Research-to-Action

Study critiques Vancouver's prostitution policies

The Peak
Monday, June 23, 2014

Conducted by UBC researchers and the Gender and Sexual Health Initiative (GSHI) of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, the study found that the Vancouver Police Department's (VPD) new policies - which focus on punishing clients - neither deterred prostitution nor increased the safety of sex trade workers.

Since the VPD's policy shift, sex work related arrests have increased from 47 in 2012 to 71 in 2013, a 51 per cent increase. However, the report notes that there has been "no change in rates of work-related physical and sexual violence against sex workers" since the change in policy.

Andrea Krüsi, one of the authors of the report and a research assistant at GSHI, explained the results to The Peak: "In the context where clients are criminalized, it's still inthe shared interests of the client and the sex worker to be undetected by the police and so this led to women having to rush screening their clients [...] What they need to do is just hop into the car and hope for the best."