Students, Sex Work & Violence

This breakout panel will take place Friday (at 2PM) in Room 2301.

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Brenna Bezanson is an activist, feminist, and ally. For over 15 years Brenna has been working for access to sexual health care, queer politics, and sex workers rights. Since 2015 Brenna has been the community liaison at PACE Society, a peer-driven non-profit organization located in Vancouver, providing support and advocacy by with & for sex workers.

 

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Laura Dilley is a non-profit leader and community-based educator whose work focuses on promoting health and social equity. Since 2013, Laura has been the Executive Director of PACE Society, a Vancouver-based organization employing a rights-based approach to addressing the needs of Sex Workers. Laura has been recognized as one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 (2015) and nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction award (2016).

kerryporthKerry Porth is a former sex worker and passionate human rights activist who campaigns for the decriminalization of sex work in Canada. She is currently the chair of the board of Pivot Legal Society and provides expertise to their sex workers’ rights campaign. Pivot successfully challenged Canada’s rules regarding standing at the Supreme Court of Canada in 2012, opening the way for marginalized groups to challenge the constitutionality of laws and they also intervened in the final appeal of Bedford v Canada at the Supreme Court in 2013. In her role at Pivot, Kerry sits on the steering committee of the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law reform. A well-respected educator, Kerry regularly provides public education in her role as community developer with Living in Community and lectures at colleges and universities about sex work stigma, activism, and prostitution law and its impacts. She was instrumental in founding EASE Canada, an organization that educates and advocates for people with disabilities to safely explore intimacy and sexuality. Kerry is also a first director of the Triple-X Workers’ Solidarity Association of BC – Canada’s first registered professional association for sex workers.

This panel will be moderated by Brenda Belak. 

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Brenda Belak is a lawyer at Pivot Legal Society, where the goal of her program is to decriminalize sex work in Canada. Brenda did her undergrad and law degrees at UBC. For the last 20 years, she has worked alongside affected communities to centre their experiences and recommendations in law and policy reform. Prior to her career in law, Brenda did human rights advocacy in Canada and Southeast Asia, with a focus on women’s human rights and sexual violence. She has written a book on women’s human rights in Myanmar and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women and was the lead drafter of Myanmar’s first bill addressing violence against women. Brenda has practiced Indigenous law in BC and conducted research and consultations for the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. She is currently a member of Status of Women Canada’s Advisory Council on Canada’s federal Gender-Based Violence Strategy.

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