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Guaranteed Livable Income as the way forward to
Abolishing Prostitution

Presented at the 15th BIEN Congress 2014 - Montreal, Canada

The 15th Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network, “Re-Democratizing the Economy,”

Montreal, Canada, June 26-29, 2014.

By Sarah M. Mah, Yuly Chan (Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution)


Re-democratizing the economy must surely include everyone in an egalitarian world. The overwhelming reality is that women are often left out of democratic processes and pushed to the margins of society while our labour and our bodies are used to drive so-called economic development. Prostitution is one example of such an institution, which disproportionately violates the rights and freedoms of poor women of colour.

Normalizing the sex industry threatens to privatize women’s safety and increase exploitation of women’s poverty. The government’s apparent withdrawal from enhancing women’s democratic and civic participation denies women’s economic security. A Guaranteed Livable Income has the potential to impact the sexualized racism of prostitution on Asian women and women of colour. We will discuss its provision as the way forward to the abolition of prostitution, for the sake of advancing women’s equality and economic security.

The Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution was an intervenor in Canada v. Bedford, a Supreme Court of Canada case that considered the constitutionality of some laws on prostitution. The Court decision struck down the laws and sent the issue back to the Parliament to modernize Canada’s approach to the danger that prostitution poses to women.


Parliament is now considering a Bill that accurately identifies male demand as the source of danger to women, recognizing that prostitution abrogates women’s equality and human dignity. Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution proposes that a comprehensive Guaranteed Livable Income is the necessary corollary to Bill C-36 to enhance women’s full access to Charter Rights.

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