No Justice, No Peace – Honouring Cindy Gladue

We, women outside the system at the grassroots, demand justice for Cindy Gladue and for all Indigenous women in the sex industry.
Cindy Gladue was a 42 year old mother of two daughters, an Indigenous woman who was in the sex industry. In 2010 she was killed by an aggressor posing as a client who left her to bleed to death while he slept. During the trial, Cindy’s body was treated with horrific indifference as her wounded vagina was brought into court as evidence. Her killer admitted to injuring her but claimed it was an accident due to “rough sex”. The mostly white male jury believed him found Cindy’s killer not guilty of anything. He was acquitted and walked free.
Though the circumstances of Cindy’s death and trial are gruesome, her story is not unique, nor is the indifference of the Canadian legal system to an Indigenous women, especially those in the sex industry.
This verdict is an abomination–and it represents a larger pattern of deep and relentless violence by individuals and the state against Indigenous people. We support those who are calling for an appeal to the verdict in this trial–but we also know that for Indigenous women, especially sex workers, the court systems will never provide justice. The legal system did to Cindy exactly what it has done to thousands of Indigenous women–to over-police and under-protect.
Violence against Indigenous women including those who sell or trade sex is not inevitable–it can be changed! We are part of a movement for real solutions to the issues of violence against Indigenous women.
We demand
-CREATE SAFE NON-JUDGMENTAL SPACES IN YOUR COMMUNITY for people who trade or sell sex (or work in street economies) where they can access culturally safe harm reduction and support that is not dependent on exiting the sex industry.
Under Bill C-36, Cindy was legally barred from working with any sort of security that could have prevented her from becoming a target. Her vulnerability to violence was not the inevitable result of being a sex worker. The state is guilty of forcing this mother to make a living without basic protections and must be responsible for that. We demand that the Federal government follow the world-leading example of New Zealand (Aotearoa) and fully decriminalize the sex industry.
-STOP Bill C-51. Under racist Bill C-51, the ways we come together and defend ourselves and our families are being criminalized as “terrorist”. From the streets to the tar sands to the rivers and lakes, Indigenous peoples are fighting for our lives, our families and our nations. Bill C-51 would legitimize the creation of secret police powers to surveill, harass and drag even more Indigenous and other racialized people into jails and prisons. Like Bill C-36 , this law is dangerous, reckless and ineffective at reducing violence.
The Federal government has made clear that violence against Indigenous women (in the sex industry or not) is “not high on their radar”. But out of love for our families and communities, we continue to come together to demand justice, re-build, heal and fight back.
We are actively seeking public endorsements from organizations. Contact us to sign onto our statement.
Endorsed by Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, Idle No More Toronto, Outburst Young Muslim Women Project & Pomegranate Tree, South Western Ontario Sex Workers, Families of Sisters In Spirit, Anti-Colonial Committee in the Law Union of Ontario, Chocolate Woman Collective
Coordinated by No More Silence and STRUT Toronto