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“We want to change the way things are run in the industry,” Bella says.Another group of sex workers is pushing for a co-op brothel in east Vancouver to bring street-level sex workers indoors, while a third is launching a legal challenge to strip away Canada’s prostitution laws altogether. I really like it.” “But you seem so nice.” Bella (not her real name) says she first did sex work four years ago because she wanted to go on a two-month fishing trip in Fiji.She’s adamant this is a job she chose and one that she loves, and repeatedly insists her clients are “great guys.” “It’s a healing, therapeutic profession,” she says. It is not of successful, self-assured entrepreneurs like Bella, and that bothers her.The women moved into Strathcona and Hastings North in search of new places to work. When police enforce anti-prostitution laws in one area, sex workers simply relocate, she explains – and when residents of the next area complain to the police, it can often get pushed right back to where it started. Would she lobby to have the sex workers pushed out yet again, or would she try something different?[pagebreak] Curiously, despite all the attention street-level sex workers get, experts estimate only 10 to 15 per cent of the sex industry in B. is based outdoors, with most of it taking place in homes, hotels or municipally licensed businesses.
However, prostitution in Canada is far from a legitimate business, despite the fact the practice is technically legal.A bewildering mix of rules is in place to restrict it, making it almost impossible to run a legal business involving sexual contact.So prostitution is an outcast industry – hidden in dark alleys, hushed apartments, anonymous hotels, and small businesses with no windows. sex workers fighting to make the industry a legitimate part of the business landscape in an effort to improve working conditions.In Canada, despite these quasi-legal arrangements, most people who engage in sex work are technically breaking criminal law; it’s difficult not to.It is, for example, illegal to operate a “bawdy house,” or brothel, meaning a sex worker can’t use her home to meet clients.