National Formation of Women’s Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution

Tuesday, May 20, 2010

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your offers of support and solidarity in the struggle to Abolish Prostitution in Canada. I am home from the Fifty Years of Feminism conference and getting down to work again and so as promised I am writing to let you know how and where to make your pledged donation and how to remain in contact with the campaign.

So many of you responded to the emergency presented by the Bedford case in Ontario. Once you heard the possibility of no law against johns and pimps and the refusal of the Harper government to assist in decriminalizing the women prostituted, many were urgent to help in our campaign. Even with the BC case (to end prostitution law) stalled we might find ourselves with a wildly expanding sex industry just as the Pickton case winds down. It could mean that the Ontario case as it proceeds to the Supreme Court will shape the law for all of us.

After our ad hoc meetings in Ottawa, our loose coalition now consists of representative of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers (CASAC/ACCCACS), Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS), Concertation des lutes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES), Le Regroupement Quebecoise des Calacs, and we have great hopes that others will join with us as the representatives who were present take back the question to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Poverty and Human Rights Center and more.

We were supported by several academics anxious to help us understand and affect the law and the courts (from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University).

Checks can be made out to

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

and marked for the Abolition of Prostitution Campaign. Please mail checks to

P.O. Box 21562
1424 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, B.C.
V5L 5G2

We will send a charitable tax receipt for any amount $20.00 or over. Other coalition partners will contribute as they can in labour, education and funds and we will account to them as well as to you for these donations.

We are grateful for your support and will keep you informed but you will also be able to follow our work and to access educational resources on our websites:

Educational material is available on Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter . You can search the site for “abolition” or “prostitution” or Bedford” and find explanations of “feminist abolition”, a legal summary of the cases written by Janine Benedet, a feminist economic argument for abolition by Lee Lakeman, a herstory of the interactive installation Flesh Mapping: vancouver markets pacific women and links to many, many more materials including an article by Shelagh Day on prostitution as a human rights abuse and Ten Reasons Not To Legalize from the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.

On the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers you can find the herstory of the sexual assault center’s joint policies against sexual violence in Canada including our declaration of prostitution as violence against women and our joint insistence that the prostitution of others be seen as a crime and as a phenomenon of racism and women’s impoverishment. We have also produced feminist videos and DVD’s that may be of use to you in the classroom.

In Quebec the Concertation des lutes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) a broad coalition supporting abolition has excellent materials in both English and French.

Please educate those around you with our materials and send us your material too.

Thank you for your contributions to this important fight for women’s liberty.

In Sisterhood,

Lee Lakeman

Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres/
Association canadienne des centres contre les agressions à caractère sexuel

[email protected]

77 East 20th Ave
Vancouver, B.C.
V5V 1L7