Coalition wants premier to ask police not to enforce new prostitution law

At a press conference tomorrow, sex worker advocates and allies, including NOW's Alice Klein, to ask constitutionality be tested first by the Ontario Court of Appeal

On December 17, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, a coalition of sex workers and their allies will be calling on Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne to instruct police forces not to enforce the federal government’s new prostitution law until its constitutionality can be tested in court. 

The message will be echoed to all Canadian provincial leaders by sex worker organizations across the country. In Toronto, a press conference will be held at 11 am in the media studio at Queen’s Park. 

Speakers at the event will include the Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), Maggie’s – Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and COUNTERfit Women’s Harm Reduction Program (South Riverdale Community Health Centre). NOW Magazine’s editor/CEO Alice Klein will also be taking part in the press conference.

“Sex workers have been abandoned by their own federal government with this new law,” says SPOC legal coordinator Valerie Scott. “If our leaders truly care about making sex workers safer, they will stop criminalizing our work, our workplaces and our clients.”

Klein says the coalition has been building broad support with unions, social justice groups, and members of the academic, political and legal communities.

“In the short time that this law has been in place, tragedy is descending into people’s lives,” says Klein. “We are seeing vividly how the advertising provision is violating the constitutional right of sex workers to safety and security. ”

Wynne has already expressed “grave concern” that the law, which came into force December 6, “will not make sex workers safe.” She’s asked the province’s Attorney-General to assess the law’s constitutionality, but has stopped short of following BC’s lead and asking police not to enforce the law. | @nowtoronto  

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