Video: Sex work coalition asks premier not to enforce new sex laws

A coalition including NOW editor and CEO Alice Klein held a press conference at Queen's Park to ask that the constitutionality of Bill C-36 be tested first


Valerie Scott of Sex Professionals of Canada, Akio Maroon of Maggie’s, Richard Elliott of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Alice Klein, editor/CEO of NOW Magazine held a press conference to ask Kathleen Wynne not to enforce the so-called Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sex workers say lack of police alert ‘shameful’ C-36 ‘a gift to predators’

Toronto, Thursday, December 142014 – In the wake of a series of attacks against sex workers in the Etobicoke area, sex workers are asking why police did not send out a public alert or contact organizations such as Maggie’s – Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project, so that a warning could be shared widely via social media and street outreach.

According to police, there have been four similar attacks since October.

“The fact that the police have not issued an alert or contacted Maggie’s is shameful. A warning could have protected our community members, and instead, the police allowed perpetrators to continue their attacks on sex workers,” said Jean McDonald, Executive Director of Maggie’s – Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project.

These attacks demonstrate the importance of screening potential clients, to ensure the person calling is a legitimate and safe client. The new legislation, the erroneously titledProtection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEP) also known as Bill C-36, inhibits the ability to screen because clients fear sharing personal information to avoid incrimination.  PCEP also criminalizes advertising, making it difficult to find clientele online.

By criminalizing the purchase of sexual services, PCEP will also push street-based sex workers into more isolated spaces of the city and impedes their ability to negotiate with clients (price, specific services, safer sex practices, and to ensure the person is not agitated or inebriated) before jumping into their car.

“What sex workers need to ensure our safety and security is the full decriminalization of sex work. We need access to labour and legal protections. We need to be seen as valuable and important members of society – not seen as inherently ‘victims’.” Jessie, online escort.

“These kind of attacks against our colleagues have been happening for several years, which is one of the reasons SPOC challenged the old set of laws.  As we are seeing across Canada, Bill C-36 has done nothing to prevent violence against our colleagues,” said Valerie Scott, of Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC). 

PCEP criminalizes adult consensual sexual practices. PCEP does not protect sex workers. As Senator Plett stated, “We don’t want to make life safe for prostitutes we want to do away with prostitution.” The Conservative government’s ideological agenda to end prostitution is coming at the expense, lives, and well-being of sex workers themselves.

Recently, over sixty organizations and twenty five Toronto city councillors have called for the non-enforcement of the new prostitution laws, and Premier Wynn has questioned the constitutionality of CPEP.

Sex workers across Canada will be commemorating the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th.

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Media contacts:

Jean McDonald, Executive Director, Maggie’s – Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project

416-910-2073  maggiescoord@gmail.com

Akio Maroon, Chair, Board of Directors, Maggie’s – Toronto Sex Workers’ Action Project

416-520-4809  akiomaroon@gmail.com

Valerie Scott, Legal Co-ordinator, Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC)

416-364-5603  Cell: 416-829-5606  vscott@spoc.ca

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