit	  Rabinovitch’s	  (2004)	  observations	  of	  women	  who	  were	  members	  of	  PEERS:	  	  A	  number	  of	  medical	  problems	  have	  been	  connected	  to	  prostitution	  (Rechsteiner,	  1999).	  Most	  of	  those	  who	  have	  been	  in	  prostitution	  for	  some	  time	  experience	  symptoms	  of	  sexual	  trauma.	  Mental	  health	  problems	  include	  depression,	  suicide	  attempts,	  panic	  attacks,	  traumatic	  stress,	  sleep	  disorders,	  flashbacks,	  and	  migraines	  (Smith,	  1996;	  Rechsteiner,	  1999;	  Benoit	  &	  Millar,	  2001).	  People	  in	  prostitution	  commonly	  feel	  isolated,	  alienated,	  suicidal,	  are	   68 alcohol	  or	  drug	  dependent,	  have	  eating	  disorders,	  self-­‐mutilate,	  have	  difficulty	  concentrating,	  have	  gynecological	  problems,	  and	  sexual	  dysfunction.	  Many	  addicted	  prostitutes	  were	  not	  involved	  in	  substance	  abuse	  before	  entering	  prostitution.	  (p.	  240)	  For	  some	  of	  these	  problems,	  harm	  reduction	  principles	  are	  appropriate,	  and	  the	  practice	  of	  “meeting	  women	  where	  they	  are	  at”	  with	  generosity	  and	  respect	  is	  a	  fundamental	  characteristic	  of	  both	  harm	  reduction	  and	  feminist	  anti-­‐violence	  interventions.	  Beyond	  that,	  these	  two	  perspectives	  part	  ways	  ideologically	  and	  practically.	  Much	  health	  research	  attends	  to	  “social	  determinates	  of	  health”,	  and	  takes	  into	  account	  the	  particular	  barriers	  to	  health	  care	  and	  safety	  of	  racialized	  and	  impoverished	  women.	  However,	  researchers	  come	  to	  the	  DTES	  with	  hypothesis	  to	  prove,	  which	  may	  not	  be	  the	  same	  as	  the	  mission	  of	  the	  people	  or	  organizations	  they	  study.	  VANDU,	  for	  example,	  depends	  primarily	  on	  health	  research	  funding.	  VANDU	  initially	  had	  a	  class	  analysis,	  and	  their	  goals	  were	  to	  achieve	  not	  only	  access	  to	  health	  care,	  housing	  and	  social	  support	  for	  drug	  users,	  but	  recognition	  and	  respect	  for	  their	  humanity.	  Health	  research	  projects	  are	  much	  more	  narrowly	  focused,	  and	  often	  take	  focus	  away	  from	  the	  original	  mandate	  of	  the	  organization.43	  	  A	  former	  employee	  of	  VANDU	  remembered	  an	  example	  of	  this	  kind	  of	  disconnect:	  A	  PhD	  candidate	  in	  UBC	  Nursing	  conducted	  research	  with	  the	  women	  of	  VANDU	  about	  the	  use	  of	  filters	  in	  crack	  pipes,	  and	  tried	  to	  promote	  the	  use	  of	  a	  filter	  other	  than	  steel	  wool.	  Women	  who	  were	  members	  of	  VANDU	  were	  hired	  as	  research	  assistants	  to	  hand	  out	  crack	                                                  43 Personal communication with former women’s program coordinator, VANDU, December 2009.  69 kits	  (a	  glass	  tube	  to	  use	  as	  a	  pipe	  and	  a	  filter)	  and	  to	  ask	  other	  women	  drug	  users	  what	  kinds	  of	  filters	  they	  used.	  The	  research	  assistants	  then	  encouraged	  them	  to	  use	  something	  other	  than	  steel	  wool	  (particles	  of	  which	  are	  inhaled	  when	  used	  as	  a	  filter).	  	  	  In	  the	  process	  of	  the	  research,	  women	  provided	  lots	  and	  lots	  of	  other	  stories	  about	  the	  relationship	  between	  incest	  and	  sexual	  violence	  as	  a	  passage	  to	  drug	  use,	  about	  internal	  immigration	  within	  Canada,	  [and]	  current	  patterns	  of	  violence	  against	  women.	  They	  exposed	  all	  this	  with	  their	  stories,	  but	  there	  was	  no	  use	  of	  these	  womens’	  experiences…The	  facts	  they	  told	  of	  their	  lives	  was	  just	  a	  way	  to	  create	  a	  sociological	  map,	  it	  wasn't	  the	  bottom	  line	  of	  the	  research.	  It	  reinforced	  what	  I	  knew	  about	  violence	  against	  women,	  about	  prostitution,	  and	  about	  drug	  use44.	  	  The	  information	  these	  women	  provided	  about	  their	  experiences,	  then,	  about	  their	  path	  to	  drug	  use,	  their	  victimization	  by	  men,	  the	  effects	  of	  poverty	  and	  racism	  on	  their	  lives,	  was	  rich	  and	  compelling.	  Had	  these	  dimensions	  of	  their	  narratives	  been	  understood	  by	  the	  researcher	  as	  more	  than	  merely	  contextual	  data,	  these	  stories	  might	  have	  provided	  a	  spark	  for	  women	  to	  organize	  together	  to	  create	  interventions	  helpful	  to	  reduce	  their	  drug	  use,	  or	  make	  more	  opportunities	  for	  education,	  work	  or	  housing.	  The	  researchers	  had	  simultaneously	  given	  voice	  to	  and	  suppressed	  the	  experiences	  of	  the	  participants	  –	  enacting	  a	  “politics	  of	  containment	  in	  which	  visibility	  can	  bring	  increased	  surveillance”	  (Collins	  cited	  in	  Naples,	  2003,	  p.	  166).	  	  The	  material	  reality	  of	  their	  lives	  was	  not	  the	  focus	  of	  the	  research—the	  focus	  of	  the	                                                  44 Personal communication, former women’s program coordinator with VANDU, December 2009.  70 research	  was	  how	  to	  promote	  use	  of	  filters	  for	  crack	  pipes.	  Stable	  operational	  funding	  for	  support	  services	  is	  scarce,	  however,	  so	  VANDU	  and	  other	  community	  organizations	  in	  the	  DTES	  depend	  on	  funding	  derived	  by	  cooperating	  with	  studies	  framed	  as	  health	  interventions.	  This	  financial	  support	  comes	  with	  conditions	  and	  in	  effect	  redirects	  the	  mandate	  of	  the	  organizations	  and	  the	  energies	  of	  staff	  and	  members	  to	  match	  the	  aims	  of	  the	  research	  projects	  which	  provide	  funding.	  	  At	  present,	  many	  shelters	  and	  services	  in	  Vancouver	  now	  claim	  a	  harm	  reduction	  approach	  to	  their	  service	  provision,	  in	  collaboration	  with	  medical	  research	  entities.	  To	  some	  extent,	  the	  services	  agencies	  have	  become	  governmental.	  That	  is,	  they	  receive	  funding	  from	  bodies	  which	  operate	  at	  arm’s	  length	  from	  the	  state,	  but	  in	  so	  doing	  are	  diverted	  toward	  the	  agenda	  of	  the	  research	  (and	  funding)	  body,	  and	  away	  from	  an	  agenda	  of	  political	  critique	  and	  structural	  challenge.	  Harm	  reduction,	  because	  it	  claims	  a	  ‘non-­‐judgmental’	  stance	  in	  regard	  to	  drug	  use	  and	  prostitution,	  can	  be	  understood	  as	  a	  technique	  enacting	  a	  liberal	  or	  negative	  conception	  of	  freedom.	  A	  negative	  conception	  of	  freedom	  understands	  freedom	  as	  the	  individual	  being	  unrestrained	  in	  their	  choices	  and	  activities	  (Quincy,	  n.d.;	  Day	  &	  Brodsky,	  2002).	  This	  liberal	  understanding	  of	  freedom	  fits	  with	  the	  laissez-­‐faire	  libertarian	  economic	  and	  social	  and	  fiscal	  policies	  of	  both	  BC	  provincial	  Liberal	  government	  and	  the	  Federal	  Conservatives.	  In	  the	  next	  section	  I	  shift	  focus	  to	  a	  wider	  policy	  context	  that	  is	  being	  shaped	  by	  neoliberal45	  ideologies	  of	  which	  harm	  reduction	  and	  legalization	  of	                                                  45 Neoliberalism is “a loosely-knit body of ideas which became very influential during the 1980s and which were premised on a (slight) rethinking and a (substantial) reassertion of classical liberalism” (Marshall, 1998, p. 445). It promotes the idea of the autonomous individual, laissez-faire capitalism, and in general, negative (without  71 prostitution	  are	  a	  part.	  I	  begin	  with	  a	  brief	  note	  about	  the	  deterioration	  of	  the	  Canadian	  welfare	  state	  and	  take	  note	  of	  policy	  orientations	  of	  transnational	  organizations	  such	  as	  the	  United	  Nations	  and	  the	  International	  Labour	  Organization	  (ILO)	  that	  reflect	  the	  rise	  of	  neoliberal	  ideology.	  	  Part	  4.	  Neoliberal	  Shifts	  at	  Home	  and	  Abroad	  As	  was	  noted	  earlier,	  in	  1995,	  the	  Federal	  government	  repealed	  the	  Canada	  Assistance	  Plan	  (CAP)	  and	  replaced	  it	  with	  the	  Health	  and	  Social	  Transfer	  (Day,	  2006).	  The	  CAP	  was	  the	  mechanism	  by	  which	  federal	  revenue	  was	  distributed	  to	  the	  provinces	  as	  both	  cash	  and	  tax	  points,.	  A	  certain	  amount	  of	  the	  tax	  transfer	  was	  allocated	  to	  welfare,	  health,	  and	  social	  programs,	  and	  Provincial	  governments	  were	  required	  to	  meet	  a	  set	  of	  conditions	  of	  distribution	  in	  order	  to	  qualify	  for	  receipt	  of	  these	  funds.	  After	  1995,	  these	  conditions	  were	  relaxed.	  Provinces	  received	  less	  money,	  over	  all,	  and	  the	  conditions	  to	  use	  a	  defined	  proportion	  for	  social	  programs	  were	  no	  longer	  in	  force.	  As	  a	  result,	  social	  assistance	  and	  civil	  legal	  aid	  experienced	  a	  sharp	  decline	  in	  federal	  funding	  with	  devastating	  effects,	  particularly	  for	  impoverished	  women	  (Day	  &	  Brodsky,	  2007,	  p.	  viii).	  	  	   In	  2003,	  the	  United	  Nations	  Committee	  on	  the	  Elimination	  of	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women	  found	  that	  the	  cuts	  to	  Canada’s	  social	  programs	  as	  a	  result	  of	  the	  repeal	  of	  the	  CAP	  contravened	  the	  Convention	  on	  the	  Elimination	  of	  All	  Forms	  of	  Discrimination	  Against	  Women	  (CEDAW),	  and	  since	  that	  time,	  Canada	  has	  come	  under	  sharp	  criticism	  from	  the	  United	  Nations	  (Day	  &	  Brodsky,	  2006,	  2009).	  The	  resulting	  increase	  in	  “feminization	  of	  poverty”	  has	  contributed	  to	  conditions	  that	  force	  women	  into	  prostitution	  (Day,	  2008,	  p.	                                                                                                                                                         restraints) conceptions of freedom.   72 13).	  West	  Coast	  Women’s	  Legal	  Education	  and	  Action	  Fund	  (LEAF)	  released	  their	  CEDAW	  report	  card	  on	  the	  BC	  Government	  in	  October	  of	  201346,	  indicating	  that	  little	  had	  changed	  in	  this	  regard.	  	   The	  repeal	  of	  CAP	  and	  subsequent	  federal	  and	  provincial	  tax	  and	  social	  program	  reforms	  indicate	  a	  shift	  from	  the	  post-­‐war	  social	  welfare	  state	  to	  a	  free-­‐market	  laissez-­‐faire	  approach	  to	  economic	  and	  social	  development.	  The	  Canadian	  Charter	  of	  Rights	  and	  Freedoms	  articulates	  substantive	  rights	  and	  of	  citizens	  that	  are,	  or	  were,	  made	  possible	  through	  a	  comprehensive	  “social	  safety	  net”.	  Formerly,	  Canada’s	  social	  programs,	  while	  certainly	  not	  perfect,	  nevertheless	  provided	  a	  limited	  measure	  of	  security	  that	  (even	  if	  only	  partially)	  enabled	  historically	  disadvantaged	  groups	  to	  gain	  access	  to	  the	  means	  to	  achieve	  equality	  rights.	  Jurisprudence	  under	  The	  Charter’s	  section	  15	  expresses	  a	  commitment	  to	  substantive	  equality,	  which	  recognizes	  that	  “inequality	  is	  disproportionately	  experienced	  by	  groups	  in	  society	  that	  are	  vulnerable	  to	  marginalization	  and	  discrimination…”	  (Day,	  2008,	  p.	  11).	  	  	  In	  the	  face	  of	  an	  increasingly	  globalized	  economy,	  “free-­‐trade”	  agreements	  and	  other	  liberalized	  approaches	  to	  economic	  and	  social	  policies,	  women	  disadvantaged	  by	  structural	  class	  and	  racialized	  discrimination	  find	  themselves	  teetering	  on	  the	  edge	  of	  ever-­‐widening	  cracks	  in	  the	  social	  infrastructure.	  As	  government	  fiscal	  conservatism	  advanced	  in	  North	  America,	  labour	  markets	  were	  deregulated,	  and	  social	  responsibilities	  shifted	  from	  the	  government	  to	  the	  individual	  (Griffin	  &	  Pulkingham,	  2009).	  As	  women’s	  resources	  centres,	  anti-­‐poverty	  organizations	  and	  feminist	  anti-­‐violence	  centres	  faced	  increased	  demands	  by	                                                  46 October 18, 2013: http://www.westcoastleaf.org/index.php?newsid=241&pageID=1  73 the	  government	  to	  professionalize	  and	  adhere	  to	  state-­‐imposed	  sanctions,	  they	  became	  increasingly	  restricted	  in	  their	  ability	  to	  mobilize	  for	  political	  action	  and	  systemic	  advocacy	  (Bonisteel	  &	  Green,	  2005).	  	  	  	  Globally,	  both	  corporate	  and	  military	  imperialism	  operate	  in	  tandem	  with	  market	  liberalization,	  and	  women	  are	  placed	  in	  increasingly	  tenuous	  economic	  conditions	  rendering	  them	  increasingly	  vulnerable	  to	  forced	  migration	  and	  trafficking.	  Those	  who	  think	  of	  prostitution	  as	  a	  form	  of	  labour	  do	  not	  directly	  address	  these	  forces,	  but	  describe	  these	  indirect	  forms	  of	  trafficking	  as	  “migration”,	  and	  argue	  that	  women	  who	  leave	  their	  home	  countries	  in	  search	  of	  paid	  work,	  including	  “sex	  work”	  are	  in	  fact	  exercising	  agency	  and	  enjoying	  the	  freedom	  to	  explore	  the	  world	  (for	  example	  Lim,	  1998;	  Agustin,	  2007;	  Brewis	  &	  Linstead,	  2000).	  In	  1998,	  for	  example,	  the	  International	  Labour	  Organization	  (ILO)	  released	  a	  report	  about	  prostitution	  in	  Southeast	  Asia	  (Lim,	  1998).	  	  Studies	  represented	  in	  the	  report	  recommended	  that	  prostitution	  be	  recognized	  as	  a	  form	  of	  labour	  and	  that	  policy	  makers	  develop	  schemes	  for	  states	  to	  regulate,	  monitor	  and	  tax	  the	  prostitution	  industry	  (Lim,	  1998).	  Noting	  that	  prostitution	  “is	  a	  survival	  mechanism	  for	  coping	  with	  poverty	  and	  a	  method	  of	  compensating	  for	  lack	  of	  social	  welfare	  and	  income	  maintenance	  programs	  in	  South	  East	  Asian	  countries”	  (Karandikar,	  2008,	  p.	  2)	  the	  ILO	  maintains	  that	  dispassionate	  legislative	  and	  policy	  approaches	  to	  legitimate	  prostitution	  as	  “sex	  work”	  would	  reduce	  the	  stigma	  those	  in	  prostitution	  face,	  and	  provide	  mechanisms	  to	  increase	  safety	  and	  health	  outcomes	  for	  them.	  Though	  the	  ILO	  agrees	  that	  98%	  of	  all	  those	  who	  are	  trafficked	  for	  prostitution	  are	  girls	  and	  women,	  they	  note	  that	  trafficking	  for	  prostitution	  accounts	  for	  only	  43%	  of	  all	  forms	  of	  trafficking	  (Lim,	  2007).	  Lim	  decries	  the	  abolitionist	  “approach	  to	   74 end	  demand	  in	  the	  sex	  market”,	  and	  claims	  that	  such	  an	  approach	  does	  not	  adequately	  address	  human	  rights	  concerns.	  Lim,	  speaking	  as	  the	  ILO,	  agrees	  with	  abolitionist	  assertions	  that	  “we	  need	  to	  address	  the	  areas	  of	  vulnerability	  [and]	  the	  reasons	  why	  people	  migrate	  and	  are	  trafficked	  and	  the	  reasons	  why	  other	  people	  are	  able	  to	  traffic	  them”	  (p.	  1).	  However,	  she	  conversely	  posits	  that	  some	  women	  enter	  prostitution	  voluntarily,	  and	  argues	  that	  “morality-­‐based	  prohibitionist	  arguments”	  do	  not	  account	  for	  a	  human	  rights	  discourse	  (p.	  3).	  	  Such	  arguments	  illustrate	  a	  neo-­‐liberal	  approach	  to	  problems	  related	  to	  economic	  globalization.	  Though	  there	  is	  some	  acknowledgement	  that	  patterns	  of	  immigration	  and	  migration	  are	  responses	  to	  structural	  forces	  of	  domination	  –	  the	  ILO’s	  proposed	  solution	  targets	  the	  individual	  and	  argues	  that	  reducing	  stigma	  and	  legitimating	  sexual	  exploitation	  as	  a	  form	  of	  labour	  will	  improve	  safety	  for	  these	  individuals.	  	  By	  contrast,	  other	  researchers	  perceive	  these	  patterns	  of	  migrations	  and	  immigration	  as	  indicative	  of	  increased	  domination	  of	  the	  south	  by	  the	  global	  north,	  and	  call	  into	  question	  the	  increased	  visibility	  in	  prostitution	  zones	  of	  migrant	  and	  immigrant	  women,	  or	  women	  who	  have	  clearly	  been	  trafficked	  for	  prostitution	  (Farley,	  2006;	  Perrin,	  2010).	  	  Vanwesenbeeck	  (1994)	  wrote,	  “Development	  of	  increasing	  mobility	  and	  migration	  of	  women	  in	  prostitution	  is	  worldwide”	  (p.10),	  and	  this	  trend	  seems	  not	  to	  have	  abated	  (Agustin,	  2007;	  Malarek,	  2009).	  	  This	  increased	  migration	  presents	  states	  that	  have	  legalized	  prostitution	  with	  particular	  challenges.	  Acknowledging	  that	  prostitution	  generated	  a	  great	  deal	  of	  income	  unavailable	  to	  states	  as	  part	  of	  the	  gross	  domestic	  product	  (GDP),	  the	  ILO	  report	  also	  called	  for	  labour	  rights	  and	  benefits	  to	  sex	  workers,	  including	  improved	  working	  conditions	  through	  regulatory	  schemes	  (Lim,	  1998;	  Raymond,	  1999).	  These	  recommendations,	  however,	   75 cannot	  be	  met	  consistently	  even	  in	  jurisdictions	  which	  have	  legalized	  prostitution	  (including	  Australia,	  new	  Zealand,	  Germany,	  the	  Netherlands,	  and	  11	  counties	  in	  Nevada,	  US).	  In	  these	  areas,	  the	  state	  is	  in	  the	  uncomfortable	  position	  of	  normalizing	  prostitution	  while	  dealing	  with	  the	  attendant	  flourishing	  of	  illegal	  brothels,	  and	  rise	  in	  trafficking	  and	  procuring	  activities	  of	  organized	  crime	  (Raymond,	  2013;	  Jeffreys,	  2009;	  Brents	  &	  Hausbeck,	  2001).	  Revenue	  from	  prostitution	  still	  accounts	  for	  an	  enormous	  unrecognized	  contribution	  to	  the	  GDP	  of	  many	  developing	  countries	  (Raymond,	  1999;	  Lim,	  2007).	  Women	  from	  Southeast	  Asia,	  Latin	  America,	  Africa	  and	  Eastern	  Europe	  move	  to	  developed	  nations	  where	  prostitution	  is	  legalized,	  and	  send	  money	  to	  family	  in	  their	  home	  countries.	  Once	  they	  enter	  prostitution,	  their	  ability	  to	  get	  out	  is	  extremely	  constrained:	  As	  more	  women	  worldwide	  find	  themselves	  in	  dead-­‐end	  situations	  and	  migration	  because	  of	  economic	  necessity	  becomes	  more	  and	  more	  common	  for	  prostitution	  all	  over	  the	  world,	  the	  exploitive	  and	  often	  abusive	  grip	  of	  traders	  on	  prostitution	  becomes	  stronger.	  (Vanwesenbeeck,	  1994,	  p.	  11)	  The	  United	  Nations	  Palermo	  Protocol	  (2000)	  advised	  states	  to	  adopt	  strong	  measures	  to	  interfere	  with	  the	  demand	  for	  prostitution:	  	  States	  Parties	  shall	  take	  or	  strengthen	  legislative	  or	  other	  measures,	  such	  as	  educational,	  social	  or	  cultural	  measures,	  including	  through	  bilateral	  and	  multilateral	  cooperation,	  to	  discourage	  the	  demand	  that	  fosters	  all	  forms	  of	  exploitation	  of	  person,	  especially	  women	  and	  children,	  that	  leads	  to	  trafficking.	  (cited	  in	  Jeffreys,	  2009,	  p.170)	   76 In	  1999,	  the	  Netherlands	  further	  liberalized	  prostitution	  laws	  in	  a	  bid	  to	  legitimate	  the	  prostitution	  industry,	  and	  to	  contain	  its	  operations	  such	  that	  the	  influence	  of	  organized	  crime	  could	  be	  reduced	  or	  eliminated.	  In	  an	  attempt	  to	  regulate	  and	  control	  criminal	  activity	  associated	  with	  prostitution,	  then,	  they	  adopted	  a	  legalization	  scheme	  that	  applied	  the	  recommendations	  put	  forward	  in	  the	  1998	  ILO	  report.	  The	  Dutch	  approach	  was	  initially	  touted	  as	  an	  effective	  way	  to	  legitimate	  prostitution	  as	  work,	  reduce	  stigma	  and	  improve	  safety	  for	  women	  in	  prostitution:	  [I]n	  October	  1999	  the	  Netherlands	  legalized	  brothels	  [with	  the]	  stated	  aims…to	  control	  child	  prostitution,	  to	  guarantee	  cleaner	  and	  safer	  working	  conditions	  for	  their	  thirty	  thousand	  prostitutes,	  and	  to	  control	  the	  recent	  increase	  in	  illegal	  immigrants	  (Deutsch,	  1999).…New	  standards	  will	  set	  permits,	  locations,	  and	  working	  conditions.	  Amsterdam	  has	  allowed	  window	  prostitution,	  a	  quasi-­‐	  decriminalized	  form	  of	  prostitution	  whereby	  independent	  prostitutes	  can	  rent	  window	  space	  in	  a	  certain	  district	  and	  advertise	  in	  newspapers	  and	  fliers.	  Its	  regulations	  have	  long	  been	  cited	  by	  decriminalization	  proponents	  as	  a	  successful	  model.	  (Brents	  &	  Hausbeck,	  2001,	  p.	  310)	  	  Within	  10	  years,	  however,	  it	  became	  apparent	  that	  the	  Dutch	  model	  was	  a	  failure.	  Amsterdam,	  and	  other	  prostitution	  zones	  in	  the	  Netherlands	  became	  overwhelmed	  by	  an	  exponential	  increase	  in	  illegal	  brothels,	  on-­‐street	  prostitution,	  and	  trafficking.	  	  Organized	  crime	  has	  a	  strong	  grip	  on	  the	  supply	  side	  [of	  prostitution].	  Huge	  amounts	  of	  profit	  go	  into	  the	  hands	  of	  the	  mafia,	  criminals	  who	  either	  reinvest	  by	  enslaving	  more	  people	  or	  sustain	  other	  illegal	  markets…the	  goal	   77 is	  now	  to	  restrict	  and	  reduce	  prostitution	  as	  much	  as	  possible	  in	  order	  to	  cut	  the	  financial	  supply	  for	  other	  criminal	  activities.	  (Kovari	  &	  Pruyt,	  2012,	  p.	  3)	  	  	  Recently,	  Amsterdam	  city	  council	  took	  steps	  to	  dismantle	  this	  “successful	  model”:	  	  In	  Amsterdam—where	  the	  spectacle	  of	  half-­‐naked	  women	  pouting	  behind	  shopfront	  windows	  is	  a	  city	  trademark—the	  link	  between	  prostitution	  and	  organised	  crime	  has	  proved	  durable.	  Efforts	  to	  break	  it	  have	  been	  a	  “complete	  failure”,	  says	  Lodewijk	  Asscher,	  a	  deputy	  mayor	  who	  has	  led	  the	  city	  hall’s	  effort	  to	  buy	  up	  and	  transform	  much	  of	  the	  red-­‐light	  district.	  (The	  Economist,	  2008,	  October	  30,	  para.	  5;	  see	  also	  Jeffreys,	  2009;	  Foster,	  2011,	  December	  16;	  Bindel,	  2013,	  February	  2)	  	  In	  light	  of	  the	  recent	  Supreme	  Court	  of	  Canada	  decision	  to	  strike	  down	  Canada’s	  prostitution	  laws,	  Canada	  is	  now	  in	  a	  position	  to	  learn	  from	  the	  experiences	  of	  jurisdictions	  which	  have	  adopted	  a	  variety	  of	  legislative	  approaches	  to	  prostitution.	  Representatives	  of	  the	  Federal	  Conservative	  government	  claim	  to	  agree	  with	  the	  Nordic	  Model,	  but	  the	  social	  welfare	  policies	  and	  punitive	  state	  regulations	  imposed	  on	  women’s	  advocacy	  groups	  indicate	  otherwise.	  Increased	  illegal	  prostitution	  activity	  has	  occurred	  everywhere	  prostitution	  has	  been	  decriminalized,	  except	  for	  those	  states	  which	  have	  provided	  adequate	  social	  and	  housing	  supports	  for	  prostituted	  people	  to	  leave	  prostitution.	  Contemporary	  promoters	  of	  decriminalization	  and	  harm	  reduction	  approaches	  to	  prostitution	  and	  pimping	  claim	  to	  eschew	  regulatory	  schemes	  or	  legislative	  reforms,	  yet	  nevertheless	  advance	  recommendations	  for	  fairly	  complex	  regulatory	  schemes	  and	  legislative	  reforms	  (Pivot,	  2006;	  Benoit	  &	  Shaver,	  2006:	  Jeffrey	  &	  Sullivan,	  2009).	  	  	  The	  repeal	  of	  CAP	  is	  a	  symptom	  of	  the	  liberalization	  of	  international	  trade	  and	   78 attendant	  devolution	  of	  Canada’s	  commitment	  to	  social	  programs.	  Even	  as	  social	  supports	  are	  diminishing,	  responsibility	  for	  services	  to	  impoverished	  and	  marginalized	  women	  is	  off-­‐loaded	  from	  the	  state	  to	  private	  interests.	  In	  the	  absence	  of	  adequate	  welfare,	  housing,	  and	  health	  care	  options,	  women	  will	  turn	  to	  prostitution	  in	  order	  to	  bridge	  the	  gap.	  Fraser’s	  report	  acknowledged	  this	  trend,	  and	  advised	  the	  state	  to	  devote	  more	  resources	  to	  education,	  housing,	  social	  supports	  and	  health	  care.	  The	  Conservative	  government	  that	  came	  to	  power	  shortly	  after	  Fraser’s	  report	  was	  released	  took	  the	  decision	  to	  implement	  only	  those	  recommendations	  that	  were	  inexpensive	  in	  the	  immediate.	  Over	  time,	  fiscal	  conservatism	  and	  liberalization	  of	  trade	  policies	  combined,	  with	  the	  result	  that	  the	  state	  eschewed	  responsibility	  for	  social	  supports,	  offloading	  these	  burdens	  gradually	  to	  the	  individual.	  Thus,	  instead	  of	  recommending	  increased	  government	  responsibility	  for	  provision	  adequate	  services	  and	  funding	  to	  marginalized	  women,	  the	  2006	  Challenge	  report	  promoted	  harm	  reduction.	  From	  the	  bad	  trick	  sheets,	  free	  condoms,	  drop-­‐in	  centres	  for	  women	  in	  impoverished	  neighbourhoods,	  to	  dramatically	  reduced	  arrests	  for	  prostitution-­‐related	  offences,	  and	  now	  the	  repeal	  of	  Canada’s	  prostitution	  laws,	  these	  actions	  (and	  inactions)	  have	  the	  effect	  of	  essentially	  handing	  responsibility	  back	  to	  the	  victims	  of	  social	  retrenchment.	  Summary	  	  This	  chapter	  offered	  a	  context	  for	  the	  problem	  this	  research	  addresses.	  I	  began	  with	  a	  brief	  history	  of	  prostitution	  and	  reviewed	  some	  of	  the	  key	  legislative	  reforms	  and	  attendant	  activities	  that	  contributed	  to	  the	  writing	  of	  the	  1985	  Fraser	  Report	  and	  the	  2006	  Challenge	  for	  Change	  document.	  Prostitution-­‐related	  groups	  emerged	  during	  this	  time	  of	  significant	  policy	  activity	  and	  these	  groups	  are	  introduced	  as	  well	  as	  some	  related	  research,	   79 particularly	  into	  the	  issue	  of	  stigmatization.	  I	  then	  considered	  how	  harm	  reduction	  as	  a	  key	  social	  services	  policy	  came	  into	  being	  and	  discussed	  some	  of	  the	  attendant	  research	  associated	  with	  harm	  reduction.	  I	  concluded	  the	  chapter	  by	  locating	  these	  shifts	  in	  discourse	  and	  policy	  as	  part	  of	  broader	  neoliberal	  agenda.	  In	  the	  next	  chapter,	  I	  discuss	  the	  conceptual	  framework	  for	  analyzing	  and	  understanding	  this	  history,	  interviews	  with	  front-­‐line	  workers,	  and	  other	  sources	  of	  data.	     80  Chapter	  Three:	  Conceptual	  Framework	   The theoretical orientation I have adopted in this chapter is largely premised on a radical feminist approach. This approach is informed by many years of front-line work and activism, and the particular political education from my membership in a radical feminist anti-violence collective47. I interrogate my research questions with a conceptual frame that relies on theoretical ideas about freedom, choice, social construction, agency, political thought and action. The thinkers upon whom I particularly rely are Hannah Arendt and Pierre Bourdieu, as well as contributions from other theorists including Nancy Fraser (1987, 1997, 2009), Susan Bickford (1993, 1996), Beverley Skeggs (1997) and Naomi Zack (2005). I also look to Simone de Beauvoir’s phenomenological study The Second Sex (1948, 2009; and Rigo, 2003) and to the feminist sociologist Dorothy Smith (1987). I do so to better understand women’s critical analysis of the influences on their work by the patriarchal, capitalist and colonial state. In this chapter, then, I describe a theoretical terrain of the particularly gendered type of workplace learning engaged in through anti-violence work, social advocacy and (in some cases) political organizing and activism.  In the first part of this chapter I sketch out the concepts I used to make sense of interview and documentary data, in relation to social policies of harm reduction and the analysis and understandings of women in front-line work. My aim was to reveal some of the main convergences and contradictions between these harm reduction and women’s services or feminist                                                 47 The importance of this collective to the formation my political analysis and intellectual development cannot be overstated.   81 anti-violence work. This chapter also described the path (and some of the politics) by which harm reduction developed from grassroots activist groups into social service and medical schemes of regulation.  Key Concepts I use Arendt, Bourdieu and other thinkers’ ideas for the key theoretical concepts of this study: freedom (Arendt, 1954/1968; Beauvoir, 1948/2009), choice and reproduction (Arendt, 1954/1968; Skeggs,1997; Bourdieu, 2000; Naples, 2003), political action, dichotomies of public and private, personal and political (Arendt, 1958/1998; Hanisch,1970; Benhabib, 1993) and Bourdieu’s notion of positional suffering (Bourdieu, 2000). All of these concepts are woven together and help me to interpret the data of this study: the interviewees’ narratives, the spare, poignant stories found in the Pivot affidavits, and government reports and policies.  In the current moment, harm reduction is held up as the most benevolent and humane approach to many social problems, and proponents claim that this approach respects the choices and agency of those who are its targets. The medical model of addiction treatment claims harm reduction is one of the “best practices” for the most marginalized residents of the pathologized urban space. Following a brief definition of “evidence-based practice” in comparison to praxis (concerning the treatment of addiction), I then discuss how harm reduction practices may relate to Arendt’s work on freedom and action. These ideas help to understand the current forms and functions of identity politics in operation in the discourse of prostitution or sex work. Seyla Benhabib (1993) shows how Arendt’s work can inform a feminist critique of the formation of “identity” and of human rights discourse. I also turn to Susan Bickford (1996) to further examine the Arendtian notion of “action” as speaking and acting in “the public space of appearance” (Arendt, 1958/1998), the corollary action of listening, and the nature of “dissonant democracy”  82 (Bickford, 1996). Some forms of feminist discourse assert the notion that one can “self-identify” in order to claim membership in particular political categories. The act of claiming an identity, in this analysis, is enough to confer upon the claimant the characteristics of those categories, and of being in solidarity with others who share membership. While claiming, (or rather, not denying) membership of an oppressed category to which one does not belong can be a courageous political act, at other times such an act can serve to render invisible those whose lives are defined by their class48. The political categories within which we are born, and to which our families, education, and cultural milieu further shape us, determine in large measure how we understand others and ourselves. Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, reproduction, and positional suffering helpfully reveal and define processes by which different capitals are taken up as bodily dispositions and reproduced. Simone de Beauvoir’s foundational work The Second Sex provides further evidence and theoretical grounding for these reproductive social processes as they pertain specifically to females.  This chapter, then interrogates different meanings of “identity” and “the self”, seeks to use different but collaborative ideas of freedom, agency, choice, action, reproduction, the public and democracy in order to construct a way to hear the research data as a conversation between actors—these women on the front lines, and the women in prostitution who are not always, (or not yet), but may yet become allies.                                                  48 A common tactic to silence, dismiss, or threaten women is to use the label “dyke” as a pejorative. If a heterosexual woman says, “so what if I am? My argument is still sound”, or something like that, she is acting in alliance with lesbians. If, on the other hand, a man claims to be a feminist, and insists on access to feminist events, this is an adversarial act. It is not enough to proclaim oneself an ally of an oppressed group – one must be invited.    83 Evidence-Based Practice versus Dalectical-Materialist Praxis  I discussed praxis briefly in Chapter One—broadly, it is the process by which a theory is realized (and enhanced) through practice. Arendt (1958) revived Aristotle’s notion of praxis— action that humans do to establish and sustain the realm of human affairs (p.13). It is by speaking and acting together, she wrote, that we produce (and are entangled in) the web of human relations—the product of humanity’s capacity for freedom (Arendt, 1958, pp. 233-234). Paulo Freire (1970) implemented praxis somewhat differently, calling it the only means by which the oppressed can achieve liberation (p. 33), and using it as a pivotal concept in the development of his pedagogical approach.   Can harm reduction be understood as a form of praxis? It may seem so, at first, but I argue that the process of developing harm reduction policies as “evidence-based practice” is different from praxis. Proponents of harm reduction describe it as pragmatic, non-ideological and “value-free” (Duff, 2004; Erikson et al.,1997), and evidence-based. Evidence-based medicine is “the use of mathematical estimates of the risk of benefit and harm, derived from high-quality research on population samples, to inform clinical decision-making in the diagnosis, investigation of management of individual patients” (Greenhalgh, 2010). Harm reduction, then, is enacted upon principles derived from medical and academic research. Researchers begin with a hypothesis or a question for which they seek proof or answers, and then apply those proofs to the situation or problem they study.  Praxis, on the other hand, follows a different logic. It might be also phrased as “practice-based evidence”. Effective anti-violence programs and interventions (and addiction recovery programs, for that matter) are based in peer-support and mutual aid, the kind of praxis which Freire discussed and promoted in his teaching. In short, those who are most affected by the social  84 problem work together to develop theories that they then practice. It is, then, those who are most affected by the social problem who seek collectively to develop theory and practices about their own lives, rather than researchers or other professionals seeking to prove an hypothesis from a vantage point outside of (above, often) that class. This is not to say that evidence-based practice is necessarily the opposite of praxis, but I do think there is a failure of academics and other researchers to fully listen and attend to the subjects of their research. I turn now to Arendt to illustrate how her thinking can be useful to understand how harm reduction and prostitution operate to constrain women’s freedom. Arendt’s thinking about constraint as a necessary condition for freedom, the web of human relations, and the public space of appearance as political have relevance to my study.  Hannah Arendt: Public and Private; Freedom and Responsibility  In The Human Condition, (1958/1998) Arendt developed her thinking about the Aristotelian notion of praxis to examine further the idea of freedom as action in “the public space of appearance”.  For Arendt, the three components of the vita activa were autonomous, but linked. Labour is about sustaining life, work is the fabrication of the structures that maintain worldliness, and action is the activity that “discloses the identity of the agent, affirms the reality of the world, and actualizes our capacity for freedom” (p. 49). Action was synonymous in Arendt’s thought with praxis, in that it depended upon human plurality—each person, acting in the space of public appearance, contributed something unique to the political public sphere, and their contribution was important to the attainment of freedom. “Action, as distinguished from fabrication, is never possible in isolation; to be isolated is to be deprived of the capacity to act” (p. 188).  Therefore, no one is inessential, each actor contributes to the whole public. Each                                                 49 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arendt/  85 person in the public sphere shares common conditions and characteristics—and common cause, though each is unique in their perspective and contributions. For her, praxis, or public action, is the highest and most important level of public life. Freedom, though achieved in relation to others, is bound to natality, which is a capacity of each individual: “as an inner capacity of man [sic] is identical with the capacity to begin, just as freedom as a political reality is identical with a space of movement between men [sic]” (Arendt, 1948/1994, p. 473). Arendt determined that it is our human capacity for renewal and beginning again that enables us to rise above historical forces, institutions and practices that humans have created—and that only in taking action, each unique individual together with others, can we achieve freedom. In Arendt’s considerations, too, “fences of laws” and our negotiations or relations with them are essential to freedom (Arendt, 1948/1994, p. 466).  Restraints, in an Arendtian conception of freedom, are essential to the experience of freedom. Feminist anti-violence work is a significant enactment of politicizing the personal, exposing the false dichotomy of public and private. This approach seems contradictory to some aspects of Arendt’s philosophical framework. In The Human Condition (1958/1998) in particular, but as well in Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought (1954), Arendt makes and maintains space between the political—the public space of appearance and action, and the personal—the private sphere of necessary labour—and claims action in this public space is chiefly what separates us from the animals, who also labour for survival. Feminists, especially “second-wave” feminists, have leveled criticism against this division, and the obstacles such divisions place between women:  [Feminist historian Gerda Lerner] showed that the division of women into private and public has been fundamental to the patriarchy; the latter being prostitutes;  86 women that, like so many public men, although much less freely than them, exchange being for money. (Garretas, n.d., para. 2) As Garretas mentions, an old-fashioned term for women in prostitution is “public women”. Such a designation speaks not of her capacity to engage in action in Arendt’s public space of appearance. Rather it indicates that in public, she “exchange[s] being for money”. The notion of prostituted women as public women, and the married woman as chiefly (or solely) responsible for the private sphere is parallel to the dichotomous idealized woman—the “Madonna-whore”.  Prostituted women, then, are not identified as “public” because they are part of the public realm as actors, but because they are there for the consumption of the public man. A “public house”, or a pub was open only to men; the only women allowed in the pubs (in Quebec up until the 80s!) were those women who were, like whiskey, there for the consumption of men. Women in prostitution then, appear in some cases in public space, but only insofar as they are commodities to be consumed in men’s space, which men design to their ends and their politic. Patriarchal capitalism culturally reinforces and structures men’s sense of entitlement to sexual access to women’s bodies.  Arendt’s thinking about politics, freedom, the “web of human relations” and her clear distinction between public and private seems contrary, even oppositional to the sociological50 and feminist politicizing of personal or private spheres. However, Benhabib (1993) argues that while Arendt may indeed have been less than sympathetic to feminism, “a critical exchange between Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy and contemporary feminist theory may be illuminating on both sides” (p. 98). Many thinkers at all points along the political spectrum,                                                 50 In The Sociological Imagination (1959), sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote:  “Neither the life of an individual, nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both” (p. 3).  87 writes Benhabib, maintain that some boundaries between public and private spheres are essential to preserving human freedom (p. 99).  Our private lives, intimate relationships, and self-understanding are conditioned by the political structures within which we live. Arendt separated the condition of labour from the condition of work, with labour being that which was devoted to bodily functions—and in the ancient world, done for the master by slaves and women (Arendt, 1958/1994, p. 72). Though they were not free, that is, acting in public, the freedom of others depended upon their labour, so in that sense, the private sphere of the household was also a place of politics. Then again, the master himself was not free, either. His ability to appear in public in relation to others was made possible and protected by the labours of his slaves, or wife. The insistence of feminists to reveal how structures of power and domination are repeated and reinforced in private life may not be inconsistent with Arendt’s distinction between public and private. She maintained that the public sphere was one of association and collaboration, and the private sphere of the household was one of inequality reinforced by violence. Investigations into the forces that constrain women’s activities in public serve to reveal some of the more subtle ways in which democratic participation is still withheld from some people who may (or may not) be citizens, but are in effect stateless. Women in prostitution in Vancouver, while their voices are sought, and their stories revealed, are still not listened to, and the web of human relations for them is, in the current political moment, much more of a trap than a safety net.  In the Greek polis, there was difference and diversity, but not hierarchy, so much, because it was men who were out in public, not women or slaves. Even though there are, in the Western world, more public and political actors who are female, of colour, and working-class, the possibility to engage politically in public is still no guarantee of equality. In some ways,  88 however, there may now be greater potential for dominated groups to gain emancipation when acting and speaking together in public (Moynagh, 1997).   The political “public space of appearance” for Arendt, is not just the physical space where people are together, like a sidewalk or a shopping mall51 (though it may come into existence there). The public realm is created when people gather together for the purpose of acting (Benhabib, 1997). Even though they are not open for just anyone to come, then, the transition house or the advocate’s office are public spaces of appearance, in that they are places where women come together and “make themselves present to each other”, through speech and action (Bickford, 1996, p. 64). The kitchen of the transition house is a public space, because it is where women appear to each other, share their stories and engage in collaborative action— sometimes as domestic as planning the chores for the week or cooking together or as daring as telling the truth about the male violence they have experienced, going to a woman’s former home to retrieve some of her belongings, or planning a public action. On the other hand, the line-up at the food bank or the drop-in center donation room is not quite public, for the same reason that the shopping mall is not a public space—the uniqueness of each person’s humanity and potential for action has been erased. They are together, but isolated from each other, not in communication together so much as they are in competition for access to meagre resources.  Arendt drew a distinction between types of public and private space as well, which may be useful to consider in recognizing the relevance of her thought with feminist theory. She warned that the political-public was a different type of space than the social-public (Benhabib, 1993, p. 106). Central to Arendt’s thought was the notion that plurality is a characteristic all                                                 51 Shauna Butterwick, (personal communication, February, 2014) reminded me that shopping malls are privately owned, so not strictly public. Though they are places where people, strangers to each other, are together, merely being a place where people are together does not constitute a public space, in the Arendtian sense.  89 humans shared. It is this “unique distinctness” that we disclose to each other through action and speech “in order to live as citizens” (Moynagh, 1997, p. 29). Plurality is different from “individuality”, for Arendt. For her, it was important that actors seek not only to reveal themselves, but to seek to recognize and understand the perspectives of others. So, though humans are distinct from each other Arendt had little patience for the “cult of individuality” (Benhabib, 1993, 106). She considered the liberal ideal of the lone individual to represent disengagement. And to Arendt, disengagement from the world, from rules, from interaction with others, is not freedom. The next section looks at identity and competing notions of identity formation in order to further understand distinctions between political and social, private and intimate. Identity—Competing Notions of Formation and Implications Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside (DTES), though not the focus of this study, nevertheless serves as a backdrop for the interventions and activism familiar to several of the women who participated in my research. In some ways, it is a city-state of its own, functioning as part-but-not-part of Vancouver, and governed within itself. The DTES is home to a handful of organizations that now operate the bulk of the social and housing services available to the most impoverished and pathologized residents of the city. These residents are variously identified by such labels as “hard to house”, “intravenous drug users (IDUs)”, “mental health consumers”, and/or “sex-trade workers”.   Once someone is connected to one of these organizations, they access any number of services and programs that essentially shape the recipient into a citizen of that nation-within-the-inner-city. These organizations provide services to people known not by their membership in a political class, such as women, Indigenous, and/or working-class or impoverished communities.  90 Rather, they are identified by (and as) current conditions of their lives. Political categories are neutralized, and they are known by identities such as “sex worker”, “intravenous drug users” or person with HIV/AIDS, (or more efficiently, they are SWs, IDUs, or PWAs). This process of atomizing or “separating out” people from the larger political categories to which they belong has the effect of also hiding or dismissing the points of solidarity they might share with the women working in the services they are accessing. Though I do not for a minute believe it is the intent of the agencies to do so, this process is not only one of division and separation, but also of dehumanizing. Those who are in need of support are perpetually in a state of dependence without responsibility, or, “innocence”, as Arendt wrote of European refugees (including Jews) in the inter-war years of the last century: “Innocence, in the sense of a complete lack of responsibility was the mark of their rightslessness as it was the seal of their loss of political status” (1994, p. 295). Arendt might well have been writing about the internally displaced persons52 now residing in the DTES, maintained by the plethora of social services and soup kitchens. Of the conditions she described prior to the grip attained by totalitarian governments, Arendt noted that “[S]ociety was pervaded by a liberal individualism which wrongly believed that the state ruled over mere individuals” (Arendt, 1994, p 231). In fact, she continued, the state ruled over classes, but sought to maintain power by keeping the nation in a “state of social atomization” (p. 231).  A similar state of social atomization, I argue, is manifest in the provision of harm reduction services, and other social and legal policies targeted toward prostituted women and                                                 52 By “internally displaced”, I refer mainly to Aboriginal people, who make up perhaps 30% of the population of the DTES, and account for only 3% of the population of Canada as a whole. Many come to the neighbourhood from impoverished reserves, so many, in fact, that the neighbourhood is referred to as “the urban reservation” (CS, political activist and Aboriginal youth support worker. Personal communication, February, 2010).   91 people addicted to illicit drugs. Harm reduction ideology constructs the notion that “individuals choose” to use drugs, or to sell sex—even if society finds those activities troubling or distasteful—and should be accorded respect and dignity for their “choices”.  There is no social context for how their choices have been configured, or which regimes of power operate to normalize the constrained conditions within which the ‘service recipients’ must exist. It is a difficult place for a front-line worker to be, having concern for the well-being of the people who use these services, yet under harm reduction, having to accept a certain (undefined) level of harm as the inevitable lot of the type people they serve. These people are the de-politicised sex worker, the drug addict, the “mental health consumer”. They are defined by the activities they take up to contend with the pain of oppression, not by their (economic, racial or sex) class locations. The individual activity-based identifying labels (drug user, sex worker, mental health consumer) hide the potential solidarity that could be shared by the women needing help and the women providing services. All of the women providing services shared with the women to whom they provided service membership in the sex class ‘female’, and attendant experiences based on their membership to that political category. Were that common life condition emphasized, the potential for collective shared analysis and action might be greater than it seems currently to be. “Identity” is often thought of as something that individuals take up. It is common to see that individuals “self-identify”, as a member of a group or as an individual. Identity is something that someone may define for themself, based on their observations or ‘feelings’, and then ‘perform’ or enact as an individual. This conception of identity does not account for social forces and structures which define identities or differentiate between identities. Nor does it account for power inequalities that are accorded to members of identified classes. Naomi Zack (2005) suggests instead this understanding of identity:  92 For a feminist social theorist, identities are not things in theorists or other women, insofar as the identities are oppressive (and critical theory is about what is oppressive) but circumstances and situations that theorists try to understand, with goals of changing them. (p. 73) Zack goes on to say that only when we understand identities as “external and situational”, that it becomes possible for individuals to change their identities (pp. 74-75), not by merely choosing another, but by engaging with the external and situational conditions within which identity is formed, and undertaking to change those. It is important to also note that these conditions, because they are in the material, political and social world, must be changed by means of collective action.   This is where Bourdieu comes in. In the following section, I discuss Bourdieu’s concepts of the habitus, social reproduction and symbolic violence in order to more clearly reveal what I mean by the contradictory promises of harm reduction. His thinking was helpful in order to understand the similarities and differences between my interview respondents and Pivot’s affiants, and how to listen to the conversation in which their stories engaged.  Bourdieu—Habitus, Reproduction, Symbolic Violence and Misrecognition  Arendt defines power as “acting together” (Moynagh, 1997, p. 33). It is achieved, like freedom, by acting in concert with each other, and is different from force: “While violence can destroy power, it can never become a substitute for it” (Arendt, 1958/1994, p. 202). Her theories about what she saw as uniquely human characteristics of plurality and capacity to “start over” (natality) offer a way to understand and interpret the perceptions and actions of others in relation to ourselves. A limitation of Arendt’s thought is that she does not acknowledge that differences between people are also hierarchically organized. Even when acting together in the public space  93 of appearance, there are differentials between individuals based upon the political categories to which they belong, and the hierarchy is consistent in that white, middle-class males occupy the top spot, and wield the most power, which they can maintain by force. Therefore, I find that Bourdieu’s structural materialist analysis of class structure and reproduction adds a helpful dimension to Arendt’s important understanding of the ways political resistance and action arises and grows.  Bourdieu’s concept of the habitus helps us  see how structures of domination are continually reproduced, and how dominant classes maintain power. Bourdieu’s argument that we live within the parameters of our habitus, as our habitus is also in us, offers a challenge for us to question dispositions and values we take for granted.  Habitus is neither a result of free will, nor determined by structures, but created by a kind of interplay between the two over time: dispositions that are both shaped by past events and structures, and that shape current practices and structures and also, importantly, that condition our very perceptions of these. (Bourdieu, 1984, p. 170, cited in “Bourdieu and Habitus” n.d.) The habitus, then, seems self-evident, and through it, durable forms of classism, sexism and racism are “inscribed in the objectivity of institutions” (Bourdieu, 2000, p. 108). It is because they are so deeply inscribed—in fact, “normal”—that we mistakenly assume they are “natural”. Bourdieu sought to reveal the naturalizing processes of class reproduction (Bourdieu, 1984). Not content to reveal systems of domination, he also exhorted those who have more cultural capital and influence, to act in the interests of interfering with inequality and reproductive domination (Bourdieu, 2000). In so doing, he offered criticism not only of the structures of domination themselves, but of those who critiqued these structures in ways that  94 were problematic in themselves:    One kind of feminist critique which tends to make the female body, the female condition, or women’s lower status a pure product of performative social construction and which, forgetting that it is not sufficient to change language or theory to change reality (the typical illusion of the lector) uncritically attributes political efficacy to textual critique. While it never does harm to point out that gender or race are social constructs, it is naïve, even dangerous, to suppose and suggest that one only has to ‘deconstruct’ these social artifacts, in a purely performative celebration of resistance, in order to destroy them. (p. 108) In this passage, Bourdieu offers a criticism of the postmodern convention of “deconstruction” as an appropriate response to social inequality. He agrees that gender and race are social constructs, rather than innate or essential traits, and that revealing them as constructed is an important part of achieving equality. However, he is critical of the belief that textual analysis or theoretical critique is sufficient to change structures of inequality. Bourdieu, in fact, particularly near the end of his life, urged those with some measure of power and influence (including journalists, teachers, academics) to use that influence to “throw grains of sand into the well-oiled machinery of complicity” (Bourdieu, 2003 p. 68). In other words, “speaking truth to power does not topple it” (Gershon, cited in Naples, 2003, p. 166). In order to change social constructs and processes of domination and inequality, then, it is not enough for individuals to ‘begin again’, but also to understand that identities—which are both socially constructed, externally imposed and taken up by individuals—are inscribed in institutions. Reproductive features of powerful institutions (education, medicine, media, and so on) are rendered invisible by general acceptance of them as natural—but Bourdieu’s work  95 consistently attended to these “big picture” orthodoxies and placed next to them the heterodoxies of art and sociological critique. He went from the macro, the taken-for-granted assumptions of the dominating classes (which reproduce behaviours, dispositions and tastes and so entrench hierarchies of inequality), to the micro, the habitus, or “structuring structure” within which we live and which lives in us.  I found particularly resonant the concept of “positional suffering”, the tendency of the dispossessed to “match their expectations to their objective chances” (Bourdieu, 2000a, p. 213). Bourdieu said that this tendency is reinforced in the dominated by the dominating class who, by a form of “class chauvinism”, reinforce that they choose these deplorable conditions. Positional suffering also refers to that felt by those who occupy “an inferior, obscure position in a prestigious and privileged universe” (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 4). In both cases, the consolation for their suffering is something like “it could be worse, you could be like them”, or a base for criticism, “You shouldn’t complain” (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 4). Bourdieu cautioned against this response to the positional suffering of “the professions whose mission is to deal with poverty or talk about it” (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 5), because using material poverty as the only measure of suffering keeps us from seeing and understanding a particular view of it, and increases the social/political divisions between dominating and dominated groups (Bourdieu, 1999, pp. 3-5).  In effect, processes of positional suffering are set in motion by various forms of “misrecognition”. The term misrecognition describes a form of forgetting, or taking the social world within which we live as normal, “the way things are supposed to be” (Webb, Schirato, & Danaher, 2002, p. xiv). It does not mean “unrecognized”, or “misunderstood” so much as it means a way of knowing others, and the world, in a sense, “too well, without objectifying distance” (Bourdieu, 2000, pp. 142-143). Those who promote a decriminalized and regulated  96 prostitution industry may be reasonably suspected of misrecognizing the phenomenon of prostitution as normal—indeed, it is sanitized and normalized by media, popular culture and the relentless marketing of harm reduction. An example of this normalization is the redefinition and “whitewashing” of the word “pimp”. A few days ago, I noticed a truck with a logo on the door advertising the services of a landscaping company called “Pimp My Lawn”. The word used to refer to a shadowy, menacing (usually racialized) man who exploited women, and sold them to other men who would sexually exploit them. Now it means to dress-up, enhance, or render a product desirable. Women in prostitution are, like the lawn, (or the cars in the reality TV show “Pimp my Ride”), passive objects upon which the pimp acts. He is the actor, they are the object of consumption to be dressed, defined and displayed for sale. No matter what she is called, no matter if her sex or race are covered over by the title “sex worker”, the categorizations of sex, race and class are still inscribed within the institution of prostitution, which operates to satisfy male demands for sexual access to women’s (and “feminized” men’s53) bodies. It is difficult indeed to perceive the prostituted women and the institution “with objectifying distance” —much less apprehending the conditions of their lives without the chauvinism that accepts positional suffering as inevitable and necessary, especially considering all the promotion of prostitution as a form of women’s agency, and at the same time an inevitable phenomenon—“the oldest profession”. Of course when one defines prostitution as inevitable, the idea of choice becomes moot. I discuss this contradiction in the following section. Benevolent Dominion over the “Fallen Women”: Bourdieu describes ways in which                                                 53 Most prostituted people are women, but there are some men who are prostituted, as well. These men are usually young men and boys; sometimes they are cross-dressers or male-to-female transsexuals. They are “feminized” or seen as subordinate, just as women are. The overwhelming majority of sex buyers are men, whether the prostituted person is female or male.   97 historically marginalized or powerless groups are maintained in positions of subordination, by people who are members of the dominating class, and particularly those who would describe themselves as sympathetic or allies. The promotion by the dominating classes of a libertarian version of “choice” can be seen as a way of constraining choices and limiting agency. Conservative or religious discourse often demonizes or pathologizes women in prostitution as “fallen women” or morally degraded or dangerous54, a discourse that proponents of decriminalization and harm reduction reject. The progressive left, too, fall into marginalizing and often pathologizing discourse, in their insistence that women in prostitution make “real choices” (Pivot, 2004, p. 6). This rhetoric indicates a form of chauvinism—as Bourdieu (2000) says:  [An] inversion of the class racism which reduces working-class practices to barbarism or vulgarity…which, under the guise of exalting the working class, helps to enclose it in what it is by converting privation into a choice or an elective accomplishment. (p. 76) This process of converting (or perverting) conditions of deprivation into a choice is rationalized by framing prostitution as form of freedom, or empowerment for women in prostitution. This process is symbolic violence; “the coercion which is set up…through the consent that the dominated cannot fail to give to the dominator” -- and depends upon “shared conceptions that make the relations of domination seem natural” (Bourdieu, 2000, p. 170). The misrecognition that results from these obscure yet profoundly durable relations of domination serve to reproduce these effects of social and political inequality.                                                  54 Which categorization I also find harmful and distasteful, by the way. Such attitudes are present not only among the religious right, but fragments seem to be held in assumptions among people all along the political spectrum. I am thinking of the somewhat frantic “reclamation” of the word “slut” by some of the organizers and participants of “slut walk”, a mass demonstration in 2012 against the words of a Toronto city police officer. He suggested that women provoked men to rape them by dressing provocatively.   98 Symbolic power is exerted only with the collaboration of those who undergo it because they help to construct it as such. But nothing would be more dangerous than to stop short at this observation….This submission is in no way a ‘voluntary servitude’ and this complicity is not granted a conscious, deliberate act’ it is itself the effect of a power, which is durably inscribed in the bodies of the dominated… . (p. 171)  Bourdieu described the operation of political domination of classes as a cycle of expectations and chances—a cycle that it is possible to interrupt and reverse. In Chapter five, I explore some insights of interview participants about successful interventions in this downward cycle.   In general, Bourdieu’s class analysis is useful in its application to women. Certainly many choices for women, such as marriage or prostitution, especially for impoverished or working class women, are forms of constraint; the kinds of expectations that women are conditioned to accept as the limit of their chances. Subordinated classes, the women who have “served the nation”, will have expectations for themselves, but only so far as they perceive are their objective chances. Thus, they are encouraged by the structures of domination and the promotion of harm reduction to regard the decisions made within the limits of their exploited conditions as choices, even valuable choices.  Bourdieu’s Limitations  Though I found Bourdieu’s theoretical frame most helpful and challenging, I note he was also caught in complicity. While he called on academics, journalists, “cultural workers” and others who have a bit of influence to use it to affect change, he himself “misrecognized” prostitution as a choice women make, a choice he blamed the law, religious taboo or moral code  99 for interfering with:  It is obviously because the vagina continues to be constituted as a fetish and treated as sacred, secret and taboo that trade in sex remains stigmatized both in the ordinary consciousness and in the letter of the law which denies women the choice of working as prostitutes. (Bourdieu, 2001, p. 16) How disappointed I was to read this. There he was, mistaking the effects of power and coercion as “voluntary servitude”—a mistake he had strenuously warned was dangerous in earlier work. He nearly redeemed himself, however, by the next line, wherein he writes: “By involving money, some male eroticism associates the search for pleasure with the brutal exercise of power over bodies reduced to the state of objects…” (Bourdieu, 2001, p. 16), and further asserts that “the masculine representation can condemn the feminine capacities or incapacities that it demands or helps to produce” (p. 16, fn. 26). In other words, male desire and demand for sexual access to women’s bodies has the combined effect of producing and reinforcing women’s subordination and denying women’s sexuality.   Simone de Beauvoir tackled that very dynamic in her powerful and influential 1948 book, The Second Sex. I turn now to her work therein, and show how her ideas combine with Arendt and Bourdieu to contribute to my theoretical approach.  Simone de Beauvoir and the Second Wave Simone de Beauvoir’s germinal55 work The Second Sex was more influential in France                                                 55 I know the usual word used to describe work as influential as Beauvoir’s is “seminal”, but I find it distasteful, frankly. Also, it is not an accurate descriptor. In the first place, Beauvoir was a woman, writing about what it meant to be and become woman.  Of course, the root of “seminal” is “semen”, which I’ve always found especially vexatious when referring to the significant influence of women’s work. The closely related word,  100 than North America, possibly because the first (and until 2008, the only) English translation was quite flawed (Dietz, 2002, pp. 90-91). Nevertheless, it is widely regarded as one of the foundational texts of the so-called second wave of feminism. For the purposes of this study, I chose to focus on two of her contributions, first, her concept of women’s identity formation “One is not born, but rather becomes, woman” (Beauvoir, 1948/2010, p. 283) and second, her conception of freedom, which “must be achieved by reaching out to other freedoms, and can be compromised by oppression” (Rigo, 2003, p. 278).  The process of becoming woman that Beauvoir described in her book, The Second Sex, is a process of becoming “other” in relation to “the first sex”—male. “Beauvoir is insistent that woman is neither an irreducible given nor a social/mythical product, but a “becoming [un devenir], an unending ‘quest of values in a world of values’” (Rigo, 2003, citing Beauvoir, p. 147). Beauvoir describes the “coming of object/age” of the [middle-class, European] girl as a process that is both fundamentally biological and fundamentally externally enforced by male domination. The girl learns to disguise herself, to deny her body—she tries to stop or hide her periods, she “experiences herself as an uncertain, dispersed existence, knowing her failings” (Beauvoir, 1948/2009, p. 369). As she becomes woman, she also learns to “become object”—“one’s eyes no longer perceive, they reflect; one’s body no longer lives; it waits; every gesture and smile becomes an appeal; disarmed, available, the girl is nothing but a flower offered, a fruit to be picked” (p. 270).  The structuring-structure, or habitus of womanhood is a process defined also by the habitus of race and class. Depending upon women’s experiences as racialized and classed                                                                                                                                                        “disseminate” is also inaccurate in terms of the reach and influence of this theorist’s work. She did not, in fact, scatter her seed widely, but well, gestated a central concept, which developed and became one of the root texts of feminism.   101 persons, experiences and processes of becoming woman vary. Women whose class and race afford them more credibility, power, and opportunity for autonomous action are also in dominant positions in relation to women of colour and Indigenous women, impoverished and working-class women, but they may be more subordinated to the individual men with whom they live.   Women are set up, not by their biology, but by the political and social structures of various forms of men’s domination, to dominate and compete with each other in order that we may be rescued from a life of labour and/or inessence. In achieving a “good marriage” or a place of relative power within patriarchal capitalist structures women will still be “other”, but will at least be something. This division (often also competitiveness between women) is foregrounded in the institution of prostitution, and the surrounding human services industries that provide services to women in street prostitution. There is between individual women and agencies subtle and overt competition for territory, resources and the attention of men to achieve the power and economic security they represent. This competition illustrates that systems of male domination still operate to constrain and define women.  In the process of becoming that all women undertake (and within which all women are produced), the intricacies of sex, race and class hierarchies can reinforce competition between women, or women can use these interlocking conditions to bridge difference and build solidarity. The prostituted woman, whom Beauvoir describes in Volume Two of The Second Sex, may be the ultimate end (if not the goal) of men’s domination over women. “The existence of a caste of ‘lost women’ makes it possible to treat ‘the virtuous woman’ with the most chivalric respect” (p. 599). Women in prostitution, Beauvoir contends, are constructed by men to be “participants in men’s immoderate appetites”, a scapegoat upon which “he unloads his turpitude” (p. 599).  One of the arguments of American slaveholders and defenders of slavery is that,  102 released from slavish drudgery, Southern whites could establish the most democratic and refined relations with each other; likewise, the existence of a caste of “lost women” makes it possible to treat “the virtuous woman” with the most chivalrous respect….Whether a legal status puts her under police surveillance or she works clandestinely she is in any case treated as a pariah. (p. 599) It appears that this mythology of “the sacrificial whore” has some contemporary currency. Harm reduction, while not explicitly promoting the creation and maintenance of “a caste of lost women”, may effectively do so. The women I interviewed, women who often intervene directly in the processes of construction described by Beauvoir, may serve as an intermediary or a bridge for the prostituted woman to imagine other options. Beauvoir writes