Inuk woman details her fall into Ottawa’s sex trade to inquiry – and how others can avoid the same fate

 

The hearings for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls heard from an Inuk woman Tuesday who spent ten years in Ottawa’s sex trade.

Mealia Sheutipik told the inquiry that she saw a murder when she was a young child and it took years to get over it.

Her emotional testimony detailed how she ended up there and what Indigenous women need to do to get out.

 

 

Producer Nouvelles Nationales d'APTN - Montreal

Born and raised in Montreal, Tom cut his teeth working in community television in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory before joining APTN as a cameraman/editor in 2008. In 2015 he was promoted to Video Journalist and has since helped cover important stories such as the Muskrat Falls protest in Labrador and anti-pipeline actions in North Dakota.


8 thoughts on “Inuk woman details her fall into Ottawa’s sex trade to inquiry – and how others can avoid the same fate

  1. As we understand the circumstances that someone finds them doing sexwork but we must not ignore the ongoing racism that indigenous people face since colonizers set foot on this land. This racism has resulted in the violence and death of Indigenous people. As we know that there are sexworkers that choice this work. Yes there person that enter this work due to lack of opportunity they face in their lives. And yes we have witness this within the Indigenous community especially women and Transwomen. But as we discussed the injustices we still aren’t addressing the issues housing, employment and financial deliveries that would support this. The goverment need to increase the resources and finance more inniatives for Indigenous people so they can improve their situation. We must not conflate sexwork with trafficking. The laws that criminalize sexworkers put them at higher risk of violence and death. The new laws C 36 has shown violence and murder hasn’t change the outcomes but as made it harder for sexworkers to seek safety through laws protectors. This laws have shown to isolate sexworkers and deny them services due to goverment c36 bill trafficking money. Indigenous agencies that have accepted this money has isolated the most volunable women by eliminating services that supported sexworkers and weren’t accessible unless you where exiting the industry. As someone that was working with Elizabeth Fry exit program all this money that was given to this exit program has shown lack of resources to exit sexwork . The priority that women expressed was immediate housing, employment and financial means which agency couldn’t fulfil. Due to the lack of consultation with the women they where supporting has resulted in another failed inniative. Allegating housing on a municipal level, and financial assistance to sexworkers exiting would support women that wanted change this line of work

  2. As we understand the circumstances that someone finds them doing sexwork but we must not ignore the ongoing racism that indigenous people face since colonizers set foot on this land. This racism has resulted in the violence and death of Indigenous people. As we know that there are sexworkers that choice this work. Yes there person that enter this work due to lack of opportunity they face in their lives. And yes we have witness this within the Indigenous community especially women and Transwomen. But as we discussed the injustices we still aren’t addressing the issues housing, employment and financial deliveries that would support this. The goverment need to increase the resources and finance more inniatives for Indigenous people so they can improve their situation. We must not conflate sexwork with trafficking. The laws that criminalize sexworkers put them at higher risk of violence and death. The new laws C 36 has shown violence and murder hasn’t change the outcomes but as made it harder for sexworkers to seek safety through laws protectors. This laws have shown to isolate sexworkers and deny them services due to goverment c36 bill trafficking money. Indigenous agencies that have accepted this money has isolated the most volunable women by eliminating services that supported sexworkers and weren’t accessible unless you where exiting the industry. As someone that was working with Elizabeth Fry exit program all this money that was given to this exit program has shown lack of resources to exit sexwork . The priority that women expressed was immediate housing, employment and financial means which agency couldn’t fulfil. Due to the lack of consultation with the women they where supporting has resulted in another failed inniative. Allegating housing on a municipal level, and financial assistance to sexworkers exiting would support women that wanted change this line of work

  3. I hope that the testimonies this week put paid to the lobbying efforts of sex trade profiteers who are seeking to change Canadian law to allow the free movement of pimps and johns. Fantasy stories about “empowered” sex workers who perform “a job like any other” only serve to allow the exploiters of brave women like Mealia Sheutipik to abuse and profit with impunity.

    Colonialism has wrought so much damage that is irreparable, but criminalizing (and prosecuting) sex buyers, decriminalizing the women who are sold, and offering real economic alternatives would be a start.

  4. I hope that the testimonies this week put paid to the lobbying efforts of sex trade profiteers who are seeking to change Canadian law to allow the free movement of pimps and johns. Fantasy stories about “empowered” sex workers who perform “a job like any other” only serve to allow the exploiters of brave women like Mealia Sheutipik to abuse and profit with impunity.

    Colonialism has wrought so much damage that is irreparable, but criminalizing (and prosecuting) sex buyers, decriminalizing the women who are sold, and offering real economic alternatives would be a start.

  5. The Inquiry must recommend the abolition of prostitution in Canada.
    Of course, it won’t do that, because it’s toothless.

  6. The Inquiry must recommend the abolition of prostitution in Canada.
    Of course, it won’t do that, because it’s toothless.

  7. I am constantly amazed that vulnerable people are able to just keep going, through horrendous circumstances that happen to them every day – to be a vulnerable person must be like being hit by a tornado everyday then just going numb – most people have no idea

  8. I am constantly amazed that vulnerable people are able to just keep going, through horrendous circumstances that happen to them every day – to be a vulnerable person must be like being hit by a tornado everyday then just going numb – most people have no idea

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