4700 Keele St
North York, ON M3J 1P3
The costs and benefits of legal activism: Reflecting on the aftermath of Canada v Bedford, Lebovitch and Scott
Featured speaker: Valerie Scott
Tuesday February 13, 2018
2:30 to 4:00pm
In this talk, longtime sex worker rights activist and former sex worker Valerie Scott will give her personal account of the struggles, strategies, process, and aftermath of the constitutional challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws, Canada v Bedford, Lebovitch and Scott (2013). In particular Ms. Scott will discuss the work done by sex worker activists, and their disagreements over and decisions in regard to adopting a ‘winnable’ strategy that highlighted how the criminalization of prostitution exacerbated the risks faced by sex workers. This strategy was not without costs: even as it was effective in winning the case, focusing on danger reproduced tropes of victimization and trafficking that were later invoked in the legislative response that in effect recriminalized similar aspects of sex work. Ms. Scott will reflect on this unfortunate, yet unsurprising, outcome, and how it has forced activists to rethink their strategies toward attempting to dislodge the victim discourse – and abandon ‘winnable’ legal arguments amidst continuing political discomfort with prostitution.
Light refreshments provided.
RSVP link: www.osgoode.yorku.ca/research/rsvp
The Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode (IFLS)
Centre for Feminist Research at York University (CFR)
York Department of Social Science – Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies Programs