Nation’s first sex co-op?

 February 15, 2008

By IRWIN LOY — Sun Media

A group of women who hope to open a legal brothel in Vancouver in time for the 2010 Olympics have succeeded in creating the country’s first sex-trade co-op.

Susan Davis received the certificate of incorporation in the mail this week.

“We’re Canada’s first co-operative of sex-trade professionals,” Davis, a sex-trade worker and advocate, told 24 hours in an interview yesterday.

The new corporation will be known as The West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals. But more importantly to Davis, the co-op will provide an umbrella structure for the group’s individual projects, which include creating an artist co-op, a catering company, a publishing company and a consulting firm, all run by sex-trade workers. “The idea is to give sex workers marketable skills,” Davis said. “If women are trying to exit [the sex trade], we’re providing alternate sources of income as well as things to put on a resume that perhaps hasn’t had anything on it for 20 years.”

But a more controversial ongoing plan to open a co-op brothel is less certain.

The group is busy drafting a proposal for a federal bill of amnesty allowing a brothel to open despite laws against sex work – operating with the consent of authorities much like the city’s supervised injection site – but federal ministers have so far pooh-poohed the idea.

“We’re being realistic about it,” Davis said. “I’m not sure we’ll make it in time for the Olympics. But regardless of the Olympics we need a safe workspace for sex workers.”


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