Letter to the City of Edmonton March 21, 2023
We at ANSWER Society (Advocacy Normalizing Sex Work through Education and Resources Society) highly recommend that Edmonton City Council approve the motion to protect the privacy of adult services workers.
Currently the City of Edmonton licencing department collects all the necessary data (age, name, address, phone number), alongside offering a mandatory course to ensure that all applicants are of legal age and all apply of their own volition.
The City issued licence itself does not contain personal information. It contains only the account number, the expiry date and the provider's pseudonym. This is by design. It is meant to protect all of us from erroneous and unnecessary information from being shared with anyone and specifically with the most unscrupulous or predatory people.
Keep in mind that one of the reasons the City of Edmonton began licencing the adult entertainment industry back in 1985 was to keep bad actors out of the business. To a large degree this has been successful, likely because each owner needs to provide a clean criminal record check and this keeps the potential for organized crime at bay.
We believe that adult service workers must have complete privacy to prevent being doxxed or outted to their family and the community. Information that is available to owners of agencies and body rub studios are unlikely to be secure. Data leaks are a common occurrence in every industry and ours is no different. Beyond this, nefarious or disgruntled owners (or co-workers) might use the private information to cause unnecessary grief by harassing workers in any number of ways. We've heard stories of people who have been outted to their landlords, mainstream employers and to family members in a spiteful moment. We prefer not to create unnecessary risk to workers.
The biggest difference between employees in retail stores or other settings and workers in Body Rub Parlours and Escort agencies is that employees in stores must provide private information in order to be paid. Body Rub Practitioners and Escorts, on the other hand, do not get paid by the agencies or studios - instead, as they are all independent contractors, and they pay for their affiliation (room rental, introduction fees or driver's fees). As such, there is no need to share their private information beyond what is stated on the City issued licence (account number, the expiry date and the provider's pseudonym). And at all times, keep in mind that the City of Edmonton is the holder of all private information.
Please protect sex workers from having their private information being shared with anyone outside of the City of Edmonton licencing department.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Mona Forya, President, ANSWER Society