Prostitution will always lead into a moral quagmire in democratic societies with capitalisteconomies; it invades the terrain of intimate sexual relations yet beckons for regulation. Asociety's response to prostitution goes to the core of how it chooses between the rights of some persons and the protection of others.BARBARA MEIL HOBSON,
This is the Report of Independent Counsel for the interests and perspectives of individuals and organizations within the Downtown Eastside who may be affected byfindings of fact and recommendations of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.Independent Counsel was appointed by the Commissioner of Inquiry on August 15, 2011,to act in the public interest at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry by consultingwith, taking guidance from and representing the interests and perspectives of affectedcommunities of the Downtown Eastside. The appointment of Independent Counsel wasnecessitated by the refusal of the Attorney General of British Columbia, Barry Penner, tofollow the Commissioner’s March 10, 2011 recommendation to fund legal counsel for four sets of full participant groups.
The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry has a duty to make findings of fact andrecommendations respecting the conduct of the missing women investigations. This dutywill be satisfied in the public interest by taking a values-based approach to answering thequestion of why the missing women were not protected by the Provincial RCMP andMunicipal police forces in British Columbia. It is not appropriate to attend exclusively to police decision-making outside the sphere of human values; policing is not a roboticexercise.To understand policing and the exercise of police discretion, it is necessary to makefindings of fact dealing with police attitudes and biases that affected police decision-making. Even ideal laws, regulations and policies cannot prevent tragedy if the personsgoverned by them harbour attitudes and biases that lead to selective enforcement. ThisInquiry cannot hope to succeed unless it persuades the public that it is wrong to diminishthe value placed on the lives of survival sex workers.A central task of this Inquiry is therefore to set forth the discriminatory attitudes and beliefs that contributed to the ongoing disappearances of survival sex workers. Survival
The four unfunded Full Participant groupings were as follows: (1) Sex Workers United Against Violence,Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society and Women’s Information and Safe House;(2) Native Women’s Association of Canada; (3) Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Frank PaulSociety and Walk4Justice; and (4) Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and the Committee of theFebruary 14 Memorial March. Of these organizations, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users was theonly organization not to withdraw from the Missing Women’s Inquiry.