Women's Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution granted leave to intervene in Bedford case

The Women’s Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution, a pan-Canadian coalition of equality-seeking women’s groups, has, as of today, been granted leave to intervene in the Bedford case, scheduled for hearing on June 12, 2013 at the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Court will decide whether or not to keep the current prostitution laws (which criminalize communicating for the purposes of prostitution, running a brothel, and pimping) or strike any or all of them down.

The Coalition consists of: Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS), the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres (CASAC), Le Regroupement Québécois des Centres d’Aide et de Lutte contre les Agressions à Caractère Sexuel (CALACS), la Concertation des Luttes contre l’Exploitation Sexuelle (la CLES), and Action Ontarienne contre la Violence faite aux Femmes (AOcVF).

The Coalition will argue to keep the current laws which criminalize men who buy sex, sell women or profit off of prostitution, and to decriminalize prostituted women. Their position is based in the understanding that women enter the sex trade due to race, class, and gender inequality.

The other groups who got leave to intervene in the case are:


2) Secretariat of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS

3) BC Civil Liberties Association

4) Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

5) Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario

6) Christian Legal Fellowship, the Catholic Civil Rights League, and REAL Women of Canada

7) David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights

8) Institut Simone de Beauvoire

9) Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution/Asian Women for Equality Society (AWCEP)

10) Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto

The groups who were NOT granted leave to intervene were:

1) POWER, Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, and Stella, l’amie de Maimie

2) Feminist Coalition (for some further background Jane Doe and her “Feminist Coalition’s” perspective on feminism and prostitution, click here)

3) Canadian Civil Liberties Association

4) Scarlet Alliance Australian Sex Workers Association, New Zealand Prostitutes Collective Trust, and Rose Alliance – Riksorganisationen För Sex & Erotikarbetare


For more on the abolitionist movement, check out the Pan-Canadian Campaign We Want More Than Prostitution for Women, which calls for the abolition of inequality, poverty and prostitution.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.