Alberta sex worker critical of new prostitution laws

Eden hoped the new law would allow her to operate a legal brothel. She no longer believes that's possible

City of Edmonton made $234,000 this year in sex-related licensing fees

Eden works out of a two-bedroom condominium. (CBC)

An Alberta sex worker believes Canada’s proposed new prostitution laws will end her dream of opening a legal brothel where other prostitutes can work safely. 

"I think the new bill is terrible,” said Eden, who works in a modern two-bedroom condominium. "I think it doesn't do anything for the harm reduction we wanted it to do."

The new law, introduced earlier this month in response to a Supreme Court ruling, prohibits sex workers from advertising their services and makes it illegal for anyone to profit from prostitution.

The law would also make it illegal for anyone to buy sex.

New law makes job more dangerous, say critics

Eden hoped the new law would allow her to operate openly. She works alone but has been saving for two years to run her own brothel.

“Something really cool that the girls could be a part of," she said.

Under the new law, Eden believes safer places like body rub parlours will be harder to find, driving prostitutes back on the streets. She also thinks it will prevent sex workers from seeking help from police.

"So the only way to continue is underground. Very quietly," she said.

“You can't back people into a corner and expect them to behave logically. And this legislation increases the harm that's going to come to the clients and the workers.”

Katrina Pacey with the Pivot Legal Society agrees.

“Working indoors is so much safer. It’s the best way for sex workers to support their safety and their choices in the industry. This law really tried to make this impossible.”

Edmonton has 39 licensed body rub centres and seven licensed escort agencies, with licensing fees generating more than $234,000 for the city this year alone.

The bill is scheduled for a second reading on Wednesday. Eden says she’ll be watching from her office.