Decriminalize sex work in Canada
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Dear Mr. Trudeau,
As you know, Bill C-36 was introduced to Canadian legislature in December 2014, which criminalizes many activities of sex workers and their clients, including:
- Purchasing sex services
- Materially benefitting from sex services
- Advertising sex services
It was thought by the previous Conservative government that introducing these laws (akin to the Nordic/Swedish model) would effectively eliminate prostitution. However research on this model indicates the opposite. (eg. http://sexworklawreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ciminalizing_the_purchase_140322.pdf
As a current sex worker, your laws do little to protect me. (eg. http://sexworklawreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Laws-General.pdf Here's why:
- The ability to communicate safely and securely with potential and current clients is essential. Without this, I, and other sex workers, are unable to screen clients effectively, and we have to use acronyms and other language of innuendos that prevents us from clearly stating boundaries and limits. We are unable to discuss payment for services, or meeting locations.
- Because clients are penalized for purchasing sex services, this means they are even less likely to provide screening information, such as a valid government ID, employment information, or social media profiles. When clients refuse to give information, we as sex workers are forced to take risks and may engage with clients who are unsafe.
- Many sex workers voluntarily engage in sex work as a profession. However current laws indicate we are unable to benefit from the proceeds of sex work, therefore we are unable to claim income related to sex work. If we do claim income, it can be said we are committing a criminal act under s. 286.2(1) & (2) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
- The current laws do not encourage sex workers to report violence, harassment, assault or coercion because of fear of criminal allegations. This is a human rights and a public health issue (eg. http://sexworklawreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/public_health_140422.pdf
Mr. Trudeau, you have the opportunity to revisit Bill C-36, introduce decriminalization to sex work, and improve health and society for all sex workers, and for Canadians.
We the undersigned collectively ask you to repeal Bill C-36 and join other progressive nations in decriminalizing sex work in Canada.
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