Is coming 🙂
The city could soon cut ties with adult-oriented businesses operating in Winnipeg.
In a unanimous vote, the Mayor’s Executive Policy Committee voted in favour of a report to repeal licensing requirements and rules for escort agencies, escorts, body rub parlours and body rub practitioners.
“This would be obviously a very big change and a historic change,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.
The move comes after advocates fighting against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls urged the city to end the licensing regime.
“The city is the pimp, it endorses it, and we don’t want to be seen as that way,” said advocate Joy Smith. They say the businesses are prone to sex trafficking and exploitation and that the city should not profit from this.
“Body rub parlours, escort services, and other so-called adult businesses are conduits to the horrific abuse of women and girls,” said Smith. According to the report, the city currently issues licenses for two body parlours, 27 body rub practitioners, one independent escort agency and one escort.
It says ending the license requirement would cost the city around $23,000.
“Let’s not make laws to benefit the few when we know it harms the most,” said Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Executive Director Diane Redsky. But the committee did not support the entire report.
In a 4-3 vote against, it rejected a plan that would see training for community organizations and taxi drivers to recognize signs of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Some sex workers raised concerns this type of training could expose them to unwanted surveillance and force them underground.
Claudyne Chevrier, a researcher who has studied sex work, says sex trafficking and sex work should not be lumped together in the same sentence.
“We’re talking about two different realities, and there are many, many sex workers who are not at all trafficked,” said Chevrier.
This now moves to council for a final vote.