A militant women's group in Quebec has adopted a controversial new policy saying that somen women make a freewill choice to enter the sex trade. The decision is to be able to enhance their rights and security. (via CBC)

Controversial decision: Quebec feminist group and prostitution.

The right to choose to work in the sex trade

The Federation des Femmes du Quebec (FFQ) is a well-recognised women’s rights organisation in the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec.

This weekend the group took a controversial stance saying that women can make a free-will choice on their own to enter into the sex trade.

The decision is to be able to help de-stigmatise sex workers and to seek better health and security conditions for them.

The FFQ, which had previously not taken a position on sex workers, adopted the new policy after a ten-hour special meeting this weekend.

The executive-director of Stella, a Montreal sex workers advocacy group praises the decision, Quoted in “Le Devoir”,  Sandra Wesley said it recognises sex workers choices and their human rights.

Gabrielle Bouchard, seen in her office Dec 2017. is the first trans woman to lead Quebec’s main woman’s rights This week the FFQ endorsed the position that sex work can be a career choice and not alway an oppression. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Not all are pleased though.

Another group, La Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES), roughly “coaltion fighting against sexual exploitation” has long been fighting to end prostitution entirely. It says the FFQ has now become “pro sex-worker” and has said its members will decide whether to remain with the FFQ.

The FFQ says there are clauses within their new policy to distinguish among, choice, non-consent, and exploitation.  The feminist organisation also discussed the issue of rights of Muslim women to wear a face veil, Details on both decisions are expected to be released possibly Tuesday.

Measures adopted by the FFQ regarding women in the sex industry (with loose translations)

  1. Que  la FFQ reconnaisse l’agentivité des femmes dans la prostitution/industrie du sexe  incluant le consentement à leurs activités (the FFQ recognises women’s  independent right to freely choose to participate in the sex industry)
  2. QUE le FFQ lutte contre la stigmatisation et les barrières d’accès à la pleine participation à la société qui suivent ces femmes toute leur vie, même si elles quittent l’industrie, mais également contre la violence et les obstacles à la sortie de la prostitution/industrie du sexe que subissent les femmes qui sont dans cette industrie et celles qui en sortent  (The FFQ continues its fight against stigmatisation and barriers to participate fully in society that limits women all their lives even after they leave sex work, as well as violence they are subject to in the industry and afterward)
  3. Que la FFQ reconnaisse l’importance de  défendre, tant pour  celles qui choisissent de vivre de la prostitution/l’industrie du sexe que pour celles qui veulent en sortir, leurs droits, à la sécurité, la santé, à l’autonomie, à la liberté d’expression et d’association et à des conditions décentes tant dans l’exercice de leur pratique que dans les autres sphères de leur vie  (The FFQ notes the importance of defending the rights of women in prostitution and those who wish to leave, in terms of their security, health, autonomy, freedom of association in the sex trade and other aspects of their lives)
  4. QUE la FFQ travaille à la différenciation entre l’industrie du sexe,  les échanges consensuels, les situations d’exploitation et la traite humaine ; Que la FFQ lutte contre l’exploitation et les violences faites aux femmes dans la prostitution/industrie du sexe et défende le droit de toutes les femmes à l’intégrité physique et mentale, à la dignité, à la santé et à la sécurité.  (The FFQ works to distinguish the difference between consensual sex, exploitation, and forced situations).
  5. QUE la FFQ continue de lutter contre la pauvreté, la marginalisation et les relations antagonistes avec l’État et ses agents, particulièrement pour les femmes qui vivent de multiples oppressions ( the FFQ continues to fight against poverty, marginalisation, and antagonistic relationship between the government and its offices particularly for the women who already are subject to many oppressions)

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