Sex work is legal in Canada, but brothels are not. The British Columbia Coalition of Experiential Women –an alliance of sex workers–wants to legalize a sex worker co-op in time for the 2010 olympics. Here's the vision:
The incorporated group would operate a museum and gallery to showcase the artwork and history of showgirls and prostitutes, she said. It would also run a dinner club with burlesque performances under the same roof as the brothel.
Any sex worker could join for a nominal fee and be able to rent clean rooms cheaply, she said. Although they would share expenses, members would set their own fees and keep their profits. The co-op would also enforce labor standards.
The Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter objects on the grounds that "an overwhelming majority of prostitutes would leave the sex trade if given a choice," which is both nonresponsive and inconsistent with surveys of American sex workers. (Women report better pay and control over their work schedules as reasons for choosing sex work over entry level minimum-wage jobs, unsurprising given the centrality of self-employment in more general surveys of subjective wellbeing.) A more coherent objection comes from another quarter: other hookers.
So far, some of the strongest opposition has come from escort agencies threatened by the prospect of organized competition, Davis said. Politicians and local businesses have largely been supportive.