Dominatrix Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dominatrix on Trial Headed to the Screen

HILTZ SQUARED MEDIA is proud to announce their partnership with TERRI-JEAN BEDFORD to develop a number of multimedia-based properties based on her life and book.

TERRI-JEAN BEDFORD is Canada's most famous dominatrix, known by the stage name MADAME DE SADE. After being arrested in 1994 for running a common bawdy house, she fought against Canada's unreasonable prostitution laws, and recently helped strike them down pending appeal. Now, she's teamed with Toronto-based film company HILTZ SQUARED MEDIA to bring her memoir, Dominatrix on Trial, and her life, to the screen.

HILTZ and Ms. Bedford plan to produce if possible a movie, reality show, TV series, and perhaps more that tell the story of her childhood, youth, life as a dominatrix and legal battles.

"Hiltz Squared Media is thrilled to be working with Terri-Jean on a number of television projects. Ms. Bedford is a lightning rod for public attention and her decades of front page struggles with the 'powers that be' make her someone that audiences will find fascinating to watch again and again," said Hiltz President Jonathan Hiltz.

Hiltz Squared Media Group Inc. (HSMG) is a production and distribution company, which was incorporated in 2000 by brother and sister Jonathan and Naomi Hiltz and Myles Shane. Since it’s inception, HSMG has ventured into many new projects and continues its success with a current list of ongoing and new productions as well as a growing distribution library. In 2001, they created the International Teen Movie Festival, the first of its kind in North America.

For further information or to arrange an interview, you can call Hiltz Squared Media directly at 905-881-5270, or email Jonathan Hiltz at Visit Hiltz Squared Media online at


Friday, June 15, 2012

Idea City Speech

View the 20 minute VIDEO of Terri-jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott speak at ideacity 2012.

The Idea City Speech by Terri-Jean Bedford:

I see some former clients in the audience. Does it still hurt?)

Before anything else I want to thank Valarie Scott and Amy Lebovitch for leading this fight and for being such wonderful spokespersons in this, and other initiatives to protect women and our freedoms. They will have many important points for you to consider today.

I would also like to thank my lawyer Professor Alan Young who headed our legal team. My superhero disguised as an ordinary citizen. I would like the thank Her Honour Justice Susan Himel and the Ontario Court of appeal for striking down those monstrous laws!

Now, if I was an adversary of Prime Minister Harper, I would thank him too – for being so feckless in this matter. For those of you who may not know … ‘feckless’ is a person who is lacking in efficiency or vitality – who is unthinking and irresponsible. I really have no business commenting on his handling of the economy, his foreign policies, or what he is doing to protect the environment and so forth. But on his handling of the issues we are discussing today, I can tell you he has been a very bad boy indeed.

His government was caught totally off guard when Judge Himel’s ruling came out in September 2010. I am told they made no preparations for the release. They announced they would appeal about 3 hours after the release, and they did so without time to read it properly and consult properly. Incompetence! He fired no one for this.

Naughty Mr. Harper says unelected judges should not make laws. Six judges have told him to involve himself and that the laws are problematic to say the least. Yet the elected bad boy runs to hide behind the robes of yet more unelected judges. What does that say about him?

Does he know that these proceedings are the culmination of 4 years of a virtual public inquiry? Does he know that the findings were that the present laws create more violence against women and human trafficking than they prevent. Does he know that the judges found that there will not be much of an increase in prostitution – whatever that is – if the laws are removed?

Mr. Harper says he is against prostitution, and he vowed never to make it legal. Yet he wants to keep the current laws intact. Under the current laws prostitution is legal. Can you believe this guy?

Now we all know that pre-marital sex is also legal. Women can have sex with whomever they want, when they want. Does Mr. Harper have a problem with that? It appears he does. It seems to me that he has no problem with it, so long as she does it for free. It seems to me that he wants to control women’s bodies. If she negotiates dinner for sex, is she a criminal? Does she have to lie back and think of Harper when she has sex?

What does Mr. Harper mean when he says prostitution anyway? Does he mean sex for money? How about when I tie men up and tickle them? Is it sex? Is it legal if I do it for free? When I put men in corsets and dresses, am I a prostitute? I am sure Mr. Harper can share with us some of his acknowledged expertise in these matters. He should, because the laws he seeks to preserve are impermissibly vague in giving us the answers. That means that unelected officials, for arbitrary reasons, will decide when people’s private consenting behaviour is not legal. If anyone knows something about officials like that, it’s me.

Women are having sex for free all over town, all day, every day, anywhere they want, whenever they want, including the privacy of their own homes. The minute one red cent is exchanged she is a criminal. Why does Prime Minister Harper feel the need, the need, to have his lackeys tell me what I can and cannot do in the privacy of my bedroom with another consenting adult?

We must move away from a moral basis for legislating on this issue and towards a safety basis. We women must not lose control of our bodies and our lives. Other countries are hopefully moving forward in emancipating women. Don’t allow Mr. Harper to take us backward.

So I turn to Laureen Harper, Mr. Harper’s wife. I ask her to read the decisions and tell her elected husband what the findings were and then send the Prime Minister to me for a lesson in behaviour modification he’ll never forget. I will make a man of him.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

About Dominatrix on Trial Again

I have a couple of signings for my book Dominatrix on Trial during June. People have been so kind in their comments. People who report on the media to me are surprised at how little people who normally attack me cite the book, even though book store clerks have reported to us that they bought it. If you want me to name names I thank you for your interest. A good dominatrix never tells.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Upcoming at the Supreme Court

First the court has to decide how long to extend the stay on the struck down law against living on the avails will continue while the court decides whether to hear the appeal of the decisions by two lower courts (six judges) striking down Canada’s so-called anti prostitution laws. Then it must decide whether it will grant leave to appeal. If it is granted they must decide on whether to extend the stay on the decision permitting bawdy-houses for prostitution beginning in March 2013. I will comment on the case therefore only when decisions are handed down.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Where don’t Our Leaders Lead?

Many if not most people think elected officials and not appointed judges should decide what is and what is not acceptable behaviour by our citizens. So why does the Prime Minister want to keep the struck down laws meant to restrict prostitution before the courts? He now has every reason to bring in new laws, and he has a majority government. Why does he need a third court to tell him that the current laws are problematic, to say the least? What is he afraid of? I think the time is coming when we will find out.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Is Prostitution Bad for Society?

The Prime Minister thinks so. But if he is right, why is it such a booming business? If he is right, why does he want the current laws, under which prostitution is legal, upheld? There is a market for the sale of sex and fantasy role play, and everyone agrees that it is not going away. The judge whose ruling was basically upheld by appeal, said that removing the current laws will not result in an increase in prostitution related activity. What removing those laws will do is let what people want to do and are doing come up from underground. When that happens, the Prime Minister is free to choose not to pay for sex. 

Terri-Jean Bedford

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Do Prostitutes Want to be Prostitutes?

Some do some don’t. Same with waitresses. Same with office cleaners. Same with factory workers. Same with nursing home orderlies. Women all over the place are doing things they might not wish to do, to earn a living. If a woman can make a living in a few hours a week, safely if the prostitution laws remain struck down, having sex rather than work many days a week in hard labour, shouldn’t that be her choice?

Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, April 30, 2012

Is Prostitution Bad For Society?

No. It is under-enforcement of laws that protect people that is bad for society. For example, weak enforcement of immigration in the workplace has led to sweatshops, illegal farm workers being exploited, illegal nannies, and illegal caregivers for the elderly, recruits for organized crime and so forth. Within each of those situations we see women being treated miserably and sexually abused, why doesn’t the government crack down on that. Why pick on the prostitutes?

Terri-Jean Bedford

Friday, April 27, 2012

Supreme Court’s first Ruling on Our Case

The Court has granted the government’s request for an extension of the 30 day stay on the date on which the living on the avails of prostitution law was to fall. This is reasonable and expected, since it was only this week that the government advised the court that they wanted to appeal our victories. However, the court will, within 30 days, unless the extension is again extended a bit, not have the excuse that they have not had a chance to familiarize themselves with the matter of whether the stay should be extended while the court decides whether to hear any appeals. It is going to get very interesting. Watch.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Government Wants to Appeal Again

This afternoon, Wednesday April 25th, the government announced and served notice that it will be seeking leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the Himel decision striking down two of the three laws which the government believed worked against prostitution and for women, and which six judges agreed was unconstitutional. They also want to extend the stay on the judicial decisions, meaning keep the old laws in place for now, again. The judges said Parliament has work to do. But the government just doesn’t get it. They will. Watch.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Prime Minister’s Dilemma

If he does nothing about the recent court ruling striking down the prostitution laws, brothels will be legal, at least in Ontario. If he tries to appeal the recent ruling he may not get heard. If he is heard he has to convince the court to extend stays on the laws that are about to fall – keeping a bawdy house for prostitution and living on the avails of prostitution. If he does not get the stays we will have brothels by the time he gets heard, if he is heard. If he is heard he may lose. If he wins he may only win in part, in which case a conviction will be hard to get under those obsolete laws. What will he do?

Terri-Jean Bedford

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Prime Minister May Be Confused

Prime Minister Harper says he is tough on crime. He says he is against prostitution. Prostitution is legal, not a crime. In fact he was fighting in the courts to keep intact the laws centred on the fact that prostitution is legal. These laws were supposedly to restrict activities related to prostitution, whatever that is. Yet these laws were declared themselves unconstitutional by two courts. It will be interesting to see how he sorts all this out, now that his futile struggle to continue the policy of the Liberals on prostitution and related activities has failed.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What does the Prime Minister Want?

The Prime Minister does not believe that women (or men) should sell sex. He believes prostitution is bad for society. So let’s get this straight. According to him all the pre-marital sex going on during first dates or at swinger clubs or married people cheating is no problem for him – so long as it’s free. Do I have that right? We have to lie back and think of Harper and the only reward outside of the sex itself is the thought of him? How much is that worth? Is it taxable?

Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, April 16, 2012

What are the Prime Minister’s Options?

Just a refresher. He can instruct the government lawyers to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. They may or may not choose to hear an appeal. They are not obligated to do so if the government seeks one. He may also instruct them to seek an extension of the 30 day stay on the dropping of the living on the avails laws. He can order the drafting of new legislation against bawdy-houses for prostitution as the court offered to let him to during the stay. He can do nothing and effectively let prostitution become an open industry – which it basically is anyway. Finally, he may wish to make prostitution illegal. It is now legal. If he does that, it will be very interesting and he may be opening cans of worms he and his lawyers never considered.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Friday, April 13, 2012

More about Changes in Progress

A number of police forces have already greatly curtailed their activities against indoor prostitution, whatever that is. Some supporters have told me that senior police officials have said that there is little practical purpose in enforcing laws that have already been struck down twice and were under-enforced to begin with. So even if there is an appeal of the second striking down of the laws against living on the avails and keeping a bawdy house for prostitution, there seems to be a recognition that the old laws are done for. There is also public support, of about 2 to 1, in favour of the Court of Appeal’s decision, based on polls I have read about. The silence of certain media on the issue speaks volumes. We won and we were right.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More about Possible Appeals

There is an important aspect about appeals that people often overlook. The time from a decision to the date the judgement takes effect is called a stay. For example the current decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal put a 30 day stay before the living on the avails law is changed and a 12 month stay on the dropping of the bawdy-house law against prostitution. An appeal to the Supreme Court will take more than 30 days so the Supreme Court must grant an extension of the stay or the law is dropped even if another appeal is heard. So decisions are about to be made soon by a number of parties, or things will change.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, April 9, 2012

Is the Supreme Court the Next Stop?

The issue of what legal steps remain to the parties in the prostitution challenge is complex and often technical. For one thing, the Supreme Court is not obliged to hear an appeal of the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal. For another, it is a very big task to mount an appeal, and not cheap. For yet another, the side appealing may actually have something to lose if the Supreme Court finds more issues with the Appeal Court decision than the appellant raised. The Federal and Ontario governments are reviewing it and so are we. Until these discussions are concluded and positions are taken I don’t want to speculate on whether the court phase of this debate on what Canada’s prostitution laws should be is over.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Saturday, April 7, 2012

An Historic Prostitution Law Decision

In March 2012 the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld most of the decisions made by a lower court in September 2010 striking down Canadian laws seeking to restrict prostitution in Ontario. As of today, less than 2 weeks after the release of the decision, all parties are looking at next steps. But one thing is clear. It was a win for those of us who challenged the laws. The 6 judges who have sat on this case are agreed that the laws are basically dysfunctional and in the main do not even work against their stated ends. They have agreed that parliament has work to do, and so many questions to answer. More in my next blog.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The 2012 Prostitution Appeal Decision - An Expression of Gratitude

On March 26, 2012 five judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on the governments appeal of the 2010 decision of Justice Susan Himel, which struck down the three laws seeking to prevent prostitution, whatever that is. Those laws were against living off the avails of prostitution, keeping a bawdy house for prostitution and communicating for prostitution.

First, the court upheld Justice Himel on the avails provision, so basically prostitutes can now have security, chauffeurs, accountants, landlords and so forth. Second, they told Parliament it would have to rewrite the bawdy-house provision to remove the reference to prostitution within 12 months or the provision falls. And third, they left the communicating provision intact, although the judges split 3-2 on that.

The media recognized that the Court has essentially legalized brothels in Ontario and thrown the matter to Parliament. Remember, the communicating provision remaining intact is essentially to deal with street prostitution and the penalties so minor as to be on the level of a traffic ticket. Police officers sympathetic to us have told my supporters that they are no longer going to act against indoor prostitution because it is prostitution, whatever that is.

This is an historic victory because it shows that we were right about the laws being unfair for a whole host of reasons and have now ensured that the debate will not be suppressed and changes will come. In the coming weeks I will be writing about fairness in any new laws that might be brought in. However, for now, I want to express my gratitude to many wonderful people.

Professor Alan Young has worked on this case for a decade, and against these laws for years before that. He supervised, in my estimate, about 50 students who assisted as part of their studies. He had to advocate for funding. He devoted summers and worked extra hours when he had teaching duties. He did this on the heels of publishing his wonderful book profiling the terrible shortcomings in our legal system. He defended me in the past when I was arrested under these laws despite offering no sex. He has inspired scholarship and advocacy in an area of the law desperately crying out for attention from governments. The Order of Canada award was created for people like him.

My fellow plaintiffs Amy Lebovitch and Val Scott deserve the nations thanks for coming forward and exposing their private lives and taking a position, so as to make the challenge legally viable. They have stood against these laws for years prior to this challenge coming to maturity. They have walked the walk in every way. Val has also served as Executive Director of the Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), and as such has led others who have helped to work e. towards more fairness in these laws and in societys treatment of sex workers. Val has been an amazing spokesperson. Nikki Thomas has succeeded Val and has also spoken for the current initiative with amazing insight and effectiveness.

I also want to pay my thanks to lawyers besides Alan who have represented me and assisted me in the past, and generally enabled me to carry on and tell my story. As they defended me or represented me in appeals and other ways they too fought these laws. I will, as I have in the past, list them now in the order they participated and they all have my gratitude: Ken Danson, Morris Manning, Theresa Simone, Murray Klippenstein, Charlie Campbell, George Callahan, Leah Daniels, Paul Burstein, Justice David L. Corbett and Sender Herschorn. Their assistants and staffs are not to be forgotten either.

Finally, let us not forget the many activists from the past. There have been coalitions in the past seeking to amend the bawdy-house and related laws. In the middle 1990s Robert Dante headed up the coalition formed after I was raided. Andy Anderson and the late Richard Hudler and so many others over the years are not to be forgotten. Their stories will be told, and it is my intention to do so or see that it is done. This is their victory too. Long live freedom.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Himel Decision – III

Here is more of what the judge wrote:

It is important to state at the outset what this case is not about: the court has not been called upon to decide whether or not there is a constitutional right to sell sex or to decide which policy model regarding prostitution is better. That is the role of Parliament. Rather, it is this court’s task to decide the merits of this particular legal challenge, which is whether certain provisions of the Criminal Code are in violation of the Charter … The fact that prostitution is a controversial and complex issue is not a bar to Charter review. I find the words of Rowles J.A. instructive in his concurring reasons… ‘…the resulting legislation, like all laws, is subject to constitutional limits… The fact that the matter is complex, contentious or laden with social values does not mean the courts can abdicate the responsibility vested in them by our Constitution to review legislation for Charter compliance when citizens challenge it. As this court has said on a number of occasions it is the duty of this Court to ensure that the Legislatures do not transgress the limits of their constitutional mandate and engage in the illegal exercise of power.’ (Paragraph 25)


“In my view the analysis conducted in the Prostitution Reference ought to be revisited given the breadth of evidence that has been gathered over the course of the intervening twenty years. Furthermore, it may be that the social, political, and economic assumptions underlying the Prostitution Reference are no longer valid today. Indeed, several western democracies have made legal reforms decriminalizing prostitution to varying degrees. As well, the type of expression at issue in this case is different from that considered in the Prostitution Reference. Here, the expression at issue is that which would allow prostitutes to screen potential clients for a propensity for violence. I conclude, therefore, that it is appropriate in this case to decide these issues based upon the voluminous record before me. As will become evident following a review of the evidence filed by the parties, there is a substantial amount of research that was not before the Supreme Court in 1990.” (Paragraph 83)


“According to reports commissioned by the Ministry of Justice, Dutch decriminalization has been moderately successful in improving working conditions and safety in the legal practice of prostitution. The reports suggest that the women working the licensed sector are neither underage nor exploited. Sexually transmitted diseases are now less prevalent among prostitutes than among the population at large, and free anonymous health services are available within Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Approximately 90 per cent of reported incidents of violence against prostitutes are against women working illegally. These reports conclude that the supply of and demand for prostitution in the Netherlands has decreased since the legislative changes”. (Paragraph 188)


“Despite the multiple problems with the expert evidence, I find that there is sufficient evidence from other experts and government reports to conclude that the applicants have proven on a balance of probabilities that the impugned provisions sufficiently contribute to a deprivation of their security of the person (Paragraph 359). I accept that there are ways of conducting prostitution that may reduce the risk of violence towards prostitutes, and that the impugned provisions make many of these ‘safety-enhancing’ methods or techniques illegal. The two factors that appear to impact the level of violence against prostitutes are the location or venue in which the prostitution occurs and individual working conditions of the prostitute (Paragraph 360) … prostitutes who attempt to increase their level of safety by working in-call face criminal sanction … prostitution may be made less dangerous if a prostitute is allowed to hire an assistant or a bodyguard; yet, such business relationships are illegal due to the living on the avails of prostitution provision. Finally s213(1)c) prohibits street prostitutes … from screening clients at an early, and crucial stage of a potential transaction, thereby putting them at an increased risk of violence (Paragraph 361). In conclusion, these three provisions prevent prostitutes from taking precautions, some extremely rudimentary, that can decrease the risk of violence towards them. Prostitutes are faced with deciding between their liberty and their security of the person. Thus, while it is ultimately the client who inflicts violence upon a prostitute, in my view the law plays a sufficient contributory role in preventing a prostitute from taking steps that could reduced the risk of such violence.” (Paragraph 362)


“The applicants argue that a blanket prohibition on indoor prostitution is a complete disregard for the legitimate needs of prostitutes who wish to increase personal safety and security, and that this blanket prohibition unnecessarily exposes prostitutes to an increased risk of violence … (Paragraph 397). The issue is whether the provisions are necessary to achieve the state objective, which I have found to be eliminating neighbourhood disorder and a concern for public health and safety (Paragraph 398). To convict a person of a bawdy-house offence, none of the harms the provision is aimed at need to be shown, such as neighbourhood disorder, or threats to public health or safety. The evidence from both parties demonstrates that there are few community complaints about indoor prostitution establishments. In my view, because they assign criminal liability to those direct participants of bawdy-house prostitution who do not contribute to the harms Parliament seeks to prevent, the bawdy-house provisions are overly broad as the restrict liberty and security of the person more than is necessary to accomplish their goal.” (Paragraph 401)

Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Himel Decision – II

Here is some of what the judge wrote. “Prostitution per se is not illegal in Canada, although many prostitution related activities are prohibited by provisions in the Criminal Code. The applicants’ case is based on the proposition that the impugned provisions prevent prostitutes from conducting their lawful business in a safe environment (Paragraph 8). With respect to s.7 of the Charter, the applicants argue that not only do the impugned provisions violate liberty….but also security of the person as the operation and intersection of the impugned provisions materially contribute to the violence faced by prostitutes (Paragraph 10). Under s.210, the bawdy-house provisions, it is illegal to conduct prostitution in an indoor location on a habitual and frequent basis. The applicants maintain that the evidence demonstrates that violence is significantly reduced or eliminated in most indoor settings. Under….the living under the avails of prostitution provision, the applicants argue the it is illegal to hire managers, drivers, and security personnel and that these type of services can reduce or eliminate the incidence of violence faced by prostitutes. Finally it is illegal….to communicate in public for the purposes of prostitution. The applicants take the position that this prohibition has compelled prostitutes to make hasty decisions without properly screening customers when working on the streets, thereby increasing their risk of danger (Paragraph 11).

Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Himel Decision – I

Very soon now the Ontario Court of Appeal is going to release its decision on the appeal, by the Federal and Provincial Governments and various intervenors, of Judge Susan Himel’s 131 page decision striking down Canada’s laws against prostitution. In the next 9 blogs it is my intention simply to quote some of what the judge said, and I will give you the paragraph of the decision from which I am quoting so you can see for yourself the context in which she said it. I hope doing so will raise the level of public discussion on what will happen if her decision stands. You can read the decision by going to my website, or you can read my book Dominatrix on Trial. In my book, in Chapter 19, I summarize what the judge wrote.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Friday, March 16, 2012

How the Laws and Courts Have Treated Me

I have had a few experiences with the law and the courts. The public has been very sympathetic on the whole. For example they keep asking, about my previous trials: “What was the crime if there was no sex?” They have also been very supportive of my tenacity in fighting the laws which are so unfair and dangerous. However up until recently the courts have not been fair. Judge Himel’s ruling in 2010 striking down the prostitution laws finally recognized the unfairness of the laws. Before that the judges, in the main, were not only unsympathetic, but unfair bordering on corrupt.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Unfairness in Canada’s Prostitution Laws

I was asked in a recent on-line interview how the current case involves fairness in the prostitution laws. The judge who struck down the laws in 2010 was clear. The laws discriminate against women. The laws allow a segment of society engaged in legal activity from protecting themselves, while participants in other legal activities are not prevented. The laws are vague as to what, prostitution, is and is not. Laws also need to be clear to be fair. The judge also said it is up to Parliament to write and pass laws telling people what they can and cannot do in their sex lives or fantasy role play, and what they can and cannot do to protect themselves in doing so. I have written about this in my book Dominatrix on Trial.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Influence of the Pickton Inquiry on My Case

The Robert Pickton inquiry has brought up issues that we have been talking about for a long time, issues of security, and problems with victimization, among others. The Picton matter already has, in my view moved people and hopefully the Court of Appeal to rule against the government. The government is appealing our victory. I think they are pissing against the wind. A number of other cases such as the safe site injection rulings, the rulings against mandatory minimum sentences and the public blowback against internet snooping powers for the government without warrants have also demonstrated that Canadians don’t like being controlled in their private lives, and want to be free to protect themselves when doing things, like prostitution, that are legal.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Friday, March 9, 2012

Is Prostitution an Issue? - Dominatrix on Trial

In a recent on-line interview I was told that people call prostitution an “issue”. They wanted to know what I thought of that. I told them that prostitution, whatever that is, is booming. It will boom no matter what public policy is. A significant portion of the population wants the freedom to pay for and be paid for acts of prostitution and do so with the safety and choices available to participants in other legal activities. So prostitution is not an issue in that sense. The issue is Canada’s Prime Minister - Steven Harper – and his unwillingness to tell consenting adults what they can and cannot do in private. He lacks courage. He says prostitution is bad, yet won't define it or make it illegal. He seems to lack the ability, as well as the courage, to deal with this. He just wants the current laws, ruled unconstitutional, to remain in place.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Remaining Legal Battle - Dominatrix on Trial

I was recently asked in an on-line interview what remains of the current legal battle. First of all the term sex work is too vague. Exactly what acts are we talking about? The current case before the courts has all parties agreeing that prostitution (whatever that is) is legal. It was legal going into the case. The government wants to keep some of the things prostitutes and those who work in the business do to conduct prostitution illegal. What is likely to happen is that the courts will tell the government to be more specific about what people can and cannot do in private with full consent for money or other payment? Then the real fight begins.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Saturday, March 3, 2012

How the Prostitution Laws Affect the Average Person

I presume you mean the laws that were struck down, but tentatively being kept in place. These laws impact few because they are under-enforced; as the judge who struck them down pointed out. New similar laws will also be disobeyed. But for those who the authorities wish to target, as they did me in the 1990’s, the laws are a tool for the police to impose morality and target individuals. Indeed, the disgusting presence of "morality squads" over the years should make any thinking person sick. I don’t think being a student is a distinguishing factor in this matter. The people can be most effective by communicating their opposition to any attack on our freedoms the way the reaction to the internet snooping laws arose. They can also send money to organizations that are fighting the fight, such as the Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC -

Terri-Jean Bedford

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why the Image of the Sex Worker is So Often Taboo

A difficult question. Taboos of all types are very uneven. Some people condemn birth control. Some people condemn pre-marital sex. Some people condemn anonymous sex. Some people condemn cross-dressing. Some people condemn homosexual encounters. Some people condemn bondage and consensual and safe torture. They may see these things as degrading. They may see taking money for doing these things as degrading. The current laws leave matters confused. Prostitution is legal, but there is no clear definition of what it is. Public policy and the laws around prostitution were themselves ruled unconstitutional by the judge and we will soon hear from the appeal court on the matter, or will have heard from them by the time you are reading this. However society’s perception, whatever that is, will not be changed by the court’s ruling. When Parliament gets involved the real issues will emerge. It will be like the internet monitoring and minimum sentence bills. There will be blowback from the people and the judges and the discussions the government is desperate to avoid will begin in a big way. Meanwhile, people in private will continue to do what they want because they want to be free. That is what this country stands for and Mr. Harper will once again have to take a stand against freedoms if he wants to take a stand against prostitution. The media and public will pick up on that and it will be historic.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Feeling Empowered as a Dominatrix

I went into a great deal of detail on those things in my book: Dominatrix on Trial. I ask you to buy it, not only to increase sales, but to get my full views on that. You can go to for information on how to get it. But to answer the question of whether being a dominatrix gives a woman a feeling of empowerment as best I can now, I would say a few things. Sex work (in the conventional sense) let me survive, and if you do sex work from a secure location and in a clean environment it is much better than being forced underground the way the laws do to us now, despite prostitution being legal. People are having sex, often anonymously, all over the place now, so these millions don’t seem to think they are degrading themselves. High end prostitutes are making good livings for short hours and many love what they do and endure no sexual harassment the way secretaries, waitresses and other poorly paid women do. As a dominatrix I felt even better than a high end sex worker, except that it was a more costly and burdensome business to run. But I can tell you that nothing beats having men who occupy positions of power being at your mercy and worshipping you. For a woman to have that kind of power is intoxicating and must be experienced to be believed. It is not just the physical control over and power to inflict punishment on a big man who is helpless, it is also the experience of him wishing to be in that position for me. Of course I felt empowered. I had concerns when running my establishment too. I was concerned about the police raiding. I was concerned about making enough money to continue on. I was concerned about losing the premises, which I did not own. But I was never concerned about violence against me or my staff. Girls who work in traditional occupations or in male dominated occupations endure sexual harassment and bullying all the time.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, February 27, 2012

Crimes on Campus that Target Women

I don’t want to sound racist but the colleges and universities in Toronto have many students that come from, or whose parents come from traditional cultures, where men’s pride can be more easily hurt by women than is the case with, say, third generation North Americans. Also women, like the elderly, are a safer target for attackers than able-bodied young men and most college students today are women, so they will be the main victims of crime. So I don’t think misogyny is the only reason for the targeting of women on campus. To change any misogyny that does exist will take time, cultural changes and also women fighting back by reporting incidents and there being supports to encourage more women to come forward.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Definition of a Feminist - Terri-Jean Bedford

I was recently asked how I defined a feminist and whether I see myself as a feminist. I believe a feminist is a woman, or man for that matter, who believes in maximizing the equality of the sexes in every respect and minimizing discrimination of any type based on gender. I see myself as a feminist in terms of supporting equality of opportunity in the workplace, but I do not believe in equality in relationships. I believe that one partner should dominate the other. For example, as a dominatrix I see this desire of men to submit to women all the time, not to be equal. They want to revel in female superiority and worship a woman as a goddess, at least when they are role playing with them. I don’t think that describes feminism in relationships.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Upper Canada College Speech – V

So what I am telling you is that our opponents are either ignorant of what the current debate is about, ignorant about the realities of the sex trade issues, and they are trying to prevent Parliament from framing new legislation. Just think of what will happen if Prime Minister Harper has to bring in new legislation. He will have to define what is and what is not a sex act. He will have to define who is and who is not a prostitute. I will have plenty to say about all that in the future, but the thing to remember is that laws cannot be impermissibly vague. That means he must tell us exactly what we can and cannot do in private and why, if he wishes to make prostitution illegal. Do you want the Prime Minister to control your sexuality and what you choose to do with your body in the privacy of your home or business? Our opponents do not want that discussion to happen. They just want some vague and indirect legal and moral condemnation of sex for money to appear to be the policy of the country. I say to you here today what a number of academic papers that have been sent to me since this began are saying. We must move away from a moral basis for legislating on this issue and towards a safety basis. We women must not lose control of our bodies and our lives. Other countries are hopefully moving forward in emancipating women. Don’t allow Mr. Harper to take us backward.

Thank you all very much.

- Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Upper Canada College Speech – IV

Now let me talk about the first group. The federal government announced an appeal before they even had time to read the decision! The lawyers who argued on their behalf at the hearings from 2007 to 2010 and the appeal in 2011 were merely following orders. They couldn’t even get credible experts. But what were those orders? I think the orders from Ottawa were to make the debate go away. Those who have read the Himel decision and seek to overturn it are looking after themselves for sure. But they are also seeking to maintain a status quo that benefits organized crime at the expense of women.

To be Continued

- Terri-Jean Bedford

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Upper Canada College Speech – III

And something else. Human trafficking and women being illegally exploited in this country occurs across a number of occupations such as household domestics, farm labourers, office cleaners and, I could go on. The judge did point out that the negative aspects of human trafficking and so on are addressed by other laws: such as those against immigration, confinement and assault. And they say prostitution is bad. Well guess what. I say it’s good. Who the hell are they to decide I say it is wrong to allow women to have premarital sex for free yet make them criminals if they get a dinner or favour or money for it. We are not slaves! They say smoking is bad. They say overeating is bad. They say getting drunk is bad. So why when women exercise free choice in the bedroom does it have to be illegal – even if it is bad, which it is not?

Why do I say prostitution is good? It’s not just me. All over town men and women are paying for sex acts now. Would they do it if it was not good? And what about acts that may or may not be sexual. Some of you may have tied up your boyfriends and tickled them, or had them do it to you. What’s wrong with that? Is that a sex act if your clothes are on? And of course, if they paid you to do it are you a criminal? I think we should get a medal when we punish men or take their money.

To be Continued

- Terri-Jean Bedford

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Upper Canada College Speech – II

Judge Himel said her decision was not about whether prostitution is good or bad, or whether it should continue to be legal, or, for that matter, what prostitution is and is not. Her 131 page decision, after two years of hearings from experts and lawyers, was that the laws seeking to restrict prostitution (whatever that is) were unconstitutional. In a nutshell she said that those laws impacted negatively on those they were supposed to protect. For example, they prevent prostitutes from hiring security or working from a regular location. She also said that these harmful laws impacted in a discriminatory and arbitrary fashion on a narrow segment of society– on women. Yet, many voices rose saying that prostitution should not be made legal. First of all they forget it already is. These uninformed voices tell us that prostitution and pimping will increase dramatically, as will human trafficking, if the decision is upheld and nothing else is done. They also tell us that prostitution is bad. This is all crap. The judge said the evidence does not support those assertions. You can read her decision where she looks at other countries and the evidence at length and says why. I would like to add a couple of other considerations. For one thing, do men who pay prostitutes have unlimited money to ramp up their demand. For another, prostitution is rampant today and the current laws, as the judge said, are rarely enforced anyway. And something else. Human trafficking and women being illegally exploited in this country occurs across a number of occupations such as household domestics, farm labourers, office cleaners and, I could go on. The judge did point out that the negative aspects of human trafficking and so on are addressed by other laws: such as those against immigration, confinement and assault.

To be Continued

- Terri-Jean Bedford

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Upper Canada Speech – I

"Before anything else I want to thank Nikki Thomas for being such a wonderful spokesperson for our successful motion to strike down those appalling laws which were supposedly against prostitution. Nicki has told and can tell you about what is likely to happen if Judge Himel’s ruling is upheld. I am going to speak to you today about those who oppose Judge Himel’s decision. It seems to me there are two types of opponents First there are those who know what the decision said, and may even have read it. Then there are those who do not know what the decision said yet have an opinion on it. Let me deal with the second group first. Judge Himel said her decision was not about whether prostitution is good or bad, or whether it should continue to be legal, or, for that matter, what prostitution is and is not. Her 131 page decision, after two years of hearings from experts and lawyers, was that the laws seeking to restrict prostitution (whatever that is) were unconstitutional. In a nutshell she said that those laws impacted negatively on those they were supposed to protect. For example, they prevent prostitutes from hiring security or working from a regular location. She also said that these harmful laws impacted in a discriminatory and arbitrary fashion on a narrow segment of society– on women."

To be Continued

- Terri-Jean Bedford

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Good to be Back

Thanks to so many who have sent kind messages while I recovered from my surgery. I am much better now and am going to resume my blogs.

We are approaching the release of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision about Justice Susan Himel’s decision of September 2010. She struck down the laws which supposedly restricted prostitution in Ontario, and Canada. The government’s appeal was heard in June 2011. No matter what the higher court says in its decision a huge national debate on the issues involved will begin.

I was a panellist at a major conference at Toronto’s Upper Canada College debating the issue of whether prostitution should be decriminalized. My remarks were about the opposition to Judge Himel’s decision. Over the next couple of weeks I will share a text of those remarks with you, and after that have further comments about the issues about to come before the country. You can see a video of me delivering my remarks on my web sites, and you can get background on the Himel decision in my book Dominatrix on Trial.

Terri-Jean Bedford

Monday, January 23, 2012

Update on My Condition

Hello everybody. I'm still recovering from surgery. Although not a cure it did help. Soon I'll be responding to all your good wishes.

Otherwise, there's some interesting times to come. It may not be much longer before the decision on the prostitution laws comes down. Then I'll have plenty to say. That's primarily what I'm saving up my energy for.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Questions and Comments about Dominatrix on Trial – XIII

I have one further thing to say about the reactions of those women at the Christmas party to my book. They told me they did not realize how much in the way of resources and resolve is involved in a legal battle. They told me that it is terrible when innocent people are pressured into pleading out because of what it takes to fight. They realized that too many innocent people are convicted. Some of them said they were very depressed and frightened by this.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Questions and Comments about Dominatrix on Trial – XII

As I mentioned in the previous blog the women at the Christmas gathering had so many questions and things to say about my book. One of the interesting things was the variety of women who worked for me. Indeed. As I pointed out in 'Dominatrix on trial' women of almost any size, shape, age, colour or ethnicity can succeed in the role. The variety of role play and players sought by clients has never ceased to amaze me. The gals at the party said that was one of the things about the book they found surprising.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Questions and Comments about Dominatrix on Trial – XI

When I was at a Christmas gathering some women who had read my book were very kind in their praise about how long I fought and what I fought for. Naturally they had many questions. One of them was whether I missed running a dungeon. My answer to that was that in my current state of health the thought of having to keep appointments and prepare for them is now simply beyond the pale. It has now been almost a decade since I have run a full facility. Even when I was in good health and younger, as I pointed out in the book, it was a tough grind – though it certainly had its moments.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Resolutions – Political

This year I resolve to persuade Prime Minister Harper not to retain or pass laws that don’t respect the freedom and safety of women who obey the law. I will seek to persuade him to pass laws that are clear, specific and don’t give broad authority to unelected officials. I resolve to join others in making him accountable and answerable for those new laws. I also resolve to continue to do what I can in the current court case, were the government is appealing in order to sustain the old laws against prostitution, whatever that is. But I resolve that above all, you will be hearing from me. You already are in my book, Dominatrix on Trial. The coming ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal just marks a beginning.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Resolutions – Personal

I resolve that this year I will be even more vigilant in following doctor’s orders. I have not been bad, but I don’t have much room for error. That means remembering to eat and drink what I am told and not more or less or other. It also means not waiting until I am run down to rest. I resolve to spend some time each day collecting my written materials for some possible future publications that have been suggested to me. I resolve to remember to tell those around me and who have bought my book Dominatrix on Trial how grateful I am. I resolve to try not to feel sorry for myself or to be afraid.