FIRST’s latest public forum, “Sex Workers, Clients and the Law,”
VANCOUVER: Ever wondered why men buy sex? Ever wondered what sex workers think about men who buy sex?
FIRST’s latest public forum, “Sex Workers, Clients and the Law,” scheduled for November 23rd, promises to answer those questions, and more.

“Our forum focuses on the men who buy sex, the experiences of sex workers with their clients, and makes clear why criminalizing sex workers or their clients will only make things worse for sex workers,” said forum moderator Scarlett Lake, a madam who has been involved in the sex work industry for over 20 years.

Chris Atchison, Simon Fraser University criminologist, will lead off the FIRST forum reporting on his ‘Johns' Voice’ study. With almost 1000 respondents, it represents the largest study of Canadian sex buyers ever completed.

“The study opens what has been a tightly closed door”, said Atchison. “Men reveal their experiences in the sex industry: they talk openly about their attitudes and beliefs.”

Atchison’s research reveals that the nature and scope of 'violence' perpetrated by sex buyers against sex workers appears to have been over-stated.

“The vast majority of sex buyers who participated in my research indicated that they have not, and would not, resolve conflicts with sex workers by resorting to violence,” he said.

Former sex worker, Jody Salerno, speaks on how her family and the child welfare system -- what could be considered our society’s decriminalized systems of care for children and youth -- failed her, while the men she sold sex to always honored their agreements.
“The men who paid me, asked permission to spend time with me and negotiated with me,” Salerno said. They asked for and received my consent. They were respectful and honored their agreements. These men were not the criminals.“

Sponsored by FIRST, the “Sex Workers, Clients and the Law,” public forum will be held on Monday, November 23, from 7 – 9 p.m at the Central Branch: Vancouver Public Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

FIRST Contacts: Tamara O’Doherty: 778.772.2998
Esther Shannon: 604-254--9963

FIRST is a national coalition of feminists that advocates for the complete decriminalization of sex work, for both sex workers and clients. We argue that Canada’s prostitution robs sex workers of their livelihood and prevents them from creating safe and empowering working conditions.